Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Amazon £4.2m UK tax bill revealed

Google will face a fresh grilling over its tax affairs after the global corporation was recalled to give evidence

The UK arm of internet shopping giant Amazon paid corporation tax of just £2.4 million last year despite earning sales of £4.2 billion.

Details of the American firm's tax contribution were revealed in filings at Companies House and come as internet group Google is due to be quizzed by MPs about its tax bill.

The revelation follows uproar over the tax paid by other multinational giants including Starbucks and Apple. Google vice president Matt Brittin is due to appear before the Commons Public Accounts Committee months after it last quizzed the firm about its taxes.

Chairwoman of the committee Margaret Hodge said she plans to haul Amazon back to explain its financial dealings after its company filings showed Amazon.co.uk paid tax of £3.2 million in 2012, on sales of £320 million. The Seattle-based group told has investors its 2012 UK sales were £4.2 billion.

Amazon received UK Government grants of £2.5 million last year, beating its corporation tax payments. It reduced tax payments by routing its sales through Luxembourg where its European headquarters are.

Mrs Hodge told the Guardian: "My committee has real concerns about the extent to which companies like Amazon are stretching the rules in order to avoid paying their fair share in tax. By any measure of common sense Amazon appears to have a proper established presence in the UK, and there is a discrepancy between some of the evidence in this report about its activities in the UK and what the committee was told by Amazon when they appeared before us last year."

A report in December by the committee accused Amazon, Google and Starbucks of ''immorally'' minimising their UK tax bills. The firms were criticised for the ''unconvincing and, in some cases, evasive'' evidence they gave on why their corporation tax payments were so low.

A spokeswoman for tax avoidance campaign group UK Uncut said: "It's an absolute disgrace that Amazon is paying such tiny amounts in tax. The Government should be clamping down on tax avoidance rather than slashing the welfare state, privatising the NHS and cutting legal aid for ordinary people."

The company 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 27 countries in the EU.

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

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