Amazon’s $5 Billion Rebate: See all of its tax cuts and other US subsidies


Amazon, a multibillion-dollar company, has received at least $5 billion in U.S. tax breaks and other subsidies, according to data from Good Jobs First, a nonprofit that works with the company and state and local governments. Finds and tracks similarities between

“The $5.1 billion is just the tip of the iceberg, because there’s more money that we don’t know about,” said Kasia Tarzynska, senior research analyst at Good Jobs First. Since Amazon is not required to disclose this information, researchers only know about the grants from what they can find in public records and the media.

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This data highlights an issue at the heart of the Make Amazon Pay campaign, which aims to draw attention to Amazon’s poor record on worker rights, climate change and tax avoidance. Good Jobs First is a member of an international coalition of organizations coordinating the movement.

It is common for state and city governments to offer tax breaks and incentives to attract businesses. Politicians want thriving local economies and jobs for their communities. In the US, such subsidies amount to at least $30 billion annually.

But recent research from Princeton found no strong evidence that firm-specific tax incentives stimulate macroeconomic growth. And companies like Amazon more often than not move places regardless of such incentives, another study suggested.

The subsidy Amazon got in America

Most of Amazon’s grants in the US went to distribution centers: 52% or $2.7 billion. Another 31% was for offices and 11% for data centers.

“Amazon receives grants for all sorts of different activities. Most of the subsidies are for warehouses, but every activity the company does is subsidized,” said Taraczynska. “A huge number of tax exemptions go to data centers; Amazon gets movie production tax break — making movies for its Prime streaming services; get paid for [subsidiary] Whole Foods stores, etc.

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Graphic: Amanda Shendruk

A total of 38 states have granted breaks to Amazon. The most important amounts came from Virginia ($824 million) and Illinois ($732 million). Most of Virginia’s incentives and tax breaks were for Amazon’s second US headquarters, HQ2. In 2017, Amazon solicited grant proposals from state and local governments to effectively set up HQ2, asking them to bid against each other to court the company. Cities in Canada, Mexico and the US bid, with Virginia ultimately winning the bid.

Graphic: Amanda Shendruk

The US is not alone in offering significant tax breaks and incentives to Amazon. However, such data is difficult to find abroad. To date, Good Jobs First has explored at least half a billion dollars in government funding for Amazon projects in other countries (PDF).

What is Create on Amazon?

Launched in 2020, the Make Amazon Pay campaign calls for Amazon employees to strike and retailers to protest and boycott the company on Black Friday each year. This year, Amazon warehouse workers are expected to take part in protests and strikes in nearly 40 countries.

“We want legislation that prevents the Amazonification of our economies and our societies,” said Claire Carlile, a writer and researcher at The Ethical Consumer, who advises readers on ethical shopping and another participant in Make Amazon Pay. organization.” “We say Amazon needs to step up and pay its dues on climate change and communities, but we also say lawmakers and policymakers need to look at their exploitation, recognizing that we need to do something different.”

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The campaign is of great importance: it aims to address Amazon’s environmental footprint, its history of unionization and poor working conditions, its impact on communities and its significant tax avoidance.

“For me, the most important thing to focus on is the connection between all these different things. It is very important that we make the connection between things like tax avoidance and the impact on communities and the damage to the environment,” says Carlile. he said. “All of these things are intertwined in Amazon’s race to the bottom. To me, that’s what makes Amazon pay.”

When asked about the campaign’s claim that “rather than supporting its employees, communities and the planet, Amazon is stifling every last outage,” an Amazon spokesperson replied, “These groups represent a wide range of interests.” We’re doing this, and while we’re not perfect in any area, if you look objectively at what Amazon is doing on these important issues, you’ll see that we take our role and our impact very seriously.

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