Amazon has disclosed how much it pays in business rates in the UK and defended the contribution it makes to the country more generally.

In a blog post on its website, the etailer revealed that last year it paid business rates of £63m.

The online giant has often faced criticism over the level of taxes it pays in the UK. In particular, many retailers with bricks-and-mortar stores feel that are penalised by the business rates system, to the benefit of etail pureplays such as Amazon. The etailer makes annual sales of almost £9bn. M&S, which generates sales of about £10bn, paid rates of £184m.

Amazon said: “As part of the broader debate around business rates, the story of Amazon’s contribution to the UK economy, through jobs, investments and business rate payments, hasn’t always been clear.

“In the past, some reports about the business rates that Amazon pays in the UK have been based on just a small number of our fulfilment centres in England and Wales, and did not take account of our substantial investment right across the country.

“We have close to 100 UK sites, and last year Amazon paid business rates of more than £63m – tens of millions of pounds more than estimates and more than is paid by many well-known high street retailers.

“These sites include fulfilment centres, research and development centres, corporate offices in London, Amazon Lockers, Whole Foods Market stores and delivery stations.

“These diverse facilities are home to more than 27,000 full-time employees and the result of nearly £10bn invested across the UK since 2010…

“Online sales are still less than a fifth of total retail sales in the UK, and Amazon is a small percentage of that – perhaps a lot less than some people realise.

“We’ll continue working hard to earn customers’ trust and, if we’re successful and British customers choose to shop with us, we’ll continue to invest and create jobs in the UK to meet that demand. And, of course, we’ll continue to pay all the taxes owed in every community that we call home.”