Amazon expected to reveal cash pile of up to $9bn
Record Christmas takings have swollen Amazon’s cash pile to as much as $9 billion (€6.68 billion), the online retailer is expected to declare tomorrow in results that will inflame the debate over its tax contributions around the world.
In just 13 weeks, Amazon’s savings, which are held in cash and investments, have ballooned to between $7 billion and $9 billion, from $5.2 billion in September, say analysts. The group’s performance helped topple a number of its UK high street competitors, with the camera shop Jessops and music store HMV going into administration this month.
The UK generates an estimated 10 per cent of Amazon’s revenues, pushing the proportion of the cash pile collected in the Britain to an estimated $900 million. The retailer is under fire for paying low levels of corporation tax in the UK and other markets.
With politicians across Europe casting about for ways to restore public finances, the sums are eye-catching. The issue will be forefront this week as the UK parliament’s influential public accounts committee resumes its inquiry into tax avoidance by taking evidence on Thursday from the four largest accounting firms.
In the sights of many MPs are the major US companies that use a complex web of offshore havens to minimise their tax payments. Filings by Apple have revealed it is putting $1 billion a week beyond the reach of the UK and US tax authorities. The iPhone maker has amassed $11 billion in offshore havens in the last three months of 2012 and shielded $94 billion from tax authorities around the world, mostly since 2005 when iPhone sales took off.
Wall Street is forecasting that Amazon enjoyed larger than ever revenues of $22 billion for the December quarter. – (Guardian Service)