The House Judiciary Committee last week held an antitrust hearing to scrutinize Amazon and other tech companies’ growing dominance. A look at the online retail giant’s new quarterly report and past tax avoidance reveals why lawmakers should be equally concerned about how the tax system allows dominant, profitable corporations to avoid most or all federal tax on their profits.
Amazon, yet again, is poised to pay little or no federal income tax on its record profits, and it appears likely to do so using entirely legal tax breaks for stock options and research and development.
A large majority of Americans want corporations to pay more taxes and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has several proposals to achieve that. The newest idea is to require corporations to pay a minimum tax equal to 15 percent of profits they report to shareholders and to the public if this is less than what they pay under regular corporate tax rules. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal quotes several critics of the proposal, but none of their points are convincing.
White House officials continue to discuss tax cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Wamhoff provides a roundup of these terrible ideas that would do little to boost investment or reach those who need it most.
The Trump administration and its congressional allies have proposed making permanent the expensing provision in the Trump-GOP tax law. Expensing is the most extreme form of accelerated depreciation, which allows businesses to deduct the cost of purchasing equipment more quickly than it wears out. But expensing and other types of accelerated depreciation already account for a very large share of corporate tax breaks and allows many companies to pay nothing at all.
New tax cuts to incentivize bringing jobs back to the United States will fail. No new tax provisions can be more generous than the zero percent rate the 2017 law provides for many offshore profits or the loopholes that allow corporations to shift profits to countries with minimal or no corporate income taxes.
The Health Economic Recovery and Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes important changes to business tax provisions in the CARES Act, the most recent COVID-19 legislation enacted by Congress and…
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, in a May 19 memo to employees, outlines steps the company is taking to help its customers, small businesses and communities stay afloat. The part…
There is every reason to believe that Amazon will continue its tax-avoidance ways in 2020. The entirely-legal tax avoidance tools the company used to zero out its federal income tax bills over the last three years remain entirely legal today. From accelerated depreciation to the research and development tax credit to the deduction for executive stock options, Amazon’s tax avoidance tools have been blessed by lawmakers, and presidents, of all stripes.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides some needed relief for individuals and families, but two arcane tax provisions related to business losses will further enrich the wealthy and fail to boost our economy more broadly.
Last week, President Trump destroyed everyone’s coronavirus press conference bingo card by announcing that a conversation he had with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck inspired him to propose restoring a corporate tax deduction for business entertainment expenses. Trump’s own signature tax plan repealed this break two years ago.
The gigantic Coronavirus-related tax and spending bill enacted last week, the so-called “CARES Act,” sets aside $17 billion in loans for “businesses critical to maintaining national security.” It’s generally understood that the bill’s authors want much, if not all, of this $17 billion to go to a single company: Boeing. So it behooves us to ask whether Boeing benefits America and its economy in ways that merit this largesse.
At a time when record numbers of Americans are facing unemployment, state and local governments are facing a perfect storm of growing public investment needs and vanishing tax revenues, and small business owners are struggling to avoid even more layoffs, lavishing tax breaks on the top 1 percent in this way shouldn’t be in anyone’s top 20 list of needed tax changes.
Data available for download Congress passed and the president signed a $2 trillion plan that includes $150 billion in fiscal aid to states, $150 billion in health care spending, large…
Trump administration officials have reportedly floated the idea of including tax breaks for the airline industry in its package of COVID-19-related stimulus proposals, which would allow airline companies to defer income taxes into the future. This is an odd policy choice since most of the biggest airlines are already using deferral to zero out most or all of their federal income taxes on billions of dollars in profits.
Money doesn’t buy happiness—but it can buy immunity from the reach of Uncle Sam. The IRS is outgunned in cases against corporate giants because that’s how Republican leaders want it to be. They have systematically assaulted the agency’s enforcement capacity through decades of funding cuts. Instead of saving money, these cuts have cost billions: each dollar spent on the IRS results in several dollars of tax revenue collected.
President Trump and GOP lawmakers often cited corporations’ abuse of tax havens, e.g. shifting profits offshore to avoid taxes, as justification for dramatically lowering the federal corporate tax rate under…
As usual, corporate spokespersons and their allies are trying to push back against ITEP’s latest study showing that many corporations pay little or nothing in federal income taxes. One way they respond is by stating that everything they do is perfectly legal. This is an attempt by the corporate world to change the subject. The entire point of ITEP’s study is that Congress has allowed corporations to avoid paying taxes, and that this must change.
A new report from ITEP released today shows that, based on the first year of financial reports released by companies operating under the new tax law, tax avoidance appears to be every bit as much of a problem under the new tax system as it was before the Trump tax law took effect.
Profitable Fortune 500 companies avoided $73.9 billion in taxes under the first year of the Trump-GOP tax law. The study includes financial filings by 379 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable in 2018; it excludes companies that reported a loss.
The stock option rules in effect today create a problem because they allow corporations to report a much larger expense for this compensation to the IRS than they report to investors. The result is that corporations can report larger profits to investors but smaller profits to the IRS, undermining the fundamental fairness of the tax system.
Several Democratic candidates have proposed raising the statutory corporate tax rate from its current level of 21 percent to fund their spending proposals. Political reporters and observers may read a great deal into the different corporate rates proposed by candidates, but the truth is that rates mean very little on their own.
If you squint really hard, the Business Roundtable’s newly declared fondness for “supporting the communities in which we work” could be read as an acknowledgment of the need for a tax system that can pay for needed services. But it’s not.
If a future Congress and president enact a real tax reform, one that requires corporations to pay their fair share and ends TCJA’s various corporate breaks for offshore profits, then companies will use inversions and other tactics to dodge taxes once again—if lawmakers let them. That’s why any real tax reform will include something like the Stop Corporate Inversions Act, introduced last week by Sens. Dick Durbin and Jack Reed to block inversions.
Meet the new corporate tax system, same as the old corporate tax system. That’s the inescapable conclusion of a new ITEP report assessing the taxpaying behavior of America’s most profitable corporations. The report, Corporate Tax Avoidance Remains Rampant Under New Law, released earlier this week, finds that 60 Fortune 500 corporations disclose paying zero in federal income taxes in 2018 despite enjoying large profits.
For decades, profitable Fortune 500 companies have been able to manipulate the tax system to avoid paying even a dime in tax on billions of dollars in U.S. profits. This ITEP report provides the first comprehensive look at how the new corporate tax laws that took effect after the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects the scale of corporate tax avoidance.