New study exposes global tax strategy of e-commerce giant Amazon

Insufficient information and the murkiness of reporting is outrageous, MEP Schirdewan commented

Photo: EP Martin Schirdewan.

A study commissioned by The Left EP Group and presented on Friday, exposes ‘Amazon Method’ of tax dodging and identifies Luxembourg as the coordinating centre of a global tax dodging operation. 

Commenting on the study Martin Schirdewan MEP, Co-President of The Left, stressed that in the middle of a costly pandemic, delivering tax justice and fairness worldwide is more vital than ever.

“We cannot afford the tax abuses of multinationals. Scammers like Amazon must pay their fair share back to the taxpayers they’ve been fleecing for years,” he urged.

The research describes how Amazon’s Luxembourg subsidiaries report massive operating losses from their non-American business dealings.

Thus, the company collects loss carryforwards, an accounting practice that applies the current year's net operating loss to the next year’s net income to lower tax liability and in fact. It turns into tax credits in the US, so the company is most likely paying little or no tax at all.

The amount of loss accumulated by 2020 goes beyond the total income tax due in the group's entire history, the study shows. Since 2011, the company has made more untaxed profits than the total amount of taxes it has ever owed.

Insufficient information and the murkiness of reporting is outrageous and it’s pretty much impossible for the public to see how much tax such corporate behemoths ultimately pay, Schirdewan said, referring to Amazon’s deliberate method of obfuscating its aggressive tax dodging.

According to him, it is certain that Amazon is not the only major international company using methods like these. This research gives us precious insight into the tax planning strategies of global corporations more generally – especially Big Tech, MEP stated.

Enough of this rip-off, we need tax justice and for a start, this would mean proactive action by EU leaders to tackle tax dodging by companies such as Amazon, and a new, proper investigation by the European Commission, Schirdewan said.

He insisted on transparency and mandatory public country-by-country reporting for all large corporations. “It also means not letting corporations play countries against each other by enforcing an effective global corporate minimum tax rate of 25%.”

The lawmaker also focused on the need of “a digital tax on profits of large corporations to make Big Tech pay up”. Crisis profiteers need to be taxed to cover the costs of the crisis and we need a European excess profit tax”, Schirdewan emphasised.



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