Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest man, has been criticized once again for not doing enough with tax payments. The CEO announced a $98.5 million donation to 32 different organizations in an effort to tackle homelessness and also improve the quality of education in low-income communities, as part of his Bezos Day One Fund. Even though Bezos has also been criticized for also not doing enough with philanthropy, this recent donation didn’t do much to calm one of his most outspoken critics. UK Labour party chief Jeremy Corbyn after the announcement was quick to point out quite dismissively, that the donation was just 0.09% of Bezos’ net worth and asked the billionaire to “pay taxes.”
For a long time now, there have been repeated calls for American billionaires to start paying a lot more than they currently are, in taxes. Many have been of the opinion that this top 1% pay too little and tax laws should be changed in such a way that these billionaires are taxed a lot higher and are unable to take advantage of all the tax breaks available.
Apart from the general idea of higher taxes for the wealthy, the Bezos case is a little peculiar. Back in February, Fortune reported that Amazon took advantage of tax breaks for 2018 and will be paying exactly $0.00 in taxes, on an $11.2 billion profit. Last year in September, Bezos floated the Bezos Day One Fund worth $2 billion as a way to do more with philanthropy. However, even at the time of the announcement, many still believed that it was too little especially for someone who doesn’t pay taxes. Furthermore, Bezos did not give too many details about how long before the $2 billion would be completed or how exactly it would be spent, attracting further criticism. It was also pointed out that the $2 billion was less than 2% of the billionaire’s net worth.
Another vocal Bezos critic is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also believes that there’s a strong need to increase taxes for billionaires. In a February tweet, Sanders called for all tax breaks to be discontinued for the wealthy demographic.
If you paid the $119 annual fee to become an Amazon Prime member, you paid more to Amazon than it paid in taxes.
Our job: Repeal all of the Trump tax breaks for the top 1% and large corporations and demand that they pay their fair share in taxes. https://t.co/qDt4YoL5Z4
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 15, 2019
Amazon has, however, insisted that the company pays all the stipulated taxes and has not broken any tax laws. In a statement to CNBC Make It months ago, a spokesperson went ahead to give specifics.
“Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” said the company’s representative.
Away from the Amazon company, not much is known about Bezos’ personal tax payments but if suggestions from U.S. senators are to be followed, Bezos might have to pay up to $9 billion annually. Forbes recently ranked one of the world’s richest man, who has been recently replaced by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on the top of the list of the wealthiest people, as the 23rd most charitable person of 2018.
Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.
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