Bezos openly embraces tax hikes, but Amazon lobbied against them

Even as Amazon’s founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos publicly endorsed President Joe Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate, the e-commerce giant quietly lobbied Congress to preserve a key tax break that could be saving Amazon “hundreds and millions of dollars” a year.

In April, Bezos issued a statement saying that Amazon would support “a rise in the corporate tax rate” to help pay for Biden’s proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure package.

Bezos’ embrace of the plan broke with many of his corporate peers, who have repeatedly and vehemently opposed such tax hikes.

But behind the scenes, Amazon continued to work to make sure its tax bill wouldn’t rise, according to Politico.

Last month, Amazon hired seasoned tax lobbyist Joshua Odintz, a former Democratic congressional aide and alumnus of the Obama administration, to lobby on the section of the code dealing with the research and development tax deduction, the outlet reported, citing a disclosure filing.

And the R&D Coalition — which represents a wide group of companies that benefit from the deduction — hired a number of veteran tax lobbyists at PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year, Politico reported.

Amazon is listed on the R&D Coalition’s leadership committee, alongside Ford, Intel, the National Association of Manufacturers, Raytheon and others.

The R&D deduction and the R&D tax credit are meant to encourage corporate investments in research and development. The credit was first established in 1981, according to the Tax Foundation, and has been lauded by members of both political parties, according to Politico.

The outlet added that it’s difficult to how much Amazon has benefitted from the R&D tax credit, but the e-commerce giant noted in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year that the tax credits that helped it reduce its US tax bill “were primarily related to the U.S. federal research and development credit.”

To be sure, the company also benefits from other tax breaks, including rules that allow it to deduct the cost of stock it gives its employees as part of their pay packages.

FILE - In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. Amazon has had a complicated few weeks with its cancellation of a New York headquarters Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, and extortion claims last week related to intimate photos taken by its founder. Experts say the events are unlikely to pose much of a threat to AmazonÕs business. But the company will continue to face more challenges as it grows larger.
Bezos’ company Amazon is listed on the R&D Coalition’s leadership committee, alongside Ford, Intel, the National Association of Manufacturers, Raytheon and other companies.
Ted S. Warren/AP

Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, who’s studied the tax habits of Amazon and other big companies, told Politico that Amazon is likely “getting hundreds of millions of dollars a year in R&D tax credits.”

Amazon declined to comment to Politico and a representative for the company did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.


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