The backlash that prompted Amazon to discard its New York HQ2 headquarters plans like a rotten apple has emboldened critics of the tax deals being offered for the Virginia headquarters site.
Amazon’s New York announcement, ironically made on Valentine’s Day, showed there was no love lost between the e-retailer and politicians and activists who bemoaned nearly $3 billion in tax incentives for the firm, The Tennessee Star reported. Amazon promised 25,000 jobs and $2.5 billion investment in offices.
Amazon said it still planned to build an operations center in Nashville. The company was promised $15 million from the City of Nashville and up to $102 million from the state for 5,000 jobs.
Now some in Virginia are setting their sights on what they say is not a Prime deal.
Roshan Abraham, with Our Revolution Arlington, one of several anti-tax-incentive groups in Virginia, said the Arlington County government should vote down the $23 million tax deal being offered to the world’s largest e-retailer, according to a story by Washington Business Journal.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a deal to give Amazon up to $550 million to create 25,000 jobs or $750 million for 37,850 jobs, the Journal said. Virginia critics also say Amazon will dramatically raise housing costs, which could especially hurt Hispanic communities. A demonstration is planned for the Feb. 23 county board meeting.
Amazon already receives millions in tax breaks to build data centers in Virginia, according to a story by Business Insider.
Amazon has perfected the art of finding favorable tax deals, according to a story by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Amazon, the ubiquitous purveyor of two-day delivery of just about everything, nearly doubled its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018 from $5.6 billion the previous year and, once again, didn’t pay a single cent of federal income taxes.
The company’s newest corporate filing reveals that, far from paying the statutory 21 percent income tax rate on its U.S. income in 2018, Amazon reported a federal income tax rebate of $129 million. For those who don’t have a pocket calculator handy, that works out to a tax rate of negative 1 percent. The fine print of Amazon’s income tax disclosure shows that this achievement is partly due to various unspecified “tax credits” as well as a tax break for executive stock options.
This isn’t the first year that the cyber-retailing giant has avoided federal taxes. Last year, the company paid no federal corporate income taxes on $5.6 billion in U.S. income.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Our Arlington Revolution” by Our Arlington Revolution. Background Photo “Arlington, Virginia” by Arlington County. CC BY-SA 2.0.