Amazon and Senator Elizabeth Warren have engaged in a Twitter spat in which the progressive lawmaker accused the online giant of exploiting loopholes to avoid paying its “fair share” of taxes.
The Massachusetts senator tweeted a video in which she discussed with international tax expert Kimberly Clausing the measures that lower the tax burden for companies such as tax credits for research and development and shifting profits overseas.
Clausing told Warren in the clip that despite a U.S. corporate tax rate of 21 percent between 2018 and 2020, Amazon paid about 4.5 percent tax.
Warren wrote alongside the video: “Giant corporations like Amazon report huge profits to their shareholders—but they exploit loopholes and tax havens to pay close to nothing in taxes.”
“That’s just not right—and it’s why I’ll be introducing a bill to make the most profitable companies pay a fair share,” she added.
But Amazon hit back through its official Amazon News account, telling Warren that the company only follows the tax laws set by lawmakers.
“If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them. Here are the facts: Amazon has paid billions of dollars in corporate taxes over the past few years alone,” the company tweeted.
In a separate tweet, Amazon said it had paid another $1.7 billion in federal tax expenses on top of $18 billion generated in sales taxes for states and localities. It also said that it had created 400,000 jobs in the U.S. last year alone.
“While you’re working on changing the tax code, can we please raise the federal minimum wage to $15?,” the company added, referring to the minimum Amazon pays its workers—a level which Warren and other Democrats want to see introduced nationally.
But Warren responded in kind, tweeting: “I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon – your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did.
“You bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share,” she added vowing that she would “fight your union-busting,” as well as, “fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets.”
Warren and fellow progressive lawmaker Senator Bernie Sanders have re-introduced the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act, which would make companies with higher pay gaps between their CEOs and workers pay more in corporation tax.
Sanders is due to visit a distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama on Friday to lend his support to workers there ahead of a vote on whether to form a union, which would be the first in the company’s history.
Newsweek has contacted Amazon for comment.
The graphic below provided by Statista shows the growth of Amazon’s workforce.