A report by Fair Tax Foundation singled out Amazon, Facebook, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft said they paid $96bn less in tax between 2011 and 2020 than the notional taxation figures they cite in their annual financial reports.
The six firms named handed over $149bn less to global tax authorities than would be expected if they had the paid headline rates where they operated.
Overall, they paid $219bn in income tax over the past decade, 3.6% of their total revenue of more than $6tn. Income tax is paid on profits, but the researchers said the Silicon Six companies deliberately shift income to low-tax jurisdictions to pay less tax.
The report found that Amazon, the internet retailing and cloud services provider run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, collected $1.6tn of revenue, reported $60.5bn of profit and paid $5.9bn in income taxes this decade. Amazon would have been expected to pay $10.7bn in taxes on those profits based on international tax rates, the report said. The tax paid as a percentage of profit was just 9.8% over the period 2011-20, the lowest of the Silicon Six.
Facebook, run by Mark Zuckerberg, who has a personal fortune of $123bn, has paid just $16.8bn in income taxes this decade, despite making profits of $133bn and revenues of $328bn, according to the report. The tax paid as a percentage of profit was just 12.7%, the second-lowest of the so-called “Silicon Six” after Amazon.
Paul Monaghan, chief executive of the Fair Tax Foundation, said the group’s analysis provided “solid evidence that substantive tax avoidance is still embedded within many large multinationals and nothing less than a root-and-branch reform of international tax rules will remedy the situation”.