US President Donald Trump today slammed Amazon for paying “no taxes” to state and local governments as reports emerged that he is seeking tougher regulations against the Seattle-based company, which now has a global presence, including in India.
“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state and local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the US), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!,” Trump said in a tweet.
The White House defended Trump’s statement, saying action is being planned. “The President has expressed his concerns with Amazon. We have no actions at this time,” Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters on board Air Force One.
“You heard the President speak this morning on his displeasure regarding Amazon. He has made it clear that his concerns — you know, some users of Amazon are not paying state sales taxes, which is putting many brick and mortar retailers out of business,” she alleged.
Trump’s tweet comes a day after news site Axios reported that he “hates” Amazon and has talked about changing Amazons tax treatment because he was “worried” about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business.
He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with anti-trust or competition law,” Axios said quoting an unnamed source.
“Trump’s deep-seated antipathy toward Amazon surfaces when discussing tax policy and anti-trust cases. The president would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos wings. But he doesn’t have a plan to make that happen,” Axios said.
It is well known that there is a personal feud between Trump and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who now also owns The Washington Post. During his presidential election campaign days, Trump had said, The Washington Post had a team of some 20 reporters to write stories against him.
As a result of Trumps tweet, the shares of Amazon dropped in the market by nine per cent. The net worth of Bezos who is now the richest man in the world dropped by USD 10.7 billion.
Soon after Trump’s tweet, the White House indicated imposing taxes on such companies. “Right now there is no Internet sales tax,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told Fox news.
“And as a result, companies like Amazon can buy and sell good without having to pay basic retail taxes that your stores and your convenience stores and all the folks around, when you walk out of the studio over there and grab something, you have to pay. And that puts brick-and-mortar retail stores at a disadvantage,” Shah said.
Founded in 1994 by Bezos, Amazon currently is the world’s largest internet retailer in terms of revenue and market capitalisation.