Shortly after Jeff Bezos, chairman and founder of Amazon (AMZN), returned to Earth from space on Tuesday, the billionaire was sharply criticized by progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for the low tax bills paid by him and Amazon. contrasted with that of ordinary Americans who “keep this country going.”
The criticism came in the wake of comments from Bezos thanking Amazon customers and employees for their purchases and work “paid for” the space expedition, which was conducted by another Bezos-backed company, Blue Origin.
In a tweet Warren responded to the comments, telling Bezos, “Forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country going when he and Amazon didn’t pay anything.”
Many of the nation’s wealthiest executives, including Bezos, use legal tax avoidance methods that allow them to pay little or no income tax in some years, according to a report. research released by ProPublica last month.
The study calculated a “real tax rate” based on the amount of tax a billionaire paid and the amount his or her wealth grew over a given period. As a result of that measure, Bezos paid a tax rate of 0.98% from 2014 to 2018, the research found.
By comparison, in recent years, the average American household spent $70,000 a year and paid 14% in federal taxes, the report said.
In addition to the low taxes Bezos paid, tech giant Amazon basically paid no federal income taxes for 2017 and 2018. an analysis conducted by the left-wing Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy in 2019.
The company has seen a resurgence in recent years, paying $162 million in taxes and revenue in 2019. reported a tax charge of $1.8 billion in February, an approximation of the tax bill for 2020, according to documents submitted with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Warren’s criticism comes because some Democrats in Washington DC want to tax corporations and wealthy individuals.
President Joe Biden has appealed to business America to pay its “fair share”, citing its proposed tax hike that would raise the rate for corporations from 21% to 28%. Prior to a tax reform during the Trump administration, the corporate tax rate was 35%.
In addition, Biden has: proposed tax increases for the rich that would raise the top individual income tax rate to 39.6% from 37%, tax capital gains as normal income for households earning more than $1 million, and close the carry-rate gap.
In March, Biden handpicked Amazon as a company that would have to pay a higher tax bill. A month later, Bezos said he supports a higher corporate tax rate to pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Warren’s tweet.
In 2019, in response to criticism from then-presidential candidate Biden over alleged failure to pay taxes, Amazon tweeted“We pay every cent we owe. Congress designed tax laws to encourage companies to reinvest in the U.S. economy. We have $200 billion in investment since 2011 and 300,000 jobs in the U.S. Suppose Vice’s complaint President Biden is with the tax code, not Amazon.