The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 08 December, 2021

Is Amazon Not Paying Taxes

Bob Roberts
• Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Jeff Bezos company is not the only corporation getting money back from the federal government. Companies as diverse as Southwest Airlines and Goldman Sachs have also reported similar benefits in certain years since 2008.

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The statement also mentioned Amazon's investment and job creation in the United States. Watch the video above for more on Amazon and America's corporate income tax rate.

First, a quick look at Amazon ’s financial statements shows it does pay taxes. In 2018, the amount jumped to $1.18 billion, accounting for local, state, and international taxes.

Nor should you forget the taxes paid by Amazon ’s employees on their wages. Not only is that direct revenue to various levels of government, but the incidence of those taxes falls somewhat on Amazon, which now must pay higher wages to offset the tax burden faced by their employees,” Cohen adds.

(It's odd to think I paid more federal tax last year than Amazon did.) A more thorough examination of the underlying economics demonstrates that only looking at Amazon's profits versus corporate taxes is too simplistic of a model.

Incentives, in laymen's terms, sound like free money. Incentives, to an economist, operate as a lever to generate a better result which offset the cost.

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Amazon invests heavily in research and development and therefore benefits from the tax credit. In 2017, as Decode stated, Amazon topped the list of U.S. companies in R&D spend, at $22.6 billion.

Amazon ’s investment in property, plant, and equipment also makes it eligible for tax credits. Amazon largely pays no corporate tax precisely because it reinvests those profits into its operations.

Under a scenario where Amazon had no corporate tax breaks, it would disincentive the company from reinvesting and thus creating greater opportunity for the businesses and cities in which it operates. Raising a pitchfork to fight Amazon's corporate tax breaks is fine if the argument is rooted in strong economic reasoning.

PHOTO: DON Emmett/AFP/Getty Images Dr. Michael Pet of the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering looks at an AmazonBasics microwave from a customer who said it caught on fire.

The more than 1 million square feet facility holds tens of millions of products, features more than 14 miles of conveyor belts, and employs more than 4,000 workers who pick, pack, and ship orders. Tomorrow Amazon will host a job fair to hire 50,000 positions in their fulfillment centers nationwide.

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When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted a picture of himself with singer and rapper Lizzy at the Super Bowl in Miami, saying he was “100% Lizzy's biggest fan,” the response from the Twitter-sphere was more about his 1% status: Pay taxes, Twitter users said. But for the first time since 2016, Amazon's critics won't be able to point to the tech giant's nonexistent federal tax bill.

After two straight years of paying $0 in U.S. federal income tax, Amazon was on the hook for a $162 million bill in 2019, the company said in an SEC filing on Thursday. Amazon has been the subject of much criticism over the fact that the company's final federal tax burden has been particularly lacking in recent years.

The company also came under fire for seeking huge tax incentives worth billions of dollars as part of its search for a second headquarters, or “HQ2,” in 2018. In a blog post on Thursday, Amazon touted the fact that the company had “over $1 billion in federal income tax expense” in 2019.

And, the company notes in its blog post that Amazon also paid roughly $2.4 billion “in payroll taxes and customs duties” in 2019. “The clear fact remains that the federal income tax system still can hardly lay a glove on one of the biggest and most profitable corporations in the world,” Gardner writes on his blog post.

Some businesses, such as energy, are highly cyclical; others, such as real estate, can take a long time to become profitable. Evening out income between profitable and unprofitable years is one way that the tax code helps to mitigate the effects of the flux.

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A stock option is a contract entitling the holder of the option to purchase a certain number of shares of stock at a certain price; the idea is to align the incentives of the shareholders and their employees by giving both parties a personal interest in the share price, and hence (in theory) the overall health and performance of the business. This looks like trickery to some people, because that $1 million didn’t come from ordinary business income but from an increase in the value of company shares, but there is a pretty compelling case that the shareholders are bearing the $1 million expense and therefore entitled to treat it as an expense.

The Democrats and the Times (to the extent that there is a difference when it comes to national political reporting) don’t give a fig about this. His concerns about a tilted economic playing field recently led Mr. Robertson to join the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

It could adopt for its motto: “All the news that’s fit to print.” Once again, Williamson’s Law comes into play: “Everything is simple, if you don’t know an f*****g thing about it.” It is the second year in a row the company has enjoyed a negative federal tax rate on a multibillion dollar profit.

“We have invested more than $160 billion in the U.S. since 2011, building a network of more than 125 fulfillment and sortation centers, air hubs and delivery stations as well as cloud-computing infrastructure and wind and solar farms.” Matthew Gardner, an Step senior fellow, called the situation a failure of American tax policy.

Like many other large companies, Amazon reduces its effective tax rate each year using a variety of credits, rebates and loopholes. But he added that in the long-standing environment of federal budget deficits, when a company such as Amazon avoids billions in taxes, that money will ultimately have to come from somewhere.

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Research has shown, for instance, that congressional offices give serious consideration to input from business groups in crafting legislation. Surveys have shown that many staffers acknowledge changing their minds on issues after speaking with lobbying groups, and that they view correspondence from businesses as more representative of constituent opinion than letters from regular citizens.

Political scientists think these factors partly explain why, in cases in which business interests and public opinion diverged, Congress has often come down on the side of the former. “Rather than seriously engage with the community they proposed to profoundly change, Amazon continued its effort to shake down governments to get its way,” New York state Sen. Michael N. Granaries (D-Queens) said in a statement.

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