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Amazon's Europe retail arm pays just €16.5m in tax

Amazon’s European arm paid just €16.5m (£15m) in tax in 2016, despite pocketing €21.6bn (£19.6bn) in revenue.

The results are likely to spark debate over US tech firms minimising the tax paid on the continent by using cross-border arrangements.

Amazon’s latest accounts for its European business reported a pre-tax profit of €59.6m (£54m) last year, which meant it had a tax bill of just €16.5m (£15m).

Meanwhile Amazon UK Services – its warehouse and logistics operation that employs almost two-thirds of its 24,000 UK staff – more than halved its declared UK corporation tax bill from £15.8m to £7.4m year-on-year in the year to 31 December 2016.

Revenue at the UK business jumped by more than 50% to £1.5bn last year, as it expanded its warehouse operations.

A spokesman for Amazon UK said: “We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate. Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment.

”We’ve invested over £6.4 billion in the UK since 2010 including opening a new head office in London and development centres in Cambridge and London this year, and creating 5,000 permanent jobs across the country in research and development, our head office, customer service and fulfilment centres, to bring our total workforce to 24,000.”

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