There are calls for US online shopping giant Amazon to share its Covid profits after one of its biggest UK entities had a sales surge of 64% but the firm paid just £199million extra UK tax
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Campaigners have called for Amazon to be hit with a windfall tax as the full scale of its boost from Covid was revealed.
The US goliath published a blog tonight in which it said revenues in the UK rocketed by almost £7billion to more than £20.6bn last year.
One of its biggest UK entities had a sales surge of 64%. Yet Amazon paid just £199million extra UK tax – most in employers’ national insurance after taking on more staff.
Amazon refused to disclose other details on its financial affairs here, including what profit it made or how much it paid in total corporation tax.
Campaign group the Tax Justice Network accused the online giant of using “smoke and mirrors”.
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Alex Cobham, its chief executive, said Amazon had clearly done “extraordinarily well” during the pandemic, adding: “They and others should pay close to 100% of excess profits they have made during this period.”
Determining how much that should be was impossible based on the details Amazon releases.
In the blog, Amazon said the amount it paid in “direct” taxes rose from £293million to £492m last year.
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Along with employer NI, this included corporation tax, business rates, and the Digital Services Tax. It said it collected just over £1bn in “indirect” taxes, including VAT.
A chunk of money comes from its internet shopping arm, which is routed through Luxembourg, then booked in a UK arm, for which Amazon refuses to disclose details.
Amazon’s stock market value stands at £1.3trillion, and the fortune of founder Jeff Bezos, 57, is £151bn.
Defending its tax record, it said: “Most governments – including the UK – actively encourage companies to make investments in infrastructure and job creation, and they often use the taxation system to do so.”
The firm said that since 2010 it had invested more than £32bn in its UK operations. It has announced plans to create 10,000 jobs this year, taking its total workforce here to more than 55,000.