The tech giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft together are said to have avoided 100 billion US dollars in taxes since 2010. Tax havens like Luxembourg made this possible.
US tech companies such as Apple and Amazon are repeatedly criticized for their tactics of tax avoidance. Now the British organisation Fair Tax Mark has analysed the tax payments of the six big tech companies Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft in more detail. According to the results, these so-called Silicon Six avoided over 100 billion dollars in taxes between 2010 and 2019, according to CNBC.
Taxes: Avoidance thanks to tax havens
In its investigations of the US corporate tax gap, Fair Tax Mark compared the amount of tax provisions reported in the financial reports with the actual taxes paid to the tax authorities. The difference over the years and across the groups resulted in the three-digit billion sum mentioned above. As one of the ways to avoid taxes, the tax experts referred to the shift of consolidated profits to tax havens such as Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg or the Netherlands.
However, the amount of taxes paid varied greatly between the individual groups. While Apple, for example, paid a total of 93.8 billion dollars in taxes in the ten years surveyed, Amazon paid only 3.4 billion dollars. According to the e-commerce giants, the experts from Fair Tax Mark highlighted the “companies with the worst tax behaviour” among the six groups surveyed.
Amazon is said to have taxed only 12.7 percent of its profits between 2010 and 2019 – even though the tax rate in seven of the years surveyed was 35 percent. In 2017, US President Donald Trump lowered the tax rate to 21 percent. The least aggressive tax avoidance is what the analysts concede to Microsoft. However, the share of taxes paid in profits in the past decade was only 16.8 percent. In total, the tax authorities received about 46.9 billion dollars from the software giant between 2010 and 2019.
Amazon contradicts accusations
Amazon, however, contradicted the results of the analysts. In an email statement to CNBC, the e-commerce giant stated that the company had an effective tax rate of 24 percent between 2010 and 2018. Fair Tax Mark also did not want to abandon another accusation by the company that Amazon was gaining advantages over local competitors through tax avoidance. Amazon only accounts for one percent of global trade turnover. In addition, there are other major competitors in every market in which it operates. The other companies also rejected the results of the analysis.