Heads are expected to roll at the UK division of Amazon after an undetected internal accounting error meant that the company has become liable for UK Corporation Tax of £1.7m.
The company, which would have beaten Apple to the crown of “first $1trn company” nine years ago if it hadn’t been for its merciless tax mitigation department, is still ranked less profitable in the UK than Toys R Us, Maplin and Aunt Emily’s Corner Shop in Devizes.
Executives from Amazon HQ in the USA are expected in the UK tomorrow to lead an inquiry into this tax error. A committee from UK Head Office has decided that it would be the better part of valour to avoid pointing out to their American colleagues that it will, in fact, be an enquiry which takes place, and is hastily trying to arrange a VIP trip to Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds and all the other dreadful places Americans like to visit when in London as a distraction tactic.
A spokesman for the company said, “Amazon prides itself on operating as efficiently as possible, raising and saving every penny imaginable. The newly-introduced Staff Oxygen Surcharge which operates across all our sites has been a tremendous profit generator already, increasing deductions from staff salaries whilst simultaneously creating costs from the installation of new cutting-edge IT equipment designed to measure the amount of oxygen each colleague consumes. Win-win.” Although a much-criticised staff policy, the spokesman defended the Corporation’s stance. “Discounts on oxygen costs are available to colleagues signing up for Amazon Prime.”
The blue-faced accountant who allowed this grave error to slip through the net will almost certainly be required to refund the company through deductions from his monthly salary for the rest of his career.
A spokesman for Sports Direct said, “This is extraordinary behaviour from an employer. Why don’t we do this?”