Amazon's tax bill falls despite huge increase in pre-tax profit

Amazon UK's corporate tax bill fell by £2.8 million last year despite the company seeing pre-tax profits nearly treble.

The online retail giant's UK bill came in at £4.6 million last year, down from £7.4 million a year earlier, Amazon UK Services Limited accounts show.

But the company only paid £1.7 million in tax after deferring £2.9 million of that total.

That was despite pre-tax profits jumping to £72.4 million from £24.3 million in 2016, according to figures filed to Companies House.

Amazon UK Services Ltd operates "fulfilment centres" which store, process and post products to customers in the UK and had an average of around 20,000 workers last year.

Turnover for 2017 was £1.99 billion, up from £1.46 billion in 2016.

A spokesman 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."

The tax payment decrease was partly due to Amazon making shares payments to thousands of staff which were counted as a cost and deducted from profits.

Over the past five years, customer order handlers received on average shares worth more than £1,000 per year.

Amazon's US share price has jumped 84% over the past two years.

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