WHILE online retailer Amazon insists that it continues to pay “all applicable taxes”, it does not necessarily mean that these arrangements are morally right.
This is a firm that received £2.5m in government grants to set up new factories that helped boost sales revenue to £4.2bn. Yet, by only paying £2.4m in tax last year, the Treasury is effectively £100,000 out of pocket.
Amazon, like the other corporations now in the public spotlight over their tax affairs, will argue that this analysis does not take sufficient account of the new jobs that they have created.
Yet, while there is some credence to this argument, it does not excuse the fact that it is firms like Amazon which are ruining the fabric of the traditional high street where independent bookshops cannot survive the financial onslaught created by online discounting. And these tax arrangements certainly make a mockery of George Osborne’s claim that “we’re all in this together” – it simply perpetuates the view that there is one set of rules for the rich and another for hard-pressed families who do pay their taxes.