Amazon UK under cosh for ‘insulting’ tax payment

amazon 2Amazon UK has been branded “pandemic profiteers” after the online giant’s latest financial results show it paid a “frankly insulting” £18.3m in corporation tax in 2020, as total group revenues passed £20bn in Britain.

In total the online giant paid £492m in direct taxation as sales rose 50% to £20.63bn, fuelled by a Covid related surge in demand. But Amazon insists it has invested £32bn in UK infrastructure since 2010.

The company added: “We are proud of the significant economic contribution we are making to the UK economy. Looking ahead, we know that the UK remains full of opportunity and we continue to be excited by the potential to continue to invest, create jobs, develop talent and have a positive impact in communities across the country.”

Amazon’s total sales in the UK, rose to £20.63bn during 2020 – up by more than 50% from £13.73bn in 2019. The direct tax bill was up by more than two-thirds compared with the £293m it paid in the previous year.

The firm said the taxes included business rates, stamp duty, corporation tax and other contributions.

However, GMB National Officer Mick Rix blasted: “Thousands of businesses across the UK have folded during the pandemic. Yet despite making billions from lockdown shopping, and trousering millions in government contracts and subsidies, Amazon has paid a frankly insulting amount of tax back into Treasury coffers.”

He added: “At the same time Amazon workers suffer unsafe, dehumanising work practices; breaking bones, falling unconscious and being taken away in ambulances. Ministers must get a grip of this runaway company and make sure pandemic profiteers pay more.”

Defending its UK contribution, Amazon countered that it had a strong record of job creation in the UK, with 55,000 people now directly employed by the ecommerce giant and more being recruited.

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