Amazon avoids $1.5bn US tax bill in court ruling
Online shopping behemoth Amazon has avoided a $1.5bn (£1.2bn) tax bill after winning a legal dispute in a US tax court.
Judge Albert Lauber rejected a variety of arguments presented by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), bringing to an end a lengthy court battle.
Ruling in favour of the world’s largest online retailer, he said it was legal for Amazon to have funnelled its European sales through a low-tax Luxembourg sub-company in 2005 and 2006, instead of the US.
Amazon said that if it had lost it could have had been forced to pay a US tax bill as high as $1.5bn and potentially faced “significant” tax liabilities in the years to come.
The company – which according to Forbes is the world’s 12th most valuable brand – made $2.37bn of profit in 2016, four times what it made in the four previous years combined.
Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird Equity Research told Reuters the ruling “should shield Amazon from potentially significant tax obligations to the IRS covering years beyond the ones covered in the lawsuit.”
Yet Amazon could still face additional tax bills in Europe if Brussels officials choose to take further action.