'How about paying your taxes?' A Walmart exec hit back at Jeff Bezos after he called out the company's low minimum wage

jeff bezosAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos, founder of space venture Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post, participates in an event hosted by the Air Force Association September 19, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland.Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos challenged his retail competitors to raise their minimum wage to compete with Amazon, prompting retaliation from Walmart.
  • Bezos said: "Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage."
  • Dan Bartlett, Walmart's VP of corporate affairs, responded: "Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?"
  • The jibe was a reference to Amazon's tax-efficient structure, which saw it pay $0 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

A top Walmart executive has struck out at Amazon for its low tax contributions, after Jeff Bezos called out the retail giant for paying its workers a lower minimum wage than Amazon.

On Thursday, Walmart's executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, tagged Bezos in a tweet which said: "Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are ��) how about paying your taxes?"

Bartlett was responding Bezos' challenge to retailers on Thursday to boost their minimum wage and keep up with Amazon, who made theirs $15 in October 2018.

"Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage," Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders.

"Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It's a kind of competition that will benefit everyone."

dan bartlett george bush walmartAP Charles Dharapak

In 2018 Amazon paid $0 in federal income taxes for the second year in a row, despite recording a profit of $11.2 billion.

Critics say the company exploits legal loopholes to keep this figure low. Amazon says it pays all the tax required of it, and points to other types of tax which cost it billions of dollars per year.

Read more: Amazon warehouse employees speak out about the 'brutal' reality of working during the holidays, when 60-hour weeks are mandatory and ambulance calls are common

In a separate tweet on Thursday, Barlett defended Walmart's wage policy.

"FWIW, the vast majority of our warehouse associates have been making more than $15 for a long time. And they still get quarterly performance bonuses."

Read more: Jeff Bezos called for Amazon's competitors to raise their minimum wage. Here's how retail rivals like Walmart, Target, and Costco stack up on worker pay.

Walmart's minimum wage officially became $11 an hour in January 2018.

Walmart's logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil KrzaczynskiWalmart's logo is seen outside one of the stores in ChicagoReuters

In a recent report on Amazon's tax affairs, The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said it uses "tax loopholes that allow profitable companies to routinely avoid paying federal and state income taxes."

In a statement issued on Thursday, Amazon said: 

"Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the US and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years."

"Corporate tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits remain modest given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business and our continued heavy investment."

They also pointed to the large number of jobs the company has created.

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