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Amazon Makes £7.6bn In UK, Pays Zero Corporation Tax

Amazon sales revenue numbers in the UK have been huge over recent times. One in four books sold in the UK are through Amazon.

It's Britain's biggest online retailer, and generated some £3.3 billion in sales last year. Yet the firm didn't pay any corporation tax on the profits made.

However, the retail giant appears to be under HMRC investigation - or at least a filing by parent with the US securities and exchange commission indicates a tax inquiry of some sort is being conducted.

In fact, the filing shows that in the past three years, Amazon has generated some £7.6 billion in sales in the UK, none of which has seen a penny of corporation tax paid.

That said, HMRC examining the operation could simply be a routine audit, and the organisation refused to confirm that it was actively investigating Amazon for any specific tax reasons.

The trick for Amazon is that the actual business isn't British owned, but was transferred to Luxembourg some six years ago, and is now owned by Amazon EU Sarl (a name you'll be familiar with if you're a regular customer).

Its UK arm of operation is merely regarded as a distribution "order fulfilment" business. Thus the UK division only actually made £147 million, whereas Amazon EU Sarl raked in £6.5 billion last year. Though the latter employs just 130 staff, and the UK delivery business has over 2,000 employees.

Amazon refused to respond to the Guardian asking why it paid zero corporation tax, while making such a huge profit off the British public.

The retailer simply trotted out a bland statement ignoring the question: "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."

That clears absolutely nothing up, then.

Source: The Guardian (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.