By Aaron Kesel
The Washington Post, owned by the same man who owns Amazon, Jeff Bezos, failed to cover the recent nearly $300 million dollar fine against the corporate retail giant, blacking out the story that its boss’s other organization reaped illegal tax benefits for 8 long years.
Amazon was ordered by the European Commission to pay the fine after it was found to have received illegal tax benefits.
The commission stated that Amazon received the illegal benefits between 2006 and 2014 in the country without any “valid justification.”
“Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon. As a result, almost three-quarters of Amazon’s profits were not taxed,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s commissioner for competition, said in a statement.
“In other words, Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules. This is illegal under EU state aid rules. Member states cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others,” she added.
.@amazon tax benefits in Luxembourg are illegal under our common European rules on state aid. Amazon to repay benefits worth around €250 mio
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) October 4, 2017
“$300 million fine against AMAZON for tax dodge in EU…nothing on Washington Post front page?” Matt Drudge tweeted Wednesday, adding a mocking comment of WAPO’s catchphrase “Democracy dies in darkness.”
“Democracy dies…with monopolistic Bezos!!,” Drudge tweeted.
$300M fine against AMAZON for tax dodge in EU… Nothing on https://t.co/XoVevZ1tgf front page? Democracy Dies… with monopolistic Bezos!!
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) October 4, 2017
Amazon said in response to the commission’s decision that it believes it did not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg, that it paid tax in “full accordance with both Luxembourg and international tax law” and was considering an appeal:
“We will study the Commission’s ruling and consider our legal options, including an appeal. Our 50,000 employees across Europe remain heads-down focused on serving our customers and the hundreds of thousands of small businesses who work with us,” the online retailing giant said in a statement to Bloomberg.
U.S. President Donald Trump has previously accused Bezos of tax dodging in several tweets and while on Fox during his run for the presidency last year.
“He thinks I’ll go after him for antitrust,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last year. “Because he’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much, Amazon is controlling so much of what they are doing.”
“He’s using the Washington Post, which is peanuts, he’s using that for political purposes to save Amazon in terms of taxes and in terms of antitrust,” he added.
The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Trump’s claim that Amazon pays no “internet taxes,” is partially true and is therefore “fake news.”
While it’s true that the online retailer built its huge market share via tax avoidance, Amazon began collecting sales tax nationwide on April 1st earlier this year.
The Luxembourg government stated it “considers that the company has not been granted incompatible State aid.”
The ruling is further indication that the EU is finally going after big corporations for tax dodging.
Last year, Apple was ordered to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes, just like Amazon.
The EU authority further announced that it was suing Ireland for failing to recover any money from that fine from Apple Inc.
“Ireland has to recover up to 13 billion euros in illegal State aid from Apple. However, more than one year after the Commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part,” said Vestager in a statement.
She added: “We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But Member States need to make sufficient progress to restore competition. That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision.”
Additionally, earlier this year Google was ordered to pay $2.7 billion dollars by Vestager earlier this year in an antitrust lawsuit for promoting its own shopping service over rivals.
While Google also faced a 170 million dollar fine last year from British tax authorities and agreed to pay that lump sum in back taxes for all the years the company under paid.