Former Vice President Joe Biden has renewed his criticism of e-commerce giant Amazon, once again turning the company into a political football that has been kicked around by presidential candidates on various issues, including taxes and delivery charges.
On Friday, Biden was asked in a CNBC interview on whether the company should be broken up to keep it from becoming too powerful and monopolistic, as suggested by former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“I think Amazon should start paying their taxes, OK?” said Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. “I don’t think any company, I don’t give a damn how big they are, Lord Almighty, should absolutely be in the position where they pay no tax and make billions and billions and billions of dollars, number one.”
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Biden then doubled down on his remarks on Twitter, saying, “I've said it before, and I'll say it again: No company pulling in billions of dollars in profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers. It's time for Amazon to pay its fair share.”
Amazon’s position is that it pays what it owes according to the tax code.
A recent analysis by the liberal-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said that, despite reporting $29 billion of U.S. income over the last three years, the company has reported a total of zero current federal income taxes over the same period.
“In fact, the company’s three-year federal tax total was negative – a rebate of $102 million!” the institute wrote.
Reached for comment, the company referred to a blog post in January that said its 2019 U.S. taxes included $1 billion in federal income tax expense.
“We follow all applicable federal and state tax laws, and our U.S. taxes are a reflection of our continued investments, compensation of our employees, and the current tax rules,” the company wrote.
Biden made similar comments last year and now is discussing the issue again during campaign season. President Trump has criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who separately owns the Washington Post, one of several media outlets that Trump has derided for its coverage of him. Last month, Trump also said he wouldn’t approve a $10-billion loan for the U.S. Postal Service unless it increased rates on Amazon’s delivery services.