Amazon Is Now Taking Even More Tax Breaks As It Exploits Loopholes

( Amazon is building warehouses within regions that qualify for capital gains tax breaks under the 2017 tax reform law.

According to a report in the Washington Post, since the tax reform law went into effect, Amazon has opened 153 facilities in Opportunity Zones. Another eighteen facilities are set to open in these zones in the next two years.

The creation of “Opportunity Zones” as part of the 2017 tax reform had bipartisan support. The purpose of the initiative was to incentivize investment in economically distressed regions of the country.

Since investors and corporations are not required to publicly report how they use such tax breaks, it is difficult to measure whether Opportunity Zones are having the intended impact on job creation and affordable housing or only further exacerbating economic disparity.

According to researchers from Good Jobs First, Amazon’s use of Opportunity Zones is one more way the mega-retail company takes advantage of federal tax subsidies to rapidly expand its delivery network.

Good Jobs First researchers say in 2021 alone, the company has received at least $650 million in government subsidies.

Amazon’s relatively low tax burden has been a political point of contention for years.

After it was reported that Amazon paid no federal taxes on its $11.2 billion in profits in 2018, Democrats presidential candidates routinely attacked Amazon for not paying its “fair share” of taxes.

What makes its expansion into Opportunity Zones so troubling, however, is it is one more example of Amazon receiving tax breaks that aren’t publicly reported, making them difficult to track.

In 2017, cities nationwide competed to play host to Amazon’s proposed second headquarters. The promise of 50,000 high-paying jobs was so enticing, cities competed to offer Amazon oodles of tax breaks and incentives to entice them.

The following year, the company announced it would split its new headquarters between Virginia and New York. But after it faced significant blowback from progressive politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amazon dropped its plans for New York and moved forward in Virginia.

But unlike that high-profile search, the subsidies and incentives that Amazon receives for its smaller local projects like warehouses, data centers, and offices, tend to avoid such scrutiny.