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Half of S&P 500 report more money for foreign taxes than U.S. taxes – CBS News

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Half of S&P 500 report more money for foreign taxes than U.S. taxes - CBS News

Nearly half of the large U.S. companies that make up the S&P 500-stock index set aside more money to pay foreign taxes in 2020 than they did for payments to the U.S. government — a lot more money. 

In all, 241 S&P 500 companies last year earmarked a combined $73 billion for taxes to foreign governments and just $6.7 billion to cover U.S. taxes, according to a CBS MoneyWatch analysis of the companies’ regulatory filings and data from financial information firm FactSet. That’s a foreign-to-domestic tax ratio of more than 10-to-1.

Globalization explains some of it. Coca-Cola and Caterpillar pay more tax overseas because they now make most of their money outside the U.S. Still others on the list, such Boeing, Hilton and Pfizer, saw the pandemic wipe away their U.S. profits — and all or much of their domestic tax bills.

But many of those 241 companies, such as FedEx, General Motors and Nike, made plenty of money last year, and plenty of it was made in the U.S. Nonetheless, the company filings suggest they now pay a majority of their taxes elsewhere. The relationship between where they make their profits and where they pay their taxes can seem particularly lopsided these days:

For decades, U.S. companies shrunk their tax bills by moving operations overseas, sometimes for legitimate business reason. But increasingly it is the U.S. portion of a global company’s operations that is getting the best tax treatment. 

One major reason for that, experts told CBS MoneyWatch, is Donald Trump’s signature Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which among other things lowered the country’s corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35%.

Proponents of the cuts said the lower tax rates would incentivize companies to bring back more of their operations to the U.S. and pay more in total U.S. taxes as a result. The opposite appears to have happened, then CBS MoneyWatch analysis found.

In 2017, there were 150 companies in the S&P 500 that expensed more for foreign taxes than they did in the U.S. That number has risen steadily since Trump’s tax law was enacted. It jumped to 204 in 2018, then to 220 in 2019. The list included an additional 21 companies last year, bring the current tally up to 241.

“Following the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the U.S. has turned into a tax haven of sort,” said Gabriel Zucman, a University of California at Berkeley economist and one of the world’s leading experts on corporate tax avoidance. “Many U.S. companies can pay very little in federal taxes.”

That so many U.S. companies can appear to be paying so little at home, while paying more to foreign nations, could add ammo to the growing national debate on whether U.S. companies still pay their fair share of the cost of government. A recent study found more than two dozen profitable companies haven’t paid a dollar in U.S. federal income tax since the 2017 tax cut.

This week, the Biden administration introduced a plan to raise what companies pay in federal income taxes by more than $2 trillion over the next decade. A large part of the plan is to hike the official tax rate on corporate profits to 28% from 21%. But President Biden also said he wants to eliminate the incentives companies have to move investments overseas and avoid U.S. taxes. And Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week she was working with other nations to try to establish a global minimum corporate income tax. 

A corporate tax mystery

It’s impossible to know exactly how much any individual company pays in taxes. Companies, like individuals, are allowed to keep their tax filings and payments private. 

Yet public companies that report their profits to investors also must disclose in a note to their year-end financial filings how much they have put aside to pay in taxes over the next 12 months. They’re also required to detail to whom those taxes are likely to be paid, such as the federal government or state or foreign governments.

CBS MoneyWatch looked at that figure — known as the current tax expense — for every company in the S&P 500 for the past five years and compared what those companies had set aside for U.S. taxes versus what they expected to pay in foreign taxes. For a lot of companies, the latter account was considerably larger.

“In terms of figuring out what companies pay in taxes each year, it’s the best proxy we have,” said Robert Willens, one of Wall Street’s leading tax and accounting experts and an adjunct professor of accounting at Columbia University. 

Of course, Willens added, “There could be years where companies got some kind of settlement or tax rebate where the current tax expense [noted in the filing] is not what they paid.” 

A Disney spokesperson said the pandemic hurt the company’s businesses last year, resulting in less profit and, as a result, less to owe in taxes. “The amount of federal income taxes we paid [last year] isn’t comparable to what we would have seen in a more normal year,” the spokesman said in a statement. In the prior three years, Disney said, it paid a total of $12.4 billion in U.S. federal income taxes.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the company’s financial filing, like those of other public companies, does not offer a fully accurate representation of what it actually paid last year in taxes. Starbucks paid over $1.7 billion globally in taxes its most recent fiscal year, the “majority of which was for U.S. federal income taxes,” the spokesperson said.

Netflix as case study: a 0.8% federal tax rate last year

The CBS MoneyWatch review of S&P 500 filings illustrates how the corporate tax game is often won at home these days, helped by an accumulation of domestic tax breaks and increasingly generous credits.

Consider Netflix, which declined to comment for this story. The streaming service expensed $369 million for taxes last year, its filings state. But 75% of that was for taxes outside of the U.S. Another 18% of Netflix’s tax expenses were for state or local taxes. Just 7% of its overall tax total was set aside for federal income taxes.

Netflix is booming worldwide during the pandemic but it still generates almost all its income in the U.S. — $2.8 billion, or nearly 88%, of its $3.2 billion in pretax profits last year, according to its latest annual financial filing

Based on those domestic profits, Netflix could have owed roughly $590 million in federal income taxes, given the current U.S. corporate rate of 21%. Netflix likely didn’t pay anything close to that. Instead, a variety of tax breaks and credits, passed in recent years by Washington or long blessed by the U.S. tax code, allowed the company to pay far less. 

The biggest break came from stock options, which get preferential treatment for tax purposes. That saved Netflix nearly $340 million last year. Next, Netflix reported spending $1.8 billion on technology and development last year, and received $110 million federal tax credits for doing so. Then there was Trump’s corporate tax cut, which allowed Netflix to save an additional $90 million on its IRS bill.

Add up those three breaks, along with a few other small ones, and the result is Netflix expensed just $24 million last year for federal U.S. income taxes. That’s an effective tax rate of just 0.8% on its $2.8 billion in U.S. pretax profits.

On the other side of the map, the trail of taxes for Netflix’s overseas profits heads north, not south. 

Netflix made $400 million in profits in its foreign operations, which, had they been taxed at the U.S. rate of 21%, would have generated an $85 million tax bill for Netflix. Instead, Netflix said in its filing it faces a higher rate of income tax overseas than in the U.S. — an average of 24%, which added $12 million in reported tax expenses in 2020. 

In addition, Netflix said a “global corporate simplification” last year resulted in a one-time foreign tax expense of $135 million.

Add those two tax charges, along with some other smaller ones, and Netflix’s foreign tax expense for last year reached $277 million, for a hefty effective tax rate of 68% on its $400 million in foreign pre-tax profits.

“The European Union, for one, has done a better job in regulating companies and the income tax rate they pay,” said Dean Baker, who co-founded the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research. “The IRS on the other hand has mostly looked the other way.”

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Report: ASIC Giant Bitmain Pre-Orders 5nm Chips Produced by TSMC’s N5 Process – Mining Bitcoin News

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Report: ASIC Giant Bitmain Pre-Orders 5nm Chips Produced by TSMC’s N5 Process

Bitmain, one of the largest application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) manufacturers in the world, is reportedly working with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in order to leverage TSMC’s 5nm semiconductors. Industry sources say that the 5nm chips being created for Bitmain will start production in the third quarter.

Chip Maker TSMC Reportedly Producing Semiconductors for the Mining Rig Manufacturer Bitmain

Faster bitcoin mining rigs manufactured by Bitmain may be coming at the end of 2021 or possibly next year. A recent report published by digitimes.com says that Bitmain has placed 5nm chip orders with the Taiwan-based chipmaker.

TSMC has reportedly been contracted by Bitmain so the company can leverage the foundry’s N5 fabrication process (5nm). Currently, the world’s fastest bitcoin miners on the market crafted by firms like Bitmain, Canaan, and Microbt leverage chips between 12nm to 7nm.

The digitimes.com reporters Monica Chen and Jessie Shen claim that “industry sources” say that Bitmain has placed an order with TSMC but the amount and valuation of the alleged order are both undisclosed.

The report notes that TSMC will start production for Bitmain this year and start the process during the third quarter. In another report, the same technology columnists detail that TSMC is “stepping up 5nm chip output.”

Bitmain might be trying to acquire the 5nm products before the chips are sold out across the board. Colossal tech firms like Apple and Huawei are already purchasing chips created with TSMC’s N5 process.

Although, because Bitmain can produce capital faster than smaller tech companies, it might be one of the first in line to buy the N5 designed products. However, other bitcoin ASIC mining manufacturers and tech companies can also purchase 5nm products from Samsung.

ASIC Makers Could Also Tap Samsung’s N5 Process

Samsung has also disclosed that it has a working 5nm process and the firm is reportedly taking requests for future orders. One researcher who compared the two products created by both TSMC and Samsung said both companies will “employ more EUV layers at 5nm.”

“Samsung has said their 5nm process offers a 25% density improvement over 7nm with a 10% performance boost or 20% lower power consumption,” Scotten Jones’ post called the “TSMC and Samsung 5nm Comparison” notes. “This contrasts with TSMC who announced a 1.8x density improvement and a 15% performance improvement or 30% lower power,” Jones added.

Alongside Microbt, Bitmain makes some of the fastest ASIC bitcoin miners on the market today. The Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro, with 110 terahash per second (TH/s), gets around $19.40 per day using current BTC exchange rates and $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The company’s most recent release, the Antminer S19j mining rig, has a hashrate of around 90 TH/s. The Antminer S19 models use custom-built 7nm chips with an efficiency parameter of around 34.5 joules per terahash (J/TH). Bitcoin ASIC mining rigs that employ the 5nm chips should be a lot faster in terms of TH/s and more energy efficient as far as (J/TH).

What do you think about Bitmain reportedly purchasing 5nm chips from TSMC? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, TSMC,

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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He Puapua report Collins called ‘divisive’ meant to create unity, author says | RNZ News

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The author of a report described by National leader Judith Collins as “divisive” says she wishes it was not used as a “political tool”.

Photo: Dom Thomas

A working group was tasked by the government in 2019 to report on how New Zealand could realise its commitment under the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The group later sent Nanaia Mahuta, who was Māori Development Minister at the time, a 130-page report named He Puapua outlining their recommendations.

The government never released the full report publicly but an unredacted version was leaked to the National Party which published it at the weekend.

The report suggested a separate Māori Parliament or upper house, separate court and justice systems and Māori ownership of foreshore and seabed, as well as recommendations on cultural rights and equity.

In a speech at National’s Northern regional conference at the weekend, party leader Judith Collins called the document “divisive” and accused Labour of trying to sneak through a plan to separate systems for Māori at all levels.

A government spokesperson said the report had not been signed off by Cabinet and did not represent government policy.

Auckland Law School academic Claire Charters, who is director of the Aotearoa Centre for Indigenous Peoples in the law, was part of the working group and wrote He Puapua.

She said it was unfortunate the National Party had described the report as divisive when it was intended to create unity.

“It’s about Māori being able to realise the compact that is so constitutionally important to Aotearoa, Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Claire Charters
Photo: University of Auckland

“In a post-colonisation world we can do that without fear and that’s about all living within a Aotearoa state but in a way that recognises that Māori were here and that the Treaty is a compact between Māori, as sovereign entities, and the British Crown and realising that shared authority under a singular state, so coming together in that way,” she said.

Charters said she wished the report wasn’t used as a “political tool” but instead used as an “instrument to have a genuine discussion about what realising our international obligations and what Te Tiriti o Waitangi requires”.

National’s framing of the report started the debate on the wrong footing, she said.

“If it’s just trying to appeal to fear of what this might look like, that’s really disappointing. We live in a better Aotearoa than that,” Charters added.

Members of the working group were disappointed the government never released the report publicly, Charters said.

“We also understood, and were in dialogue with Minister [Nanaia] Mahuta at that time about the need for Cabinet to have a good look at it, there’s some big questions in there.

“Then obviously Covid-19 intervened and I think the government focused on that and talked to us throughout about how … once it had dealt with the first initial sort of response to that, the government would be acting and indeed we’ve been in conversation since the end of last year and throughout this year about how to move it forward,” Charters said.

Officials had recently been working with the working group quite closely, Charters said.

The plan to realise the declaration needs to be subject to significant consultation, Charters said, and she hoped the He Puapua report would be the start of that conversation.

People should not be fearful of Māori authority over Māori things, she said.

“We’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to potentially gain in that while Māori are regulated by a system that is not our own, which creates its own inequality. Until we do that real structural change I think we might still be living in a colonial system.”

Speaking to media after a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Collins’ criticisms were purely political.

“I consider it hugely disappointing that we have debates of this nature whenever it seems the National Party are in opposition and at a particular point in the polls,” Ardern said.

“I see it as nothing more than pure politics.”

The Māori Health Authority would work with the health system, Ardern said, and it was a fact that “Māori die younger in this country” and the new authority would help outcomes for Māori and non-Māori.

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Arrogant Acosta claims to have inside scoop as he trashes Fox News, calls Tucker Carlson ‘race-baiting tyrant’

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Not having President Donald Trump to kick around anymore, CNN struggles to come up with a new boogieman to scare people enough to tune in to the network.

The best they can do at this point is criticize rival Fox News, which regularly buries the network in the ratings game. More specifically, CNN personalities love to go at Tucker Carlson, the host of the network’s top-rated program.

CNN’s Jim Acosta went after both in an interview this week, slamming Fox News as a “bullsh*t factory” and calling Carlson “a race-baiting tyrant.” How’s that for rich?

Acosta made his name via a biased four-year effort to undermine a sitting president and was rewarded for that effort with a weekend gig as a show anchor — desperate to create headlines and draw attention, Acosta goes further and further out on a limb with his rhetoric — even regurgitating the “bullsh*t factory” line he used last month.

“What they’ve decided to do since [the election] is double down on being what I call the bullsh*t factory,” Acosta said. “They churn out segments that gin up outrage that they know is going to piss off their viewers and so on — even if it’s cockamamy made up nonsense. And they do it for the simple reason of attracting viewers, and ginning up the ratings.”

If ever there was a case study in projecting, that would be it.

As for whether it’s “fair game” for him to cover a rival network that beats CNN on a regular basis, Acosta essentially declared that it’s his duty to fact-check Fox News.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this,” he said. “And my attitude is that we have to talk about it, we have to cover it. Do we need to do it every hour of every day? No, we don’t. But if Trump or his lackeys go on Fox, and they spew this nonsense about the election, and they’re not fact-checked in real-time, then they’re operating as propagandists. And they’re doing a bad thing for this country.”

Seven months in the rearview mirror, the 2020 election is still fresh on the mind of Acosta, who did his part to help ensure President Joe Biden’s election.

Billing himself as a reluctant hero who only doing the bidding of the adoring masses who hang on his every word, Acosta claimed this exclusive group includes Fox News employees.

“There were people at Fox who were pinging me during the Trump presidency saying, ‘Way to go, Jim. Keep going,’ and so on,” Acosta said. “I know there are folks out there who want to do the right thing. But to some, to some extent, they’ve decided to become something like the tobacco industry where they’ve decided, ‘OK, we know we make a product that harms people, but we’re just going to have to double down and do it because it’s just making a sh*t-ton of money.’”

Drilling down to a personal level, likely thinking this is sure to draw a buzz, Acosta blasted Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“He has these moments where he just sounds like a race-baiting tyrant,” Acosta said. “And it’s like, what is he doing? What is that? It’s ginning up anger, and rage, and frustration in a certain segment of the American public. And I do think it does just a great deal of harm to this country.”

“A certain part…” Acosta said, sounding very much like a certain former president — at least Barack Obama has the temerity to name white people as the target of his ire.

Carlson often calls MSNBC’s Joy Reid the “angry race lady” because she often comes across as angry while pushing a racially divisive agenda. It’s not clear if Acosta felt a need to push back here in espousing personal opinion as if it was factual — this being the go-t0 tactic on the left these days.

Early on in the interview, while talking about being a White House reporter, Acosta exposed just how much of a drama queen he is while talking about the need to have his phone with him at all times on the beat.

“Sometimes, in the middle of the night you’re waking up and looking at your phone. For example, when Trump had the coronavirus I would wake myself up in the middle of the night, at 3-4 a.m., just to see if he died because we were concerned that he may die.”

Trump was never close to dying, and recovered in a matter of a few days.

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The longest-tenured writer at BizPac Review, Tom grew up in Maryland before moving to Central Florida as a young teen. It is in the Sunshine State that he honed both his passion for politics and his writing skills.

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