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Amazon reveals UK tax payments, paid £220m last year

Published
today Sep 4, 2019
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Online retail giant Amazon is set to come under fire after it emerged that it paid only £220 million in direct taxes in the UK last year, despite the overall business in the country adding up to £10.9 billion.


Amazon


The company employs 27,500 people in the UK and employer taxes made up the biggest portion of its bill in 2018. This was followed by business rates and corporation tax. The company paid £14 million UK corporation tax, which was a significant increase on the prior year’s £4.6 million.

But the company defended itself saying that when direct and indirect taxes were combined, they added up to £793 million. And it also highlighted the £625 million that it had invested in its infrastructure.

The company had not previously shared information about its UK profits and taxes because its retail sales in the country (which were £6.7 billion in 2017 according to its latest Companies House filing) are channelled through a company based in Luxembourg. Amazon EU usually only reports the combined Europe-wide figures.

The new information it has released comes on top of information revealed earlier in 2019 that it paid £63.4 million in business rates. To put that into context, Next, whose sales are around half the level of Amazon’s, paid more than £100 million. But while Next has a massive online business, this still only makes up around half of its total revenues and it has a large physical store estate on which has to pay business taxes. M&S meanwhile has a business rates bill of nearly £200 million (and it paid corporation tax of £88.1 million).

The Amazon figures will be of particular interest to fashion retailers given the huge inroads that the company has been making into the sector in recent years with more and more shoppers buying fashion products via the e-tailer.

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