Thursday, April 15, 2010

Speaking of Taxes

Adam Weinstein at Mother Jones writes about corporate tax cheat Exxon Mobil:

So, good news and bad news. The good news is, oil megacorporation ExxonMobil had such a profitable year in 2009, it contributed $15 billion to the world's tax coffers.

The bad news: Not a cent of that went to the IRS.

Oh dear.

By contrast, the nation's largest corporation, Wal-Mart, paid $7.1 billion globally in taxes, and the lion's share of it—$5.9 billion, or 83 percent—went to the US government.

How do they do this? From Forbes:

Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. Exxon has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.

Exxon spokespeople did contact Weinstein to tell him that they expected to have significant US federal income tax liability for 2009, but that they did not intend to disclose what that amount would be.

Meanwhile, President Obama wants to remove some $38 billion in subsidies to Big Oil and Big Coal. From Treehugger:

I know, it seems like a no-brainer--and it should be. Why, exactly, do we need to be spending billions of dollars a year to help the biggest companies in the world make billions of dollars? And yes, as reductive as that statement appears, that is precisely what's going on. Taxpayer money goes toward giving oil companies tax breaks, deductions for drilling, and other expenses--even though companies like Exxon have posted record earnings in the last couple years.

The removal of these taxpayer subsidies is being portrayed by the fossil fuels lobby as an "energy tax."

To summarize: Companies like Exxon Mobil are weaseling out of paying US taxes, by using offshore tax dodges. We the taxpayers are subsidizing their labors, while they earn record profits. I saw the their thank you note yesterday at the gas station - it read "$2.86 per gallon."

cross posted at Main St/

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