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Shareholders urge Amazon to boost tax transparency -FT


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The Amazon logo appears on the door of an Amazon Books retail store in New York City, US, February 14, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

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(Reuters) – 24 investors in Amazon are urging the tech giant to increase transparency in tax disclosures and adopt a new reporting standard, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Asset managers Nordea, Royal London and several large European and US pension funds are among those pressing Amazon to release the transparency report in line with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) tax standards, the newspaper said.

She said they want to present a shareholder resolution calling for the new standard at the company’s annual meeting this year, citing a letter that will be sent this week to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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“Aggressive tax practices can expose the company and its investors to greater scrutiny by tax authorities, adjust risk, and increase their exposure to changes in tax rules,” the investors said.

These measures come at a time when countries are looking to protect their tax bases from harmful practices, they added in the letter seen by the Financial Times.

The newspaper said the 100 groups that signed the letter included several environmental, social and religious funds focusing on governance, although not all were investors.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the decision, but noted last month’s decision No-action request When the company blocked a similar shareholder offer.

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“The proposal includes exactly what kind of normal business issues should be resolved with the company’s management and board,” Amazon said.

It added that it would be impractical for shareholders to exercise direct oversight on such issues.

She said Amazon’s current tax disclosures are in line with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), adding that it has publicly announced tax payments in the US, Britain, France, Italy and Spain.

A December shareholder proposal by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust urged Amazon to adopt the new GRI tax standard, and announce general breakdowns of financial, tax and operating information by country. Read more

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Covering by Anne Maria Shipu in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coogle and Clarence Fernandez

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