Time for another corporate tax break?

Devil’s bargain or good idea?

The New York Times reports that some of the nation’s largest corporations have amassed vast profits outside the country and are pressing Congress and the Obama administration for a tax break to bring the money home.

Apple has $12 billion waiting offshore, Google has $17 billion and Microsoft, $29 billion, the Times writes.

Under the proposal, known as a repatriation holiday, the federal income tax owed on such profits returned to the United States would fall to 5.25 percent for one year, from 35 percent, the Times reports.

In the short term, the Times writes, the measure could generate tens of billions in tax revenues as companies transfer money that would otherwise remain abroad — and it could help ease the huge budget deficit.

Corporations and their lobbyists say the tax break could boost the weak recovery by inducing multinational corporations to inject $1 trillion or more into the economy, the Times reports. They promoted the proposal as “the next stimulus” at a conference last week in Washington.

“For every billion dollars that we invest, that creates 15,000 to 20,000 jobs either directly or indirectly,” Jim Rogers, the chief of Duke Energy, said at the conference. Duke has $1.3 billion in profits overseas, the Times reports.

But that’s not how it worked last time, the Times writes. Congress and the Bush administration offered companies a similar tax incentive in 2005. Although the tax break lured 800 companies into bringing $312 billion back to the United States, 92 percent of that money was returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks, the Times reported, city a study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research.

What do you think?

Is this the time to cut corporate taxes to induce more job creation? Or is the measure likely to benefit those who don’t need help while bypassing those who do?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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83 comments Add your comment

oskarmatz

June 20th, 2011
6:44 am

Screw ‘em. Let them pay their taxes like everybody else. No businessman ever hired anyone because of a tax break. They hire when business realities (sales growth, personnel attrition, et cetera) require them to, and not a second before.

DeborahinAthens

June 20th, 2011
6:52 am

Corporations like GE that benefit from the American consumer, that is a company that is supposed to be as American as apple pie should be ashamed of themselves. They suck all that is good from this country, and beg for more and more. More tax cuts, less regulations. It made me very angry to find out that the CEO of GE was instrumental in getting Congress to pass a law that put serious restrictions on the incandescent bulb. When they got it, they shut down their American factories–with a loss of thousands of jobs–and opened an LED bulb factory in China. Sylvania is still making bulbs in America so I go out of my way to find and buy Sylvania bulbs, but places like Walmart only carry Chinese bulbs. That these companies have the temerity to “threaten” us with loss of jobs if they don’t get their tax cuts and tax write offs makes me so angry. The Republicans say that we need to be a free market. Well I say, let’s become informed consumers and stop buying things that are not made here in the USA. That’s the way the free market works. Meanwhile the CEOs in this country have had their salaries quadruple in the last few years while we have seen the actual buying power of the American worker drop.

Jack

June 20th, 2011
7:05 am

Bring the money home and pay the lower tax and create jobs.

Janet

June 20th, 2011
7:15 am

Apparently, Jack did not read the whole story! That is not how it works, Jack. These companies claim it benefits everyone, but reality is that is only benefits themselves. It does not create jobs or and it clearly did not work that way last time. These companies are horrible and any time I can buy America, I do! People need to stop buying products from outside the country. Google American made products and only buy items from the list. These companies are just scum bags but the politicians will give them what they want!

Janet

June 20th, 2011
7:18 am

This is the web site for searching prodects made in America :
http://www.americansworking.com/
Please use it and only support these products. Fiesta is one of the only American Made
dinnerware left. They are a little more expensive but very worth it! Rest assyured there is no lead
in the dishes and they are very durable!

Bob

June 20th, 2011
7:19 am

This break was given before by the Clinton admin and the losers that are against it have no clue how badly our tax system harms American companies trying to compete abroad.

Janet

June 20th, 2011
7:22 am

Even better site than above:
http://www.madeinusa.org/

GB

June 20th, 2011
7:23 am

“Although the tax break lured 800 companies into bringing $312 billion back to the United States, 92 percent of that money was returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks, the Times reported, city a study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research.”

I think it is a good thing for the money to go to the shareholders. It is THEIR money!

Andy

June 20th, 2011
7:24 am

It absolutely sickens me that these organizations find it prudent to beg for tax breaks when so many Americans are hurting. The law is the law – pay your taxes.

Bobby

June 20th, 2011
7:28 am

Our moral ethics are so low that we all know even if they bring the money home it isn’t going to be for the benefit of Americans. It will be used only to increase the portfolios of the wealthy at the expense of the U.S. The Neal Boortz’s of this country are causing the moral decay and downfall as money has replaced God and moral ethics in our lives. The Congress, State Legislature’s and Governerships are all bought with lobby and banking monies not for what is in the best interest of the U.S. but only the few so that Neal Boortz can continue to rant and rave about how good he and his family have it while those who actually had to work for their meager means of existence can continue to serve him and Donna.

West

June 20th, 2011
7:39 am

“92 percent of that money was returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks” The article makes it sound like that is a bad thing. This money is overseas and staying there without the tax breaks. Much better off getting it to the USA and having either the companies reinvest or returned to shareholders for them to spend as they please.

ideas

June 20th, 2011
7:46 am

DeborahinAthens, YOU SHOULD BE Ashamed if you drive any vehicle other than a Ford or GM product. Actually with those two you have to be careful as some are assembled in Mexico. Plus even some parts, such as black paint on Fords come from Japan. Remember even though some foreign companies say they build cars in the USA, most if all their parts come from their home country. They only assemble them here. If it says made in the USA, it should be every item, not just assembled.

Joe Biden

June 20th, 2011
7:49 am

No need for this… the stimulus is WORKING! Give us another 4 years and we will have unemployment below 8%.

Wondering

June 20th, 2011
8:17 am

If the almost highest corporate tax rate in the world is causing companies to keep their money out of the U.S., why a temporary fix? Move our rate to a competitive level, and make the U.S. corporate tax rate a non-issue, permanently. What are the prevailing rates in tax hungry EU? Japan? etc.?

This article touches the surface of the issue and raises more questions than it answers.

Bill

June 20th, 2011
8:25 am

Give them the tax break – with lots of strings attached. Perhaps we could tie to job creation, since that is what they are promising. Then re-write the laws so this does not happen every 5 years.

The U.S. Corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world. However, the effective tax rate – after deductions- is far from it.

A rewriting of the corporate tax code might be in order. Perhaps something like Europe’s VAT. It needs to be carefully thought out, so that it encourages growth in the US economy, and not just for the benefit of corporate America.

Games over

June 20th, 2011
8:27 am

Some of the above posts are nauseating. I say get lost to the bottom 50% that pay little OR no taxes. They are the slackers that that didn’t study, work long hours or play by the rules. They get pissed when a person or corporation invest their time, money or both and risk so much to become a success. They want to reap the rewards of these people or corporations efforts, but scream it’s unfair when investors get a return on the risk they took. The slackers didn’t put any skin into the game. They refuse to get on the field so they shouldn’t have any say so in the outcome.

•The share of taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers will fall from 4.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

•The share of taxes paid by the top 1 percent of taxpayers will rise from 32.3 percent to 33.7 percent.

Bill

June 20th, 2011
8:28 am

Ideas, GM, Ford and Chrysler are no more likely to be made in America than Toyota, Honda or Kia.

Actually, I believe the window sticker has to say what % of the car is American.

I have not had an American car for decades, although I would consider a Ford or GM car today. Even though I grew up in Detroit and worked in the auto industry, I see nothing patriotic about rewarding a company that sells inferior products. Hopefully, they have finally caught on, and will be able to compete.

jayone_30127

June 20th, 2011
8:29 am

Again the people on the bottom who pay there taxes and get no relief. Will not get a thing if they are allowed to bring that money back to the USA. Why did they go outside the US in the first place. Cheap labor and taxes. Now that they have the money, we give another break to get the money back. Lets just lower the taxes rate right here keep it here then taxe the hell out of the profit they make and we will be the better.

ts

June 20th, 2011
8:34 am

People are incorrect to assume that if the money is returned to shareholders, that the taxes aren’t paid. What about the capital gains taxes that the investors have to pay on the distributed earnings? What about the goods and services that the investors will now be able to pay for with their profits? Pehaps they want to buy a house, start a business, or buy a vehicle.

This money will go directly back into the goverment in some form or another, and it should be the company’s and investor’s choice on how that gets spent. It’s worth it to bring the money back and any way you put it, it benefits our local and national economies.

jayone_30127

June 20th, 2011
8:34 am

Games over:
I take it from your statement that it’s ok for the bottom half to get a .5% reduction. But the top half to get a 1.4 increase is ok. Again you fail to see the point the bottom half can only get away with some tax relief when the top can get away with a lot more taxe relief there by negating the 1.4 increase.

williebkind

June 20th, 2011
8:34 am

If the corporation paid its CEO millions of dollars in bonus. Then let them stay overseas. If these companies want to be foreign companies then put a tariff on their products. Let them sell there products/services to the Europeans. Or change the law that if you are an American company then you pay taxes and no matter where you earn it.

DUMB AND DUMBER

June 20th, 2011
8:52 am

Sure, let them bring the money in — but don’t for one second believe that it will create one job her in the US. This will all go to executive pay, shareholder dividends, etc. Maybe some will trickle down — like on that cake at the bottom of a urinal.

These companies stopped caring about ordinary americans long ago — same as the republicans, democrats, libertarians or tea party. All they care about is power. Look at it this way, partisanship in an IQ test, if you believe the GOP, dems, tea party, libertariands, green party, etc., give a rats tushie about ordinary americans, you failed the IQ test.

Only The Rich Get Richer And Get Big Benefits

June 20th, 2011
9:07 am

@GB I think it is a good thing for the money to go to the shareholders. It is THEIR money!

No it isn’t their money alone. That money came from taxpayers buying their products and it should be brought back to get this Country on the road forward. Do you think just because the money has been overseas that the shareholders haven’t been getting their share?

Fletch

June 20th, 2011
9:07 am

DUMB AND DUMBER – “if you believe the GOP, dems, tea party, libertariands, green party, etc., give a rats tushie about ordinary americans, you failed the IQ test.”

Hey now, the politicians care a great deal about their sheeple. Especially about 90 to 120 days prior to an election. That’s about the most amount of time you can get your BS aka soundbytes out to the sheeple in time for them to push your button for re-election.

The Mad Hatter

June 20th, 2011
9:17 am

Games Over, stop drinking the Neal Boortz kool aid. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it is the middle-class that pays the majority of taxes. Households that earned between $34,300 and $141,900 pay 50.5 percent of all federal tax revenues, while the top 1 percent, those earning more than $352,900 pay 28.1 percent of all federal taxes. Do you really believe that these people have gained their wealth by working long hours and playing by the rules? I guess you also believe that the SEC was created because the government just wanted to pick on those hard working fair-minded people. Didn’t we already give them over $700 billion dollars? Haven’t they made enough by not paying the salaries of all those people they laid off, or haven’t they made enough money by using all of that cheap labor that’s overseas. Now it’s time to pay their fair share of taxes and they want tax breaks so they can pay themselves more money. Why don’t those hard working investors do like the rest of the hard working people in America and pay their fair share of taxes.

AmVet

June 20th, 2011
9:28 am

The legacy of 30 years of trickled-on economics.

Welcome to the American Corporatocracy!

And a government of the General Dynamics, by the General Motors and for the General Electrics…

jack

June 20th, 2011
9:39 am

Go to Fair Tax and the entire question goes away!!!

Mr. H. Jublome

June 20th, 2011
9:44 am

Death and taxes only apply to people not corporations who, of course, also have the right to free speech as well.

You’ll get screwed. Corporations have too much power in DC and NY to get treated like piddly little American citizens.

Buzz G

June 20th, 2011
9:47 am

Get real folks. A couple of years ago, Transocean Inc., the world’s largest supplier of off-shore oil drilling moved its headquarters from Texas to Switzerland. It found in the US an increasingly hostile business environment. Its drilling platforms operate off the coast of China, Brazil, Norway, Africa and many more places besides the gulf of Mexico. When it left, it took with it thousands of jobs. Good paying jobs. Many of those who formerly held those jobs are about to run out of unemployment compensation and will be joining the 47 million already on food stamps. If you want another 47 million food stamp collectors, go ahead. Tax to death the corporations that bring the best paying jobs. We will lose them just like we lost Transocean Inc. The USA is quickly becoming the food stamp nation.

LARRY

June 20th, 2011
9:51 am

Why are these corporations allowed to keep these tax dollars in off shore accounts in the first place. This should be illegal. And like the article says, when thay were allowed to get the last tax break 92% went back to stockholders, not to the government. The middle class gets screwd again. Fair Tax, make everyone pay the same.

S

June 20th, 2011
9:52 am

The tax laws should be changed to REQUIRE US based companies to either pay the FULL tax on offshore profits (regardless of whether they bring those profits back) or to GUARANTEE they will reinvest the money into ACTUAL jobs for US citizens in return for a break on the taxes!

P

June 20th, 2011
10:07 am

I agree that any profits brought back to the US will be distributed to the shareholders and executives. That is teh trickle down we’ve had contributing to this recession – corporate greed, special treatment under the guise of job creation (which doesn’t come to fruition). And the person who says even if it’s paid out to shareholders they will buy goods and services thereby creating jobs. Again i disagree, they will reinvest in stocks to make more money. And that stock investment will sit in corporate coffers. The trickle down hasn’t worked for decades now. Corporations are more wealthy and more focused on bottom lines at the expense of employees. And the wealthy do get wealthier – we have more billionaires now that ever before.

I like the the idea form ‘S’, they corporations should have to pay taxes on their earning overseas, at least on a portion of it. PErhaps a higher rate on the portion earned overseas than the earnings here in the states. Then they will be more apt to bring the money bakc to the US. And how about a law that requires a minimum investment of the profits be returned to the economy? And that’s before profit distribution to shareholders, not after, CONGRESS!!

C Jack

June 20th, 2011
10:09 am

It very simple – corporation exec’s are obligated to preform the best return on dollars invested (put at risk of being lost) by investors. When these investments go bad these people lost it. When they do well they are rewarded and taxed. When competing again other companies that are working in more favorable areas (countries with lower corporate tax rates) They lose, this is due to competition in the global market. It is very simple and it is how labor and business markets work.

So any pie-in-the-sky -They should invest here is not even practical. As the company will lose in the end. Looks at the number of companies that have invested overseas to remain competitive. Even GM – No owned by the US taxpayers is making placing billions of dollars in new factories outside the US.

So the fact remains – You can say “Yea just tax’em” and watch the dollars and jobs march off into the sunset. – And the taxes, or want to have jobs and investment here.

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
10:09 am

Give them a tax break ONLY on what they invest.

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
10:10 am

Corporations that do not pay taxes on overseas income should not be able to write off overseas expenses against the US income that they do pay taxes on

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
10:12 am

Topping out at 35 percent, America’s official corporate income tax rate trails that of only Japan, which has said it plans to lower its rate. It is nearly triple Ireland’s and 10 percentage points higher than those of Denmark, Austria or China. To help companies here stay competitive, many executives say, Congress should lower it.

But by taking advantage of myriad breaks and loopholes that other countries generally do not offer, U.S. corporations pay only slightly more on average than their counterparts in other industrial countries. And some U.S. corporations use aggressive strategies to pay less — often far less — than their competitors abroad and at home. A Government Accountability Office study released in 2008 found that 57 percent of U.S. companies paid no federal income taxes during a seven-year period it studied.

The paradox of the U.S. tax code — high rates with a bounty of subsidies, shelters and special breaks — has made U.S. multinationals “world leaders in tax avoidance,” according to Edward Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California who was head of the congressional joint committee on taxes.

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
10:14 am

A New York Times analysis this week of the 500 companies in Standard & Poor’s stock index found that 115 paid less than 20 percent in corporate taxes and 34 paid less than 10 percent over the past five years.

P

June 20th, 2011
10:15 am

Oh, and that money sitting in the corporate coffers if not distributed to shareholders is used to buy more companies that they always say will reduce cost of operations for both companies through economies of scale. That’s another piece of fiction. Because what they really do is buy the company to rape the profits adding to their own bottom line. Then the acquired gets a profit boost by laying off workers and cutting benefits to make an immediate boost to the bottom line. No one wins here except the executives at the top who get paid big bonuses for the increase to the bottom line of the new company, but real cost is to the workers, unemployment and the economy. Everything that doesn’t affect the executives and major stockholders themselves.

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
10:16 am

U.S. Corporations Pay Average Amounts Of Taxes Despite High Rates

“by taking advantage of myriad breaks and loopholes that other countries generally do not offer, United States corporations pay only slightly more on average than their counterparts in other industrial countries. And some American corporations use aggressive strategies to pay less — often far less — than their competitors abroad and at home. A Government Accountability Office study released in 2008 found that 55 percent of United States companies paid no federal income taxes during at least one year in a seven-year period it studied.

The paradox of the United States tax code — high rates with a bounty of subsidies, shelters and special breaks — has made American multinationals “world leaders in tax avoidance,” according to Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California who was head of the Congressional joint committee on taxes. This has profound implications for businesses, the economy and the federal budget.”

P

June 20th, 2011
10:22 am

Thank you lovelyliz for the research and information. I think this also points out that no matter what we do, Congress always leaves the loopholes. That way the corporate executives can’t get angry with them, the congressmen can still collect their donations and support through those loopholes and the congressmen can tell their constituents they have made another great law to collect more taxes on corporations. They all win except the people that really need it.

Innocent Bystander

June 20th, 2011
10:27 am

No. Enough with the special treatment for multi-billion dollar corporations. Middle class America is dying right before our very eyes and the self same people who are shipping our jobs offshore want yet more tax breaks!?!? They will ALWAYS try to convince you that what is in their best interests is in yours as well.

I’ll bet the vast majority of the jobs this money would “create” would be overseas as well. India, China, and Brazil must be laughing all the way to the bank.

oskarmatz

June 20th, 2011
10:35 am

@Games over – I studied and I work hard and I pay a lot more than 5% in taxes. What you don’t understand is that I want corporations to pay more taxes, I want you to pay more taxes, I want lots of people to pay more taxes, because the more they pay, the less I’ll have to pay.
If these corporations owe $350 billion, how is it to my advantage to let them pay $52.5 billion? Costs to the government will not automagically drop by the amount forfeited – they’ll still have to be paid. What share of the forfeited $297.5 billion will I now have to pay? What’s your share?

Mike

June 20th, 2011
10:44 am

Newsflash for Buzz G and the other Randroids here: economic policy in the U.S. has been dominated by tax cuts and deregulation for the last 30 years. The question I have for you then is this: are the American people better off or worse off than they were before the Reagan Revolution?

Scott

June 20th, 2011
10:53 am

No more tax brakes for the greedy corporations .They should be fined to the fullest for not paying tier taxes .

Gator

June 20th, 2011
10:57 am

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

June 20th, 2011
11:05 am

@Oskarmatz: Your 6:44A post is spot on. It’s an illusion that companies will produce jobs if taxes are reduced. As you say, they’ll only create jobs when the business environment demands it and the current workforce is unable to meet productivity demands. Period.

According to Bruce Bartlett, former economic advisor to Ronald Reagan, the effective tax rates are the lowest in sixty years. And, the Bush tax cuts have been in affect for nearly ten years.

When will these tax cuts start producing jobs?

Supply side economics is a dud and the Republicans look stupid when they insist that this is the hope of the economy and job creation.

Galt

June 20th, 2011
11:07 am

25 million jobs were created during Reagan’s 8 years in office. Is this not evidence enough?

lovelyliz

June 20th, 2011
11:08 am

My paretns were rather harsh disciplinarians, but given that desipte all hsi screwups, my brother was never once grounded, what good were the rules. In thmuch the same way, THe USA can have high tax brackets for corporations, but if none of them pay at the top, they have no right to complain.

Kitty Conrad

June 20th, 2011
11:12 am

92% of the money repatriated the last time congress did this was returned to shareholders. That IS a good thing. Share holders either spend it (stimulating the economy) or reinvest it. Only a liberal imbecile would claim returning shareholder money to shareholders isn’t good. And yet the government still taxes the dividends returned to shareholders.

tar and feathers party

June 20th, 2011
11:12 am

As a shareholder in many of these companies, I say it is our money and we will keep it where we Gawd Damnned well please! Damnned is misspelled to avoid you stupid software censorship!