Government publishes “confidential” Amazon UK sales data, despite protests
Prior to today, Amazon, which is facing pressure over its UK tax bill, has never publicly broken down its EU sales figures on a country-by-country basis.
Andrew Cecil, the director for EU public policy for Amazon who was recently questioned over how much the company pays in corporation tax, handed Amazon UK sales data to the government, but said he was doing so on a “confidential basis”.
But they were published on the Parliament.uk website anyway, showing £3.35 million revenue and £2.91 billion in sales in 2011 for Amazon.co.uk, up from £2.36 billion in 2010 and £1.87 billion in 2009. The company noted the amount of VAT it brought in for the UK government, which hit £416 million in 2011.
Those figures are solely from sales over the Amazon.co.uk website, and do not include other offerings, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), which gets plenty of business in the UK too.
At the time of publication, Amazon had not responded to a request for comment on its reaction to the government’s publication of the figures.
“We would like to share with you on a confidential basis net sales generated from the amazon.co.uk website over the past three years,” the letter from Cecil read.
Earlier this month, Amazon and Google were grilled by MPs, as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sought to understand how both companies avoided paying corporation tax. Cecil in particular took a bashing, as Margaret Hodge MP, the committee’s chair, became frustrated at his inability to answer certain questions, including the proportion of Amazon’s overall EU sales that derive from the UK.
A TechWeekEurope investigation found two other notable companies were not paying much corporation tax at all – Sophos and Symantec. Whilst the former offered an explanation, saying it did not make much profit due to its heavy R&D spend, Symantec is yet to get in touch.
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