French government demands £160m taxes from Amazon

France has demanded the repayment of £160 million in unpaid tax from Amazon, which includes back taxes, penalties and interest in relation to "the allocation of income between foreign jurisdictions."

The internet giant riled the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on Monday when director of public policy Andrew Cecil refused to reveal Amazon's sales and profits in the UK, saying: "We've never broken out figures on a website basis. Those are numbers we've never disclosed publicly." His evasions led to committee chairman Margaret Hodge calling Cecil's answers "pathetic" and commanding that "a serious person" to be recalled to answer the committee's questions in two weeks' time.

In Monday's (12th November) hearing, Cecil made reference to the French tax investigation. Now it has been revealed the company is being chased for £160m relating to taxes unpaid from 2006-2010, although Amazon has said it will contest the case in court.

A spokesman said: "We disagree with the proposed assessment and intend to vigorously contest it."

Amazon keeps its tax bill in European countries down by recording its sales in Luxembourg. Amazon's business's turnover in 2011 was £7.3bn yet it paid taxes of just £6.4m.