Amazon pays £290m in UK tax as sales surge to £14bn

Online retail giant Amazon paid £293m in tax in the UK last year, while its sales surged 26% to £13.73bn.

The firm, which employs 33,000 people in the UK, said the taxes included business rates, corporation tax, stamp duty and other contributions.

Amazon and other tech firms have faced scrutiny over how much tax they pay in the UK, prompting the government launch a tougher digital sales tax in April.

Amazon said it pays “all taxes required in the UK”.

“We are investing heavily in creating jobs and infrastructure across the UK – more than £23bn since 2010,” the company said in a statement.

“We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate,” it said.

“Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and we continue to invest heavily.”

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In April, the UK launched a 2% tax on digital sales amid concerns that big tech firms we re-routing their profits through low tax jurisdictions.

Much of Amazon’s UK sales are booked through its Amazon EU business based in Luxembourg, which has very low tax rates.

Defending the plan, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in June that the coronavirus crisis had made tech giants even “more powerful and more profitable”.

He added that firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook needed “to pay their fair share of tax”.

Amazon has been expanding in the UK this year, as more people shop online due to lockdown restrictions.

The company said last week it would create a further 7,000 UK jobs this year to meet growing demand, taking its total permanent workforce to 40,000 by the end of the year.

It is also recruiting 20,000 seasonal posts for the festive period.

Amazon is led by world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, whose personal fortune rose as high as $200bn (£155bn) in recent weeks as tech firms’ stock market valuations soared.

The company as a whole posted sales of $281bn for 2019 and net profits of $11.6bn.

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