Date: Thursday, December 8, 2011, 2:39pm PST – Last Modified: Friday, December 9, 2011, 6:44am PST
Business Journal staff writer – Portland Business Journal
Intel Corp. and a state research group disagree over whether the Portland area’s largest private employer has paid state income taxes.
The disagreement stems from a report titled “Corporate Tax Dodging in the 50 States” issued by two Washington, D.C.-based think tanks. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and Citizens for Tax Justice identify Intel as one of several Fortune 500 companies that paid no state income taxes between 2008 and 2010 “despite reporting large profits to their shareholders.” The groups said they based their findings on SEC filings from 265 Fortune 500 companies.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy seized on the findings, saying the report confirms a need for state corporate disclosure laws.
Intel, the Portland area’s largest private employer, said it has paid income taxes during the years the tax groups studied.
“This study uses data from our annual report and there is a fundamental difference in how we report taxes per the annual report and how much tax is actually paid in any given year,” the company said in a statement. “Our facilities are located in states that understand the positive economic impact that major capital investment brings to their state and encourage investment through tax incentives.”
Intel, the company added, has committed more than $18 billion to existing and new fabrication plants and other investments, and the company is expected to hire 4,000 workers in Hillsboro this year.
Chuck Sheketoff, the OCPP’s executive director, responded that it should not only be clear to citizens how much Intel and other companies pay in taxes, but how much those firms save through tax incentives and loopholes.
“Oregonians and residents of other states should not be in the dark as to the extent to which accounting gimmicks, special laws and tax loopholes reduce the tax liability of profitable corporations,” Sheketoff said. “The fact that companies invest in (research and development) is great and the companies themselves presumably benefit from this in the form of greater profits. That should not relieve profitable corporations from supporting the public infrastructure which makes their success possible.”
The researchers found that of the 265 corporations studied, 68 paid no net state income taxes in at least one of the years from 2008 to 2010. Together, the companies made nearly $117 billion in pre-tax profits in the years when they paid no taxes.
Intel, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., was one of 20 Fortune 500 companies cited in the report. Intel reported $51 billion in revenue last year.