I have just read an interesting article in the paper about business rates increasing. This is nothing new. It has been in the papers and on TV news for a while but what has come out in the past few days is that Amazon’s bill will be going down and yet small local businesses will be going up, in some cases as high as 500%.
Once again our government has got their priorities confused again. It always seems to be that the little man or woman gets hit but the big companies get away with it. Why are they putting up costs of small businesses, costs that will be passed on to consumers and yet they do not appear to be making the big companies pay.
The article I have just read stated that Amazon had only paid £11.9 million in tax in 2015 and yet it booked £5.3 billion from UK sales to its base in Luxembourg where the tax it pays is a lot less. All those sales were made to UK customers so they should pay tax to the UK Government. I dont know how that works out exactly but a quick calculation based on a 2% profit rate (and I would think that Amazon do better than that) and 20% corporate tax rate shows that they should have paid £208 million. I think this would be a bit higher as well. There is a lot of difference between £12 million and £208 million. That would have paid for a lot of nurses or doctors or operations.
Amazon will argue of course that they pay all the taxes that are due in the UK and they support a lot of jobs and pay tax and national insurance and so on and I am sure that they do. But they don’t pay what they should in the UK. They ship that off to Luxembourg and the deal to do that was done by someone who got promoted to run the EU or something like that.
I can only say that I hope the UK government sorts things like shipping tax abroad out when Brexit happens. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t deserve to remain in power but looking at the opposition there isn’t very much to hold it to account.