Google on Taxes: Do as I Contribute, Not as I Do

[O/T preamble: though I made a petty point of changing my computer’s home page to Bing following upon Google’s dalliance with the Chinese government – no evil there – I have to admit that, maddeningly, Google still has the best search engine.]
A July analysis in US News and World Report indicates that, of all computer and internet companies, Google funneled the highest percent (75%) of its 2010 campaign contributions to democrat candidates.
Yet Bloomberg this week reported that at 2.4%, Google has achieved the lowest overseas tax rate in the tech sector. This is especially eye-opening juxtaposed with the US corporate income tax rate of 35%.
The problem is not that $3.1 billion over the last three years was “diverted” to private investors (i.e., retained by Google) from the US and other governments due to Google’s savvy application of tax codes. On the contrary; I’ll be the last to argue that the unhealthy revenue addiction of any government should be treated with ever more taxes. It’s that Google is so obviously two-faced: on the one hand, energetically maneuvering to reduce its own tax bill while, on the other, deploying resources so as to inflict tax-happy elected officials on everyone else.
Pick a corporate philosophy on taxes and stick to it: either (shudder) pay a 35% corporate income tax and contribute to dems or exploit tax loopholes and find something else to do with those contributions. The mix-n-match, hooray-for-me-too-bad-for-you approach isn’t cutting it.

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Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

In 2007-2008-2009
Right-Wing-Nut Rupert Murdoch’s
News Corporation, which has subsidiaries in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the Virgin Islands. annual tax bill averaged around four per cent of its profits in the USA.
the average EFFECTIVE tax for fortune 1000 COMPANIES IS 7% …NOT 35%
NOTE: ACTUAL EFFECTIVE TAX…

Monique
10 years ago

So what you’re saying, Sammy, is that the conservative, presumably anti-tax Murdoch is paying taxes at a higher rate than the liberal, pro-tax Google.
Interesting. Thanks for bringing forward this second inconsistency.

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

The spectre of the tax and spend liberal won’t die until Frank Lutz’ polls tell the GOP it no longer resonates; but what does it mean? Cut-tax-itis went bipartisan in ’08 and shows no signs of remission. Why? Because the American taxpayer has been told that raising revenues to close a gigantic deficit is not neccessary, that indeed cutting revenues will somehow (magically I guess) aleviate the problem – and we’ve all decided to believe that this is true.
Likewise, we haven’t seen a “fiscally responsible” Republican hold national office in forty years. Every one since Nixon has grown the gov’t and increased spending (and deficits). Why? The same reason Dems do it: Americans love stuff and expect their gov’t to provide it. Yet the Republican “small gov’t” boilerplate still has run.
See this post and the responses for an example. Two corporate behomeths. One “left”, one “right”; both dogging the US taxpayer at rates of fraud only marginally separate. While we argue their relative morality, they – and their symbiotic political class – laugh.
One things for sure: This love of stuff and hatred of paying for it can’t go on forever.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

No Monique
I am saying that the actual effective corporate tax rate, for large businesses in the USA is 7% not 35%
You obviously don’t understand the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.
The folks at Google were just using the Bush/GOP/right-wing…………….. Tax Codes to their advantage
Just as Mrs. John McCain and Mitt Romney
have done

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

Wouldn’t it be nice if tax laws were really simple and didn’t require armies of accountants and lawyers to figure out? If this sort of evasion/avoidance by companies that span states and countries couldn’t happen the way it does now?
As for the Bing switch, Microsoft plays some dirty tricks, too. Bing is an example of capitalism run-amok:
Last I checked, Microsoft loses money on virtually every business unit except for Windows, Office, and the Macintosh division. Everything else (the music players, phone operating systems, XBOX, Bing, etc.) are financial drags on the company, subsidized by your purchases of Office and Windows. Why do they do this? Because they’re the biggest, richest bully on the block, and they don’t -like- that someone else makes better products (iPod, iPhone, Google search, etc.). You might ‘make the switch’ to products that work better.

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