May 23, 2019

Actually, Amazon Does Pay Taxes

“The 2020 Democratic contenders are launching a jihad about corporate taxation, and the New York Times is their imam. “Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes,” the Times headline says above an article that is essentially recruiting literature for the Democratic Socialists of America, “Some Voters Are Sick of It.”

The article quotes Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, saying: “Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump’s tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes. I think that’s a disgrace.”

The problem is that neither the headline nor the claim from Senator Sanders is true.

Amazon has paid billions of dollars in corporate income tax in recent years, though in some years it has paid no tax on profits because — don’t let the accounting terminology scare you off here — it lost money. Amazon has a very large footprint in the culture and in online commerce, but it is not a wildly profitable company; in fact, the usual complaint about Amazon is that it is forgoing profits in the here and now as part of a long-term world-domination scheme.”

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