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European Commission investigates Amazon for tax avoidance

Well it’s about time: the European Commission has decided to put the screws to Amazon over its alleged involvement in a large scale tax avoidance scheme.

It’s finally happened, and I for one welcome the European Union’s executive branch finally getting off its arse and doing something about it: alleged tax avoidance on the part of multinational companies like Amazon is getting investigated, and not a moment too soon. The online retailer has been ducking its tax responsibilities for much too long if you ask me, and it’s been doing so by entering into an arcane agreement with Luxembourg that the Commission says is tantamount to using the city-state as a tax shelter.

For its part Amazon is of course claiming no wrongdoing whatsoever, claiming that Luxembourg hasn’t furnished it any special tax treatment. Meanwhile Joaquin Almunia, EU competition commissioner, says that while the lion’s share of the profits Amazon makes in the eurozone might be recorded in Luxembourg they certainly aren’t being taxed there – instead Amazon has been paying royalties to an additional business entity within the city, ostensibly in a bid to lower the online retailer’s taxable profits.

Now maybe I’m just a cynical bastard but I don’t believe for a minute that there’s not something going on behind the scenes between Amazon and Luxembourg. Sure, everyone might say that there were no special deals struck between the two, but you can’t possibly believe that can you? I mean Amazon would likely do anything to maximise its profit margins, and if striking up a mutually-beneficial agreement with a sovereign state would accomplish these goals do you really think the highly-paid accountants Amazon has on staff wouldn’t jump at the chance to engage in some “legal” corporation tax avoidance?

At any rate, I’m just chuffed to bits that the EU has Amazon in its crosshairs. Large multinationals need to be cut down to size a bit when it comes to this whole tax avoidance business, and since Westminster doesn’t seem to have the bollocks to do it I’ll be happy to let the EU take a crack at this tough nut. If Amazon falls to the might of the European Commission, I hope that other multinationals like Starbucks and Apple are next!

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