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Trump is confused about Amazon and taxes. Here’s what Amazon really wants

Lower taxes, but not sales taxes. Trump fired off a series tweets on Monday night and Tuesday morning suggesting that Amazon is “using the Washington Post as a lobbyist” to keep Congress from scrutinizing Amazon’s “no-tax monopoly.” First of all, the Post is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, not by Amazon. The question of whether Amazon should pay state sales tax was settled in March, when Amazon relented and began to collect tax in any state that has it. So it’s very doubtful Amazon would be spending lobbying hours on that issue. 

Amazon spent a healthy $3.2 million on lobbying in the second quarter, filings show, but it was very likely to influence lawmakers on the same key issues concerning other large tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The top two items on the tech policy agenda this year are a lower corporate tax rate and a low tax rate on profits returned from overseas (repatriated). 

Ironically, Trump and Amazon are probably aligned on both those issues. The Trump administration’s tax reform plan is centered around reducing the corporate tax rate (that’s why the markets went up after Trump was elected), and Trump has proposed a low 10% tax rate (it’s normally 35%) on repatriated profits. Amazon currently holds about $22 billion in overseas accounts.MS