7 Responses

  1. Doesn’t a refund mean that they estimated and paid more taxes than what they calculated at filing time? It could mean something unsavory has happened, or not.

    Does someone have a link to some of the numbers? Say the 2.5T to Citi. What I’ve seen doesn’t add up to that.

  2. Setting aside the portion of GE’s profits earned offshore, when a US corporation doesn’t pay tax on its current-year US-derived income, there can be many reasons – all of which you’d find sensible, I suspect, if you were familiar with US corporate tax laws. Most likely (by a very wide margin), GE probably “carried forward” large losses from earlier years, offsetting its earnings in 2010.

    The IRS has a whole team assigned to monitor the tax filings and payments of GE (and other large corporations). The IRS employees on that team undoubtedly get their performance evaluated based on how well they make sure GE doesn’t dodge any taxes.

    The great guy who waters the plants in my office finds all this “tax dodge” publicity very persuasive.

    • When you let the oil companies write the tax laws governing them, and give them all kinds of hidden tax breaks and subsidies, then of course they are following the law when they don’t pay taxes.

      The NYT writes:

      “…an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.

      According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.

      And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by various credits. These companies’ returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before.”

      The oil companies used to argue that they are performing a public service when they explore for new fields and develop them, which the public should pay for with the tax breaks and subsidies. But since we now know that hydrocarbon companies are actively destroying the planet with these activities, they not only shouldn’t be subsidized, they should be replaced with other things quickly. Give the subsidies to Big Wind and Big Solar and penalize petroleum.

      • The oil companies used to argue that they are performing a public service when they explore for new fields and develop them, which the public should pay for with the tax breaks and subsidies.

        And in, say, 1910, they were! It made sense to subsidize them through the tax code.

        Now, it doesn’t. Now, it makes sense to subsidize alternatives. I don’t blame the oil companies for taking the tax credits – that’s our public policy, and that’s the problem. Our energy/taxation policy needs to be improved.

  3. Very pleased that this ‘Royalty’ post bears no reference at all to the Royal Wedding and, to which, all correct thinking well balanced individuals could not give the tiniest shit.

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