Amazon’s booming UK business paid just £11.9m of tax last year, while the online retailer’s Luxembourg unit took £5.3bn of sales from British internet shoppers without being subject to UK tax, according to company filings.
Meanwhile Amazon in Luxembourg is reported to have made a loss, although no one knows how much that is influenced by onward payments to other tax havens.
And that is the point: we don't know. Paying no tax may be right and may be wrong for Amazon, and I can live with either if the economic facts support the tax paid (or not), but I and a great many others object to the fact that global companies who impact our lives on a daily basis are not accountable locally for what they do globally. We want to know what these companies do in our own countries, without exception.
Country-by-country reporting was created to deliver data on this issue.
Over 90% of the world's trading companies already comply with it as they only trade in one jurisdictions.
Now we want the biggest companies to join the level playing field so that we can tell whether or not they are using the privilege of working in our communities responsibly, or not.
We think that's not too much to ask. In fact, we think it an ask so basic it must be backed up by law.
And we're baffled why Amazon would not want to get this issue out of the way, once and for all.
So tell us the truth Amazon, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Tell us where you are, who you are in that place, what you make there, how many people you employ, how much you have invested by country and, of course, what tax provisions you've made and how much you have actually paid in tax in each country and then we'll all move on.
But right now the debate is still alive, precisely because you're not even in it whilst you still withhold the data.