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After Google, Amazon to be grilled on UK tax presence

21 May 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Irish Times
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Source: IrishTimes

Internet retailer has paid about $9 million in income tax on more than $23 billion of sales to British clients over past six years,

Internet retailer Amazon. com will be called back to the UK parliament to clarify how its activities justify its low corporate income tax bill in the UK, two MPs said yesterday.

Amazon will follow search giant Google, which attended another grilling by parliament’s public affairs committee (PAC) over its tax affairs on Thursday.

Over the past six years, Amazon has paid about $9 million in income tax on over $23 billion of sales to British clients, because it says it operates a single European business out of Luxembourg, rather than a multinational structure of independent subsidiaries in different countries.

However, Reuters has uncovered evidence from the company’s own statements, job advertisements, statements from three suppliers and five former employees, as well as the profiles of over 140 staff on networking website LinkedIn, which suggests the UK unit has a high degree of autonomy, with local managers deciding on many aspects of its business.

The information, collected during a three-month investigation, suggests that while Amazon depicts itself as a virtual business, its structure may not be so different from its bricks-and-mortar rivals.

"The basic business model wasn’t very different to a mail order company in the 1970s or 80s,” said Mark Riley, a former business development manager at

Amazon declined to answer questions about its UK business. – Reuters


Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.


The Act requires that a minimum academic and practical requirments be set to register with a controlling body. Click here for the minimum requirements of SAIT.

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