Amazon Services profits tripled in the UK last year. But, despite this, it has managed to halve its UK corporation tax bill.
Per figures posted publicly on Companies House, Amazon’s corporation tax bill was £4.5m last year, down from £7.4m the previous year. Its profits, meanwhile, tripled from from £24m in 2016 to £72m in 2017.
The company has paid £1.7m of its bill, but it has deferred paying the remaining £2.9m. An Amazon UK spokesperson declined to comment on why it was deferring.
These figures come just days after Amazon announced record profits of $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in the second quarter of 2018.
A spokesperson for Amazon UK told Mashable it had paid “all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate.” Asked whether Amazon Services had paid what it was morally required to pay in taxes, the spokesperson declined to comment.
“Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also said that the reason behind the reduced tax bill was due to its share-based payments for full-time staff working for Amazon Services — the division of Amazon UK which runs its fulfilment centres, which manage the posting and packaging of deliveries.
Per an analysis by BBC Radio 4’s business presenter Dominic O’Connell, the company used a tactic that can be used by any company to “reduce its tax liability” by “deducting part of the payments it makes to staff in the form of company shares.”
As O’Connell points out, the news of this tax bill will come as a “bitter pill for high street retailers, which are struggling to survive under an exodus of shoppers to online yet are unable to minimise their tax burden so easily.”