Amazon, photo Scott Lewis./CC

Amazon, photo Scott Lewis./CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Laurel Fogarty

Tech giant Amazon paid 50% less tax in the UK this year compared to last year despite the company’s turnover rising by 54%.

Amazon and other large multinational companies exploit loopholes in out-of-date tax law to pay lower corporation tax.

They avoid paying their fair share, costing billions in tax revenue worldwide, including in developing countries.

The rising value of Amazon stock, that made Amazon founder Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man this year, also meant it owed less tax! The firm deducted the increased value of shares paid to staff from its taxable revenue. It also records most of its UK profits in the tax haven of Luxembourg.

For seven years, Tory-led governments have claimed the coffers are empty. They have said the money to fund the NHS, social care, libraries, to end the disgraceful public sector pay cap, simply is not there.

The tax loopholes exploited by companies like Amazon and Google throw this lie into sharp relief. It is the political will to take the stolen wealth back from super-rich corporations and individuals that is missing, not the revenue.

A Corbyn-led government promises to crack down on tax avoidance according to Labour’s election manifesto. The Socialist Party supports this.

But a genuine socialist government would also take the commanding heights of the economy – the banks and top corporations – into public ownership under democratic workers’ control and management.

Large corporations controlling the economy could have their production democratically planned for the benefit of the majority, not for the profit of a few.

Jobs, education, healthcare, and housing that should be afforded to every person would not be subject to the whims of a profit-seeking economy, enabled by a callous Tory government.