How Many Corporations Pay Their Taxes?

Riddle me that…….

(sorry this is a bit longer than most of my posts….but it needs to be said….)

I know that some of my more conservative readers will not want to hear these proposals…..I believe that if the middle class must suffer and sacrifice then so should the others……I believe in shared sacrifice… action not in the idle words of politicians…….

For years conservs have been rattling on about the high corporate taxes in the US…..but they seemingly leave out the part that they get enormous tax breaks and tax cuts almost yearly….and in some states, mine to be exact, the conserv legislature is trying to eliminate corporate income tax, even though they pay very little as compared to what the working stiffs pay……

Think not?  This from Politifact Ohio……..

To back up her assertion, Fudge’s office cites media reports about particular companies – like General Electric and Bank of America — that did not pay 2009 taxes as well as a July 2008 report from Congress’ Government Accountability Office that showed it’s relatively common for big companies to pay no taxes.

Between 1998 to 2005, GAO found that about 72 percent of large foreign controlled companies and 55 percent of large U.S. controlled companies reported zero tax liability for at least one year. About 57 percent of foreign controlled large companies and 42 percent of U.S. large companies paid no taxes in two or more years, and a third of the foreign companies and one quarter of their U.S. counterparts paid no taxes for at least four of those years. Just 45 percent of large U.S. companies and 28 percent of foreign companies reported a tax liability for each of the eight years. The report defined large companies as those with at least $250 million in assets, or at least $50 million in receipts

I say if I pay a 30% tax then corporations pay the same….a shared sacrifice….that they all keep going on about……and there are other ways that corporations can be more socially involved…….I read a piece in the UK’s Guardian by Nicholas Shaxson and I say it is worth considering…..

1) Corporate profits depend on tax-financed public goods: healthy and educated workforces; good infrastructure; publicly enforced respect for contracts and property rights, and so on. When corporations avoid or evade tax, legally or illegally, they free ride on the backs of the rest of us. Stop taxing them, and you savagely undermine political community.

2) Corporation taxes are an essential backstop to personal income tax. Cut them to zero, and wealthy individuals will increasingly reclassify their earnings as corporate income, typically using offshore corporate structures, and escape tax. Gauke’s arguments about employees footing the corporate tax bill are irrelevant.

3) Gauke’s claim of a “consensus among economists” that the burden of corporation taxes falls on employees and not on capital owners, is false. The US Congressional Budget Office said last week that it was “unclear” how much of the corporation tax burden fell on employees; earlier, it said that capital bore most or all of the corporate tax burden. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) in Washington said this month that the incidence of corporate tax fell mostly on capital owners, not employees. It added that corporate income tax was among the most progressive taxes, because stock ownership was heavily concentrated among the wealthiest taxpayers. This is an especially precious tax.

4) When Gauke talks about “employees”, who does he mean? Goldman Sachs employees earned $430,700 on average last year. To the extent that the burden falls on them, taxing such firms makes the tax system more progressive. It would also cut into excessive bank remuneration, which has been a big factor in the recent financial crisis. Taxing financial corporations also curbs the “too big to fail” problem where large banks can hold governments hostage and shift losses on to taxpayers.

5) If corporation taxes didn’t fall on the owners of capital, as Gauke claims, then corporations, responding to shareholders’ wishes, shouldn’t mind being taxed. So why do they spend so much time and money designing tax avoidance strategies?

6) Limited liability companies are separate legal persons, greater than the sum of their parts. So they should be taxed separately: this is not “double taxation”. Limited liability lets shareholders dump costs on to society when things go wrong. Corporations must pay for this privilege.

7) Many corporations earn what economists call rents. These – like oil money that flows effortlessly into Saudi or Kuwaiti coffers – are earnings that arise not from hard work and real innovation but from accidents of nature or good fortune. Adair Turner recently explained how banks in the City of London are particularly adept at earning rents, such as from exploiting insider knowledge and expertise; from natural oligopolies in market-making and other activities; and from “valueless” trading activity. Economists since Adam Smith – including Turner – have advocated taxing rents especially hard.

8) Corporate tax avoidance, despite hiding behind weasel words such as “tax efficiency”, is unproductive and inefficient. When corporate managers pursue tax avoidance they take their eye off what they do best – producing better or cheaper goods or services – and focus instead on engineering transfers of wealth from taxpayers to corporations. Clamp down on it, hard, to make markets more efficient.

9) It matters where company owners and business activities are. Take a US mining company digging gold in Zambia. If Zambia raises corporation taxes, wealth will flow from wealthy US stockholders to ordinary African taxpayers. The investor will stay, because that’s where the gold is – and even if it goes, another will take its place. That basic formula works for profitable opportunities in general. Tax corporations, within reason, and they may bluff and bluster – but they will stay.

10) The “Laffer argument” that corporation tax cuts pay for themselves has been thoroughly debunked. Even Greg Mankiw, formerly chairman of George W Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, calls Laffer’s adherents “charlatans and cranks”.

Good stuff and excellent proposal……it will NEVER come about……special interests are in control….they have almost always been in control…….but what about shared sacrifice?


4 thoughts on “How Many Corporations Pay Their Taxes?

    1. Welcome Jackie and thanx for the links….I hope that you will not be a stranger….I always enjoy a good exchange of ideas…..but I still believe in shared sacrifice….if I pay 30% then everyone pays and that includes corporations…since SCOTUS has put them on the same footing as me….then they need to pay their share of the revenue of the country…..

  1. Well, yes to some extent, although I think you’ll find that the relationships involved are MUCH more complex than you (and particularly the Guardian) suggest.

    In any event, The Guardian is generally so far up its own metaphorical ass that it only appeal to the would-be intelligencia and has little relevance to reality.

    However, a good post that, if I feel in need of a headache, I’ll try to reply better to 😈

    1. Thanx and I try…it is only fair that I give you headache in response to the ones you give…..LOL

      But some of the stuff is true…here the tax rate is about 25% or more but with all their games they pay less than 14% or none at all….and some states have eliminated ALL corporate income tax… I said there is NO shared sacrifice….we are asked to do it all and others get basically a free ride…..

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