quo vadis

If you don’t like Amazon’s Tax Dodging, Vote with your Wallet

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So, Amazon has decided to pay just £11.9m in tax, despite over £5bn in revenue passing through its books. How about that? Feel annoyed? Do you like Amazon’s cheap prices but dislike their tax policies? If you don’t like to support a business which extracts money from the UK economy, yet gives little back, then you do have the option to go elsewhere.

For example, Waterstones is still alive and kicking, operates bookstores and an online site. It may not be as slick as Amazon’s, and if you’ve been sucked into Prime “free” one day delivery, you’re most likely buying everything you can from the retail giant. If you still have the choice to, you can vote with your wallet and boycott “The Big Frown”. There are of course a few remaining independent book shops, and these should be able to source you with any book you might care to order from them, although they don’t have the buying power of Amazon and Waterstones, so will cost more.

Amazon is such a big player in the shrinking physical books marketplace that customers often assume that their prices are the cheapest. In fact, they are normally matched by the likes of Waterstones, and you can visit your local Waterstones and pick up a copy of the book, saving yourself the postage. You can’t do that with Amazon.

When you buy a book (amongst other things) from Amazon, and Amazon dodges paying any tax to the UK exchequer, how does this impact you? Well, the tax deficit will need to be made up by government borrowing, which means that you, and the rest of the country and your children, and your grandchildren will have to pay for amazon’s (and other corporate tax dodgers) shortall. Or they might put taxes up to recoup the money in other ways. Still feeling good about the cheap prices? There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Tax is too complicated. As complication rises, the ability to dodgy rises with it. Simple tax structure based on profits earned from within a state boundary being taxed at a flat, say 20% would make tax more transparent, and harder to dodge. Leaving the EU would also improve our situation in this regard, albeit to the detriment of tax havens like Luxembourg. As the consumer, you have the power to change all sorts of things, but there’s no point huffing and puffing, while continuing to click on Amazon website. Do something about it.

This post has already been read 510 times!

amazontax' Andrew • June 25, 2015

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