Billions in profits, zero in corporate taxes

I spent part of a beautiful weekend doing my taxes; the results were not very pretty, and as a result we’ll be writing a good-sized check to the IRS in the next few days.

But maybe I should just declare myself a corporation, like General Electric. I mean, if corporations can be people, then people can be corporations, right? Last year, according to a Forbes report, GE reported a pretax profit of more than $10 billion yet somehow managed to pay nothing to the US Treasury. In fact, it banked a tax benefit of $1.1 billion against future profits.

ExxonMobil, Forbes found, reported pretax profits of $35 billion to the Securities and Exchange Commission, but no tax liability to Uncle Sam. (According to Forbes, an Exxon spokesman “insists that once its final tax bill is figured, Exxon will owe a ’substantial 2009 tax liability’,” but the company refuses to disclose it.) Chevron made $18.5 billion in pretax profits, and paid $200 million in U.S. corporate income taxes. Bank of America made $4.4 billion and paid no corporate income tax; according to Forbes, BoA won’t be doing so for years.

As the Forbes story points out, many companies lower their U.S. tax liabilities by parking a lot of their profits overseas in countries with lower tax rates. That would seem, at first glance, an argument for lowering U.S. corporate taxes.

wsj-20090203

However, the effective corporate tax rate in the United States is actually fairly low and certainly competitive when compared to other industrialized nations, as the graphic from the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report demonstrates. (Note that the effective corporate rate in China, where many industrial jobs are migrating, is considerably higher than in the U.S.)

In addition, many companies aren’t moving actual economic activity and the jobs that come with them to low-tax countries; they are relocating them only on paper. Exxon, for example, “tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands,” Forbes writes. Those countries aren’t actual industrialized economies competing with the US for jobs; they are tax scams with a flag and an embassy.

Maybe that’s what I need to do. Maybe I should open a Jay Bookman subsidiary in Bermuda and assign it all my earnings. Sure, I’d probably have to go visit that subsidiary pretty often, just to keep up appearances. But hey, I hear Bermuda’s nice.

Of course, if everybody started doing that, Bermuda might get so crowded that it would tip over. And THEN where would we be?

(This post has been edited since its initial posting.)

387 comments Add your comment

arnold

April 7th, 2010
8:37 am

We don’t necessarily need to raise corporate taxes. We just need to require payment of taxes no matter where they are earned in the world.

Night Train

April 7th, 2010
8:37 am

Corporation don’t pay taxes, they collect it from their customers and pass it on to the government.

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:39 am

Who cares? The profits belong to Exxon. Not our worthless government.

Here’s the world’s smallest violin Jay…and it’s playin’ all for you.

TnGelding

April 7th, 2010
8:40 am

Be glad you earned enough to owe taxes. The way some dis you here you’d think you didn’t. As I’ve replied before to conservatives complaining about the high “marginal rate”, none of them pay it.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
8:41 am

Don’t worry, Jay. Since these big companies do not pay taxes, they’re going to trickle down on us. It’s the Republican way. So say they all.

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:41 am

“they collect it from their customers and pass it on to the government.”

It would appear, from what Jay has found, that they may be collecting it and keeping it.

TnGelding

April 7th, 2010
8:42 am

Night Train

April 7th, 2010
8:37 am

They do? Not according to this article. Shouldn’t that be they’re supposed to pass it on to the government? But I agree. It’s part of the overhead of running a business. Wonder how many are behind on paying FICA?

TnGelding

April 7th, 2010
8:43 am

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:41 am

You beat me to the punch!

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:45 am

“The profits belong to Exxon. Not our worthless government”

So, you’re OK then with corporations getting benefits and protections from the US government for free? Which means you and I pay for them, not the corporations benefitting from them. And you’re OK with that?

jt

April 7th, 2010
8:45 am

The 475 quatro-bajillion dollars that state,local,and federalie governments made on gas tax just aint’ enough,

is it Jay.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
8:45 am

Since these corporations do not pay taxes, thanks to the Republican tax cuts paid for by money they borrowed from China, what will the GOP do as an encore. Will they insist that we start giving these companies tax credits. Ooops! Too late.

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:46 am

Of course, if we had the Fair Tax….this wouldn’t be an issue to begin with. But the Fair Tax is probably racist or something like that.

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:48 am

“But the Fair Tax is probably racist or something like that.”

Nope…it’s just misnamed.

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:48 am

Since these corporations do not pay taxes, thanks to the Republican tax cuts paid for by money they borrowed from China
—————————————————-

It’s a little more complicated than “Bush bad!”

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Tax/ge-exxon-paid-us-income-taxes-09/story?id=10300167&page=1

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:49 am

Nope…it’s just misnamed.
———————————–

Right. You think it’s unfair because the producers won’t be taxed “enough” and the leeches will be taxed “too much”.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:52 am

“I spent part of a beautiful weekend doing my taxes; the results were not very pretty, and as a result we’ll be writing a good-sized check to the IRS in the next few days.”

Oh well, you do love big government. So don’t complain.

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:52 am

“You think ”

What you think I think has no basis in reality. You really need to brush up on your mind reading skills.

Brad Steel

April 7th, 2010
8:53 am

I know Bermuda. I have been to Bermuda. And Jay Bookman is no Bermuda.

Red

April 7th, 2010
8:53 am

The value added tax for consumption, in it’s originial form in the middle 1980s, was actually something to consider.

Of course, then the Republicans let the lobbiyists ‘tinker’ with the proposal and made into something that would end up screwing the middle class and favoring corporations….go figure.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:54 am

“ExxonMobil: $35 billion in profit, zero in corporate taxes”

Go find your own oil, Jay. You leftys always demonize the very companies that make it possible to live. Insurance companies, banks, oil companies, Wal Mart…………..

By all means, become your own doctor, start your own bank, drill your own oil and lower prices on Gatorade.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:55 am

“Maybe I should open a Jay Bookman subsidiary in Bermuda and assign it all my earnings. ”

Hey, it worked for Charlie Rangel. He turned a-ok!

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:55 am

Anyways, Jay, don’t feel too bad. When Exxon pays out all those dividends to the owners…the shareholders….those dividends will be taxed. So it’s really not all that bad. Uncle Scam gets to keep at least one hand in thier pocket.

Red

April 7th, 2010
8:56 am

can’t spell this morning: original, lobbyists-Mrs. Beckman(an old English teacher) would be horrified

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
8:56 am

“Go find your own oil, Jay”

Well, I don’t know about oil…but I have a friend who has her own natural gas well.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:57 am

“But maybe I should just declare myself a corporation, like General Electric.”

Iran would love it! America not so much.

NRB2

April 7th, 2010
8:58 am

“I spent part of a beautiful weekend doing my taxes; the results were not very pretty, and as a result we’ll be writing a good-sized check to the IRS in the next few days.”
——————————————————————————————
And since you love government so much, and want to help the poor and end racism, I’m sure you’ll even give them a little extra, right?

Right?

Maybe write in another $5000?

If you don’t it’s because you’re greedy.

And racist.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:58 am

“Well, I don’t know about oil…but I have a friend who has her own natural gas well.”

We all have a natural gas well. It just doesn’t smell too nice after Mexican food.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
8:58 am

The FairTax should rightfully be called the FairlyOddTax given that it is the grandest socialist scheme ever concocted here on US soil in modern times and it is being proposed by so-called conservatives and Republicans. With the so-called FairTax, everyone would be on the hook to the government (not just Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients), waiting for their monthly “prebate” check, the FairTax equivalent to all things anti-conservative, the dreaded government handout, so they could head off to the store and buy their basic necessitites such as a handful of lottery tickets… Ah Yes! The FairTax! That’s the ticket. Brilliant!

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
8:59 am

“as a result we’ll be writing a good-sized check to the IRS in the next few days.”

Ah, you’re one of those evil rich people you’re always demonizing. Does Obama know about you?

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:00 am

“The FairTax should rightfully be called the FairlyOddTax given that it is the grandest socialist scheme ever concocted here”

No, you’re mixing up the FairTax with Social Security.

Normal

April 7th, 2010
9:00 am

Nattionalize the oil Companies!

jt

April 7th, 2010
9:01 am

MUST……………….GET…………………..6 dollar……………………………………..GAS.

FrankLeeDarling

April 7th, 2010
9:02 am

and we don’t even get a reach around.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:02 am

“Nattionalize the oil Companies!”

Government Motors would fit perfectly with Government Oil! Put a cartoon image of Obama’s face on the logo!

Obaoil! It’s black for a reason!

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:03 am

“and we don’t even get a reach around.”

Weird.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:03 am

It’s a little more complicated than “Bush bad!”

Of course it is. Clearly, all Republicans are bad but it is much more succinct to do as you and say “Bush bad!” I like that. Thanks.

stands for decibels

April 7th, 2010
9:04 am

the effective corporate tax rate in the United States is actually fairly low and certainly competitive when compared to other industrialized nations

Funny how nobody has seen fit to address this. It’s like they were just trying to distract or something.

Chris D.

April 7th, 2010
9:04 am

Jay…You sure don’t strike me as much of a tax accountant. Don’t you relaize that corporations reduce their tax liability with deductions such as Helath Insurance coverage for employees…Companies as big as GE or Exxon have 10s of thousands of employees, with the average insurance costs being over say 10k per employee for a year that could mean deductions in the 1/4 billion dollars or more! Plus these corporations pay Payroll taxes, Medicaid taxes, unemployment taxes. Your article is disingenious, you try and make it sound like these corps are paying NO TAXES at all. That is a lie

getalife

April 7th, 2010
9:04 am

cons don’t care about corporate welfare.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:04 am

“Clearly, all Republicans are bad”

Woo wee, someone is gonna hate November!

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:05 am

“cons don’t care about corporate welfare.”

or black people, right?

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:05 am

No, you’re mixing up the FairTax with Social Security.

No, LA, you are mixed up.

stands for decibels

April 7th, 2010
9:05 am

People on the right seem to get either confused or upset when you point out how the rest of the world does things. Also.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:06 am

“Your article is disingenious”

Hate to break it to you Chris, but Jay ain’t in the business of truth telling.

stands for decibels

April 7th, 2010
9:06 am

No, LA, you are mixed up.

Mixed up the pet meds with the Alzheimer meds, likely as not.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:06 am

“No, LA, you are mixed up.”

Awe, poor taxpayer.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:06 am

“Mixed up the pet meds with the Alzheimer meds, likely as not.”

And here. we. go!

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:06 am

Woo wee, someone is gonna hate November!

Given the amount of attention you are giving to that thought, I look forward to hearing you elaborate more on the matter once November has come and gone.

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:07 am

I’ve been screaming this for a long time. The day before yesterday matter of fact. No wonder oil, insurance companies, electronic companies like Siemens who had similar numbers with no tax liability, have billions to throw around to campaigns, and lobbyists. We as a society create an environment for these companies to prosper, and then when it comes time for them to pay back in to the system that allowed them to earn, they get cheap and don’t want to pay in. They should pay, if they don’t they should be closed down.

Albert

April 7th, 2010
9:07 am

Too bad the miners died due to a greedy sob who put profits over safety….A union would have done them some good…

Chris D.

April 7th, 2010
9:07 am

So sad But true “who dat”…

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:08 am

Awe, poor taxpayer.

It’s all relative.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:08 am

“People on the right seem to get either confused or upset when you point out how the rest of the world does things.’

Meaning Iran, North Korea, Egypt, Venezuela, UK etc…… Yep, those places are doing really well financially.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:08 am

“Given the amount of attention you are giving to that thought, I look forward to hearing you elaborate more on the matter once November has come and gone.”

Will do!

joan

April 7th, 2010
9:09 am

Well, if they are doing it and it is legal, then look to your Congress.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:10 am

“Too bad the miners died due to a greedy sob who put profits over safety….A union would have done them some good…”

Yep, a good old union would have caused the deaths of the miners AND the company.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:10 am

And here. we. go!

Where we goin’? LA. Been there. Done that. Boring.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:10 am

“I’ve been screaming this for a long time.”

Of course you were. How else do left wingers get heard. They throw a temper tantrum.

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:11 am

Yep, a good old union would have caused the deaths of the miners AND the company.

Of course, you offer your usual “proof” to support your claims. zzzzzzzzzzzz

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:12 am

“Of course, you offer your usual “proof” to support your claims. zzzzzzzzzzzz”

GM

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:13 am

“Where we goin’? LA. Been there. Done that. Boring.”

I was hoping you’d be the one leaving.

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
9:13 am

“Too bad the miners died due to a greedy sob who put profits over safety”

That mine was fined 48 times last year for safety violations, according to the NPR news report this AM.

FrankLeeDarling

April 7th, 2010
9:14 am

I hope you corporate loving republicans enjoy the rate hike you are going to get if you want high speed internet.

lovelyliz

April 7th, 2010
9:14 am

Then how about this? If you don’t want corporation to pay taxes, fine, but they can’t use government services. That means they pay 100% of the cost and maintenance of roads, lights, fireighting and security/police costs.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:16 am

“I hope you corporate loving republicans enjoy the rate hike you are going to get if you want high speed internet.”

Oh goody, we need more left wingers to start chanting this in the real world! Please, continue to show us evil capitalists who you really are!

Marxist much?

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:16 am

Oh well. Y’all have fun with the conservatives. This poor fella has to go put together some breakfast for the sleepy heads that are finally stirring. Later.

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:17 am

I don’t understand how Republicans can defend corporations making millions, billions, paying no tax back into the country. It’s treason. Instead they attack Jay or others, claim the poor corporations are paying tax on health care. Why do you poor dumb bastards care so much about people who wouldn’t even let you get within 20 feet of them? How do they have you so brainwashed that you defend people who have no respect for you?

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:17 am

“That means they pay 100% of the cost and maintenance of roads, lights, fireighting and security/police costs.”

Sounds like someone doesn’t realize that 90% of Americans work for private companies. And these 90% of Americans pay for those services…………

Money envy much?

TaxPayer

April 7th, 2010
9:18 am

I was hoping you’d be the one leaving

Have fun with that. Bye.

AmVet

April 7th, 2010
9:19 am

“Of course, if everybody started doing that, Bermuda might get so crowded that it would tip over.”

LOL! It was more than bizarre how the blinded haters actually thought Johnson was NOT making one helluva joke. Ideology once again trumps logic and common sense…(Cue up the red herrings.)

“I mean, if corporations can be people, then people can be corporations, right?”

On a much more serious note, this is to me one of the greatest disappointments of this and the late 20th century.

How the ideologues, mooches and quasi-traitors, who refer to our “worthless government”, have willingly and gleefully sat by while THEIR blood-soaked sovereignty has been usurped by the “people” known as multi-national corporations.

Help them (your favorite deity here), for they know not what they do…

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:20 am

For the angry gal who mentioned racism. Here I was, being told I am racist for supporting the Tea Party. Gotta love Marxist left wing racists.

Black Tea Party Activists Called ‘Traitors’

Black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement — and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation’s first black president.

They’ve been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values. Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement — and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation’s first black president.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/06/black-tea-party-activists-called-traitors/

stands for decibels

April 7th, 2010
9:21 am

Meaning Iran, North Korea

No. G8 and BRIC. Listed on the bar chart.

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:21 am

I don’t understand how Republicans can defend corporations making millions, billions, paying no tax back into the country. It’s treason. Instead they attack Jay or others, claim the poor corporations are paying tax on health care. Why do you poor people care so much about people who wouldn’t even let you get within 20 feet of them? How do they have you so brainwashed that you defend people who have no respect for you? Look, none of you have any money. Why not make these companies pay in, their share, the country needs funds for education and other services.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:23 am

“I don’t understand how Republicans can defend corporations making millions, billions, paying no tax back into the country. It’s treason.”

Then go make a citizens arrest, G Cancer.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:24 am

“Why not make these companies pay in, their share, the country needs funds for education and other services.”

Thy name is Karl Marx.

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:25 am

Who dat?

I’m glad to see you’re so concerned with the challenges that black people face in this country. It’s obvious that you know black people. Keep up the good work.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:25 am

“No. G8 and BRIC. Listed on the bar chart.”

Oh yeah, Russia is doing really well financially. We should follow their model. LOL

josef nix

April 7th, 2010
9:25 am

Just some thoughts here…

Somebody posted last p.m. wanting to know how many of us liberals were sending off instead of receiving IRS checks…here’s another country heard from…! (And, Jay, how come our accountants haven’t gotten the memo we liberals don’t have to pay taxes…?)

Secondly, note that the first corporation Jay, the liberal, takes on is GE….

And finally, there will be plenty of time to come down on the coal company in WV and argue union or no union, right now let the families grieve their loss…

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:26 am

And by the way, it’s G Cancryn don’t be a dick

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:26 am

“I’m glad to see you’re so concerned with the challenges that black people face in this country. It’s obvious that you know black people. Keep up the good work.”

Yeah, the democrat party has really helped you guys/gals out over the years. LOL

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:26 am

“And by the way, it’s G Cancryn don’t be a dick”

Contradict much, G Cancer?

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:28 am

And the point is, Why do you poor people care so much about people who wouldn’t even let you get within 20 feet of them? How do they have you so brainwashed that you defend people who have no respect for you? Look, none of you have any money. Why not make these companies pay in, their share, the country needs funds for education and other services.

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:30 am

Yeah, the democrat party has really helped you guys/gals out over the years. LOL

Now I’m sure you’re going to list you accomplishments advocating the concerns of black people

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:30 am

“Why do you poor people care so much about people who wouldn’t even let you get within 20 feet of them?”

Yeah, Obama is bad about letting people get within 20 feet of him.

“Look, none of you have any money. ”

And you know this how, G Cancer?

jefferson

April 7th, 2010
9:31 am

Make the CEOs live in those countries if they don’t want to pay our dues. Exile the bastards.

stands for decibels

April 7th, 2010
9:31 am

Oh yeah, Russia is doing really well financially. We should follow their model. LOL

Who dat, please don’t pretend that you’ve missed my point. You haven’t.

You’re distracting, again, because the actual topic is unpleasant to discuss.

We don’t over-tax our corporations. The arguments that we do are, therefore, intellectually bankrupt.

That’s Jay’s point. You can’t counter it; nobody here can, because he’s researched the topic and viewed it from several ideologically-oriented sources and has come to a thoughtful conclusion that is correct, per usual.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:32 am

“Now I’m sure you’re going to list you accomplishments advocating the concerns of black people”

Sure, when Katrina hit, I was down in NO helping to rebuild poor neighborhoods. Every Thanksgiving, I go to homeless shelters to help out with prepping and feeding homeless people.

Want me to keep going, G Cancer?

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
9:32 am

“the democrat party”

There’s no such party. If you’re going to cry on someone’s shoulder because another poster screwed up your name…then return the favor and use the correct names in other cases.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:33 am

“You’re distracting, again, because the actual topic is unpleasant to discuss.”

No, I’m ridiculing the asinine topic. It’s the same regurgitated topic that Hillary Clinton started a few years ago.

“We don’t over-tax our corporations. The arguments that we do are, therefore, intellectually bankrupt. ”

And like I said, go make a citizens arrest and take their money.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:34 am

“There’s no such party.”

There’s no such party after this November.

FYT

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:34 am

You don’t have the kind of money I’m talking about Who dick? Listen “Who dick” don’t get flustered. I’m talking about the type of people who run these companies. Get it “Who dick”?

Kamchak

April 7th, 2010
9:35 am

Tick…tick…tick….

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:36 am

“You don’t have the kind of money I’m talking about Who dick?”

Woooooooo weee, somebody is getting a little testy here!

But please, continue to call me names, it shows your true colors! No racism intended.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:36 am

Tick…tick…tick….

For G Cancer that is.

Finn McCool

April 7th, 2010
9:37 am

But but but Jay, those companies are creating soooooo many NEW jobs in this struggling economy for….people in India and China

Mick

April 7th, 2010
9:37 am

Jay – there is a solution, incorporate. I don’t know about georgia but in Fl. it cost $99. Reap the advantages of the big guys, what have you got to lose?

G Cancryn

April 7th, 2010
9:37 am

I’ve never seen you there, maybe because you don’t use you name, “Who dick” Maybe I know you, if you’re so involved, otherwise you’re just another big mouth saying unconfirmable stuff.

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:37 am

“then return the favor and use the correct names in other cases.”

What’s wrong with Democrat Party? Maybe Socialist Democrat Party?

Doggone/GA

April 7th, 2010
9:37 am

“But please, continue to call me names, it shows your true colors!”
“Want me to keep going, G Cancer?”

Pot, meet kettle

Who dat?

April 7th, 2010
9:38 am

“I’ve never seen you there, maybe because you don’t use you name, “Who dick” Maybe I know you, if you’re so involved, otherwise you’re just another big mouth saying unconfirmable stuff.”

LOL!!!!!! Yeah, G Cancer, when I go to help people, I say “Hi my name is Who Dat?” LOL!!!!!