The world’s largest online retailer, which is worth $795 billion, earned a record $11.2 billion in U.S. profits, according to the company’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing earlier this month, yet did not pay the 21 percent U.S. corporate tax, thanks to leveraging unspecified tax credits and stock-based compensation deductions.
Instead, as first reported by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Amazon received a federal income tax rebate of $129 million, essentially amounting to a tax rate of negative 1 percent.
Critics, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., slammed the Seattle-based company -- one of the most successful in the world -- for taking advantage of the tax code, all while it rakes in billions of dollars.
“Amazon made $16.8 billion in profits over the past two years but have paid ZERO in federal income taxes. In fact it got a $269 million tax refund,” Sanders, a likely 2020 presidential candidate, wrote in a tweet. “Our job: Demand large corporations pay their fair share in taxes so that we can rebuild the disappearing middle class.”
It’s not the first time that Amazon has drawn scrutiny for its tax practices. Last year, the company drew in more than $5.6 billion in profits, but paid no federal income taxes. At the time, the company said it was largely attributable to “excess stock-based compensation deductions” and the effect of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
At the same time, Bezos, the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $135.5 billion, is facing heat in New York City for his companys plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, in exchange for $3 billion. (Amazon has said it will invest billions of dollars in local investment and create 25,000 high-paying jobs in return).
The flood of opposition has grown so much that Amazon is reportedly considering reneging on the deal, as first reported by The Washington Post. In a statement to FOX Business however, a spokesperson said the company remains committed to “engaging with our new neighbors.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.