Shoppers asked to boycott Amazon in tax row

Monday, 12 May 2014
A boycott of online giant Amazon could soon be called as the company's British arm has reportedly paid just 9.7 million in corporation tax of sales of nearly half a billion pounds. Amazon's revenue rose by 13 percent to a record 4.7 billion pounds.

The online retail giant's accounts for Amazon’s UK shows the majority of its sales were processed offshore in Luxembourg, allowing it to avoid UK tax. Margaret Hodge, chairman of the government’s public accounts committee, said: "To their customer base, they pretend to be British, yet they refuse to pay their tax. All we ask is that they pay a fair tax on their business in the UK."

Shoppers asked to find retail alternatives

She said shoppers should find alternatives to the retailer, after consumer action persuaded coffee chain Starbucks to resume UK tax payments last year.

Amazon.co.uk’s accounts show it paid nearly twice as much corporation tax than a year earlier when it paid 5.1 million pounds.

Companies only pay tax on profits and Amazon is known for running at close to break-even. British staff numbers rose 41 percent to 5,900, with a hefty wage bill. Amazon has come under fire for using many temporary workers but says it now pays 20 hours minimum a week.

Amazon said: "Amazon pays all applicable taxes in every jurisdiction that it operates within. Amazon EU serves tens of millions of customers and sellers throughout Europe from multiple consumer websites in a number of languages dispatching products to all 28 countries in the EU.

We have a single European headquarters in Luxembourg with hundreds of employees to manage this complex operation."

Image: Amazon warehouse

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