‘Pay fair share’: Over 100,000 Britons sign Amazon tax petition

b8ad000 par2004120999960 ‘Pay fair share’: Over 100,000 Britons sign Amazon tax petition

Now the petition has hit the 100,000 mark they plan to take itto 10 Downing Street, where they will be accompanied by a largecrowd of authors.The action was launched by Frances and Keith Smith, who own twosmall bookshops in Warwick and Kenilworth, in the UK.On learning about the accusations against Amazon last November,the Smiths launched their petition on Change.org.They write in their petition that small book retailers havealready been “pushed to the brink” by the huge discountsoffered by the online multinational, against which it is nearimpossible to compete. “What’s even worse is that Amazon, despite making sales of£2.9 billion in the UK last year, does not pay any UK corporationtax on the profits from those sales,” said theSmiths. “We are happy with competition in the market but it must beon level terms and by dodging corporation tax in this way, Amazonstarts with an unfair advantage,” the petition said.Frances Smith said they were determined to keep the pressure upso the government does something about it.“We have to keep on banging on about it so the government knowsit is important to people, and that there are votes in it,” shetold the Guardian.MP Margaret Hodge who was chair of the public accountscommittee, which grilled Amazon, alongside Starbucks and Googleover their UK tax arrangements last year, is among theirsupporters, as is the author Charlie Higson, who wrote the YoungBond series of novels.Higson agreed that the current arrangement gives Amazon acompletely unfair advantage, “How can anyone else possibly hopeto compete? And for the government to have let them set up in thisway is also bordering on the criminal,” he said.However, everything that companies like Amazon are doing iscompletely legal, its tax avoidance, not tax evasion.But there are signs that shaming corporations in the public eye isthe best way to make them change their ways and the governmentchange the law. “As the public have got to understand better what corporatetax avoidance is, there is a clear sense of outrage that is goingwell beyond a small group of protestors,”  Murray Worthy,a tax justice campaigner for the NGO War on Want, told theBBC.There is also evidence that social media boycotting campaignshave been effective, such as the #boycottstarbucks campaign, wherea small group of people instilled dissent among a far largernumber.In a report published last Monday, Hodge said the amount of taxtaken from some multinational companies in the UK was“outrageous” and that HM Revenue and Customs (the UK taxcollecting authority), must be “more aggressive and assertive inconfronting tax avoidance”. However, Simon Walker, director general of the Institute ofDirectors said tax rules must be simpler if tax avoidance is to bereduced. While John Cridland, the director general of theConfederation of British Industry (CBI) believes that if thegovernment wants a different result from the tax system they mustchange the law.For its part Amazon released a statement denying they were doinganything wrong saying it “pays all applicable taxes in everyjurisdiction that it operates within.”

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‘Pay fair share’: Over 100,000 Britons sign Amazon tax petition

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