Taking to his go-to social media platform, Trump revived his feud with Jeff Bezos’ billion-dollar enterprise, once again criticizing its tax treatment with concerns that the company would continue to drive mom-and-pop competitors and brick-and-mortar players out of business.
Trump tweeted: “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”
In yesterday’s early-morning trading, Amazon saw its shares tumble 7 percent, or more than $50 billion after reports alleged that the president sought to target the Seattle-based retailer using tax or antitrust laws.
According to fact-checking project Politifact, the online behemoth does pay its taxes. “Like other businesses, Amazon pays taxes on corporate income, property, payroll and unemployment insurance,” the review read. “While Amazon takes advantage of tax breaks and loopholes, it pays federal corporate tax and charges sales taxes in 46 U.S. jurisdictions.” In Amazon’s latest financial filing, the company paid cash taxes, net of refunds, of $273 million, $412 million, and $957 million for 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.
But it’s not the first time Trump has gone after the retail giant. The president took a shot at Amazon before 2017’s end — although it was unclear whether he was referring to the business’ collection of sales tax or its payment of taxes to the government. In a similar fashion, Amazon’s shares consequently dipped.
And it’s not just centered on retail: Trump has also targeted Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post, one of several news outlets he has accused of being unfair to the current White House administration.
Nevertheless, Trump’s outspokenness about Amazon’s tax treatment has also ruffled some feathers as insiders have often pointed out that the president expressed a seemingly different sentiment about corporate taxes prior to being elected.
“I fight like hell to pay as little as possible, for two reasons,” he said in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation shortly after launching his presidential bid in 2015. “Number one, I am a businessman, and that’s the way you are supposed to do it — and you put the money back in your company and employees and all of that. But the other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money, trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse.”
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