Be clear about taxes, as told by Amazon investors

Investors with more than $ 3 trillion in integrated assets have put more pressure on Amazon to increase transparency about where and how much tax they pay around the world.

The company’s shareholders submitted a proposal last year requesting that it report in line with a new global tax standard and disclose global tax practices and risks to investors by disclosing information on its meaning at home and abroad.

However, the technology group challenged the proposal earlier this year by submitting a “no action” request to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

More than 100 investors, including Royal London and Nest Workplace Pension Scheme, have signed a letter to the commission urging regulators to consider changing investor expectations around tax transparency in assessing Amazon’s challenge to shareholders’ proposals.

“Aggressive tax practices can increase the vulnerability of a company and its investors to increase scrutiny from tax authorities, adjustment risks and changes in tax rules because countries want to protect their tax bases from harmful practices,” the investors wrote.

The letter was compiled by shareholder advisory group Pirak, as part of a new collaborative initiative on tax transparency, with the Center for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research.

Katie Hepworth, Pirc’s responsible tax lead, said: “This is an unprecedented level of support for tax transparency and nationwide reporting. It is clear that investors see tax as a key governance and sustainable issue and expect companies to evaluate their tax planning practices. Will provide adequate information. “

Amazon wrote a letter to the SEC in January requesting approval of the shareholder resolution to be excluded from voting at its next annual general meeting. It argued that the company’s assessment of the potential impact of tax law and policy changes “necessarily involves” multiple general business decisions that are part of its day-to-day operations.

“For example, the proposal refers to exactly what kind of general business issues should be resolved by the company’s management and board and which would be unavoidable to be directly supervised by shareholders,” Amazon said.

The tech giant said it had already provided a “comprehensive and detailed disclosure” of income tax contributions in accordance with the generally accepted accounting policy in the United States in its annual and quarterly reports submitted to the SEC.

Original shareholder resolutions were met by Mary Immaculate’s Missionary Oblets, a Catholic investment fund, and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

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