It’s almost boring to report this: company does something entirely legal.
But at a time when we’re encouraged to consider the role of the EU in our national life, how governments are funded and the ethics of making money and paying tax, it is still newsworthy. Amazon paid a tiny amount of tax on a huge amount of sales in the UK last year.
According to reports, Amazon paid £11.9m in tax last year to the UK exchequer on recorded sales in the UK of some £5.3bn.
Although revenues grew 14%, with the UK representing about 10% of Amazon’s total sales, the UK arm Amazon.co.uk Limited posted profits of £34.4m to Companies House last week. Amazon’s operation uses a Luxembourg based subsidiary, Amazon EU Sarl, to account for most of its sales.
Of course, Amazon isn’t a massively profitable company (unlike eBay/PayPal) and this year it has changed its arrangements. But it’s unlikely that the UK government coffers will get much of a boost in any case. And, as is often noted by Amazon sellers, a bigger tax bill could mean a hike in selling fees.
And as we’ve often said on Tamebay: we can hardly blame any company for seeking to minimise their tax bill by any legal means. But even if Amazon haven’t broken the law, we do still perhaps wonder if the law isn’t broken.