Britain's towheaded Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been granted an audience with Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, during which they will discuss the “challenges” of taxing giant tech corporations in a digital economy.
BoJo, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, is flying to Washington DC this week to meet US President Joe Biden, with a stop also scheduled at the United Nations to talk climate change.
As part of that tour he will also meet Bezos, who stepped down from his chief exec role at Amazon in July, handing control of the business to AWS CEO Andy Jassy. Bezos remains as executive chairman.
“You can expect the PM to raise this important issue as you know we have been an advocate for an international solution to there tax challenges posted by the digitalisation of the economy,” a spokesperson for Johnson told the FT of the pending meeting with Amazon’s founder.
Just last week, The Reg revealed that Amazon’s latest profit and loss filings for calendar 2020 were as transparent as we’ve come to expect from the notoriously tax-efficient corporation.
- Amazon UK business swelled by 50%+ in 2020, and taxes soared. Lol, no, it means those paid by its staff
- Amazon abuses dominance to keep wholesaler prices high, says DC AG in updated antitrust complaint
- Amazon to cover 100%* of college* tuition* for hourly employees* in the US
- AWS EKS Anywhere (as long as it's VMware) hits full release
Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge told us last week that Amazon was “at the apex of Big Tech tax avoiders.”
She said today of Johnson’s trip stateside and meeting with Bezos, “It’s about time the PM called him out,” adding, “but real change will only be achieved by robust new rules on global corporate tax and increased transparency. Warm words are not enough.”
The G7 group of nations suggested a 15 per cent tax rate for multi-nationals and binning the digital services taxes when they met in June. It proposed taking taxes from organisations in each of the country where revenue is turned over.
This was given a stamp of approval by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which described it as a landmark step toward global consensus necessary to reform the international tax systems.”
Now there's just the rest of the world to convince.
Amazon isn't alone is trying to legally minimise its local tax liabilities, and in addition to other tech giants doing similar things, there have been numerous Brit politicians called out for using offshore tax havens. Perhaps De Pfeffel should have started those tax discussions before he got on the plane. ®
* With apologies to Randall Munroe