Tuesday, November 09, 2010

How Much Do You Pay in Taxes?

A recent Government Accountability Office report has found that 2/3rds of foreign companies and well over half of all US companies doing business in America paid no income taxes at all for at least one year for the period from 1998-2005. Only slightly fewer companies paid no income taxes for at least two years during the same period.

Of course, this is not because they didn't have any taxable income or because they were operating at a loss (they had well into the trillions of dollars of sales), but because they were able to use tax loopholes to shift expenses to off-shore tax shelters or use any other number of financial mumbo jumbo tricks to hide their taxable income.

Not to sound too dangerously radical, but if you or I skipped out on paying our income taxes for multiple years, we could probably expect a visit from the IRS, not to mention some stiff fines and probably a little jail time to boot. This, of course, despite the fact that your taxes, my taxes, and taxes of everyone you've ever met or known don't even add up to a fraction of what one of these companies would owe if they were scrupulous.

But if I've learned anything about capitalism, they get away with it because the people who runs these companies are smarter and worker harder than we do, and that's why we're stuck paying our taxes like suckers, and they're busy swimming in giant pools filled with gold coins and yelling at their butlers for not properly polishing their monocles...

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