Tax Dodgers!


I found this image of protesters in Bushwick, a Brooklyn neighborhood, who were raising awareness for the current state of the corporate tax code. The picture is from a website called The Epoch Times in an article called Low Tax Rates for Corporations, Wealthy Protested.

The current corporate tax rate is 35%, but corporations rarely pay a number this high. The corporate tax code is filled with loopholes that allow some of the biggest and well known American companies pay tax rates south of 5%. In particular, GE has a tax and legal department of 975 professionals who specialize in tax avoidance. (For those who dont know, tax avoidance is legal and tax evasion is illegal.) The picture shows a banner with the corporate logos of GE, Verizon, Pfizer, Citibank, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, DuPont, Time Warner, and Wells Fargo. I thought the the theme of the protest was creative, especially the use of a hula-hoop to represent the current loopholes in the tax code.

The societal side of this issue, which I plan on taking a look at this week, has an interesting argument. The “99%” is angered by the minuscule tax rates paid by some of the worlds biggest corporations. While I do agree that corporations should be paying more, I dont think companies like GE deserve blame for the problem. They are simply operating as efficiently as possible, sometimes choosing to reinvest money abroad where tax rates are lower.

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6 thoughts on “Tax Dodgers!

  1. I agree with your conclusion Rog. I don’t doubt that some companies’ decision to avoid taxes is fueled by greed. However, businesses are focused on operating for survival in this economy. i make take a shareholder theory stance on this arguement and say that since avoiding taxes is still operating within American laws that companies should not be harassed for it. After all, avoiding these taxes could be the very thing that keep a business afloat- saving jobs and continuing to provide needed goods and services.

  2. Interesting post, Roger. I like that you are thinking about the argument from all angles. I think its cool that you address the fact that while you see the “99%’s” point its one of those situation where you can’t really knock the hustle. Wouldn’t you want to save as much money as possible?

  3. Good point, its difficult to blame the corporations for trying to legally avoid taxes. It should be the regulators responsibilities to close these loopholes.

  4. Good picture. THe banner and such looks very “homegrown” which is often a hallmark for people when they decide if a movement is grassroots or astroturf.

    Does anyone get the Brooklyn reference to the “Dodgers?”

    Will any tax policy debated in the streets necessarily be a bit crude or rough due to the nature of public dissent?

  5. I agree with you Rog, and Meg, on the point that these companies should not be harassed for avoiding taxes. As long as they play by the rules, and there are no laws preventing it, it seems perfectly fine to me for them to strategically avoid taxes to better their chance of survival. If anything, these protestors should direct more of their voice at government more with the goal of fixing the loopholes in the overall structure, as opposed to these successful companies.

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