Apr 20, 2016
commented on Microsoft, Boeing Among Corporations With Billions Stashed in Offshore Tax Havens
The Oxfam study is idiotic. It's clear that nobody involved in its creation knows anything about accounting or tax law.
They multiply accounting income by 35% and then claim that the difference between that and the company's effective tax rate is proof that the company is nefariously dodging corporate income taxes. That's not how taxes work. There are many reasons why a company's effective tax rate will never be equal to the corporate rate, such as loss carryforwards, differences in depreciation calculations, deferred income and expenses, etc. By their logic, you're a bad person if you take any exemptions or deductions on your personal taxes as well because your effective tax rate is also a lot lower than your paycheck times the statutory rate.
"Money Held Offshore" is effectively "any cash held by a foreign subsidiary". For example, Starbucks "stashes" cash in dozens of countries by virtue of operating cafes in those countries. Foreign earnings are generally taxed in the country where they are earned because that's how corporate taxes work in just about every other developed country. The US's worldwide tax system gives companies no incentive to return their foreign earnings to the US because they'd just have to pay taxes on the same earnings again (I know there are deductions for foreign taxes paid, but Ofxam would complain about that as well).
Offshore subsidiaries are bad because, well, they are. The study assumes that any foreign subsidiary not large enough to be disclosed in the 10-K is probably being used for evil. While it is true that offshore subsidiaries can be used by companies to effectively move cash around (intercompany loans, licensing of intangible assets, management fees, etc), but there are plenty of benign reasons as well. Companies generally do have to pay some taxes on cash generated by those subsidiaries if they actually want to use it.
The surest way to get US companies to bring their foreign earnings back home is for Congress to adopt a modern territorial tax system. If you hate tax accountants and corporate lawyers, you can take comfort in the fact that this would have the added effect of putting a whole lot of them out of work.
Feb 2, 2016
commented on Motherhood—And Miyabi 45th
Are there really that many more women working in the restaurant industry in countries that do offer paid maternity leave? It seems like a fair point to address if you're going to talk about how much better people supposedly have it outside the US.
Jan 13, 2016
commented on The Big Lid
It would probably help to note that I-5 north of Freeway park is mostly a series of bridges on the side of a hill. Only the section south of Olive could really be described as a trench. Building another level on top of an existing bridge is a lot different than building a lid over a trench.
Nov 4, 2015
commented on Really? 31,000 Votes for Goodspaceguy?
I'm really looking forward to Sydney's upcoming series of articles on "Seattle's dangerous turn to the right" when Jim McDermott only gets 78% of the vote next year.
Aug 8, 2015
commented on Um, Can We Talk About How More Than 23,000 of You Voted for Goodspaceguy?
If Goodspaceguy's 9% showing in a primary election justifies getting this upset, I can't wait until 2016, when The Stranger publishes a bunch of articles about how the Republican who gets 22% of the vote in the race against McDermott is proof that Seattle voters are taking a dangerous turn to the right.
Mar 25, 2015
commented on Lynn Shelton's New Project Is Set in Seattle. She Can't Shoot It Here.
Olympia isn't "killing" the local film industry, which has been around much longer than the current incentive program. The only reason this is an issue at all is that every other state was also foolish enough to enact a tax credit for film production in the last few years. Now Hollywood gets to pit states against each other in a race to the bottom. Everybody loses!