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Press watch: Amazon

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‘Amazon tax probe in media spotlight’

‘Amazon's tax arrangements are in the spotlight this morning after national newspapers followed up The Bookseller's initial investigation.

‘As The Bookseller first reported in its 23rd March edition, Amazon's transferral of its UK business to a Luxembourg-based company in 2006 may have saved the retailer up to £20m in tax; Amazon's UK's cumulative tax bill for the eight years between 2003 and 2010 was £1.1m. Additionally, in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission last year, the retailer revealed it was under investigation by HMRC for the tax years 2004-2010.’

The Bookseller, 5 April 2012

‘Amazon: £7bn sales, no UK corporation tax’

‘, Britain's biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than £3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income – and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.

‘Regulatory filings by parent company with the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company. ‘The SEC filings, highlighted by Bookseller magazine, show that in the past three years, Amazon has generated sales of more than £7.6bn in the UK without attracting any corporation tax on the profits from those sales.

‘HMRC refused to confirm it was investigating, and its inquiries could be a routine audit. But Amazon's tax affairs are being investigated in the US, China, Germany, France, Japan and Luxembourg ...

‘The Guardian asked Amazon why it paid no UK corporation tax on the £3bn it takes out of the economy. The company declined to answer any specific questions on its tax affairs. Instead, in an email, 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 27 countries in the EU. We have a single European headquarters in Luxembourg with hundreds of employees to manage this complex operation."’

The Guardian, 4 April 2012

‘Amazon faces UK corporation tax probe’

‘Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is facing an investigation by British tax authorities, it has been reported. The company disclosed the investigation in a filing with US financial regulators. It was alleged that the company recorded sales of more than £7.6bn in Britain over the past three years without paying corporation tax.

‘Amazon does not disclose how much tax it pays in Britain. However, its main UK subsidiary,, is regarded as a "service company" rather than a retailer. That means that the British company provides services to a parent company based in Luxembourg, where the tax rate is lower, the Guardian said.

‘HMRC declined to comment on whether it was examining Amazon. The report added that the investigation could be a routine audit.’

Daily Telegraph, 5 April 2012