Amazon is now under scrutiny from both sides of the U.S. political aisle, as Democrat Bernie Sanders echoed President Donald Trump’s criticism of the e-commerce giant in a tweet this week.
“You know what Amazon paid in federal income taxes last year? Zero,” the U.S. Senator from Vermont said in a tweet Monday evening.
The former presidential candidate linked to a Forbes article, which pointed to CEO Jeff Bezos’s upshot in net worth as Amazon’s stock benefited from a huge earnings beat last week. Bezos, the world’s richest man by Forbe’s estimates, added $9 billion to his own value as the stock shot up.
President Donald Trump has publicly confronted the company for its tax practices. The president called Amazon a “scam” that costs the Post Office “billions,” and claimed that Bezos pays “little or no taxes to state and local governments.” Trump was referring to on Amazon’s practice of not collecting state sales taxes for “third-party” sellers in most of the U.S., a White House deputy press secretary confirmed.
As for Sanders’ claim, he may technically be correct. The company paid $957 million in total taxes last year, according to Amazon’s 2017 annual report. But it appears that money went to state and international taxes and Amazon had a credit for the Federal level last year due to perfectly legal maneuvers related to stock-based compensation and the 2017 Tax Act.
Ahead of those tweets, Axios reported that Trump is “obsessed with” and wants to “go after” the e-commerce giant, citing five sources who have talked about the company with him.
The president also went after Amazon in August, tweeting that “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities, and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”
Trump has attacked Bezos’s other company, the Washington Post, and accused the outlet of publishing fake news.
Bezos has largely stayed quiet in response to Trump’s affronts. He criticized the politician ahead of the 2016 election and said Trump’s behavior “erodes our democracy.” Bezos also offered to #sendDonaldtospace, after Trump accused the CEO of a tax “scam” involving Amazon and the Post.