Amazon defends paying a mere £15m in tax across Europe on revenues of £19.5bn

Amazon defends paying a mere £15m in tax across Europe on revenues of £19.5bn

Amazon has defended its tax payments after publishing figures showing that it spent just £15m in tax across the entire European continent in 2016, despite posting revenues of £19.5bn.

In the UK meanwhile Amazon succeeded in halving its HMRC tax bill to just £7.4m from £15.8m on a year-on-year basis in 2016, defying a rise in turnover which increased from £946m to £1.46bn.

Amazon contends that its wafer-thin profit margins mean that despite raking in billions of pounds in sales from across Europe its actual pre-tax profit was a mere €59.6m last year, handing it a tax bill of just €16.5m.

An Amazon spokesman said: “Amazon pays all the taxes that are required in every country where we operate. We operate a pan-European business from our headquarters in Luxembourg where we have over 1,500 employees and growing, including our senior leadership team. We’ve invested over €20bn in Europe since 2010, and expect to hire 15,000 new employees this year, bringing our total permanent European workforce to over 65,000 people.”

The paltry outlays were routed through the organisations Luxembourg base and have re-ignited a debate around whether large multinational corporations are still gaming the system in their favour.

Earlier in the year Amazon dodged a potential $1.5bn tax bill after a judged ruled that its use of a 'tax haven' in Luxembourg was legal.

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