According to an analysis by the New York Times' Peter Eavis, large corporations have not only lobbied Treasury Department officials to interpret provisions in President Donald Trump's 2017 tax bill in such a way that they pay less in corporate taxes on offshore profits, but they are also hiding the decreased amounts in their public filings.
Linking to a New York Times report noting U.S. corporations are seeing undreamed of windfalls in decreased taxation after lobbyists flooded the Treasury officials with requests for favors, Eavis claimed some companies are avoiding, "publicly disclosing how much they owe under the new taxes."
"President Trump’s 2017 tax law did not just cut taxes for companies. It also introduced new provisions aimed at discouraging the practice of routing income through countries with ultralow taxes," Eavis writes. "One of those was a tax on 'global intangible low-taxed income,' known as GILTI, which acts as a minimum tax on certain profits that companies earn abroad. GILTI was expected to hit corporations that appeared to be paying almost no tax on their overseas income."
Writing, "companies must reveal any individual tax expenses (or benefits) that exceed 5 percent of what is known as their statutory income tax expense," he explained, "... many of the companies that were most likely to face a large bill from the new tax — like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook — have not disclosed how much the GILTI tax took out of their earnings."
The problem, as he explains, is that by burying the specific numbers of their tax liabilities, it makes it hard for analysts to judge the impact of taxes taken in -- and see how much they are saving on those overseas profits.
"It’s possible that some companies did not reveal how much the GILTI tax was costing them because, after accounting for tax credits and other factors, the amount fell below the 5 percent threshold. Microsoft said that was the case with its GILTI tax in its 2019 fiscal year," he wrote. "But other companies appear to have bundled GILTI together with other tax expenses and benefits in a way that makes the cost invisible. Facebook, for example, quantifies 'the effect of non-U. S. operations' on its overall tax liability. And Apple provides a number for its taxes on 'earnings of foreign subsidiaries.'"
According to Eavis, Google declined to comment on his story, and that Apple pushed back in an email stating, “Since 2008, Apple’s corporate taxes have totaled over $100 billion. We pay all that we owe according to tax laws wherever we operate.”
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