Amazon Incites Booksellers to Demand Tax Law Change

The UK’s taxation system is coming under fire after being accused of inadvertently ‘penalising’ booksellers, as Amazon UK’s tax contributions are reported to amount to little.

Compliance with tax laws is a staple of personal and commercial finance, but so often they are challenged and re-examined. While many people find themselves elated when local tax cuts roll around, many will not wait, and do all they can to minimise the impact of the toll. Additionally, some publicly contest tax law, whether through Withersworldwide or through denouncement in the media, setting out to rigorously discern who owes what. Now, The Bookseller is reporting that these same issues are being attributed to some of Britain’s biggest brands.

BA’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Giles Clifton, is purportedly defending the ‘brick and mortar’ retailers, companies who pay more tax in having physical outlets for their business; retail stores, warehouses and manufacturing premises. Amazon has been recorded as exploring retail stores since 2015, but Clifton’s claims come to counter their halved corporation tax payments, despite a strong charted rise in profits.

Amazon also allegedly holds millions in government grants, which fund its brick and mortar pursuits. Additionally, despite successful sales of £7.3 billion in the UK last year, reflecting an annual rise of 5.6%, Amazon’s retail sales were tracked through HMRC. Consequently, the company is under no legal requirement to publish what they pay in tax.

Clifton strongly asserted that: “Amazon is able to pay very low rates of tax in the UK under the present system. This gives Amazon – possessed of a huge market share and all the associated commercial bargaining power that goes with it – a further, substantial advantage over its competitors in the UK book trade.” Clifton rounded out his comments, stating that “Booksellers should not be unfairly treated by a tax system which penalises bricks and mortar business against multi-national, online competition.”

Additionally, UK MPs have joined the chorus of criticism, striking out against Amazon for not paying their fair share, with the ridicule even amounting for calls to boycott the company. After all, Labour recently proposed that tax avoidance cost the UK £13 billion in just five years, setting tensions high in every scandal.

Nevertheless, Amazon have stepped up to defend themselves from the bouts of criticism, claiming that they “pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate. Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues.”


Pete White Pete White

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