Inc. does not plan to pay the IRS anything this tax season. Yet that's mostly not because of President Donald Trump's tax overhaul. The world's largest retailer simply took advantage of long-standing, low-profile tax deductions. It paid employees in stock, built new warehouses, and tapped tax breaks from when the company wasn't profitable.

Amazon's projected $129 million refund highlights how companies can harness the complexities of the U.S. tax code for their own benefit. As a tech company with highly appreciated stock that also relies on brick-and-mortar fulfillment centers and shipping hubs, Amazon is uniquely situated to use the full range of preferences baked into the tax laws.

And it wasn't an unusual bumper year in 2018 that led to Amazon's $0 tax bill. It didn't pay any federal tax in 2017, either.

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