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Amazon to pay taxes on sales in France

US online retail giant Amazon announced that it has begun declaring sales made in France, meaning it will no longer only be paying European taxes in Luxembourg.

Amazon to pay taxes on sales in France
Amazon is among several large companies under the spotlight in Europe over tax deals. Photo: AFP
Amazon's tax agreement in Luxembourg, under which it recorded European sales and paid taxes on them in the tiny country instead of at the source, had attracted howls of criticism that the giant was trying to evade taxes, and had sparked an EU probe.
 
The US company finally announced its response on Tuesday, stating that it had recorded sales declarations since May 1st in France, as well as in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.
 
“More than two years ago we began the process of establishing local country branches of Amazon EU Sarl, our primary retail operating company in Europe,” the company said in a statement.

“As of May 1st, Amazon EU Sarl is recording retail sales made to customers through these branches in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy,” the company said in a statement.

“Previously, these retail sales were recorded in Luxembourg. We are working on opening a branch for France.

Amazon is among several large companies under the spotlight in Europe over tax deals in Luxembourg and elsewhere.
 
The EU is investigating tax deals involving US tech giant Apple in Ireland, coffee-shop chain Starbucks in the Netherlands, and Amazon and Italian automaker Fiat in Luxembourg.
 
Amazon has had its share of problems with France in the past.
 
In July last year, it hit back at a law banning it from offering free deliveries in France by charging customers just one centime (1.4 cents) for books dispatched to their homes.
 
A French minister accused the online store of “destroying bookshops”.
 
 

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PROTESTS

Hundreds protest Amazon expansion in France

Hundreds rallied in several French towns on Saturday, January 30th, in protests against Amazon called by anti-capitalist and environmental groups, including at one site where the US e-commerce giant plans a massive warehouse.

Hundreds protest Amazon expansion in France
Image: Raymond Roig / AFP

Amazon plans to set up a 38,000-square-metre (400,000-square-feet) facility in the small southern town of Fournes near the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct bridge that is a World Heritage site.

A crowd police said numbered around 800 and which organisers estimated at 1,400 rallied at the site, planting shrubs in front of huge banners reading “Stop Amazon” and “Not here or anywhere”.

They formed a human chain to show the size of the project, while multicoloured balloons floated 18 metres (60 feet) up to indicate the height of the planned five-storey facility.

“It's two years that the citizens of Fournes and its surroundings have fought against the installation of a giant Amazon warehouse,” said Raphael Pradeau, spokesman for French citizens' activist group Attac.

“At the start they were a bit alone against everyone, but they have succeeded in halting the project thanks to legal recourse.”

“We want to show that these are not small isolated fights and that we can mobilise hundreds of people who are ready to return to stop the work”, said Pradeau.

Protesters in Fournes, France. Photo: Sylvain Thomas / AFP

Precarious jobs

Sarah Latour, 38, came with her two sons aged eight and six, and the family
planted a shrub in waste ground, where vines had once grown.

“These plants, these shrubs that we are planting today are a symbol of life that contrasts with the concreting that Amazon practises,” she said. “I came with my children because I don't want this destructive model for them.”

About 200 people also rallied outside an Amazon facility in Carquefou, a suburb of the western city of Nantes, organisers said.

“We condemn Amazon for destroying more jobs than they create, and that these are insecure jobs,” said Sophie Jallier, a spokeswoman for the organisers in Carquefou.

In the eastern town of Ensisheim, about 100 people gathered to protest a plan to build a giant warehouse on a 15-hectare site of former agricultural land. Bannners read “Amazon, Fiscal Vampire” and “No mega warehouse.”

“Today, we condemn an economic system that is at the end of its rope and which is using the planet,” said Isabelle Schaeffer, a member of an environmental group in the Sud Alsace region.

Other protests were held in Augny, in the eastern Moselle region, and in Perpignan in the south.

Amazon practices “unfair competition with regard to businesses that pay their taxes in France”, Eric Barbier of the environmental group Alteratiba said in Perpignan.

In addition, “most workers are on precarious contracts, hired during peak periods such as Black Friday or Christmas and are then thrown out”.

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