Amazon not only avoids tax, it takes taxpayers’ money

January 31st, 2013 25 Comments By Thewlis

Screen shot 2010 12 22 at 15.03.25 Amazon not only avoids tax, it takes taxpayers’ moneyThere’s tax avoidance, and then there’s taking the piss. We are all aware of Amazon’s reluctance to pay UK tax, but did you know that they are also taking Government handouts in order to earn these huge, tax-free profits?

In 2011, Amazon set up a distribution centre in Dunfermline and a callcentre in Edinburgh. Presumably these bases helped Amazon report a jump in international sales by 20 per cent to $9.09 billion (£5.8bn) in the last three months of 2012. Net income of the group stood at $97m (£61.6m) during just the final quarter of last year.

However, what you may not know is that the Scottish Government paid Amazon over £10m as an ‘incentive’ to bring their business to Scotland. Not only are Amazon not contributing to the UK tax pot, they are actually taking taxpayers money.

Of course, the Scottish Government is trying to spin this as a victory, creating Scottish jobs. Because without the funding Amazon were not going to bother with the UK, clearly.

David Smith, innovation and enterprise services director, said: “Amazon received an RSA (Regional Selective Assistance) grant in 2011 to create a major new fulfilment centre. As a direct result of this, Amazon and its private developer committed to invest more than £52m in Scotland.”

However,Tommy Campbell, a Scottish organiser of the Unite union, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace that the Scottish Government used taxpayers’ money to help increase the profits of a private company. Workers are constantly angry about the austerity and cuts, and the cry from the Scottish and UK governments that they have no money.

“Yet here we have an example of taxpayers’ money going to a multinational corporation when it should have been spent on funding the NHS and education.”

We think he may have a point. And now we know why Amazon have a smile on the box…

 

[Scotsman]

 

Comments (25) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Big D January 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    *actually taking taxpayers’ money

  2. Posted by Dacouch January 31, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I’d love to hear “fulfillment center” in a heavy Scottish Accent

  3. Posted by Doob January 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Shame this was not a devolved Scottish decision, we this sort of idiocy I would give the scots a week till they are on their knees.

  4. Posted by JimmyCrankie January 31, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Another money spinner dreamt up by their accountancy division.
    £10 of my PAYE says Google, Starbucks et. al have pulled similar schemes to help “employee people”.

  5. Posted by Chris January 31, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Whats wrong with this?
    If they managed to convince amazon to invest in their area versus another and got a load of investment and jobs in the area then surely that’s a plus?

  6. Posted by Simon January 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I’m don’t see how this is a bad thing. £10M to create how many jobs and save how much on benefits? If it encourages big companies to invest in areas without jobs, then this is far better than paying benefits for years on end from my hard-earned wages. Did they need it? Probably no, but did it encourage them to put a huge distribution centre in a job-starved area, yes.

  7. Posted by Robert January 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    A lot of the jobs created are part time working for minimum wage. Rather insulting that Amazon takes 20% off all UK sellers that pay UK tax before managing to create a profit. They are not breaking the law according to them.Are we all operating from Tax avoidance areas next to pay nothing are they leading by example???

  8. Posted by jonathan January 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    “Not only are Amazon not contributing to the UK tax pot…”

    Well apart from PAYE, NI, local rates etc.

    For a “tax expert” you are not actually very good at tax.

  9. Posted by spanks January 31, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    “Posted by Doob • January 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm
    Shame this was not a devolved Scottish decision, we this sort of idiocy I would give the scots a week till they are on their knees.”

    With your grammar I would give you a day before ask us to teach English to you.

  10. Posted by spanks January 31, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    If it cost Alex Salmond 10M to get them to take on a warehouse in Fife I wonder how much he bunged them for the call centre in Edinburgh city centre.

    Ahh wait he got both for 10m, thats Amazon value for you.

  11. Posted by zeddy January 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    @Spanks: Ha-ha. Irony is your strong point?

  12. Posted by Simon January 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    “A lot of the jobs created are part time working for minimum wage”

    And a lot of the jobs created are full time working for more than minimum wage. Either way, that’s people employed rather than claiming benefits.

    I’d rather see 10000 people employed, even part-time, than unemployed.

    As for their tax affairs – so what. Them’s the rules.

  13. Posted by Chewbacca January 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Fucking rich coming from you cunts, do you forget HUKD (your parent site) are registered in Canada to do exactly what you chastise Amazon for?

    You fucking two-faced wankjobs.

  14. Posted by doug January 31, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Ok any one with half a brain knows its common for all regions to subsidise company’s to encourage them to locate in particular area so what’s the problem with bunging amazon 10 mil after all its a world renowned multinational co,its not the company’s at fault its successive uk governments purposely setting up the tax system sothese company’s can find a 100 different ways to pay what they want,can’t you see this didn’t happen overnight or by accident,so save your hand ,wringing UNITE !y

  15. Posted by Captain Cretin February 1, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Wait until the new (French-built) power stations come on line; the level of subsidy being given is so high that for every 1KW of output, we the tax payers are going to cough up about £2.00 (at current prices); so say £5-£10 by the time they actually get built, PLUS a large chunk of the cost of building them!!!

  16. Posted by Alexis February 1, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I think the issue is that the company pays so little tax. So the £10m bribe would have been returned eventually if it had been any number of other big internationals.

  17. Posted by dvdj10 February 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Have to say I’m with Chewy on this one. How Sam as the audacity to have a go a Amazon’s tax avoidance is laughable, even more so for a “tax expert”. Didn’t you get the internal memo?

  18. Posted by Inspector Gadget February 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

    The more incredible fact I have learnt from this article is that Amazon have a call centre.

  19. Posted by Euan February 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

    @Doob – this *was* a devolved Scottish decision to hand Amazon a fat stack of cash!

  20. Posted by Phuck Yu February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Does no one work at Amazon Scotchland then? So they didn’t employ anyone?

  21. Posted by hacked off February 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    doug seems to be the only one with a clue whats going on,multi nationals come here buy a company strip its assets move production abroad or write taxs against its parent co,this is nothing new and comes with the blessing of all successive governments no matter how much spin they try to put on it ,truth is if you pay paye in the uk you are screwed,nothing more than a cash cow,to bail out government when shit hits the fan,please dont ask multis to pay fair share of tax its not why there here,nor what our goverment expectf from them.the questions you should ask is why is the tax system skewed so much in their favour and do government have any idea of revenue losses or is that a question they would prefer not to ask remember.paye suckers we are all in it together!!!

  22. Posted by Kevin February 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Someones been at the paranoid juice this lunchtime.

  23. Posted by chewbacca February 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I’m surprised my comment hasn’t been deleted yet.

    Ah well, still time

  24. Posted by Luke skywalker February 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Chewie, there’s no workers to read it. They’re all on a works outing in Montreal.
    I for one am loving it, paid the bank a huge amount for the mortgage (must have a current account with them too so they can screw you with charges), then gladly gave another chunk to council tax. I needed to pay for my sport,so cheered up immensely when the govt allowed Sky to take the match away from terrestrial. I could go on but I’m in ecstasy due to the anticipation of my late retirement.

    Just out of interest, does any country’s govt care about its employees ( whoops, voters)?

  25. Posted by Gabriella February 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    This is very wrong. If they want government handout’s they should pay tax like everyone else.

    I hate Amazon.

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