Amazon boss (and world’s richest man) Bezos backs tax hike after Biden criticism

Amazon’s founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos has endorsed Joe Biden’s plan to raise corporate taxes after the US president singled out the company over its contributions to federal coffers.

Mr Bezos, the world’s richest man who is due to take more of a back seat at the company later in the year, issued a statement via the company’s website last night to say he supported the White House in its $2.3bn focus on bolstering the country’s infrastructure.

Crucially, there was backing for the proposals to help pay for it.

The president has proposed hiking the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% to account for the bulk of the cost but it is facing business, Republican and some Democrat opposition on the grounds it risks being counterproductive to economic growth.

Biden described his plan as a 'once in a generation investment' Pic: AP
Image:President Biden has described his infrastructure plan as a ‘once in a generation investment’. Pic: AP

Mr Biden can use support from Amazon as evidence to undermine that argument.

While announcing the massive infrastructure investment plan last week, he said of the company’s tax planning: “Amazon use various loopholes so they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax.

“I don’t want to punish them, but that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong. Fireman, teacher, paying 22% [tax], Amazon and 90 other major corporations paying zero in federal taxes? I’m going to put an end to that.”

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Mr Bezos said in his statement: “We support the Biden Administration’s focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure.

“Both Democrats and Republicans have supported infrastructure in the past, and it’s the right time to work together to make this happen.

“We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides-both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate).

“We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness.”

Successive US presidents have been accused of ignoring the need for investment in crumbling infrastructure. Pic: AP
Image:Successive US presidents have been accused of ignoring the need for investment in crumbling infrastructure. Pic: AP

The statement was careful not to endorse the president’s infrastructure plan but rather the focus on the issue and signal a willingness to contribute more to the public purse.

The proposed White House tax shake-up would also effectively set a minimum tax rate for American companies on their global earnings to help tackle the thorny international issue of avoidance.

Last year, Amazon reported paying $1.7bn in federal taxes on its US income of $20.2bn, working out to an effective tax rate of about 8%.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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