Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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WORLD | 31-01-2020 17:09

Amazon highlights taxes paid in pushback against critics

The tech giant, whose market valuation moved back above US$1 trillion following its earnings report Thursday, declared it paid more than US$1 billion in US federal income taxes in 2019, along with US$2.4 billion in other federal taxes, including payroll taxes and customs duties.

Amazon declared Friday that it paid more than US$1 billion  federal income taxes in the United States in 2019 as it pushed back at criticism over its corporate responsibility.

A blog post by Amazon sought to highlight its investments and contributions to the US economy, in a move to fend off critics claiming it benefits from taxpayer subsidies.

"Since 2010, we've made more than US$270 billion in investments in corporate offices, customer fulfillment and cloud infrastructure, wind and solar farms, eco-friendly equipment and machinery and compensation to our teams," Amazon affirmed.

"These investments are accelerating, and we estimate that they have contributed an additional US$168 billion to the US GDP since 2010."

It said it "collected and remitted nearly US$9 billion in sales and use taxes to states and localities throughout the US" last year and paid over US$1.6 billion in state and local taxes.

Criticism

Amazon has faced criticism over its prior annual reports which appeared to show it paid no federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018, and received some rebates after a tax reform measure passed by Congress – joining several other large corporations whose tax bill was cut by the law.

Amazon's statement Friday said it adheres to "all applicable federal and state tax laws," while noting that it takes advantage of laws that encourage economic investment and job creation.

"Over the last decade, no other US based company has created more jobs than Amazon," the statement pointed.

"Our investments have led to the creation of over two million jobs in the US."

It said its labour force – now 798,000 worldwide – includes some 500,000 in the United States, where it pays a wage of at least $15 an hour, above the required minimums in most states.

Amazon's statement comes amid an effort by officials from 137 countries to reform the global tax system for a more equitable distribution of revenues paid by multinationals and the largely US based digital giants.

In December, Amazon published its French tax returns, showing it paid 250 million euros last year, after accusations of underpayment.

Amazon's quarterly update showed a profit in the final three months of last year of US$3.3 billion on revenue of US$87.4 billion. 

For the full year it had net income of US$11.6 billion on US$280 billion in revenue.

US$13.2 billion in about 15 minutes

In the midst of those tax dramas, Jeff Bezos is much richer today than he was before.

Amazon.com shares rose 12 percent to US$2,100 in extended trading at 4.16pm in New York, after the largest US e-commerce company reported fourth quarter results that exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Bezos, who is already the richest person in the world, added US$13.2 billion to his fortune in about 15 minutes. At today's price, his net worth would be approximately US$129.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

-TIMES/AFP/PERFIL

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