Just six of Silicon Valley’s largest corporations skipped out on more than $100 billion in taxes this decade, according to a new report by Fair Tax Mark, a UK tax transparency organization.
Over the period of 2010 to 2019, Fair Tax Mark analyzed the global tax conduct of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet, and Microsoft (which it calls “the Silicon Six”) as the tech firms funneled revenues and profits through tax havens, shell companies, and nations with low tax rates.
The $100 billion in taxes is a global estimate made by the organization.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon was the worst tax dodger (its founder, Jeff Bezos, is the richest person alive). Over the decade, Amazon revenues hit $960 billion and its net profits $26.8 billion, but its income tax bill was only $3.4 billion. Amazon’s “headline tax rate” or the rate it was supposed to pay was 35 percent, but Fair Tax Mark’s report pegged the effective tax rate as 12.7 percent. All of this is made even richer by the fact that just a few months ago, Amazon was levying its own tax on French businesses after getting hit with a new tax.
Fair Tax Mark’s report warns that Amazon is “growing its market domination across the globe on the back of revenues that are largely untaxed,” giving it the power to undercut competitors and encourage more widespread tax avoidance. Amazon’s ill-gotten means have created a seemingly unstoppable machine that not only dodges taxes but turns around and demands the government spend money on it in the form of public incentives or social programs for its poorly paid workers.