Amazon pays just $2.2 million in U.K. tax despite profit surge

Amazon is facing criticism after its British tax bill fell despite a big jump in sales and profits.

Records show Amazon U.K. Services Ltd. faced a 2017 tax bill of 4.6 million pounds ($6 million) but paid 1.7 million pounds ($2.2 million), deferring the rest.

Its pre-tax profits for the period were 72.4 million pounds, almost triple the previous year’s 24.3 million pounds. Revenue was 1.99 billion pounds, up from 1.46 billion pounds.

The tax-payment decrease was partly due to shares payments to staff, which were counted as a cost and deducted from profits.

Amazon said Friday that it pays “all taxes required in the U.K. and every country where we operate.”

In the U.S., President Donald Trump has targeted Amazon with criticism that it doesn’t pay “Internet taxes,” which some view as part of a simmering feud with The Washington Post and Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns the paper.

During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump denounced the Post as Bezos’ “toy” and argued that Amazon “is getting away with murder tax-wise.” However, tax experts say that view is out of date and unfair. While the Seattle-based company fought for years against efforts to collect sales tax on internet sales, Amazon now does so in all states that levy sales taxes. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that states can force shoppers to pay tax for online purchases. 

Brick-and-mortar British retailers say they struggle to compete with online giants that use loopholes to lower their bill.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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