As Bezos called for tax hikes, Amazon lobbied to keep its tax bill low
As Amazon publicly embraced President Joe Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate across the board, it has also lobbied Congress to preserve a prized tax break that’s helped it lower its corporate tax bill.
The retail giant’s founder Jeff Bezos earned plaudits earlier this year when he announced that Amazon would back “a rise in the corporate tax rate” to help pay for Biden’s infrastructure package. His comments broke with most of the rest of corporate America — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable vehemently opposed such tax hikes — and served as a rejoinder to critics who have attacked Amazon for paying little to no federal income taxes. Biden himself criticized Amazon’s tax rate as too low on the campaign trail.
Behind the scenes, however, Amazon and other companies have been making moves to help keep their taxes from rising. And their efforts illustrate some of the unseen hurdles the Biden administration faces in its efforts to bring in more revenue from corporate taxation as it calls for raising the overall corporate tax rate to fund its ambitious domestic agenda.
The company hired the tax lobbyist Joshua Odintz, a former Democratic congressional aide and veteran of the Obama administration, last month to lobby on the section of the tax code dealing with the research and development tax deduction, according to a disclosure filing.
And the R&D Coalition — an alliance of companies that benefit from the deduction including Amazon, Intel, the National Association of Manufacturers and others — hired a squad of veteran tax lobbyists at PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year. Those hired included a former top aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).