Amazon's 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon's 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million

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Insert guillotine gif here.


I don’t understand the problem. Are operating loss carryforwards immoral? You have to have losses in prior years to be eligible for this and they expire if you don’t use them in time. People forget that for many years, the knock on Amazon was that their valuation was way to high for a company that was just experiencing losses.

Carryforwards have been allowed since 1918. The last time that the law was changed was in 1997 to extend the carryforward period from 15 to 20 years and it got 80% Democratic support in Congress and 82.2% in Senate before Clinton signed it.


geeze, my tax account sucks.

i do my own taxes


I must protest the image used to head this article. Scrooge McDuck is a crochety old miser with a good heart.

Jeff Bezos is an empathy challenged asshole who will never in a million years be as rich, as kind, or as good a person as Scrooge McDuck.


If they used losses carried forward to get this result, then that’s not a big deal. What makes it very strange, though, is that the CEO is the richest man in the world. Is Bezos doing a good job if Amazon keeps facing losses instead of profits? Or is it that Amazon has so gamed the system that they can show a loss while actually having a profit and happy shareholders and obscenely wealthy executive staff.

It’s like if you’re watching the government hand out cheese to starving people, and some obese guy rolls up in a Ferrari and tells them to load it up.


Bezos owns 78 million shares of Amazon stock (15% of the company, I think). If wall street is crazy enough to drive the stock price up to insane levels, he is the single biggest benefactor of that insanity.


Stock prices can be thought of as the present value of all future expected earnings. This is why investors were correct when they poured money into Amazon when it was losing tons of money.

I would think that if Amazon did not utilize it’s NOL carryforwards, the board would be sued for breach of fiduciary responsibility.


Not immoral, no. But 20 years seems a tad excessive no matter who voted for it. Not a bad thing to add to the list of possible tax reforms.


I must confess
I’ve been having
an affair with Amazon
for 20-years.
No matter how bad the behavior,
or how taken for granted
I feel,
nothing can persuade me that
“Amazon’s just not right for you…”
“It’s a one-sided relationship!”
“Why are you so loyal to such an
“There’s better choices out there…
look around…”
This non tax-paying
Bad Boy of Businesses
still offers Millions of Reasons
for my slavish devotion.


Absolutely. The people who are mad at Amazon for utilizing the system presented to it are focusing their energy & anger in the wrong place. It’s no different than when I take advantage of every opportunity to lower my tax burden. I suppose BoingBoing will be writing about me next.


unless you are the world’s second wealthiest person and you have a history of ruthlessly exploiting the labor force helping to make you so wealthy and your company is receiving a tax rebate that by itself is more than the net worth of all but the top 4000-5000 individuals in the u.s. i think you’re safe.


Yes! The system works!


Are operating loss carryforwards immoral?

Do I get to claim “operating losses” on my home, my car, other things I require to go and do my work every day? No. So yes, I find them immoral. I find all these sort of fancy tax dodges immoral and unethical. If you can’t do business without having to write off your losses, then you suck at business. Businesses can deduct the cost of purchasing office supplies, but the GOP wants to end the tiny deduction teaches get to supply their classrooms, and no one else gets jack or shit. I have to buy stamps and envelopes to pay bills, but I can’t deduct those? Fuck that noise. I don’t care that we’ve been doing it for a century, the fact it was created during the time of the robber barons is a great reason to look at it critically and pare down those write offs.

And don’t even get me started on the ponzi scheme called “the stock market.” A place where rich folks go to gamble, where companies send untold fortunes to please their investors while shirking their “fiduciary duties” to the workers who make them rich. The stock market and our constant attention to it is what has helped contribute to the unequitable situation we find ourselves in.

Note: 1997 was after the neo-liberal take over of the Democratic party. Thus a continuation of conservative financial politics, which puts profits and stock value ahead of balanced growth and employee protections & wages. Not a good idea to point to that and suggest somehow it was popular with progressives, everything that happened in those years was anathema to moving this country forward into an economic status that actually works for the people who are employed, and not the wealthy, grifting elite who sit on their asses collecting dividend checks.


“Why are people complaining about existing laws? They are all legal and I am not breaking any laws by following the existing laws. Nothing to complain about here! It is the law and it is not illegal, it is quite legal and also allowed! It is a written-down law, and that means no one can put you in jail for doing it, so why are people not admitting it is legal and instead complaining? Don’t people know it’s legal?”


Amazon is part of the system, and rich corporations have a firm hand in the way taxes have been written to benefit them. So yes, criticizing their ability to get away with not doing their duty to their country and paying taxes like everyone else is the right thing to do, as is criticizing the politicians who take huge b̶r̶i̶b̶e̶s̶ donations to make corporate wet dreams a reality.


+Soon as I can afford one I’m gonna order me a nice printed in China Murica flag to so I can show how proud I am to get legally fucked by every greed monger in the country who has the where with all to grease it up a gouge the nation.

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Seems pretty immoral to me: they used debt to squash the competition by operating at a loss for years while building market dominance and then get rewarded by the government for doing that by not having to pay tax on the astronomical profits they make.

Frankly I’d line them up against the fucking wall and call that moral.


I think the answer here is… Yes?

If you lose money in a year, sure, don’t pay any taxes on income. That makes sense.

But why should this be translated to not paying any taxes when you’re doing exceptionally well? I don’t think it makes any logical sense, nor does it make sense for the coffers of the USA.

I can see exceptions for genuine startups under a certain size and for a very limited number of years. But Amazon? It doesn’t make any good sense, does it?


Well put! Sorry, I don’t have much more to add than that.

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