Black Friday: Amazon tax practices under fire from activist ad campaign

Sum of Us has said it wants to hit Amazon where it hurts - its sales - by posting ads alerting customers of Amazon's tax practices

Hazel Sheffield
Tuesday 24 November 2015 17:50 GMT
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Amazon’s tax practices have long been subject to scrutiny
Amazon’s tax practices have long been subject to scrutiny (Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

An online activism group has plans to hit Amazon with a massive anti-tax avoidance ad campaign come Black Friday.

Sum of Us has said it wants to hit Amazon where it hurts - its sales - by posting ads alerting customers of Amazon's tax practices.

“We're going to plaster the internet with anti-Amazon ads on Black Friday. Every time a shopper sees Amazon advertising a Black Friday deal, our ad will be sitting right alongside - telling them everything thing they need to know about Amazon's shocking tax dodging record,” Sum of Us promised on its website.

The group is looking to raise £25,000 to get their anti-Amazon ads in front of a million potential Amazon customers online come Black Friday on November 27.

Black Friday in the UK has been fostered by Amazon, which has been credited with bringing the American tradition across the Atlantic.

Amazon’s tax practices have long been subject to scrutiny after it was revealed that the company was booking sales made in countries in Europe through Luxembourg, where it paid less tax. In May, Amazon agreed to abandon this scheme and start recording sales to UK customers in the UK, following new, tougher rules that hit companies avoiding tax with a punitive 25% tax.

But Martin Caldwell, senior campaigner at Sum Of Us said that the changes Amazon made earlier this year are "cosmetic".

"Amazon's European operations will still be owned by its Luxembourg subsidiary that pays huge 'fees' to its US parent. So British and European taxpayers will be deprived of millions through an artificial company structure. Sum Of Us represents millions of consumers in Europe who want Amazon to pay their fair share of tax," Caldwell said.

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