back to article eBay won't pass UK Digital Service Tax costs on to third-party sellers – unlike Amazon, which simply can't afford it

Unlike arch-rival Amazon, eBay has assured the 300,000 third parties that use its online marketplaces it will continue to absorb the UK government's Digital Services Tax (DST) rather than pass it on. From April, large multinationals that generate revenue via social media platforms, search engines or web souks were ordered to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the breadline then Bezos?

    you poor, poor thing.

    Oh... I see that forked tongue of yours in action again.

    I hope that Amazon UK gets a multi billion ££££ tax bill and as a result, decide to quit the UK. good riddance I'd say.

    BREXIT meant that WE decided that you guys need to start paying tax and not the pittance you did before thanks to your legal slight of hand.

    There is no dodging it this time Bezos.

    He google, apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle and the rest... We have not forgotten you. Your time will come. Get those funds ready.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

      Brexit: Claims about EU tax rules fact-checked

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/50168357

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

        Is there a reason people would downvote a fact-check?

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

          The kind of people who post as Anonymous Cowards and randomly capitalise words generally don't believe in facts in my experience.

          1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

            Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

            Apparently it's a fact that 79.8% of statistics are made up on the spot and there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing.

            And that the Earth is flat, man cannot travel faster than a horse can gallop or we will suffocate, there will never be a need for more than 9 computers in the world, the Titanic is unsinkable, Apple invented rounded corners, you cannot "check facts" for something that has not actually happened yet (clue, these are called "predictions" and they can, shock horror, be wrong sometimes).

            Some people just prefer to wait until *after* something happens before they call it a "fact".

            And isn't the idea behind capitalising a word to emphasise it, make it STAND OUT from the other words around it? Some people use *asterisks", some CAPITALIZE words. How would you do it?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

          A fact-check by the BBC. Who "fact-check" by pirating "their" news stories from other people's news feeds without actually checking the facts, then getting asked for confirmation by the very source they "checked" with themselves...

          The BBC, who have always described leaving the EU as an unmitigated disaster with no benefits whatsoever, while always describing the EU as a land of milk and honey where everyone lives in perfect harmony.

          The BBC, who say they desperately need to charge OAPs the licence fee so they can produce "quality" programmes (like the totally unbiased Newsnight, and that pinnacle of human kindness and outstanding representation of life in a big city "EastEnders"...) while paying talking heads like Gary Lineker more in one year than many of those pensioners will see in their LIFETIME.

          Oh look, a random capitalized word. Maybe it was capitalized for a reason, oh I don't know, make it so obvious even the BBC's apologists cannot miss it?

    2. CliveS
      FAIL

      Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

      "BREXIT meant that WE decided that you guys need to start paying tax and not the pittance you did before thanks to your legal slight of hand."

      Yeah, right. BREXIT means WE leave the EU which told us to reclaim illegal tax breaks that the British Government had given to multinationals since 2013 when the UK included an exemption for certain income of multinational groups active in the UK, the so-called “group financing exception” to the “controlled foreign company” rules.

    3. cipnt

      Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

      You got this all wrong...

      1. The tax bill that you wish upon Amazon will in fact be paid by small businesses which would otherwise not be the subject of this tax – Amazon makes the same profit, small businesses pay more taxes which makes it harder to compete with big players.

      2. This has nothing to do with Brexit.

      3. And Bezos (aka Amazon) is in fact dodging this because he is passing the bill to the little guys (aka third-party marketplace sellers)

      1. Cliffwilliams44

        Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

        This is always what happens when Corporations are taxes, Amazon passes this on to the sellers, they pass it on to their customers in higher prices, when someone else, i.e. Amazon, can sell the product at a higher price, then the small business closes and all their employee become unemployed and must depend on government programs that require more taxes. It is the vicious cycle of taxation.

        Many of the sheep on the left do not understand this, but the leadership do. Continuously raising taxes is a way to crush the capitalist system.

        Are sellers, based in the UK not paying sales tax? not paying the VAT? Here in the US, no matter what seller I buy from on Amazon they collect my local sales tax. Is this not the case in the UK? SO what taxes is the UK and the EU claiming they are not getting. Or is this just a money grab from the richest corporations in the world?

        1. vishal vashisht

          Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

          The UK has VAT rather than a sales tax.

          Placing a tax on the LOCATION of the sale would wipe out a lot of the tax shenanigans from google, amazing et al overnight.

          So it wouldn't matter where your head office is, where your sales force are, where your accountants are. If your customer is in London and buys services of goods in London, the sales tax is charged in London and there's nothing you can do about it.

          The current system has huge holes in it, designed by the freaks at PWC,KPMG, Accenture who have a revolving door policy with jobs and secondments with HMRC so that they can sell services to clients to help "avoid" tax. A simplified tax system would kill the Big 4 accountancies and rightly so.

          The upshot is that Bezos pays fuck all & your's and my taxes go up to pay for the services that firms like Amazon enjoy, like the police protecting their warehouses or the fire brigade turning up if they have a fire.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: On the breadline then Bezos?

        "1. The tax bill that you wish upon Amazon will in fact be paid by small businesses which would otherwise not be the subject of this tax – Amazon makes the same profit, small businesses pay more taxes which makes it harder to compete with big players."

        As is already being amply demonstrated by Amazon with the new and existing 2% tax charge. Amazon are not paying that tax out of their profits. They're increasing their income at the cost of 3rd party sellers so their profit stays the same or increases.

  2. James Anderson Silver badge

    Amazon Prime Ripoff

    My partner was after a specialist shampoo and she search on amazon and it came up at 9 euros a bottle plus 4 euros shipping.

    Knowing I have a prime account with "Free Shipping" she asked me to order it.

    However on my prime account it was priced at 13 euros with free shipping.

    Some strange orwellian version of the "free" word. Definitely not "free as in beer".

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

      I've stopped using them completely. The tax and worker treatment were bad enough on their own, but luckily coincided with a tidal wave of fake and/or poor-quality products on Amazon that shows no signs of abating.

      If I can get it somewhere else, I do that. If Amazon's the only place I can get something, I don't get it and submit myself to life without it (which oddly enough turns out to be absolutely fine). Protip: getting in touch with bookshops directly can avoid you having to purchase through Abebooks. They're quite amenable to the idea of not paying fees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

        I tend to use Amazon for the items. I've had more hit and miss on eBay such as;

        - Seller says they are UK, even has a UK flag on them. No delivery for ages and then find out it's shipped from China.

        - Seller had a Buy It Now. Never recevied item - turned out he's sold those 100 items to others and fraudulently vanished. Ebay actually refunded me after a case was opened - so can't complain on that one.

        - Seller - item looks like this (shows a 3 pack/5 pack whatever) - single item turns up. Amazon do this too but at least you can 1 star it and send it for refund via Amazon.

        1. logicalextreme Silver badge

          Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

          On the last order I placed with them (hopefully the last ever) I got a Curtis Stigers CD instead of a two-pack of silicone food tin covers. One can only wonder.

          I'd put a return request in but missed the date for getting it back to them cause I didn't fancy walking so far afield at the moment to the place that takes the returns so I guess a charity shop's getting it because the hole in the middle makes it functionally unsuitable for covering an open tin of pet food.

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

        I have cut the cord 99.99% completely. I go to UK suppliers (e.g. AO for fridge,washing machine etc, sometimes Argos) and they have good prices and good delivery) and i know they are not grinding their employees into the dirt. There is not one thing I have needed that I have no been able to find elsewhere. Sometimes I pay £5 or £10 more, but it is worth it. I also use eBay and I have been scammed or disappointed about five times over six years and hundreds of purchases. one has to look carefully at the vendor. Amazon will not amend itself until we make it hurt.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

          AO for fridge,washing machine etc......and i know they are not grinding their employees into the dirt

          You sure on that?

          https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Ao.com/reviews

          From what I've read (multiple sites), the offices are nice, but the warehouse staff get treated like dirt, especially the drivers...hence they are forever hiring.

          1. Cliffwilliams44

            Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

            Yeah, requiring a full days productive work so so cruel!

      3. Cliffwilliams44

        Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

        I here these Amazon "worker abuse" charges all the time in the media. You see here in the US we have this government agency called the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) who is quite aggressive when it comes to worker safety. I know this because work in the construction industry (One of the biggest UK based international construction companies). Yet in these articles, I never see that an OSHA complaint was files, or that there is an OSHA investigation. Never! OSHA fines are quite stiff and you can be subjected to ongoing monitoring at significant cost. Large corporation in the US take this very seriously.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazon Prime Ripoff

      One of the reasons I've never swallowed the "Prime" propaganda.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How convenient

    Amazon gets hit with an extra tax and passes it onto it's customers as charges that will bake it an extra £500,000 a year.

    It sounds like they are treating it as a blanket 2% rather than allowing for their 1st 25 million in sales where they aren't charged the 2% and they will pocket the extra half million

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: How convenient

      That's Bezos's rules. Heads, he wins. Tails, you lose.

      Avoid Amazon.

    2. RM Myers Silver badge

      Re: How convenient

      This article is about Amazon passing the tax on to the other companies who sell through Amazon. Whether the marketplace sellers then further pass on the costs to consumers will be up to them (the vast majority probably will).

      1. Julz Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: How convenient

        Oy, stop being rational and reasonable. We all want to bash the big guy here. Exploitation by the bourgeoisie of the noble working classes. Up the revolution!

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: How convenient

        >This article is about Amazon passing the tax on to the other companies who sell through Amazon.

        What is not clear is how the monies are accounted for.

        It would not surprise me if Amazon and Ebay handle and thus account for monies differently, so in Ebay's case by using PayPal they only receive the commission payment, not the full payment, resulting in a lower taxable turnover figure...

    3. Cliffwilliams44

      Re: How convenient

      Because "Corporation don't pay taxes, you do!"

      Remember this next time your government wants to implement another tax on the "evil corporation"!

  4. Greybearded old scrote

    Wrong approach

    Shouldn't hit just one industry like that. Many of the other very large corporations are avoiding tax in similar ways.

    I'd stop taxing on profits, because they can be exported in all sorts of technically legal ways. We already have a tax on turnover, but current rules refund most of it. VAT of course. So if we replace corporation tax with a slightly reduced VAT refund it will be extremely difficult to dodge. It would take a bit of thinking about, you'd aim to set the amount so that a company that has been honest over corporation tax will usually pay a similar amount.

    And a side benefit is that 'certain countries' couldn't claim we were unfairly penalising their companies.

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: Wrong approach

      It's mentioned in the article that it's an interim measure and it's a turnover tax, but I agree. Loopholes need gone.

      1. Greybearded old scrote

        Re: Wrong approach

        I suspect it will be a temporary measure, in the same way as income tax. ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong approach

      VAT is not a tax on companies. They collect VAT on behalf of HMRC. It is the purchaser who is directly paying a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest. Well done you just screwed people in favour of corporations.

      1. Cliffwilliams44

        Re: Wrong approach

        The regressive argument is BS. Just because you are poor you should have no responsibility to contribute to society? Spare me. When I stand in line in a convenience store and watch someone who obviously is not making more than $30K /year spend $100 on lottery tickets i have no sympathy for them.

        We spend billions on the "poor" in my country and we daily hear about how "children are going hungry! Why! Because we no longer hold people responsible fore their own condition!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wrong approach

          Who let this ignorant Trumpian clown in here?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wrong approach

          Maybe you haven’t noticed, over the past few months it is the poorly paid cleaners, supermarket workers, delivery drivers etc. who have been ensuring society even exists, then again they always have done, the majority just haven’t noticed it.

      2. nijam

        Re: Wrong approach

        > VAT is not a tax on companies. They collect VAT on behalf of HMRC. It is the purchaser who is directly paying

        Yes.

        > a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest.

        No.

    3. Cliffwilliams44

      Re: Wrong approach

      This is the problem with any form of "income tax". Most people truly don't understand how it works and it is easily manipulated. Politicians scream, "TAX THE RICH" while secretly putting in loopholes for their rich contributors. A tax on the transaction is the only real fair way to go. And to those who claim the is regressive, that is just a straw man, because they do not want their controllable "poor people" voting to keep their sales tax low. It is far easier for them to vote for politician who will raise taxes on "others" and not them. When everyone pays the tax it will be much a harder to raise!

      Here is the US we are one the verge of a tipping point, 49% of American pay no federal income tax. Once we are over 50%, we are doomed!

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    While I agree with this tax in principle it was only supposed to apply to business that had a turnover of over 25 million. Yet now thousands of UK small business who to survive have to sell on platforms like Amazon are now the ones having to pay this tax through the backdoor via increased Amazon fees. Amazon will actually be reducing their tax liability by passing on fees to its marketplace sellers.

    .

  6. Rol Silver badge

    Flight capital of the world. Passport not required.

    Part of the problem for the UK in trying to fix some glaring tax holes, is that it is up to its eyes in dodgy finance. No wonder the rest of the world has a difficult time sitting down with our representatives to talk about making things fair, when we are running one of the world's biggest tax and accountability scams.

    Back when the nation was partying to Live Aid and giving millions in donations to Africa, British Overseas Territories were smoothing the way for African despots and assorted villains to transfer billions into secret off-shore trusts.

    I bet my life savings that if the UK's off-shore trust scam had been running as early as 1940, they would have happily accommodated Adolf's stash, and still be guarding it for his appointed beneficiaries today. That's the moral level where they operate. They care little about the impoverished nations from where the money is fraudulently embezzled from, or the number of men women and children that died in the process.

    In that light, the UK has no right to moan about the unfairness of tax loopholes.

    1. vishal vashisht

      Re: Flight capital of the world. Passport not required.

      Ironically it was WW2 that started the UK's tax shenanigans. The US, after helping out didn't want the European powers going back to colonial business as usual.

      I mean the Nat West building (tower42 to the younguns) was paid for by encouraging african despots to dump their money in london.

      I mean now we have Russian, Chinese, Saudi money here. The City will NEVER say no to cash, no matter how dirty. Oligarchs who have stolen Billions form the people of Russia partying with Johnson and buying up our papers with their stolen cash.

      With Brexit it'll only get worse, anyone wanting to steal money from their people and shove it in a friendly bank for themselves when they have to run away from said country will put it in London's institutions.

      Theres a reason why the vast majority of tax havens have been British territories.

      1. nijam

        Re: Flight capital of the world. Passport not required.

        > The City will NEVER say no to cash, no matter how dirty

        True but irrelevant. The whole point of cash is that - at some level - it's simply not possible to tell whether or not it's clean. Just as banknote as bearer bonds, for example. Various governments can put their shonky checks on transactions, but that's more about raising tax than proving cleanliness - which they really have no interest in.

  7. Claverhouse Silver badge

    "Now that the legislation has passed, we want to inform you that we will be increasing Referral fees, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) fees, monthly FBA storage fees and Multichannel Fulfilment fees by 2 per cent in the UK to reflect this additional cost," Amazon told its sellers.

    .

    Perhaps they should add another 5% admin fee on this to simplify and maintain running costs.

    For your convenience.

  8. Trigun

    I think that there is a greater issue here: Amazon are just too big to compete with and is strangling its local competition.

    Tax hikes are one way to deal with this, but not perfect as we're now seeing. I think perhaps a better way would be to bolster competition - specifically local UK based.

    There can be downsides to this so it has to be done carefully, but as we're not going to be in the EU we can do things like give tax exemptions to UK based companies, although this would mean being vetted to ensure that larger international companies weren't trying to take advantage (looking at you Take Two Interactive: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jul/29/grand-theft-auto-maker-uk-corporation-tax-rockstar-north-games).

    This is just a suggestion and there may be better ways of dealing with this, but in any event it's become so, so obvious that Amazon is just too dominant.

  9. Falmari
    Devil

    Passing on costs

    I really do not have a problem with Amazon passing on the costs, that is how it works, the final buyer in the chain pays it.

    A local UK company pays tax on its profits, so it prices its goods and or services accordingly. But that revenue is going to the state, albeit coming from the final buyer. But Amazon due to its tax avoidance, pays very little tax on its profits from the UK. Therefore, that extra revenue is not going to the state. Now Amazon can do one of two things it can charge lower prices for its goods and services and undercut local competition, or it just charge the same and make extra money.

    I know it is a very simple way of looking at it and there is a more to it than this but in essence that is what Amazon is doing.

    Keeping with that simplistic approach maybe we should just do away with corporate tax and just increase the tax on goods and services to make up for it. At least the tax will be paid and put multi nationals on a level playing field to local UK companies, tax wise as there would be nothing to avoid. Just thinking out of the box here I am sure it is not as easy as that.

    1. nijam

      Re: Passing on costs

      > But Amazon due to its tax avoidance, pays very little tax on its profits from the UK

      Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, that's how the government designed it. (They may have made stupid design errors, they are the government after all.)

      Most of Amazon's profits come from its data centre services, not moving consumer tat about with negligible profit. And are those data centres in the UK? Will they stay here if HMRC goes after them? In reality, are they any worse then the half-baked companies that the UK pours an endless stream of funds into for overpriced badly-implemented projects?

      1. Falmari

        Re: Passing on costs

        "Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, that's how the government designed it. (They may have made stupid design errors, they are the government after all.)". I never said it was not legal, that is why I used avoidance rather than evasion. I was stating that revenue that would go to the state is lost due to tax avoidance from multinationals.

        Will they stay here if HMRC goes after them? Of course they will any tax a company pays is passed on to their customers. Amazon are here because they can make shit loads of money, paying tax on the profits they make here still allows them to make shit loads of money. They would still be more competitive than local companies. They may lose some advantage having to pay tax the same as local companies on profit, but they still have other advantages such as economy of scale.

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