If Corporations Dodge Taxes, Why Shouldn’t You?

Robert Scheer writes at Truthdig:

Go offshore young man and avoid paying taxes. Plunder at will in those foreign lands, and if you get in trouble, Uncle Sam will come rushing to your assistance, diplomatically, financially and militarily, even if you have managed to avoid paying for those government services. Just pretend you’re a multinational corporation.

That’s the honest instruction for business success provided by 60 of the largest U.S. corporations that, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year” shielding more than 40 percent of their profits from U.S. taxes. They all do it, including Microsoft, GE and pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories. Many, like GE, are so good at it that they have avoided taxes altogether in some recent years.

But they all still expect Uncle Sam to come to their aid with military firepower in case the natives abroad get restless and nationalize their company’s assets. We still have a blockade against Cuba because Fidel Castro more than a half century ago dared seize an American-owned telephone company. During that same period, we have consistently intervened to maintain the lock of U.S. corporations on the world’s resources, continuing to the present task of making Iraq and Libya safe for our oil companies.

America’s multinational corporations still need the Navy to protect shipping lanes and the Commerce Department to safeguard U.S. copyrights. They also expect the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department to intervene to provide bailouts and cheap money when the corporate financial swindlers get into trouble, like GE, which almost went aground when its GE Capital financial wing got caught in the great banking meltdown.

They want a huge U.S. government to finance scientific breakthroughs, educate the future workforce, sustain the infrastructure and provide for law and order on the home front, but they just don’t feel they should have to pay for a system of governance, even though it primarily serves their corporate interests. The U.S. government exists primarily to make the world safe for multinational corporations, but those firms feel no obligation to pay for that protection in return.

Think of that perfectly legal and widespread racket when you go to pay your taxes in the next weeks, and consider that you have to make up the gap left by the big boys’ antics. Also, when you contemplate the painful cuts coming because of the sequester that undoubtedly will further destabilize the economy, remember that, as the Wall Street Journal estimated, the tax savings of just 19 of those companies would more than cover the $85 billion in spending reductions triggered by the congressional budget impasse.The most skilled at this con game are the health care and technology companies, which, as a Senate investigation last year revealed, have become quite expert at shifting marketing rights and patents offshore to low-tax countries. Microsoft boosted its foreign holdings by $16 billion last year, and by the end of the company’s fiscal year on June 30, 2012, had $60.8 billion stashed internationally. Through creative accounting, Microsoft was able to claim that only 7 percent of its pretax profit last year was domestically generated.

Read more here.

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  • alizardx

    Google on
    “Irish Sandwich” google
    (including the quotes) to see their own favorite tax dodge.

    One of the usual stages in the end of an empire is when the wealthy find it’s cheaper to buy politicians to pay taxes and everyone else looks for their own way to avoid taxes as well. In the old days, this meant they couldn’t pay the army and the barbarians showed up inside the city gates plundering the homes of the wealthy. BTW, while the US Armed Forces are still getting paid, sequester means their benefits are being massively cut. The scientific research which leads to tech of the future is being cut back, too.

    Governments only can function when the wealthy are willing to help pay the costs of the system that makes it possible for them to accumulate wealth,.

  • echar

    By “educate the future workforce”, do you mean indoctrinate?

    • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

      I think it’s a mistake to think of education as indoctrination. You get what you can out of education. For most, K-12 is a waiting room. Clearly most people absorb exactly nothing from it. The widespread ignorance of the scientific method, basic biology, mathematics, history, and art proves that public schools are a joyless place where students are kept out of the workplace and provide free child supervision (not exactly free, but at least it’s compulsory!). The rich know better than to send their kids there. Only a handful of us benefit from it.

      • Charlie Primero

        The sorry state of American Education is an unfortunate accident. If you believe that, I know a Nigerian Prince who wishes to speak with you about an investment opportunity.

      • Charlie Primero

        The sorry state of American Education is an unfortunate accident. If you believe that, I know a Nigerian Prince who wishes to speak with you about an investment opportunity.

      • echar

        To reiterate I think calling it education is a mistake. The Pavlovian training of the hourly bell is enough by itself. From my perspective, as a whole the experience is an exercise in futility and a command to bow to authority. I did not win the birth lottery, and I benefited the most by casting it aside.

      • echar

        To reiterate I think calling it education is a mistake. The Pavlovian training of the hourly bell is enough by itself. From my perspective, as a whole the experience is an exercise in futility and a command to bow to authority. I did not win the birth lottery, and I benefited the most by casting it aside.

        • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

          Fair enough. It indeed takes a will to benefit.

          • echar

            There’s no other choice.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Revolving doors make the line between multinational corps and government look a little bit blurry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

    Billions? That’s what the fuckers pay in fines, for chrissakes.

    Try (at least) $21 TRILLION. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/21/global-elite-tax-offshore-economy)
    Since Helicopter Ben has had the printing presses on full blast for a while now, even that number has grown conservative, I’m sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

    Anyone watching what’s happening in Cyprus right now? Beginning of the Great Bank Run! Get ur bucks out the bank if ya got any in there. They’re coming for them soon!

    • BuzzCoastin

      I bet my money on a BitCoin nag, doda doda
      saw a big increase on my dough, oh day doda day

      • Monkey See Monkey Do

        I’ve been looking into TOR and bitcoin lately, I’m either going with that or a local credit union, but bitcoin seems more convenient.

        • BuzzCoastin

          BitCoin is still pretty far from mainstream and isn’t yet easy to use, but it does offer an alternative to mainstream banking… sort of. It’s still tied to a bank account in the US, unless you locate a off-line BitCoin broker of some sort.

          BitCoin, until recently, was mainly used by geeks & aficionados of SilkRoad, but now it’s attracted attention from the gambling industry & investors.

          There are 11 million BitCoins in circulation; a little more than 500 million worth today.

          TOR & BitCoin aren’t necessarily liked with each other, but SilkRoad is inexorably linked to TOR & BitCoin.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            Ah ok makes sense. Silk road looks interesting doesn’t it, crazy, don’t trust the anonymity of it though. I’ll be trying out bitcoins tho.

          • BuzzCoastin

            SilkRoad is straight out of the Cyber Punk Manifesto
            it’s run by the Dread Pirate Roberts
            as the WalMart of contraband

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          what are you going to do buy a bunch of cocaine with bitcoin in case of a financial melt down? I bet a lof people would.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          what are you going to do buy a bunch of cocaine with bitcoin in case of a financial melt down? I bet a lof people would.

          • InfvoCuernos

            that sounds smarter than buying gold, if you can sit on it for long enough for it to pay off- remember, “don’t get high on your own supply”.

          • InfvoCuernos

            that sounds smarter than buying gold, if you can sit on it for long enough for it to pay off- remember, “don’t get high on your own supply”.

          • BuzzCoastin

            BitCoins, like money, is of little use unless spent.
            Right now it’s primarily used to buy contraband, gamble and by financial speculators.
            In a financial crash, assuming the Internet & phone system stays up
            BitCoins might prove viable in the mainstream.

          • BuzzCoastin

            BitCoins, like money, is of little use unless spent.
            Right now it’s primarily used to buy contraband, gamble and by financial speculators.
            In a financial crash, assuming the Internet & phone system stays up
            BitCoins might prove viable in the mainstream.

          • InfvoCuernos

            Thanks, but I think for my prepper savings account I will just stick to disposable lighters and cocaine. Something tells me that Bitcoins will be about as viable as paper currency if things start unraveling.

          • InfvoCuernos

            Thanks, but I think for my prepper savings account I will just stick to disposable lighters and cocaine. Something tells me that Bitcoins will be about as viable as paper currency if things start unraveling.

          • BuzzCoastin

            Could be, but in Argentina when the currency collapsed, the people invented a paper based money system. It worked well for awhile,but for obvious reasons, like counterfeiting, it eventually failed.

            During most recent political uprisings, the Internet has stayed up, as did the phone system, which is internet based. So, unless a natural catastrophe knocks out electronic communication, something electronic will likely prevail. .

            If you got some spare change and initiative, BC is a good tool to have in your survival kit, along with disposable lighters and cocaine.

          • BuzzCoastin

            It looks like people have been anticipating this crash for some time
            hence the Egyptian mummies found with coke & pot in them.

          • InfvoCuernos

            I thought coke was a New World product.

          • InfvoCuernos

            I thought coke was a New World product.

          • BuzzCoastin

            Funny thing ’bout dat huh?
            I understand why the official story is the way it is
            it’s simply a simpler story to tell & sell
            it’s far more complicated to present evidence
            that’s inconsistent with the simple story
            and much more difficult to explain

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            Then again if I was an archaeologist I’d snort some lines and light up a spliff in a tomb every chance I get.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            Then again if I was an archaeologist I’d snort some lines and light up a spliff in a tomb every chance I get.

          • BuzzCoastin

            yeah, but getting it into the mummies hair
            is the hard part of destroying that evidence
            I’d be too toasted to pull that one off
            but on coke I might try anyway

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            Ha, I meant bit coins minus the TOR.. but I bet a lot of people are doing it already.

  • echar

    What strikes me about this is that Al Capone got nabbed by some piddling tax charge and the media has flaunted it since. Yet no one can make a tax evasion charge stick on any of these people. What are they coated in Teflon? Where is Eliot Ness when we need him?

    • BuzzCoastin

      They were never able to prove that Capone evaded pay taxes.
      The trial irregularities were way beyond most of the shenanigans pulled to today.

      Check out U.S. v. Vernice Kuglin for an interesting take on personal taxes.
      The trial transcript could be a movie script.

      • echar

        Yeah, well we need some “trial irregularities” then.

        • BuzzCoastin

          Capone was railroaded; no question about it.

          Vernice Kuglin on the other hand did not pay personal income taxes for 10 years. Her defense: I don’t have to.

          Tried for tax evasion, she won because she wasn’t trying to evade paying taxes by lying, she simply wasn’t paying them based on her understanding of the IRS law.

          Not guilty!

          • echar

            I think the jurors may have felt a little guilty about making a little ol’ lady pay.

          • BuzzCoastin

            You really should read the transcript; it’s lesson on how a trial works.

            But essentially the government couldn’t prove she tried to evade paying her taxes. It seems that it’s against the law to evade paying taxes, but not against the law to not pay taxes. Read the transcript and you decide.

            Oh & BTW: Vernice Kuglin was full time FEDEX pilot at the time of her case,
            far from a lil ole lady.

          • echar

            oh… and that’s pretty awesome. I dislike that taxes are used for things I view as harmful.

          • InfvoCuernos

            That’s pretty much all they are used for. I actually hope that my taxes go toward welfare-then at least its not killing me, but my tax dollars are probably paying for fluoridation or drone fuel or bullets for Homeland Security.

          • echar

            I read somewhere that only a very small percentage goes to welfare. The largest amount goes to found the military, and possibly the banksters now.

  • BuzzCoastin

    more than few decades ago
    a man published detailed instructions on
    how to create the same tax schemes as corporations for individuals
    and got sent to jail for it

    so, if you are an individual who does pay taxes
    you should form a corporation to pay your taxes for you,

    it cheaper and a legal way to reduce any taxes you pay
    remember
    corporations are people too

    • echar

      Fuck it… I am now a corporation. I can do all sorts of ill shit, and no one can stop me.

      • BuzzCoastin

        Well it’s not quite that simple
        but a corporation-person gets more breaks & more rights
        than a human person could ever hope for.

      • BuzzCoastin

        Well it’s not quite that simple
        but a corporation-person gets more breaks & more rights
        than a human person could ever hope for.

        • echar

          It sure seems farely simple for the corporations to give themselves personal rights.

          • BuzzCoastin

            English Law and then American Law gave corporations
            “the same rights as natural persons to contract and to enforce contracts”
            it has expanded from there

            rarely do corporate executives go to prison or pay fines
            if their corporation violates the law
            so it always best to have your strawman
            stand behind the shield of another corporation
            especially if you’re violating criminal laws

            it’s hard to do if you’re a working stiff
            but almost any type of small home business
            can serve as a basis for your incorporation

  • lazy_friend

    I don’t know for sure, but I have been told that the USA has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, giving these already greedy corporations reasons to run with their money. Like I said, I am not sure as its hearsay.

    • BuzzCoastin

      Der Homeland may or may not have the highest tax rate, but legally it’s around 35%.
      But the accounting & tax laws for corporations are so complex
      and the ability to enforce all that complexity so limited
      that most giant corporations are never audited.

      The most important person in any large corporation
      is the CFO
      because their job is to keep all the shenanigans legal.

    • BuzzCoastin

      Der Homeland may or may not have the highest tax rate, but legally it’s around 35%.
      But the accounting & tax laws for corporations are so complex
      and the ability to enforce all that complexity so limited
      that most giant corporations are never audited.

      The most important person in any large corporation
      is the CFO
      because their job is to keep all the shenanigans legal.

    • alizardx

      Some major corporations avoid tax completely. I think Google pays about 15%. There are reasons why US is increasingly seen as a “tax haven”. Nominal tax rates don’t mean much when one can buy tax exemptions from politicians.

  • jnana

    Revoking Corporate Charter by Richard Grossman

    http://fredsitelive.com/reference/papers/corp_charters.htm

    heard this on the radio once. basically, it reveals how citizens have the right to dismantle a corporations right to exist. I forget if he gives historical examples of this happening or not.