Amazon will pay $0 in taxes on $11,200,000,000 in profit for 2018
While some people have received some surprise tax bills when filing their returns, corporations continue to avoid paying tax — thanks to a cocktail of tax credits, loopholes, and exemptions.
According to a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Amazon (AMZN) will pay nothing in federal income taxes for the second year in a row.
Thanks to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), Amazon’s federal tax responsibility is 21% (down from 35% in previous years). But with the help of tax breaks, according to corporate filings, Amazon won’t be paying a dime to Uncle Sam despite posting more than $11.2 billion in profits in 2018.
How is that possible?
“It’s hard to know exactly what they’re doing,” said Steve Wamhoff, ITEP’s Director of Federal Tax Policy. “In their public documents they don’t lay out their tax strategy. So it’s unclear exactly which breaks [the company is taking advantage of]. They vaguely say tax credits. One could think of many different ways a corporation could do this, like the depreciation breaks which were expanded under TCJA.”
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., listens during a discussion at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
‘It’s hard to tell’
Though Amazon might have taken advantage of new breaks and loopholes available under TCJA, this isn’t the first year that Amazon has avoided paying federal tax. The company reported $5.6 billion in U.S. profits in 2017 and paid $0 last year as well.
“Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
According to Wamhoff, the company’s apparently nonexistent tax bill highlights that there have always been issues with corporate tax liability.
“The thing we would need to know is would they have had positive corporate income tax liability were it not for TCJA?” Wamhoff asked. “Maybe. It’s hard to tell.”
(Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy analysis of SEC filings)
Revelations about Amazon’s tax liability come despite President Trump’s very public criticisms of Amazon and Bezos for not paying enough tax. The president had promised his new tax law would end special interest breaks and close loopholes, but it’s clear that isn’t the case, says Wamhoff.
“This is another situation where the rhetoric from President Trump is completely divorced from what he does and what his policies do,” explained Wamhoff. “The part about cutting corporate tax rate was true. And they eliminated some corporate tax rates but not all.”
He added: “The corporate tax revenue was a big loser. We aren’t going to see corporations suddenly paying more. We see that in the case of Amazon.”
Declining tax revenue has only widened deficits, as national debt has ballooned up and over $22 trillion.
Amazon briefly touched $1 trillion in market cap on September 4, 2018. (Chart: Yahoo Finance)
Amazon not alone
TCJA had been criticized in large part due to the benefits it provided the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. Wamhoff says it’s ironic that the corporate tax rate was slashed to 21% (from its previous 35%) because the effective corporate tax rate under previous tax law was 21%, after accounting for tax breaks and loopholes.
Therefore, Wamhoff says, we’ll likely see the effective tax rate fall even lower.
But if anyone thinks that Amazon is alone, they would be wrong. Last week, Netflix also did not pay American federal or state income taxes according to a separate ITEP report, despite posting record profits. Netflix has disputed those findings, while ITEP claims that the $131 million paid by Netflix is taxes on foreign income.
And historically Wamhoff says, this story is nothing new. Several corporations have avoided paying federal income tax throughout the years, he says.
“These companies have been consistently profitable,” he explained. “And they should really be paying taxes.”
Amazon makes money in a lot of ways. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
Article source: Yahoo Finance
The issue I have with taxes across the board is the public perception of taxes, and the “one-size-think-small” mentality surrounding taxes. “They should pay taxes” is such a fascistic way of having a person or corporation to pay a ransom or protection money to a government body that would use those dollars towards programs, black projects and conflicts that the “taxpayer” or the citizen themselves would never agree with. If the public seriously believe they MUST pay their taxes without questioning the legality behind paying it, and without insisting on the proof of where their taxes is going, the public can be found guilty of maintaining the “taxation without representation” cliche.
The first cure of taxation without representation is questioning the legality of taxes. Next, ask if there are different kinds of taxes (earned, portfolio, passive), how the IRS see certain income types, and these three classification of taxes. You might come to the conclusion of why the tax codes is over 70,000 pages. And finally, starting your own company (not small business), and structure it under a corporate entity to take advantage of this tax system created to be on YOUR SIDE of the wealth spectrum.
Overstanding the fact that the tax system was voted by a polarized public with the intent on singing the same “don’t tax him, don’t tax me, tax that man behind the tree” anthem, and using elections as a weapon against prosperity and the “upper class”, these corporations will continue to game the same system and leverage off the emotional reaction of the public. There’s a reason why these corporations are LEGALLY avoiding paying taxes, the question shouldn’t be “why aren’t they paying their fair share?” as if ANYBODY know what “fair share” is — but the question SHOULD be, ‘how do they avoid paying legally, and how can I emulate that?’
With that being said, we are NOT telling you to avoid taxes, and we’re NOT tax lawyers, nor professionals to advise you on how to pay your taxes, but what we are doing is giving you OPTIONS that the one percent use every single year, and is more easier to do than you figuring out how much taxes you CONSISTED on paying.
So the bottom line is; how YOU can benefit from what Amazon did.
Amazon and other corporations know that it is MORE PATRIOTIC to focus on making amazing products and services that serve the public, create value for the consumer, and bring out the best of their staff staying focused on their goals, than just going wherever the wind blows, hate Mondays and look forward to Fridays and finding everything wrong with politicians. Mindsets of the public actually cost the government lots of money, while the business state of mind bring more value to the government. Could you blame the “quid pro quo” game?
America is an IDEA, not a country. Imagine you creating your own country for you and your family and friends, and you draft a cooperation (Constitution) with them that will benefit only you, them, and your families. Everyone put their names on the declaration, and the laws you decide to constitute your co-op. Then you write down the bill of rights you have as a co-op to legally separate yourself from certain policies laid out by other governments. And everyone (including you) decide to start businesses to benefit the co-operation and everyone involved in it. This is just a quick idea on how this “idea” called the United States does business. So as long as you remain in the patterns of this world of taxes not being fair, the more companies like Amazon will figure out ways to avoid it and will continue to bother you.
Now, let’s show you other options regarding taxes that could be fairer and honest that you might believe will benefit everyone regardless of class by clicking here.