- These high school theater kids put on a totally awesome ‘Alien’ play Today 3:59 PM
- Behold these photos of Elon Musk, but with Elizabeth Holmes’ eyes Today 3:11 PM
- Barbra Streisand gets canceled over remarks about Michael Jackson’s alleged victims Today 2:09 PM
- Report: Florida man raped Texas teen after posing as Instagram celeb Today 12:14 PM
- Lori Loughlin’s daughters, Olivia and Isabella, could be banned from USC forever Today 11:46 AM
- ‘Starfish’ is a heartbreaking tale of BFFs, grief, and apocalyptic alien invasions Today 10:35 AM
- How to stream UFC Fight Night 148 for free Today 10:00 AM
- The kids are making scantron memes instead of studying Today 9:29 AM
- Every installment of Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark,’ ranked Today 6:00 AM
- The internet is mocking Robert Mueller’s report deadline Friday 7:53 PM
- Instagram blocks some anti-vax hashtags—but still has far to go Friday 6:20 PM
- Study: Netflix released more originals than licensed titles last year Friday 2:26 PM
- Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza slam journalist for having a job Friday 1:40 PM
- Netflix is testing a cheap-as-hell mobile-only plan Friday 1:08 PM
- Astrology app Co-Star’s bizarre push notifications are now a meme Friday 12:18 PM
Photo via Investment Zen/Flickr (CC-BY)
Nearly 75 percent of Amazon’s profits weren’t taxed.
Following an investigation by the European Commission, Amazon has been ordered to pay €250 million—approximately $294 million—in back taxes. Nearly 75 percent of Amazon’s European profits from 2003-2011 had not been taxed, the commission found.
Amazon holds a number of subsidiaries in Europe but held its profits in Luxembourg, the location with the lowest corporate tax rate. (A Luxembourg tax ruling lowered Amazon’s tax rate “without any valid justification” for an eight-year period, according to the Commission’s press release.) As a result, Amazon paid “substantially less” taxes than other companies.
“Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules. This is illegal under E.U. State aid rules.”
Vestager said that members of the European Union are not allowed to give selective tax benefits to one multinational group and not to others.
The European Commission released a helpful graphic to better explain exactly what Amazon was doing.
Amazon is now being asked to pay back the taxes from 2003-2011, along with a small amount of interest. The Commission says that the sum is not a fine, or any sort of punishment, for Amazon’s behavior.
Amazon is considering an appeal of the decision. In a statement, the company said:
“We believe that Amazon did not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg and that we paid tax in full accordance with both Luxembourg and international tax law. We will study the Commission’s ruling and consider our legal options, including an appeal. Our 50,000 employees across Europe remain heads-down focused on serving our customers and the hundreds of thousands of small businesses who work with us.”
Amazon is not alone in its situation: the E.U. has been cracking down on other Silicon Valley powerhouses operating in Europe, as well. Last year, it ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. (In 2014, Apple had a so-called “sweetheart deal” in Ireland. The company only paid €50 in taxes on every €1 million in profit.) The European Commission also fined Google $2.7 billion for promoting its shopping services over those of competitors.
H/T Business Insider
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.