Sanders calls out Bezos' Amazon for not paying income taxes

Amazon paid $0 in federal income taxes in both 2017 and 2018

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took a swipe at Amazon on Friday, calling out Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce empire for not paying federal income tax.

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“Amazon should pay more than $0 in federal income taxes,” the Vermont senator wrote.

In 2018 and 2017, the world’s largest online retailer, which is worth $930 billion, paid zero dollars in federal income tax, according to the company’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Last year, Amazon earned a record $11.2 billion in U.S. profits, but did not pay the 21 percent corporate rate, thanks to leveraging unspecified tax credits and stock-based compensation deductions. Instead, as first reported by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Amazon received a federal income tax rebate of $129 million, essentially amounting to an effective tax rate of negative 1 percent.

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At the time, Sanders blasted the Seattle-based company — one of the most successful in the world — for taking advantage of the tax code, all while it rakes in billions of dollars.

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“Amazon made $16.8 billion in profits over the past two years but have paid ZERO in federal income taxes. In fact it got a $269 million tax refund,” Sanders wrote in a February tweet. “Our job: Demand large corporations pay their fair share in taxes so that we can rebuild the disappearing middle class.”

In 2017, Amazon first drew scrutiny after it raked in more than $5.6 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. At the time, the company said it was largely attributable to “excess stock-based compensation deductions” and the effect of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Bezos, the richest person in the world, is worth a staggering $116.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Sanders frequently targets Bezos, and Amazon, for the treatment of the company’s workers. Last year, Sanders, after aggressive lobbying, successfully pressured Amazon to hike its minimum wage to $15 per hour.

During a Fox News town hall with Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in April, Sanders criticized the American tax system, calling it “absurd.”

"While millions of people today are paying actually more in taxes than they anticipated, Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump's tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes,” he said. “I think that's a disgrace.”

Under Sanders' wealth tax proposal — ranging from a 1 percent tax on those worth $32 million to 8 percent on wealth over $10 billion — Bezos would pay an estimated $9 billion a year in levies.