GE Didn’t Volunteer to Pay Taxes Not Due in 2010; Did You?
Recently, I read several reports criticizing GE for not paying USA corporate taxes, on a consolidated basis, in 2010. However, I could not find one commentary accusing GE of breaking USA taxation laws. Essentially, these reports complained GE took advantage of tax laws to lower its taxes. Did any of these commentators volunteer to pay extra taxes in 2010 or earlier? How many, consciously, do not use the tax laws to their advantage to lower their personal and corporate taxes?
GE paid taxes outside USA based on income outside the USA but existing tax rules show they had no taxable income, on a consolidated basis, in the USA. If GE broke USA tax law, executives should be prosecuted. But if GE did what individuals do and took advantage of tax laws, don’t blame GE. However, before asking the government to change tax laws, let's ensure we do not create a competitive disadvantage for USA corporations. Capital has legs, and will go to friendlier locations. When we drive capital overseas with anti-corporate rhetoric and policies, are we prepared to accept that jobs will go, too?
Liberal journalists demonize corporations without looking rationally at individual circumstances. To sensationalize today's story, these journalists ignore the past, don't explore and report full implications of the present, but spout anti-corporate headline-grabbing rhetoric.
I am a former CFO and senior executive, but not a GE shareholder. I understand corporate taxation and finances. I know some corporations behave unscrupulously, unethically, and break laws. Happily, mine didn't. I believe several senior executives should have been called to account for exacerbating the Great Recession. And I am not defending GE or corporations generally. Rather, I am suggesting journalists elevate commentaries to look holistically at issues, peak in the mirror, and remember the Golden Rule.Continued on the next page