Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes In 2018!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SNOPES NEWS)

 

Did Amazon Pay No Federal Income Taxes in 2018?

SEC filing: “We have tax benefits … that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income.”

  • PUBLISHED 19 NOVEMBER 2019
  • UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER 2019

Claim

Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax in 2018.

Rating

Origin

A frequent political talking point — when issues of tax law and corporate governance are concerned — is the lack of income taxes Amazon pays to the federal government. In 2018, Snopes rated “True” the claim that the online retailer had paid no such taxes in the 2017 tax year. Readers raised the same question for the 2018 tax year, and once again our rating is “True.”

Though Amazon’s actual U.S. tax filings are not public, a broad overview of their overall tax burden can be found in their SEC 10-K filing. In 2018, the company made over $200 billion in sales, but paid no money to the U.S. government in the form of income tax (in fact, the government actually owed the company some $129 million as noted in parentheses in the chart below):

However, the company did pay taxes abroad and at the state level: “Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” an Amazon spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in February 2019.

As we discussed in our previous Amazon tax fact check, the methods employed to make that extremely reduced tax burden a reality are only vaguely described by the company, but the process involves taking as many tax credits as possible under the law. “We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income,” the company wrote in their SEC filing.

Stock-based compensation refers to the fact that publicly traded corporations, like Amazon, can list the stock options they grant to employees as a business cost in their accounting, and if an option-receiving employee makes over $1 million a year in salary, the profits from the sale of those stocks can then be counted as a federal income tax deduction for the corporation.

With respect to the other tax credits or deductions? “It’s hard to know exactly what they’re doing,” Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy for the non-partisan Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, told Yahoo. “Their public documents … don’t lay out their tax strategy. So it’s unclear exactly which breaks [Amazon is taking advantage of].”

Regardless, it is factually true that Amazon paid nothing in federal income tax in 2018.

SNOPES.COM
SINCE 1994
A WORD TO OUR LOYAL READERS

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Was A Group of High Schoolers Photographed Performing a Nazi Salute?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY ODF SNOPES FACT CHECKER)

 

Was a Group of High Schoolers Photographed Performing a Nazi Salute?

Claim

Several male students at Baraboo High School were photographed performing the Nazi “Sieg Heil” salute.

Rating

Origin

Both police and school officials in Wisconsin launched an investigation into a photograph of local high school students flashing a Nazi salute after a journalist posted the picture online.

On 11 November 2018 Reporter Jules Suzdaltsev posted the picture of a group of boys, reportedly comprising Baraboo High School’s entire male graduating class of 2019, with several of them visibly flashing the extended-arm “Sieg Heil” gesture. His tweet was shared more than 14,000 times within 24 hours:

Jules Suzdaltsev

@jules_su

If anybody from Baraboo High School in Wisconsin can clue me in on why it appears the entire male class of 2018 is throwing up a Sig Heil during their prom photos – that would be great.

h/t @CarlySidey

31.7K people are talking about this

“I was contacted by a former student who shared with me a post she made about the photo, which was posted by a student run page with the caption, ‘We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud,’” Suzdaltsev told us via email a day after posting the photograph. “I was not familiar with the school, but the photo was shocking and I assumed it would be shocking to others as well.”

Suzdaltsev followed up by posting screenshots of messages he received from other Baraboo students accusing the boys seen in the photograph of posting racist and misogynist harassment:

Jules Suzdaltsev

@jules_su

Someone who would like to remain anonymous just sent me this message and picture of herself that was posted by a classmate.

Seriously, what is going on with this school? @BarabooSD

View image on Twitter

Jules Suzdaltsev

@jules_su

I am being flooded with messages from students of this school about some of the guys in the group photo.

It sounds like there is a lot of racist bullying and the school tends to do nothing about it. pic.twitter.com/yvPZWI196A

3,711 people are talking about this

Other students accused the school of ignoring requests for help, and one said to Suzdaltsev that when they informed an official that one of the boys in the photograph yelled “white power” in the hallway, they were told to “look up videos of Black Lives Matter protesters being violent to police and that [they] should grow a tougher skin.”

Another student said that the gesture was suggested to the boys by the photographer. A student seen in the picture told the same thing to television news outlets:

Jordan Blue, now a senior at Baraboo High School, said that in May of this year, he and his male classmates had been posing for pictures in front of a local courthouse before their junior prom when the photographer told them to “raise your hand.”

Peter Gust, the photographer who took the picture, has defended himself, saying he told the students to wave goodbye to their parents, not to make the Nazi gesture.

“I didn’t tell them to salute anything,” Gust said in a statement to CNN. “There was nothing that diminished the quality of anyone’s life. There was nothing that diminished anyone’s stature in society, nothing that was intended to point a finger at anyone in their class that may have some kind of difference. There was none of that.”