Amazon will pay $0 in federal taxes on $11,200,000,000 in profit for 2018

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#1 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

https://news.yahoo.com/amazon-taxes-zero-180337770.html

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.”

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.”

I think the new mantra from the white house should be, "Rich people shouldn't have to pay any taxes"

Avatar image for JimB
#2 Posted by JimB (2473 posts) -

If you are looking for some one to blame try looking at the congress that wrote 77,000 pages of tax code.

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#3 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@Serraph105: Last I read, they actually received a 139 million dollar credit on their taxes. Is that still the case?

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#4 Posted by Horgen (120637 posts) -

Do they pay anything in state taxes?

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#5 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10794 posts) -

They should always have a floor instituted on taxes paid no matter the amount of deductions they could apply for. Giant companies like Amazon have lawyers and other means at their disposal to lower tax rates to negative ones. It's vastly unfair to other companies.

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#6 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166623 posts) -

Welcome to the policy of the conservatives.

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#7 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@LJS9502_basic said:

Welcome to the policy of the conservatives.

Nice try.

But this way of tax is nothing new and have been around for ages

So you could ask why the Democrats who have had several opportunities along the years to change it, why they didn´t? so if you want to blame anyone, you need to direct the blame to both the democrats and republicans.

Avatar image for mattbbpl
#8 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@Jacanuk: *Looks up who controlled both houses of Congress and the White House the last time the tax code was overhauled less than 2 years ago*

Yep, still Republicans.

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#9 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: *Looks up who controlled both houses of Congress and the White House the last time the tax code was overhauled less than 2 years ago*

Yep, still Republicans.

Does that change anything about the fact on who controlled it for the first term of Obama? or under Clinton or before. Nope, so not sure your point?

Or does it change the billions given to Wall Street by the Democrats

You can´t blame the Republicans for a policy both sides is behind,.

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#10 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@Jacanuk: Sure it does. This is the GOP tax code - developed, implemented, and proudly touted by them. If you ask why someone kept such breaks in, the buck stops there, my friend.

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#11 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: Sure it does. This is the GOP tax code - developed, implemented, and proudly touted by them. If you ask why someone kept such breaks in, the buck stops there, my friend.

Ok, I will remember this when the Democrats have control in 2021 and nothing happens.

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#12 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166623 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
@LJS9502_basic said:

Welcome to the policy of the conservatives.

Nice try.

But this way of tax is nothing new and have been around for ages

So you could ask why the Democrats who have had several opportunities along the years to change it, why they didn´t? so if you want to blame anyone, you need to direct the blame to both the democrats and republicans.

Who enacted the code? Republicans. Stop your dishonesty.

Avatar image for Serraph105
#13 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: Sure it does. This is the GOP tax code - developed, implemented, and proudly touted by them. If you ask why someone kept such breaks in, the buck stops there, my friend.

Ok, I will remember this when the Democrats have control in 2021 and nothing happens.

I don't even know why you, Jac, are even trying to avoid giving republicans credit on this. This is what republicans seem to have wanted all along, lowering taxes on the rich. Or do you see this as a bad thing that you don't want the people you support blamed for?

Avatar image for Serraph105
#14 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:

@Serraph105: Last I read, they actually received a 139 million dollar credit on their taxes. Is that still the case?

I don't know the answer to this. Based on the article it looks like it was probably part of how they achieved this, but who knows. The article doesn't seem to know how it was accomplished exactly.

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#15 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@Serraph105 said:
@Jacanuk said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: Sure it does. This is the GOP tax code - developed, implemented, and proudly touted by them. If you ask why someone kept such breaks in, the buck stops there, my friend.

Ok, I will remember this when the Democrats have control in 2021 and nothing happens.

I don't even know why you, Jac, are even trying to avoid giving republicans credit on this. This is what republicans seem to have wanted all along, lowering taxes on the rich. Or do you see this as a bad thing that you don't want the people you support blamed for?

Well, first of all, I am not for lowering the tax on the rich, as they say, the widest shoulders can carry the biggest load.

All I am saying is blaming the republican because they happen to be in power right now is just crazy

Avatar image for Serraph105
#16 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
@Serraph105 said:
@Jacanuk said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: Sure it does. This is the GOP tax code - developed, implemented, and proudly touted by them. If you ask why someone kept such breaks in, the buck stops there, my friend.

Ok, I will remember this when the Democrats have control in 2021 and nothing happens.

I don't even know why you, Jac, are even trying to avoid giving republicans credit on this. This is what republicans seem to have wanted all along, lowering taxes on the rich. Or do you see this as a bad thing that you don't want the people you support blamed for?

Well, first of all, I am not for lowering the tax on the rich, as they say, the widest shoulders can carry the biggest load.

All I am saying is blaming the republican because they happen to be in power right now is just crazy

But it's not just the fact that they are in power. As mentioned, and as you well know, it's about the fact that they overhalled the tax code in 2017. They were very proud of it saying that people who didn't like it would learn to love it.

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#17 Posted by Sevenizz (3914 posts) -

Maybe they should just relocate to Mexico and take the thousands of jobs with them then?

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to stay in the US with Mexico being so tempting for a plethora of reasons? You can thank Democrat regulations for that. Look at California. Every day another company relocates to Mexico or even non Democrat states to avoid needless regulations.

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#18 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@Serraph105 said:

But it's not just the fact that they are in power. As mentioned, and as you well know, it's about the fact that they overhalled the tax code in 2017. They were very proud of it saying that people who didn't like it would learn to love it.

But the tax code the republican made did not touch the ways Amazon is avoiding paying tax, in fact, the new Tax code lowered the corporate tax to a more global universal level and not as massive as it was previously. To make them bring more home instead of keeping it overseas in tax havens, a corporate tax that has been around since Obama was in control.

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#19 Posted by Solaryellow (4961 posts) -

Amazon actually pays A LOT of taxes. I would encourage people to actually research the issue rather than not.

Avatar image for Serraph105
#20 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
@Serraph105 said:

But it's not just the fact that they are in power. As mentioned, and as you well know, it's about the fact that they overhalled the tax code in 2017. They were very proud of it saying that people who didn't like it would learn to love it.

But the tax code the republican made did not touch the ways Amazon is avoiding paying tax, in fact, the new Tax code lowered the corporate tax to a more global universal level and not as massive as it was previously. To make them bring more home instead of keeping it overseas in tax havens, a corporate tax that has been around since Obama was in control.

They're bringing in more money than $0?

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#21 Posted by Jacanuk (18614 posts) -
@Serraph105 said:
@Jacanuk said:
@Serraph105 said:

But it's not just the fact that they are in power. As mentioned, and as you well know, it's about the fact that they overhalled the tax code in 2017. They were very proud of it saying that people who didn't like it would learn to love it.

But the tax code the republican made did not touch the ways Amazon is avoiding paying tax, in fact, the new Tax code lowered the corporate tax to a more global universal level and not as massive as it was previously. To make them bring more home instead of keeping it overseas in tax havens, a corporate tax that has been around since Obama was in control.

They're bringing in more money than $0?

No, both Amazon, google , facebook and Apple are all keeping their Irish tax havens.

But still it´s a good thing the corporate tax rate was lowered.

Avatar image for Serraph105
#22 Posted by Serraph105 (33860 posts) -

@Sevenizz said:

Maybe they should just relocate to Mexico and take the thousands of jobs with them then?

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to stay in the US with Mexico being so tempting for a plethora of reasons? You can thank Democrat regulations for that. Look at California. Every day another company relocates to Mexico or even non Democrat states to avoid needless regulations.

God I wish I was rich enough to where people like you would just accept that I no longer have to pay a cent in taxes as a fact of life.

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#23 Posted by marley7game (35 posts) -

cuz there good

Avatar image for horgen
#24 Posted by Horgen (120637 posts) -

@Solaryellow said:

Amazon actually pays A LOT of taxes. I would encourage people to actually research the issue rather than not.

Do you mean their workers through their wages, or the customers when they buy a product?

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#25 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:

@Serraph105: Last I read, they actually received a 139 million dollar credit on their taxes. Is that still the case?

It's $129 million, but yes, it's true.

To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%.

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#26 Edited by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

Not going to lie, this shook me to the core. I always thought of the ramblings of "corporations pay nothing in taxes" as hyperbole, but apparently this is true. Literally.

I wonder how many other multi-billion dollar companies pay nothing or close to it.

And to think: if Amazon was taxed at the same rate I am, they could have built the wall.

With all that said, here is an article from a month ago about why Amazon "pays no taxes" (which, they claim, is a misleading statement).

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#27 Posted by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Serraph105: Last I read, they actually received a 139 million dollar credit on their taxes. Is that still the case?

It's $129 million, but yes, it's true.

To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%.

It was even higher (smaller?) last year at -2.5%. Not sure what's going on in 2014

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#28 Posted by blaznwiipspman1 (7206 posts) -

This is why I said, taxation doesn't work. These corporations will do everything possible to dodge them. You're better off getting rid of patent laws, trademarks, contract laws and letting the free market and competition work out naturally. Next time their profits won't be so high and they would have naturally paid their due through the markets.

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#29 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: "Not going to lie, this shook me to the core. I always thought of the ramblings of "corporations pay nothing in taxes" as hyperbole, but apparently this is true. Literally."

This is easily verifiable with any publicly traded company via SEC documents.

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#30 Posted by JimB (2473 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic said:

Welcome to the policy of the conservatives.

It is the tax laws. Both parties wrote the 77,000 pages of tax laws. You seem to forget the Democrats controlled congress for 40 years from the 1950's to 1994. t nice to play the blame game but it doesn't pass the truth test.

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#31 Posted by mattbbpl (17244 posts) -

@Jacanuk: @JimB: We all agree this is bad policy, though? That's got to be a first.

Maybe there's a chance to change these policies in the relatively near future.

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#32 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10794 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: @JimB: We all agree this is bad policy, though? That's got to be a first.

Maybe there's a chance to change these policies in the relatively near future.

Remember that postcard example they brought out yet again during the last tax overhaul? 'Your taxes can fit on a postcard!'

Yeah, that shit never made the final cut. But they added to the tax code instead. Bait and switch.

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#33 Posted by Solaryellow (4961 posts) -

@horgen said:
@Solaryellow said:

Amazon actually pays A LOT of taxes. I would encourage people to actually research the issue rather than not.

Do you mean their workers through their wages, or the customers when they buy a product?

Payroll, state and local tax, etc.., I guess the argument is whether or not it should be paying more.

Avatar image for horgen
#34 Posted by Horgen (120637 posts) -

@Solaryellow said:
@horgen said:
@Solaryellow said:

Amazon actually pays A LOT of taxes. I would encourage people to actually research the issue rather than not.

Do you mean their workers through their wages, or the customers when they buy a product?

Payroll, state and local tax, etc.., I guess the argument is whether or not it should be paying more.

Payroll, isn't that paid by the workers?

We all have to contribute to the society we live in. It isn't without cost to run it. If we can share the burden on more shoulders, it will be less for each to carry. This includes huge corporations that could not make their profits if it wasn't for the infrastructure and many other factors often paid by the public. I'm not saying Amazon should pay federal taxes on such a huge profit while Google isn't. I would be saying the same thing if it was Google as well.

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#35 Posted by Solaryellow (4961 posts) -

@horgen said:
@Solaryellow said:
@horgen said:

Do you mean their workers through their wages, or the customers when they buy a product?

Payroll, state and local tax, etc.., I guess the argument is whether or not it should be paying more.

Payroll, isn't that paid by the workers?

We all have to contribute to the society we live in. It isn't without cost to run it. If we can share the burden on more shoulders, it will be less for each to carry. This includes huge corporations that could not make their profits if it wasn't for the infrastructure and many other factors often paid by the public. I'm not saying Amazon should pay federal taxes on such a huge profit while Google isn't. I would be saying the same thing if it was Google as well.

Both.

Spreading the burden on more shoulders thinking each will carry less is wishful thinking. Not saying the company shouldn't pay more but I'm not going to pay less because it pays more.

Avatar image for JimB
#36 Posted by JimB (2473 posts) -

@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: @JimB: We all agree this is bad policy, though? That's got to be a first.

Maybe there's a chance to change these policies in the relatively near future.

You will never see it happen both parties benefit from it with campaign donations from lobbyist representing companies seeking an advantage from the tax code.

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#37 Posted by NattyDaddy604 (304 posts) -

@blaznwiipspman1 said:

This is why I said, taxation doesn't work. These corporations will do everything possible to dodge them. You're better off getting rid of patent laws, trademarks, contract laws and letting the free market and competition work out naturally. Next time their profits won't be so high and they would have naturally paid their due through the markets.

Exactly. All these rules and regulations were lobbied by business so they can stifle competition. Corporations can afford larger fees, and will just find other loopholes in the system. Toss out all these regulations and laws, no mega corporations would exist and everyone would be wealthier

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#38 Posted by Horgen (120637 posts) -

@Solaryellow said:

Both.

Spreading the burden on more shoulders thinking each will carry less is wishful thinking. Not saying the company shouldn't pay more but I'm not going to pay less because it pays more.

Well redesign the tax code to be a zero sum compared to the one today.

Avatar image for blaznwiipspman1
#39 Posted by blaznwiipspman1 (7206 posts) -

Glad to see people agree with me on scam patent laws, IP, trademarks, etc. Get rid of these and you can lower corporate tax rate to a big fat ZERO!!00000

Avatar image for saltslasher
#40 Posted by SaltSlasher (1157 posts) -

People rather knee jerk react and blame White House, than actually read about a subject.

People act like companies didn't get around taxes prior to Trump.

It's funny on late night to make fun of him, but when you spend all day every day blaming Trump for everything, I get he's president but its kind of out of control, the smear campaigns working.

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#41 Edited by LJS9502_basic (166623 posts) -

@saltslasher said:

People rather knee jerk react and blame White House, than actually read about a subject.

People act like companies didn't get around taxes prior to Trump.

It's funny on late night to make fun of him, but when you spend all day every day blaming Trump for everything, I get he's president but its kind of out of control, the smear campaigns working.

Trump is certainly to blame for the current tax code. It's his.

Avatar image for SUD123456
#42 Posted by SUD123456 (5314 posts) -

I have posted on this a number of times, including a few weeks ago. Until there is an international effort to align the various tax regimes, close loopholes, etc.for these multinational companies there is only one way which this is going to go which is a race to the bottom. This is exactly why the most recent tax changes in the US are insane. They were never going to effect the large multinationals who already exploit international tax rules. And they simply shift the tax burden even more from companies to individuals for all other largely domestic entities.

The only possible benefit is in the case of domestic industries largely producing for export. In that case a targeted approach would have been possible, but even then the whole effect can be absorbed easily by China through currency devaluation since the Yuan doesn't really float.

Americans are idiots supporting this growing trend and buying into the BS posted about max tax rates and your competitiveness. And then completing ignoring what you are getting for those taxes in the first place. You are going down the path of trying to compete against economies with a billion people that are either gov't manipulated like China or reinvest little back into society like India. You are completely delusional to believe that lower corporate tax is going to benefit you and your society in this context. Worse still you are insane to fail to reconcile additional tax cuts at a time of record profits, historically low levels of unemployment and a 10 yr stock run up.

It is crazy and the only lever left is to print more money and ultimately devalue 99% of your citizenry for the other 1%. Nothing can possibly stop the growing spread with the current set of policies.

The top 26 billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom 3.8 billion people on the planet. Think about that for a second.

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#43 Edited by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

@JimB said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: @JimB: We all agree this is bad policy, though? That's got to be a first.

Maybe there's a chance to change these policies in the relatively near future.

You will never see it happen both parties benefit from it with campaign donations from lobbyist representing companies seeking an advantage from the tax code.

This is why we need to take any private money/favors/influence out of politics. Every politician get's a set amount of publicly-funded money (courtesy of their taxpayers) for salary, for running their election campaigns, and for paying their staff, and so on. Any money that is not spent gets deducted from the following year.

That's it. While we are at it, make oversight a lot better; zero-tolerance policy for rule-breakers and folks making deals on the side. It should be a stressful, thankless job that only those truly worthy can uphold, and not do for long. Speaking of which, term limits for every position.

We need to make these jobs about sacrifice and service to others, not about self-serving.

Avatar image for JimB
#44 Posted by JimB (2473 posts) -

@mrbojangles25 said:
@JimB said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Jacanuk: @JimB: We all agree this is bad policy, though? That's got to be a first.

Maybe there's a chance to change these policies in the relatively near future.

You will never see it happen both parties benefit from it with campaign donations from lobbyist representing companies seeking an advantage from the tax code.

This is why we need to take any private money/favors/influence out of politics. Every politician get's a set amount of publicly-funded money (courtesy of their taxpayers) for salary, for running their election campaigns, and for paying their staff, and so on. Any money that is not spent gets deducted from the following year.

That's it. While we are at it, make oversight a lot better; zero-tolerance policy for rule-breakers and folks making deals on the side. It should be a stressful, thankless job that only those truly worthy can uphold, and not do for long. Speaking of which, term limits for every position.

We need to make these jobs about sacrifice and service to others, not about self-serving.

I agree with that.

@LJS9502_basic said:
@saltslasher said:

People rather knee jerk react and blame White House, than actually read about a subject.

People act like companies didn't get around taxes prior to Trump.

It's funny on late night to make fun of him, but when you spend all day every day blaming Trump for everything, I get he's president but its kind of out of control, the smear campaigns working.

Trump is certainly to blame for the current tax ode. It's his.

The tax cuts is what is responsible for, not the 77,000 of pages before he became President.

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#46 Posted by comp_atkins (35747 posts) -

the tax code is primarily a government incentive program to get individuals / corporations to do what the government thinks is good for the country ( buy homes, create jobs, etc.. )

as long as that hook exists into the tax law, those with influence will use it to their advantage.

Avatar image for Solaryellow
#47 Posted by Solaryellow (4961 posts) -

@horgen said:
@Solaryellow said:

Both.

Spreading the burden on more shoulders thinking each will carry less is wishful thinking. Not saying the company shouldn't pay more but I'm not going to pay less because it pays more.

Well redesign the tax code to be a zero sum compared to the one today.

The problem is our politicians. They view more taxes as more money to spend rather than throwing a bone to the middle class. These people don't want to curb spending nor do they want to seriously lessen the burden on anyone but themselves. IMO the tax code should be simplified and logically addressed.

Avatar image for horgen
#48 Posted by Horgen (120637 posts) -

@Solaryellow said:

The problem is our politicians. They view more taxes as more money to spend rather than throwing a bone to the middle class. These people don't want to curb spending nor do they want to seriously lessen the burden on anyone but themselves. IMO the tax code should be simplified and logically addressed.

Interest rates will eat more and more of the budget. They don't have to work to spend this extra money. :P

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#49 Posted by theone86 (22417 posts) -

"Something, something, AOC, something something!"-Republicans

@JimB said:

If you are looking for some one to blame try looking at the congress that wrote 77,000 pages of tax code.

Right, blame the system and not the people blatantly taking advantage of it. Thank you for proving again that Republicans know exactly jack shit about personal responsibility.

Avatar image for theone86
#50 Posted by theone86 (22417 posts) -
@mrbojangles25 said:
@mattbbpl said:
@mattbbpl said:

@Serraph105: Last I read, they actually received a 139 million dollar credit on their taxes. Is that still the case?

It's $129 million, but yes, it's true.

To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%.

It was even higher (smaller?) last year at -2.5%. Not sure what's going on in 2014

What is typically the case is that corporations are allowed to write off losses to lower their rates AND they can hold on to those write-offs for years. As a sidenote, this is what I'm going to tell my student loan servicer that I'm doing next time they want a payment. So, for instance, in one year if they have more than enough write-offs to get them to zero federal taxes they can hold on to the ones they don't need and transfer them into next year. It could be that Amazon just didn't have enough write-offs left in 2014, or that they were saving them for a future year given their forecasts.