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Amazon weasel

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bibblebub | 18:06 Mon 12th Nov 2012 | News
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Just been watching the Public Accounts Committee asking the Amazon representative questions about tax - what a display of weasel words by a weasel-faced executive. He's got no facts to hand despite knowing full well about the intentions of the committee, and couldn't appear more shifty if he was head of a criminal gang.

Do the tax avoidance actions of Amazon or other companies make you think twice about using them for purchases?

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Actually, they do - rather irritatingly for me, since I like the service that amazon offers, especially for kindle.

I have made a conscious decision to boycott these brands that are specifically mentioned, for what its worth - but whats really needed is a fundamental rethink of how taxation is applied and gathered for multinational corporations. I am sure that all their current tax arrangements to correspond to the letter of the law, and that is what is so frustrating.

It would I imagine seem fair to most that companies pay tax based upon their turnover and profit in a specific market, rather than passing the profit over to a subsidiary company based in a low tax haven.

The problem is finding a method by which you can enforce this, and that needs some expertise to sort it out.
Simplistc maybe charge a tax on turnover, which should be relaively easy to check and enforce.
Howevewr when it also applies to Water, some power generators and all those connected with the disaterous PFI initiative, the loss of tax is tremendous
But they are not breaking the law are they?
The most annoying statistic would be the small number of people who benefit the most from these large corporations avoidance of paying tax.
The fault lies with multinational companies who decide where they want to pay their taxes.

When oil countries found consumer countries were shopping around for the lowest price they set up OPEC. It worked at a stroke. Maybe something similar could be tried with corporation tax rates.
No more than the BBC paying the chief exec half a million retirement makes me stop watching BBC. Companies have been avoiding tax since the beginning of...well...tax. Because they don't pay tax they have money to pay...lawyers. To cover up for them paying tax. So if you want to buck the system: be a lawyer.
When our company was successful in the 90's and our Turnover was high, we were clobbered with £19K Corporation Tax.

Amazon had £4.5 Billion and paid £1M in tax. It's just not fair.
As others have said, abhorrent though there actions may be to many they aren't breaking the law.

I do find it diabolical though when MP's are sitting in judgement over 'moral' issues, particularly in light of what many of them were up to over expenses, second homes and more recently computer scams.

It's up to the MP's to close these legal loopholes. I saw on Sky News earlier that the French are already taking retrospective action against Amazon and are presenting them with a bill somewhere in the region of £250 million.

It's a start!
I agree with chilldoubt, and share your sense of outrage at the sight of MPs routinely fiddling their expenses - but, setting the context, they were a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of corporation tax that is being avoided by these multinationals.

And its a genuinely complicated issue - Chains like Starbucks for example, employ thousands of people in the UK, and collect on behalf of HMRC millions in PAYE and NI contributions, and corporate profit from declared turnover may well be affected by investment and capital costs through a large expansion programme, for instance.

Even taking that into account, however, many of the accountants who have commentated on this issue highlight the funnelling of turnover to small subsidiaries in places like Luxembourg, and it is clearly an avoidance technique, however much these companies might publically protest to the contrary.

I do not know what the answer is, but it does need urgent attention -and I will follow the progress of Frances demand with interest, although it is by no means certain to succeed.
I agree LazyGun, no comparison between the two in regards to the astronomical figures involved, I just find it hysterical that the Select Committee is acting as the 'Scruples and Morals Police'.

They have to make sure their own house is squeaky clean before going to clean someone elses!
ChillDoubt

/// They have to make sure their own house is squeaky clean before going to clean someone elses! ///

Couldn't agree more, how completely hypocritical of those MPs sitting round the table, why was it we didn't witness them sitting before such a 'tribunal' explaining their expences, along with all the other high-flyers and celebrities, who stash their millions away in 'off-shore' places.
An interesting article commenting on the appearance of Starbucks et al before the Public Accounts Committee.

http://www.taxresearc...-of-monday-afternoon/

These companies can give no logical explanation for their record of low corporation tax payments. They have lost any moral capital they may have had, and some of the arrangements exposed by the questioning demonstrates the link between these multinationals and tax havens in and around europe.

Greater transparency, country by country sales, turnover and profit figures are necessary.

One of the most egregious examples of this tax avoidance comes from Amazon UK - a company whose customers are entirely within the UK, whose warehousing and distribution is within the UK, who make use of delivery services within the UK reports its profits and pays its corporation tax in Luxembourg!
The answer is simple. Make tax affordable.
who gets to decide what's affordable? The taxee if it's a company, the government if it's an individual, no doubt - same as now.
And as I mentioned yesterday...

http://www.foxbusines...o-amazon-owe-us-252m/

(Apologies that it's from Fox, theirs was the first article that came up via a search!)

I trust we'll see similar from our own government!
Or will it all be swept under the carpet again by them taking the boss of HMRC out to lunch, like Vodafone did.

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