Prolific tax avoider Amazon is largely credited for Black Friday’s rise in the UK over the past decade. For the first time ever Amazon launched Black Friday sales a whole month early, with new deals every day.
Amazon has reported a 37% increase in earnings during the pandemic. In spite of this increased profit, Amazon announced at the beginning of September that its key UK business paid just a 3% increase in corporation tax in 2019.
In 2018, the company paid an overall figure of £220 million in direct UK taxes, despite UK revenues amounting to £10.9 billion. Ethical Consumer has a boycott call against Amazon for its tax avoidance.
The company scores 0 in our shopping guides.
Email and tweet Amazon to let them know you are boycotting Black Friday via their company profile page.
We've also joined the #MakeAmazonPay campaign - a coalition of organisations with a list of 25 demands.
eBay fares better on our rankings than Amazon, receiving an Ethiscore of 8. However it too receives a worst Ethical Consumer rating for the likely use of tax avoidance strategies, as it has many high risk companies in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens by Ethical Consumer, including eBay International AG and eBay Holding gmbh, both holding companies based in Switzerland, with subsidiaries in other countries.
It was also notable that eBay was registered in Delaware (considered a tax haven at the time of writing), although its head office was in California.
Read more about eBay.
Apple has an Ethiscore of 6.5. Apple scores our worst rating for 'Likely Use of Tax Avoidance Strategies'. In May 2020 Ethical Consumer searched for the most recent executive remuneration figures for the company, and found that in 2018 the highest paid executive received an astonishing $25,231,800.
Read more about Apple.
Sony Corporation has an Ethiscore of 5. It too received our worst tax rating for 'Likely Use of Tax Avoidance Strategies', with multiple subsidiaries in locations considered tax havens at the time of writing including Singapore, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.
Read more about Sony Corporation.
Currys PC World
Currys PC World is owned by Dixons Carphone Plc. It received our worst rating for 'Likely Use of Tax Avoidance Strategies'. An article on the Retail Gazette website stated that the company was fined £29.1m from the Financial Conduct Authority for mis-selling its “Geek Squad service”. It had allegedly trained staff in “spin selling” the product to customers who already had insurance cover.”
Read more about Dixons Carphone Plc.
This company has been in the news recently over its mis-treatment of workers especially during the pandemic but it’s apparent tax avoidance strategies have often gone under the radar.
The company is registered in Jersey (where it also owns a second holding company) and its subsidiary, PrettyLittleThing.com USA Inc, of which it owns 66%, is registered in Delaware, USA, a US state known for its secrecy laws.
Boohoo claims it has no tax advantage from these arrangements telling us “Boohoo Group plc and all its UK subsidiaries are registered for UK tax and pay UK taxes on all profits. There is no tax benefit to the group or any individual company from being registered in Jersey.”
However, the company did not given an adequate explanation of why its ultimate parent company was incorporated in Jersey, nor why it had another holding company (ABK ltd) in Jersey.
Given that it had its ultimate parent company and one high risk subsidiary in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and it published no country-by-country financial information, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.
The company has an ethiscore of 4.
Read more about Boohoo
When we researched Missguided in July 2019, its ultimate parent company was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands - considered a tax haven at the time of writing, meaning it too received our worst rating in this category.
We viewed the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report, 'Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability', published on 19th February 2019. Missguided was one of several companies rated as 'least engaged' in sustainable fashion and labour market initiatives.
Missguided has an ethiscore of 6.
Read more about Missguided.