Amazon boss tells PM he ‘won’t pay taxes out of kindness’

The billionaire founder and former chief executive of Amazon told the UK prime minister this week that it is the government’s job make sure large businesses pay more tax.

At a meeting in New York, Jeff Bezos warned Boris Johnson that he will not pay his taxes “as an act of kindness.”

Earlier this week, Johnson travelled to the US to meet with US president Joe Biden.

In April, Biden called out Amazon for not paying federal taxes, claiming it was one of 91 Fortune 500 companies that “use various loopholes where they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax.”

“He’s a capitalist, and he made the very important point that this is a job for governments,” Johnson told Channel 5 News. “And tax isn’t something that he’s going to pay as an ex-gratia act of kindness.

“It’s up to governments to come up with the right framework.”

When the prime minister was asked if Bezos accepted he isn’t paying enough in UK taxes, he said: “This is a guy who’s making… he has to operate within the commercial framework, within the laws as he finds; that’s what he does.

“We’re trying to make sure we change so as to be fair to the taxpayer, fair to other businesses in the High Street and elsewhere.”

Amazon paid a total of £492 million in taxes last year, even as the company reaped the benefits of a shift to online, when sales increased by 50 per cent to £20.6 billion during the period.

Earlier in September, reports emphasised that Amazon UK Services, the company’s logistics and warehouse business, paid only £3.8 million extra corporation tax last year despite sales increasing by nearly £1.9 billion.

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