Walmart responds to Amazon’s challenge over pay

Amazon and Walmart are in war over worker pay — and now corporate taxes.

After Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday issued a challenge to other retailers, not naming which ones specifically, to match Amazon’s pay and benefits, Walmart has responded, albeit quietly.

“Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone,” Bezos wrote in his annual letter to shareholders.

Walmart’s EVP of Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett then shared an article on Twitter Thursday morning about Amazon paying $0 in federal taxes on more than $11 billion in profit last year. “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?”

A representative from Amazon wasn’t immediately able to comment on Bartlett’s tweet.

Walmart’s minimum wage of $11 an hour, set in January 2018, is still below Amazon’s, which was hiked to $15 in November. But Walmart has said its average worker earns $17.55 an hour, considering both wages and benefits.

Back to Walmart’s Bartlett’s argument, in 2018, Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on more than $11 billion in profits before taxes. It also received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal government. Its low tax bill mainly stemmed from the Republican tax cuts of 2017, carryforward losses from years when the company was not profitable, tax credits for massive investments in R&D and stock-based employee compensation, CNBC previously reported.

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