Amazon Paid No Taxes Despite Earning $5.6 Billion

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
February 28, 2018Businessshare
Amazon Paid No Taxes Despite Earning $5.6 Billion founder and CEO Jeff Bezos at a presentation in Seattle, Washington on June 18, 2014. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Amazon didn’t pay any taxes on its $5.6 billion in earnings last year.

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Amazon won’t be paying taxes for 2017 because of tax credits, tax breaks, and executive stock options. The ITEP report says this follows a trend of Amazon paying almost no taxes over the past five years.

A Splinter article also credits the location of Amazon’s global headquarters for helping the company avoid taxes. Amazon’s global operations are run out of Luxembourg. The European Union has already accused the country of giving Amazon illegal tax breaks.

Splinter says that from the beginning, Jeff Bezos’s strategy with building Amazon was to avoid taxes. The article cites Bezos’s original intention of building Amazon’s U.S. headquarters on a Native American reservation because of tax breaks.

While San Francisco at the time rejected his attempt to do so, cities are now deluging Amazon with tax breaks while competing to be chosen as the location for Amazon’s second U.S. headquarters. Amazon has yet to announce its choice as it whittles down the most favorable options.

The Splinter article cites Amazon’s huge income, significant tax breaks, and constant expansion in the face of reports of poor working conditions at Amazon facilities, along with low wages, and few acts of charitable giving by Bezos.

President Trump has expressed concern in the past about what Amazon’s business practices have done to smaller competitors, and also accuses the Bezos-owned Washington Post of being used to exacerbate the situation. He’s accused Amazon of hurting businesses even before he became president.

“Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!” wrote Trump in a tweet last year.

“The @washingtonpost, which loses a fortune, is owned by @JeffBezos for purposes of keeping taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon.” wrote Trump in a 2015 tweet.

Bezos responded via Twitter by saying he “Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket,” and ended with the hashtag “#sendDonaldtospace.” Blue Origin is an aerospace company owned by Bezos.

Despite the feud, Amazon is looking to benefit from the new tax laws passed by the Trump administration. Amazon expects to receive a $789 million tax break this year due to the cuts, according to Splinter.

Jeff Bezos is currently ranked as the richest person in the world, according to a list by Bloomberg. Just behind him are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg, respectively.


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