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Jeff Bezos tells Boris Johnson that governments must decide taxation frameworks

·1-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Amazon executive chairman, Jeff Bezos (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Amazon executive chairman, Jeff Bezos (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has said Jeff Bezos told him ensuring Amazon pays fair levels of tax is a job for governments.

The Prime Minister said he urged the boss of the online giant that he must ensure a fair share is paid in the UK but accepted he will not pay tax as “an act of kindness”.

Mr Johnson held climate-focused talks with Mr Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, on Monday in New York where the Prime Minister has been attending the United Nations General Assembly.

“What I did say to him was that we in the UK feel very strongly that the internet giants need to be making their fair share of contribution in tax,” Mr Johnson told ITN.

“When you sell many many billions worth of goods in the UK then you’ve got to expect to be taxed fairly in the UK.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) meets with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) meets with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Asked how Mr Bezos responded, the Prime Minister told Channel 5 News: “He’s a capitalist and he made the very important point that this is a job for governments.

“And tax isn’t something that he’s going to pay as an ex-gratia act of kindness. It’s up to governments to come up with the right framework.”

Mr Johnson said the Amazon boss “has to operate within the commercial framework, within the laws” in place when asked if he gets the sense Mr Bezos accepts he pays too little tax.

Amazon sales in the UK soared by 51% to almost £20 billion last year, buoyed by coronavirus lockdownrestrictions.

Despite the boom, estimates have put Amazon as having a tax-to-turnover ratio of just 0.37%.

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