Trump has talked about using antitrust law to "go after" the company because he is anxious about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business by Amazon, Axios reported, citing five sources it said had discussed the issue with him.
Another administration official confirmed to Reuters that Trump has been complaining about Amazon in private, believing the company has become too powerful. "However, in the last few years, it has expanded its warehouse footprint and now pays considerable federal taxes as well as state income and property taxes". Trump has this backwards: Amazon supports a law requiring all online retailers to collect those taxes (though probably out of self-interest - the law would provide a barrier to potential challengers).
Trump's attacks on Amazon reflect a broader debate about its effect on the U.S. economy.
Amazon has an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, Shah said. "It's creating jobs in logistics and warehousing".
Meanwhile, Amazon may not be paying its share of local sales taxes.
"If Mr. Trump's point was that Amazon did not collect sales taxes - which are owed by the purchaser and collected by the retailer - it is true that the company once avoided doing so".
Amazon did not initially collect state sales taxes when it began selling books online in 1995. Amazon does not have to collect taxes on third-party sellers using its Marketplace service.
This online attack comes following an Axios report, which quoted a White House insider who described Trump's apparent obsession with the company. North Dakota, which bars states from imposing sales tax collection obligations on vendors lacking an in-state physical presence. Such sales make up about half of the company's volume.
Investors largely waved off concerns about that on Thursday.
Cloudtail, the largest seller entity on Amazon, is asking third party sellers to list their products through it and align with the entity, merchants aware of the matter said. But his Twitter post lacked important context about the Postal Service and relied on outdated and incorrect facts regarding Amazon's taxes. "But this is really about policy", Shah said.
The report claims that the president's wealthy, real estate friends are telling him that Amazon is killing traditional shopping malls and high street retailers.
The Postal Service has been hemorrhaging cash for years. In 2013, it reported a net loss of $4.98 billion, according the USPS annual report. A report released March 26 by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said Amazon either doesn't collect and remit local sales tax or is charging a lower sales tax rate than traditional retailers in seven states: Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
In the October-December 2017 quarter, the service handled 7% more packages than in the same period a year before, while mail declined about 5%.
"Amazon for many years reinvested all its profits into expansion, with the result that it paid little or no taxes because taxes are calculated based on profits", said Joseph Bishop-Henchman, executive vice president of the Tax Foundation. The online retail giant clearly leverages many tools to keep the tax man at bay. But there are other factors, such as high debt, and Amazon is not exclusively responsible.
"They're not making money in retail, and they're putting retailers out of business", Simon told CNBC. It is well known that there is a personal feud between Trump and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who now also owns The Washington Post.
"A lot of people have made this, with respect to Amazon, about personalities and the CEO at Amazon - we're talking about Jeff Bezos here", he said on Thursday on the Fox News channel.