A 38 Degrees petition is calling on MPs to ensure that Amazon pays its fair share of tax in the UK. The petition states that, whilst Amazon’s profits have doubled in the past year, the company ‘are paying even less tax’ than a year ago. The petition further states that it is ‘not fair’ that public services and high street shops struggle for cash whilst one of the biggest companies in the world ‘get away with paying even less.’ The petition asks the Chancellor to ‘take action’ and ‘make companies like Amazon pay their fair share of taxes on profits made in the UK.’ The petition has over 240,000 signatories.
Multinational companies that accrue large amounts of revenue in the UK should pay their fair share of tax.
Taxation is what underpins our shared prosperity. All of us, including business, benefit from a healthy, educated and skilled population, with access to basic services and secure housing.
I am concerned that the small tax contributions of some companies such as Amazon indicates the extent to which our corporate tax system has become divorced from the realities of our modern economy. Many multinational companies limit their tax liability by employing tactics such as transfer pricing and share awards. Large multinational technological companies are also increasingly shifting profits offshore to tax havens and countries with low-tax regimes.
It is deeply unfair that, while our high streets stores struggle to remain competitive, corporations like Amazon get away with paying so little in tax. In our area and across the country, we have all heard stories about small stores having to compete in the face of non-collection of huge amounts of tax from multinational companies such as Amazon. Ultimately, it is small businesses that will have to pick up the tab.
I would like to see HMRC given the resources and skills necessary to clamp down hard on those unscrupulous few individuals and companies who seek to avoid the responsibilities that the rest of us meet.
At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto which committed to close down tax loopholes and tackle the social scourge of tax avoidance through a Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme. This would include reversing the cuts to HMRC and restoring staffing numbers with an additional £200 million of funding.
I remain committed to pressing for real action to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, to ensure that those super-rich individuals and minority of giant corporations seeking to duck their responsibilities to society pay their fair share.