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About Those Oil Subsidies

hypocritexposer

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May 02, 2011
About Those Oil Subsidies
By Randall Hoven

Everyone wants to end subsidies to oil companies, from President Obama to John Boehner and Paul Ryan. My question was "What subsidies?" Remarkably enough, CNN Money provided the answer.

It turns out that they are all tax "breaks." I even hesitate to call them "breaks" because some of them amount to little more than Congress defining accounting terms such as "capital equipment." And the total amount of earnings not collected in taxes (which liberals define as a "subsidy") is about $4 billion per year. Here is how that breaks down.

Domestic manufacturing tax deduction -- $1.7 B. This is a tax deduction given to every manufacturer in the US. Per CNN, it was "designed to keep factories in the United States." If that deduction were eliminated for oil companies only, it would mean singling out oil companies from all other manufacturers.

Percentage depletion allowance -- $1 B. Any industry can write down a portion of the cost of its capital equipment as part of the cost of doing business. Right now, oil in the ground is treated as capital equipment. Again, this "subsidy" amounts to how the cost of doing business is defined. All companies get it, not just oil companies.

Foreign tax credit -- $850 million. Companies get credit for taxes they pay to other countries. All companies get this "subsidy," not just oil companies. Should a company pay tax on tax? Should only oil companies pay tax on tax?

Intangible drilling costs -- $780 million. According to CNN, "[a]ll industries get to write off the costs of doing business, but they must take it over the life of an investment. The oil industry gets to take the drilling credit in the first year." Among these four tax "breaks," this smallest one was the only one that treated oil companies differently.

The above tax "breaks" explain how much tax revenue is not collected from all oil companies. How much is collected?

Exxon recently released its first quarter results for 2011. The number grabbing the headlines was Exxon's profit: $10.65 billion in a single quarter. The number not given quite as much exposure was the taxes it paid in that same quarter: $8 billion, or 42% of income before taxes.

And what does Exxon do with all that money it has left after paying $8 B in taxes? It put $7.8 billion into capital and exploration, as part of its plans "to invest between $33 billion and $37 billion per year over the next five years to develop new energy supplies."

In any other industry, that would be called "research and development." Exxon is plowing 73% of its after-tax profits back into R&D. Who would be better at spending $4 billion of energy companies' earnings in an attempt to provide our energy in the future: the energy companies or Obama's energy czar?

Do you know what oil company does get US subsidies, and not just tax "breaks"? Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company. According to the Wall Street Journal,

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month [August 2009] with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.


Just to re-cap a few pertinent features of these "subsidies" to oil companies that Obama wants to cut.

* They are all tax "breaks," or earnings that oil companies get to keep, not money paid out from the US Treasury.

* The amount of earnings not collected in taxes is about $4.3 billion per year -- about 0.2% of this year's deficit and enough to fund about 10 hours of current US government spending.

* A full $3.55 billion of that amount (82%) is due to the way taxes are treated for all industries or manufacturers. To change these tax laws only for oil companies would require singling them out among all industries for special mistreatment. (I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like a bill of attainder to me, something our Constitution forbids.)

* The only tax in which the oil industry seems to get special treatment compared to other industries is intangible drilling costs. The amount of that subsidy? That would be $0.78 billion per year -- enough to fund less than two hours of federal spending in 2011, and not even half the amount we are lending a foreign-owned and state-owned oil company for drilling offshore Brazil.

* Oil companies already pay tax rates of 40-50% of income. For one company, Exxon, in one quarter of one year, that amount was over $8 billion, or almost double the so-called tax "subsidy" for all oil companies for an entire year.


If you think oil companies enjoy some special privilege because of the money they throw around Washington, DC, consider that the Oil & Gas industry ranked only 19th in the amount of money contributed to politicians in the 2008 election cycle: $17.7 million. Who was number one? Lawyers, who contributed $126.9 million, or over seven times as much as the Oil & Gas industry. The Education lobby gave $37.4 million, more than twice as much as Oil & Gas.

You might not realize it, but private oil companies don't own much oil. Most oil in the ground, in fact 87% of the world's supply, is owned by state-owned companies, and most of that by OPEC countries and Russia. Exxon, for example, owns only 0.68% of worldwide oil reserves. Venezuela owns 7.34%, more than 10 times as much as Exxon. What Exxon does is explore, drill, transport, refine, and distribute. It makes its money by doing things, not by sitting on capital.

According to the DOE's Energy Information Administration, every time you fill up your gas tank, more of your money goes to taxes than goes to refining costs and profits combined.

Having said all that, go ahead and get rid of that special treatment of intangible drilling costs. Make oil companies write them down over the life of their investments, not just one year. Increase corporate taxes in the US, where corporate tax rates are already highest in the world. Collect enough money to fund the federal government for two hours.

And of course, tell your constituents you don't kowtow to those big, bad oil companies. Unless they're owned by Brazil.

Randall Hoven can be followed on Twitter.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/about_those_oil_subsidies.html
 

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Percentage depletion allowance -- $1 B. Any industry can write down a portion of the cost of its capital equipment as part of the cost of doing business. Right now, oil in the ground is treated as capital equipment. Again, this "subsidy" amounts to how the cost of doing business is defined. All companies get it, not just oil companies.

I actually talked to a close friend about this deduction, he is eligible to take it but didn't. as he put it, it is a complicated tax, and if you sell the depreciated land in the future it may put you in a position to have a huge capital gain, one beyond the lands value.

his example... you purchase the land at $10,000 an acre

it has $40,000 worth of mineable assets, value per acre, $50,000

at this point your local property tax can be raised to $50,000 and your local tax can go up significantly, (a $150 tax bill would be $750 per acre)

you can take a 27% of your taxable income after all other deductions.

which in his case was just over $4,000 which would reduce his tax obligation from $6500 to $5750 resulting in a tax break of $750,

so for a tax break of $150 ($600 additional property taxes, $750 reduction in IRS taxes ) he depreciates the property $4000 a year.

then when he is ready to sell the played out mine, he can restore part of it as required by law, and sell it.. for say it's current value of $28,000 per acre.

since by now he would have depreciated it by over 100 percent. he would owe capital gain on the entire amount. all for a small tax break ...

add in that oil corporations can not take the deduction... and it leaves landowners with no intent to ever sell that own the royalties...


like a say north western rancher who has gas royalty checks coming in..

or the likes of ted turner, and other "city" property owners..

so scrap the tax and few conservatives would actually complain....in my opinion a savings of a billion is well worth it..
 

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In the last few days I have seen two DEMOCRATS on FOX saying they wish Obama would quit lieing about the oil subs. They claimed he needed to study the facts before openning his mouth as he doesn't seem to know what he is talking about.

Obama talking about something he doesn't know anything about. WHO KNEW :shock: :wink:
 

Steve

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Tam said:
In the last few days I have seen two DEMOCRATS on FOX saying they wish Obama would quit lieing about the oil subs. They claimed he needed to study the facts before openning his mouth as he doesn't seem to know what he is talking about.

Obama talking about something he doesn't know anything about. WHO KNEW :shock: :wink:

sometimes the voters in your district speaks loader the the party lies,, I mean lines...
 

Tex

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hypocritexposer said:
May 02, 2011
About Those Oil Subsidies
By Randall Hoven

Everyone wants to end subsidies to oil companies, from President Obama to John Boehner and Paul Ryan. My question was "What subsidies?" Remarkably enough, CNN Money provided the answer.

It turns out that they are all tax "breaks." I even hesitate to call them "breaks" because some of them amount to little more than Congress defining accounting terms such as "capital equipment." And the total amount of earnings not collected in taxes (which liberals define as a "subsidy") is about $4 billion per year. Here is how that breaks down.

Domestic manufacturing tax deduction -- $1.7 B. This is a tax deduction given to every manufacturer in the US. Per CNN, it was "designed to keep factories in the United States." If that deduction were eliminated for oil companies only, it would mean singling out oil companies from all other manufacturers.

Tex: So we have to have a manufacturing tax because we don't have a decent trade policy and then EVERYONE gets it. How about a tax on imports instead? One way would reduce the tax burden on people in the U.S. and one just puts it on the nation's credit card AGAIN.

Percentage depletion allowance -- $1 B. Any industry can write down a portion of the cost of its capital equipment as part of the cost of doing business. Right now, oil in the ground is treated as capital equipment. Again, this "subsidy" amounts to how the cost of doing business is defined. All companies get it, not just oil companies.

Tex: Oil in the ground they found should not be written off AGAIN. The costs of getting it are already written off so this would truly be a subsidy.

Foreign tax credit -- $850 million. Companies get credit for taxes they pay to other countries. All companies get this "subsidy," not just oil companies. Should a company pay tax on tax? Should only oil companies pay tax on tax?

Tex: Oil from countries with nationalized oil supplies are basically taxing the whole amount already. Why should oil companies get credits on taxes they pay to other countries if they are paying a lower rate in those countries than here in the U.S.? I sure do not want deductions for businesses for supporting other country's governments to be written off what they pay here in the U.S. That would be just silly. Just think, a tax to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's govt. could be written off what a company pays in U.S. taxes. This just strikes me as a little silly. What about corporate taxes paid to the Marshall Islands so they can have a lower corporate tax rate by shopping countries? Is that a tax write off too?

Intangible drilling costs -- $780 million. According to CNN, "[a]ll industries get to write off the costs of doing business, but they must take it over the life of an investment. The oil industry gets to take the drilling credit in the first year." Among these four tax "breaks," this smallest one was the only one that treated oil companies differently.

Tex: I think that oil companies should be able to write off drilling expenses the first year--- and then they just have to pay taxes on the income from the oil they sell when they sell it.

The above tax "breaks" explain how much tax revenue is not collected from all oil companies. How much is collected?

Exxon recently released its first quarter results for 2011. The number grabbing the headlines was Exxon's profit: $10.65 billion in a single quarter. The number not given quite as much exposure was the taxes it paid in that same quarter: $8 billion, or 42% of income before taxes.

And what does Exxon do with all that money it has left after paying $8 B in taxes? It put $7.8 billion into capital and exploration, as part of its plans "to invest between $33 billion and $37 billion per year over the next five years to develop new energy supplies."

Tex: This is what happens when you don't match actual depreciation with real depreciation. The numbers can be off quite a bit---but that is what they are asking for!!!

In any other industry, that would be called "research and development." Exxon is plowing 73% of its after-tax profits back into R&D. Who would be better at spending $4 billion of energy companies' earnings in an attempt to provide our energy in the future: the energy companies or Obama's energy czar?

Tex: Who would be better at spending the taxes I pay--- me or the government? That is really a simplistic view with touches of validity. IF we have a huge government because we allowed it to get huge then why in the heck does some rich guy or a corporation get to not pay their fair share of taxes and instead either lump it on someone else or on the nation's future generations? This seems to me to be more unfair.

Do you know what oil company does get US subsidies, and not just tax "breaks"? Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company. According to the Wall Street Journal,

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month [August 2009] with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

No doubt this is a one of those deals where the U.S. loans the money so a U.S. company can get the work in that oil field. This reporter needs to tell the truth, the whole truth, and stop half reporting. I don't know the nature of this deal.

A little research on the net shows this to be the case--- why couldn't this reporter get it right---does he get his news from Glenn Beck????

http://www.snopes.com/politics/gasoline/braziloil.asp


Just to re-cap a few pertinent features of these "subsidies" to oil companies that Obama wants to cut.

* They are all tax "breaks," or earnings that oil companies get to keep, not money paid out from the US Treasury.

* The amount of earnings not collected in taxes is about $4.3 billion per year -- about 0.2% of this year's deficit and enough to fund about 10 hours of current US government spending.

* A full $3.55 billion of that amount (82%) is due to the way taxes are treated for all industries or manufacturers. To change these tax laws only for oil companies would require singling them out among all industries for special mistreatment. (I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like a bill of attainder to me, something our Constitution forbids.)

* The only tax in which the oil industry seems to get special treatment compared to other industries is intangible drilling costs. The amount of that subsidy? That would be $0.78 billion per year -- enough to fund less than two hours of federal spending in 2011, and not even half the amount we are lending a foreign-owned and state-owned oil company for drilling offshore Brazil.

* Oil companies already pay tax rates of 40-50% of income. For one company, Exxon, in one quarter of one year, that amount was over $8 billion, or almost double the so-called tax "subsidy" for all oil companies for an entire year.


If you think oil companies enjoy some special privilege because of the money they throw around Washington, DC, consider that the Oil & Gas industry ranked only 19th in the amount of money contributed to politicians in the 2008 election cycle: $17.7 million. Who was number one? Lawyers, who contributed $126.9 million, or over seven times as much as the Oil & Gas industry. The Education lobby gave $37.4 million, more than twice as much as Oil & Gas.

You might not realize it, but private oil companies don't own much oil. Most oil in the ground, in fact 87% of the world's supply, is owned by state-owned companies, and most of that by OPEC countries and Russia. Exxon, for example, owns only 0.68% of worldwide oil reserves. Venezuela owns 7.34%, more than 10 times as much as Exxon. What Exxon does is explore, drill, transport, refine, and distribute. It makes its money by doing things, not by sitting on capital.

According to the DOE's Energy Information Administration, every time you fill up your gas tank, more of your money goes to taxes than goes to refining costs and profits combined.

Having said all that, go ahead and get rid of that special treatment of intangible drilling costs. Make oil companies write them down over the life of their investments, not just one year. Increase corporate taxes in the US, where corporate tax rates are already highest in the world. Collect enough money to fund the federal government for two hours.

And of course, tell your constituents you don't kowtow to those big, bad oil companies. Unless they're owned by Brazil.

Randall Hoven can be followed on Twitter.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/about_those_oil_subsidies.html

This is exactly the shallow and one sided propaganda that is masqueraded around as news. It was probably written or its writing financed by the oil companies themselves.

Anyone with critical thinking skills should be able to catch the bias of an article like this. It is necessary when observing all the salesmen of today trying to sell their point of view instead of "independent reporting". I don't think independent reporting exists anymore.

Tex
 

hypocritexposer

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So Tex, you can provide evidence that the article is not accurate?

It sure might add to the discussion if you were to post them.
 

Tex

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hypocritexposer said:
So Tex, you can provide evidence that the article is not accurate?

It sure might add to the discussion if you were to post them.

I showed where it was slanted and was a persuasive article, not just reporting.

Do you care to comment on my comments in it or answer a few of the questions I brought up?

How about the oil depletion allowance? Do they already get to take off deductions to get the oil and then get to deplete it on top of that? If so, that would be double dipping on tax right offs.

I am just asking.

Tex
 

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Tex wrote:
How about the oil depletion allowance? Do they already get to take off deductions to get the oil and then get to deplete it on top of that? If so, that would be double dipping on tax right offs.

I am just asking.

Tex

For crying out loud, Tex, go read the doggone law. Integrated oil companies haven't had depletion since the early 1980s. If you can't comprehend the law, quit preaching on it.

Do you even know what intangible drilling cost are? Granted that the tax treatment oif IDC is different, so are the nature of the costs. Read up a little on it until you are conversant with the subject instead of parroting what Obama says.

OG
 

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And here we go again. A simple question- Out of the 8 bil. paid in taxes by Exxon, what was the dollar amount going into the federal treasury? That's the number we need to know. You see that 42% that is always thrown out includes many foreign taxes imo.
 

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What about corporate taxes paid to the Marshall Islands

The Compact of Free Association (COFA) defines the relationship that three sovereign states—the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau—have entered into as associated states with the United States.

An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation,

United States provides defense, funding grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas under the Compact of Free Association

so they are free states... with all the benefit of statehood, without the total interference of the FED... (they get their cake and get to eat it as well)

there has got to be a better corporate tax haven example then a political territory of the US..

BTW,.. the only reason they are a corporate tax haven is because US law carved out an exception for them...
 

Tex

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Oldgoat said:
Tex wrote:
How about the oil depletion allowance? Do they already get to take off deductions to get the oil and then get to deplete it on top of that? If so, that would be double dipping on tax right offs.

I am just asking.

Tex

For crying out loud, Tex, go read the doggone law. Integrated oil companies haven't had depletion since the early 1980s. If you can't comprehend the law, quit preaching on it.

Do you even know what intangible drilling cost are? Granted that the tax treatment oif IDC is different, so are the nature of the costs. Read up a little on it until you are conversant with the subject instead of parroting what Obama says.

OG

I profess to not be a tax accountant for the big oil companies. I do want news articles to explain it properly. This article says that the depletion allowance can be higher than the capital investment. If it can be done for individuals or small companies only, can you honestly tell me that the big boys don't use accountants to get the same by structuring deals they are involved in?

Depletion Allowance

If you are looking for general gas royalty tax help please visit our Royalty Tax Guide.

Depletion AllowanceDepletion is the using up of a natural resource by mining, quarrying, drilling, or felling. Depletion allowance, then, is the allowance available through the IRS code allowing an owner to account for the reduction (production) of reserves as a product is produced and sold. For purposes of this article, the depletion allowance we are concerned with is the depletion allowance associated with the production of oil and/or gas. The depletion allowance, like depreciation, is a form of cost recovery for capital investments. There are two ways of calculating depletion allowance: cost depletion and percentage depletion. Oil and gas royalty owners have the availability of using either, yet for mineral properties you must generally use the method that gives you the larger deduction.
Who Can Claim a Depletion Allowance?

If you have an economic interest in mineral property (which includes royalty income), you can take a deduction for depletion. You have an economic interest if both of the following apply:

You have acquired by investment any interest in mineral deposits
You have a legal right to income from the extraction of the minerals to which you look for a return of your capital investment

Cost Depletion

With cost depletion, a taxpayer recovers the actual capital investment throughout the period of income production. Each year, the taxpayer deducts a portion of the original capital investment, less previous deductions, that is equal to the fraction of the estimated remaining recoverable reserves that have been produced and sold that year. The cumulative amount recovered under this method can never exceed the taxpayer’s original capital investment.
Percentage Depletion Allowance

Under percentage depletion, the deduction for the recovery of one’s capital investment is a fixed percentage of the gross income (sales revenue) from the sale of the oil or gas. For oil and gas royalty owners, percentage depletion is calculated using a rate of 15% of the gross income based on your average daily production of crude oil or natural gas, up to your depletable oil or natural gas quantity. An attractive element of percentage depletion is that the cumulative depletion deductions may be greater than the capital amount spent by the taxpayer to acquire the property.
Taxable Income Limit


There is a taxable income limit for oil and gas royalty owners. Your annual deduction for percentage depletion is limited to the smaller of the following:

100% of your taxable income from the property figured without the deduction for depletion
65% of your taxable income from all sources, figured without the depletion allowance.

More specific details on this topic can be found in IRS Publication 535.

This isn't parroting anything the Obama administration has said. I don't know their stance on it. It would be pure coincidence if my view was the one they had unless they were copying my way of thinking.

I am just asking what the facts are.

Does this mean royalty owners can't go over 100% but some others can (read the bold)?

Tex
 

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Tex, I do not profess to be a tax accountant now, but I was a tax compliance manager for many years. I learned the tax law.

But I also learned that trying to teach outsiders was a waste of time - and I don't have enough time left to waste.

OG
 

Tex

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Oldgoat said:
Tex, I do not profess to be a tax accountant now, but I was a tax compliance manager for many years. I learned the tax law.

But I also learned that trying to teach outsiders was a waste of time - and I don't have enough time left to waste.

OG

I will take your word on it, but was just asking. The article seemed to think it was a lot of money.

Tex
 

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Sorry Tex, I did not notice that you added comments to my post. Not really awake enough to comment tonight. I'll take another look for tomorrow evening.

cheers
 

Tex

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hypocritexposer said:
Sorry Tex, I did not notice that you added comments to my post. Not really awake enough to comment tonight. I'll take another look for tomorrow evening.

cheers

We have a lot of tools on this site to do it right but sometimes there is just too much!!!

I want to note that I am doing this exercise to bring others in and to learn the issues as the reporting seems to be shallow. Maybe the issues are too in the end.

The biggest thing I see is that gas taxes are not a percentage of the price of gas but a fixed amount. As inflation and continues, the tax part gets to be less and less of the total.

I would say this was great if we were developing our own sources of renewable energy here in the U.S. or massive savings in efficiency technology and building standards.

Tex
 

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Iv'e went on record and said I think the deprerciation deduction is a crock, even if it excluded big oil, and since the main jist of this thread has been how the big oil screws the US out of it's 4 billion dollar in taxes

a quick question for you Tex,.. or anyone else that wants to answer..

is Big Oil actually getting any tax breaks..?

not normal deductions.. not normal tax credits that all US industry has,

but special carved out tax breaks, like the liberals and the media whines about?
 

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Well when the former CEO of Shell oil says that the oil companies are profitting to the extent that they no longer need the tax benefits afforded them by the US gov't, it would seem they are getting some form of tax preferences, or else this recently retired CEO doesn't know what he's talking about. This conversation was on C-Span.

Steve in your post are you saying that the amount paid to the treasury was 4 bil. ?
 

Tex

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Steve said:
Iv'e went on record and said I think the deprerciation deduction is a crock, even if it excluded big oil, and since the main jist of this thread has been how the big oil screws the US out of it's 4 billion dollar in taxes

a quick question for you Tex,.. or anyone else that wants to answer..

is Big Oil actually getting any tax breaks..?

not normal deductions.. not normal tax credits that all US industry has,

but special carved out tax breaks, like the liberals and the media whines about?

My personal view is that the legislators have given tax loopholes out to those supporting them that almost all businesses are not paying their stated tax rate. Oil is but on example.

Our Congress would rather borrow money from China and on the way ship out jobs to China from the U.S. than to make our economy run the way it is supposed to. Big business just use small arguments or reasons for Congress to treat them preferentially for some reason or another. Then they borrow from China (this is the new slave route).

http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate_welfare/real_tax_rates_plummet.php

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08950.pdf

As oldgoat said, it is complicated, but it is happening.

Tex
 

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Yep, and the only way to know what their tax rate really is, would be to know their earnings and what they paid (a monetary amount) but what do you hear from the politicians mainly the republicans--"We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world." BTW if the corporations are so proud of the amount of taxes they pay, why don't they make it public?? Kinda like the birth certificate extravaganza.
 

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TSR wrote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yep, and the only way to know what their tax rate really is, would be to know their earnings and what they paid (a monetary amount) but what do you hear from the politicians mainly the republicans--"We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world." BTW if the corporations are so proud of the amount of taxes they pay, why don't they make it public?? Kinda like the birth certificate extravaganza.


TSR -
All the oil companies I am familiar with orint an annual report AND A STATISTICAL SUPPLEMENT which provides great detail on all financial activity during the year. You could save yourself a lot of guessing and unresearched comments if you would ask for a copy.

OG
 

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