Investors are dumping Amazon’s shares today, putting a major dent into its attempt to be the first trillion dollar company. Amazon’s stock is down 5.9% ($88.30) at $1,408.75. The impetus for the decline? Media reports suggesting that President Donald J. Trump has it in for Amazon and wants to go after the company’s “tax treatment.” Why Amazon? Did the president miss an appointment because his Echo failed to wake him? Does he not like virtual assistant Alexa? Perhaps he owned an Amazon Fire Phone (that would do it). No. Trump reportedly became upset when his real-estate owning friends complained to him that Amazon was hurting the revenues of the shopping malls they own.
The report, which was published earlier today, cites five different sources including one who says about Trump, “He’s obsessed with Amazon. Obsessed.” According to the sources, Trump’s friends say that Amazon is “killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.”
Trump has gone after Amazon before through his official Twitter account. Last August, he sent out a tweet that said, “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!” And he also has attacked The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, calling it the Amazon Washington Post.
While Amazon does collect taxes on products that it sells directly to consumers, the company does not tax third party goods sold from person-to-person through its marketplace. Last summer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested that the government would take a look at Amazon’s method of collecting taxes. He also said that the Trump administration was considering the imposition of taxes on internet e-commerce. Three states, Washington, Minnesota and Rhode Island, already require online marketplaces to collect taxes for third party sellers.
According to the report, sources say that the president is also looking at going after Amazon using anti-trust and anti-competition laws. Additionally, Trump believes that Amazon is getting a special deal from the U.S. Post Office, which one source already says is not accurate. “It’s been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon.”
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