Helping out any way we can
12 August 2017, 21:01
Amazon, the internet company, was given a tax credit by Her Majesty's Government of £1.3m last year.
Considering Amazon's earnings, we might as well have thrown that £1.3m in the actual Amazon, for all the difference it made to them.
It is the kind of money that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos spends on Ray Bans and leather jackets.
In total, Amazon paid just £15 million in tax on European sales of £19.5 billion last year.
The figure was based on pre-tax profits of £53.5m. That is the amount that the company declared through its headquarters that are in Luxembourg.
They chose that location for their head offices because:
a) it is such a vibrant and exciting place
b) it is the established centre of business for internet companies
c) the entire country is just one giant, well-scrubbed tax haven.
We in the UK recognise Luxembourg's business model, as it is one of the few tax havens that is not run by us.
Amazon saw its UK corporation tax bill halve from £15.8m in 2015 to £7.4m last year.
You might imagine that is because it is doing very badly. If so, I will assume that you are not an expert on international taxation.
Of course it is not doing badly. While its tax bill halved, its turnover doubled.
The amount of money it brought in from us dopes buying things we don't need with money we haven't got went up from £946m to £1.45bn.
So naturally, it deserved a tax break, and it got one, receiving a £1.3m tax credit from the Government.
That is the same government that takes almost all of the money you make and deducts it from your wages before you get them, to spend on vital necessities like weapons of mass destruction and tarting up the Queen's palaces with carpets so deep you would need snow shoes to traverse.
£1.3m of the money we paid in tax last year went straight into the organisation that Barclay's said is on track to being the first company valued at $1 trillion.
The whole world's gone insane.
The Liberal Democrat's leader Vince Cable said companies like Amazon were 'taking the Government for a ride'.
Save your breath Uncle Vince.
The government aren't acquiescing under protest - they are begging to be ridden.
Some light sleuthing finds that American documents reveal that the amount Amazon brought in from the UK last year was actually £7.3bn.
On a revenue of £7.3bn, we paid them a tax rebate of £1.3m, and I know what they will say - all such companies say the same thing, as though they have the same accountants - they'll say that that they pay all the taxes that are required by every country where they operate.
Amazon stated that '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 implication being that they're doing us a favour by investing and employing people, as though they could do business any other way.
They should stop doing us so many favours - we can't afford it.
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, was named the world's richest person for a while this year, with a net worth of more than £69bn, and to be fair, he is using some of that money to good effect by running The Washington Post, which might be the best newspaper in the world at the moment.
But try as I might, I couldn't find coverage of this story anywhere in its pages.