Amazon's biospheres are shown during Amazon's bring your parents to work day on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Seattle.
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Amazon's biospheres are shown during Amazon's bring your parents to work day on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bernie's wrong, fact-checkers say: Amazon is paying taxes

One of Seattle's largest employers, tech giant Amazon, was a frequent punching bag during this week's debates among Democratic presidential candidates.

But fact checkers say the accusations are inaccurate or false.

In Tuesday night's Democratic National Committee debate in Detroit, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tried to make a point about income inequality by pointing to Amazon.

"Right now, 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax," he said.

The following night, businessman Andrew Yang made a similar claim.

"Amazon is closing 30 percent of America's stores and malls and paying zero in taxes," Yang said.

But a lengthy fact check by the Wall Street Journal—cited by the Washington Post and FactCheck.org, which is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center—says the often repeated tax claim is not accurate.

The Journal points out that the tax returns are private. But according to its analysis, it estimated that Amazon paid an 8 percent tax rate in 2018.

As for Yang's claim that Amazon is responsible for 30 percent of the nation's stores closing, The New York Times and FactCheck.org say there's no evidence to support that claim.