Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

MPs support Amazon Christmas boycott over tax avoidance

High Ratings

Eight MPs have backed calls for a boycott on internet retailer Amazon after the “aggressive tax avoidance” which they say is morally corrupt and endangers British jobs.

The campaign, launched by Ethical Consumer magazine, says Amazon is the UK’s number one tax avoider, and is being backed by several politicians. Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, is one of the MPs calling on shoppers to avoid buying goods from the firm this Christmas.

It emerged earlier this year that Amazon had paid just £2.4m tax on £4.2 billion sales – just 0.06% of its actual turnover, which brought UK tax laws under the spotlight.

In an interview with Ethical Consumer, Hodge said, “Amazon is one of the global companies that aggressively avoids paying tax on the profits that they earn from the business they undertake in the UK.”

Amazon was one of the companies that appeared before the committee last year to answer questions over its tax avoidance policies. It was joined by Google and Starbucks. Hodge said that she has boycotted Amazon ever since.

“Boycotting Amazon is not anti-business, it’s pro-fairness. Tax avoidance is not only morally wrong but it disadvantages British businesses and British jobs”, she added.

Tim Hunt, director of Ethical Consumer, said that by avoiding paying its fair share, Amazon was diverting money from vital public services which are now being slashed under austerity measures.

Hunt said, “This Christmas shoppers may benefit from Amazon’s cheap shopping but these bargains come at the cost of reduced public services. Amazon’s tax revenues could help fund the vital public services that are now being slashed.”

“We’re calling for a boycott of Amazon in response to the public’s anger at the scale of Amazon’s tax avoidance.  Our aim is to mobilise consumer power to make Amazon pay a fair rate of tax.”

Amazon recently announced that it was testing drones to be used to deliver goods to customers, saying that it wanted to be able to deliver to customers just 30 minutes after orders are placed.

Further reading:

Amazon asks Supreme Court to settle tax battle

Google, Amazon, etc: blame tax laws, not the taxman or taxpayer

Corporations and tax avoidance: the time is right for investors to push for change

Charities used in offshore tax avoidance cam

MPs deem global companies’ tax avoidance as ‘an insult to British businesses’

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