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eBay latest multinational to find its UK tax practices in the spotlight

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eBay latest multinational to find its UK tax practices in the spotlight
eBay latest multinational to find its UK tax practices in the spotlight

Online marketplace eBay has become the latest member of the multinational internet retailing community to find its UK tax practices in the spotlight.

Earlier this year a Guardian investigation found Amazon’s tax affairs were being examined by HMRC. It found that the leading online retailer had turned over more than £3.3bn in the UK last year but paid no UK corporation tax because its operations here are owned by Luxembourg-based Amazon EU Sarl and are classed simply as an order fulfilment arm of that business.

Now eBay has become the subject of a Sunday Times investigation which showed that eBay channeled payments through Luxembourg and Switzerland to avoid paying nearly £50m in tax. It said eBay turned over nearly £800m in annual sales in the UK, but paid little more than £1m in corporation tax in the UK. It calculated that eBay’s UK profits would have been £181m in 2010 and corporation tax £51m. But it paid only £1.2m that year as a result of sales channelled through Luxembourg and Switzerland.

eBay told the Sunday Times that it worked with tax authorities and "complies fully with all applicable tax laws and regimes – including national and internationally recognised rules".

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