Financial News

  • 12 May 2014, 11:50

Amazon Paid 10m Tax On 4.3bn UK Sales

Online retailer Amazon paid a UK corporation tax bill of 10m last year, despite sales in Britain reaching 4.3bn, it has been revealed.

Amazon.co.uk saw a 56% rise in profit to 17m during 2013, along with a 13% rise in UK revenue.

The company reports most of its European profit through a tax-exempt Luxembourg partnership.

Amazon has faced previous criticism for its complex tax structures, through which sales are logged in the European location despite goods being sourced, stored and sold within Britain.

In a statement to Sky News, the company insisted it paid all applicable taxes in jurisdictions that it operates within.

It said: "Amazon EU serves tens of millions of customers and sellers throughout Europe from multiple consumer websites in a number of languages dispatching products to all 28 countries in the EU.

"We have a single European headquarters in Luxembourg with hundreds of employees to manage this complex operation."

Other large multinationals, including Google and Starbucks, have been grilled alongside Amazon by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee.

Amazon.co.uk is funded by its Luxembourg-based affiliates.

The rates of such inter-company remuneration are usually agreed with the UK tax authority, but HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) declined to comment on the tax paid by Amazon.

In 2013, intercompany fees paid to Amazon.co.uk Ltd rose 40% to 449m.

This led to Amazon's current tax bill for 2013 being its biggest ever.

"It's possible Amazon may have come under pressure from HMRC to adjust their inter-company agreements," Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting at Essex University, told Reuters.

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