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Booksellers urge MP to press government for fair tax

Two independent booksellers in the UK are urging Chris White, conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, to press government to ensure firms like Amazon do not avoid paying corporation tax in the country.

The Guardian reported that the booksellers and campaigners against tax avoidance, Frances and Keith Smith, who run bookshops in Kenilworth, Warwick and Warwickshire, are urging White to take a lead in ensuring HMRC identifies exactly how much taxable profit corporations are generating in the UK.

The move from booksellers follows a survey in which about 60% of shoppers in the UK said they are less likely to purchase books online following the recent reports about Amazon’s tax practices in the country.

The survey of the 2,045 book buyers, which was carried out by Censuswide on behalf of the Booksellers Association, found that about 83% still visit shops for books in book stores.

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Amazon is being probed by UK lawmakers for using complex accounting methods to avoid tax liabilities in the country.

Last week, White said: "Businesses have a moral responsibility to play a full part in our society, and structuring their businesses in order to avoid taxation and to make it harder for tax authorities to monitor their business is not fulfilling that responsibility.

"Voluntarily paying tax is not a long-term solution to this issue. What is needed is for multinational companies to take responsibility for their actions and respect the fact that they need to structure their businesses to reflect the way they are operated, rather than merely to avoid that taxation," White said.

Last month, Booksellers Association of UK sought government support against Amazon, following France’s promise to offer €9m (£7.7) funding, to assist its struggling industry defend against the online retailer.

In November 2012, French tax authorities asked Amazon to pay $252m (£167) in pending taxes and interest.
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