张鸿林为什么会不打cba
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這些大企業去年沒納一分錢稅,卻一點事沒有

Erik Sherman 2019年04月19日

跨國公司想盡一切辦法將稅費降至最低。

納稅日來臨,美國的許多大公司都發出了一個強烈的信號:我們不會有事。

根據稅收和經濟政策研究所(ITEP)于4月11日發布的分析顯示,在已經申報了2018年稅收的《財富》美國500強企業中,有60家盈利企業一分錢聯邦所得稅都沒交。根據該研究所的報告,這60家美國公司包括亞馬遜、雪佛龍、通用汽車、達美航空、哈里伯頓、IBM等,它們的美國總營收超過790億美元,有效稅率卻為-5%。平均下來還得到了退稅。

稅收和經濟政策研究所之前對2008年至2015年間每年均實現盈利的258家《財富》美國500強企業進行的研究表明,其中18家公司在此期間沒有繳納任何聯邦所得稅。該研究所的數據顯示,2018年是歷年來企業所得稅減免值第二高的一年,僅低于2009年。

目前在這個問題上最受關注的對象是亞馬遜,該公司由于2017年和2018年均沒有繳納聯邦所得稅,最近受到了輿論的壓力。盡管《財富》雜志對公開財務數據的分析顯示,該公司上市22年來積累的凈收入總額為578億美元。但亞馬遜發給《財富》雜志的公司聲明中表示,“亞馬遜支付了在美國和世界各國經營需要支付的所有稅款。”

但亞馬遜和其他59家零納稅公司顯然不是“孤軍奮戰”。雖然最高公司稅率已經從35%降至21%,各大公司仍然花大價錢聘請稅務專家想方設法地——通常是通過創造性的錯綜復雜的方法——幫它們盡可能少交稅。這意味著公司賦稅和個人稅賦之間的差距大大增加。下面,就讓我們看看各大公司繞過山姆大叔的三種主要方式。

When it comes to tax day, many big American corporations have a powerful message: We’ll pass.

Of the Fortune 500 companies that have already filed their 2018 taxes, 60 were profitable and yet avoided all federal income tax, according to an ITEP analysis released on April 11. The total U.S. income of the 60—which ITEP reports included such names as Amazon, Chevron, General Motors, Delta, Halliburton, and IBM—was more than $79 billion and the effective tax rate was -5%. On the average, they got tax refunds.

In a previous ITEF study of 258 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable in every year from 2008 to 2015, 18 of them paid no federal income in any of those years. According to ITEP, 2018 saw the second-largest corporate income tax reduction, with only 2009 showing a bigger fall.

The current public face of this issue has been Amazon, which has taken heat of late for not paying Federal income tax in 2017 or 2018. That’s despite an analysis of public financial data by Fortune which showed that since going public, the company has amassed a total net income over 22 years of $57.8 billion. A company statement sent to Fortune said in part, “Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate.”

But Amazon and the other 59 on the no-taxes list are certainly not alone. Even with top corporate rate down from 35% to 21%, companies are still throwing massive sums at tax experts who help them find ways—often creative and convoluted—to pay as little as possible. That has meant a dramatically widening gap between what corporations pay and what individuals pay. Below, we looked at the three main ways corporations are skirting Uncle Sam.

個稅及公司稅的支付記錄。

全球轉移

“使用這種方法的主要是美國的跨國公司,它們通過在全球范圍內轉移利潤來避免或減少向美國政府繳納稅務。”北佛羅里達大學的會計和財務專業講師、研究工業稅收戰略35年的資深人士杰弗里·戈特利布向《財富》雜志表示。跨國公司通過將收入進行地理轉移,將公司收入放在低稅收地區,從而將其繳納的美國稅收降至最低。

人們原以為2018年生效的新稅收政策可以終止這種把戲,但它充其量只能夠算是引起了些許改變。“跨國公司仍然在大規模地使用這種方法。”戈特利布說,“也許比之前略有減少,但大量收入仍然在被轉移。”

合法避稅

會計、審計和稅務咨詢公司EisnerAmper的國際稅務服務部門主管肖恩·卡森說:“假設一家美國跨國公司決定以10億美元的價格在英國購買一家連鎖超市。”這家母公司在英國創建了一個分部,但告訴美國國稅局,這個新成立的實體實際上是國內公司的一部分。但英國將把它視為一家單獨的公司。母公司向新部門提供10億美元購買連鎖超市。新部門買了連鎖超市并開始經營,之后連本帶利地將10億美元還給了母公司。由于所謂的打鉤選擇,在美國,這個新部門被視作為同一家美國公司的一部分,因此所還貸款不屬于企業收入。但該部門在英國納稅時,可以將利息從中扣除,利潤也可以保留在海外。

另一種機制是將知識產權——指的是包括專利、版權、商標、商業流程和商業秘密在內的廣義上的知識產權——轉移到位于低稅收國家的子公司。盡管這些知識產權的大部分或全部開發工作均由母公司完成,但母公司需要向子公司支付使用費才能擁有其使用權,而這些知識產權涵蓋了公司日常運營最基礎的方方面面。2017年的稅法原本應該可以減少這種做法,但律師事務所Fenwick and West注意到,將這種知識產權帶回國內對許多公司來說都不合理,因為美國對海外知識產權的稅率約為10.5%,對本國知識產權的稅率更高。

知識產權轉移的一個典型例子出自于2015年的星巴克。歐盟委員會對該公司的做法反應強烈。“星巴克過去常常從瑞士那家著名的咖啡生產商采購咖啡豆。”初創分析公司Quantexa的反洗錢部負責人亞歷克森·貝爾說。從技術上講,根據歐盟委員會的說法,該公司歐洲的主要分支正在以“過高的價格向總部位于瑞士的星巴克咖啡貿易有限責任公司(Starbucks Coffee Trading SARL)購買生咖啡豆。”它還向星巴克旗下的英國公司Alki支付特許權使用費,獲取“關于咖啡豆烘焙的技術知識”。當時(2015年10月),據《紐約時報》(New York Times)報道,星巴克發表聲明稱其遵守了相關的稅收規則、法律和指導方針,該公司在2008年至2014年間在世界各國共支付了30億美元的稅收。

稅收抵免

除了轉移利潤外,企業還一直在尋找增加賬面開支甚至虧損的方法。“在美國,公司少納稅甚至不納稅的方法包括利用前幾年的經營虧損。”Fuerst Ittleman David&Joseph公司的稅務律師及合伙人珍妮弗·科雷亞·利埃拉說。

選擇各種稅收抵免也是種常用的辦法,這個辦法得到了美國國會的背書。舉個例子,常用的一種稅收抵免是研發(R&D)費用。正常情況下,公司可以將研發費用作為支出的一部分扣除,這意味著應稅收入會變少。實際上,這樣能夠節約21%的稅,因為美國公司稅率為21%。

然而,按照研發抵免稅收的政策,研發費用并非在計算應繳稅款前從公司收入中扣除。事實上,所有符合條件的研發費用——包括用于開發新產品、新技術、新軟件流程或新技術的支出——將直接從算出的總稅額中扣除。也就是說,減少的總稅款不是研發費用的21%,而是全部研發費用。

利用這項優惠可以省很多錢。諷刺的點在于,如今的公司如果想要有競爭力,無論如何都必須進行創新和改進。憑借研發抵免政策,公司可以利用它本來就要做的工作進一步降低了賦稅。稅務觀察員還舉例稱,一些公司因為建了新大樓而獲得了稅收抵免,而這本來就是公司經營最基本的成本開支之一。

有些懷念以前繳稅的方式了。(財富中文網)

譯者:Agatha

A global shuffle

“The primary area is really the US multinational companies who avoid or minimize their US tax by moving their profits around the world,” Jeffrey Gottlieb, an accounting and finance instructor at the University of North Florida and 35-year veteran of industrial tax strategies, told Fortune. By shifting income geographically and choosing to house it in low-tax areas, a multinational can minimize the U.S. taxes it pays.

New taxes that came into effect in 2018 were supposed to stop the juggling, but at most it only made a dent. “The game is still being played in a big way,” Gottlieb said. “Maybe slightly less than before, but there’s still a lot of income shifting going on.”

Check-the-box for savings

“Say a U.S. multinational decides to buy a supermarket chain in the U.K. for $1 billion,” said Shawn Carson, a director in the international tax services group of accounting, audit, and tax consulting firm EisnerAmper. The parent corporation creates a U.K. division but tells the IRS that the new entity is really part of the domestic company. But the U.K. will treat it as a separate company. The parent lends the new division $1 billion to buy the chain. The division does so, runs the business, and pays back the $1 billion, with interest, to the parent. Because of the so-called check-the-box choice, to the U.S. it’s all an American company and so the loan payments aren’t income. But the division gets to deduct the interest part from U.K. taxes and the profits are kept overseas.

Another mechanism has been to shift intellectual property—a broad category that includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, business processes, and trade secrets—to foreign subsidiaries in low-tax countries. The parent pays royalties to use these foundational aspects of how they do business to the subsidiaries, even though the parent did most or all of the development. The 2017 tax laws were supposed to discourage the practice, but law firm Fenwick and West has noted that bringing such IP back home won’t make sense for many companies because the U.S. tax rate on IP kept overseas will be about 10.5%, while IP owned in the U.S. is taxed at a higher rate.

A classic example of IP shifting was Starbucks in 2015. The European Commission came down hard on the company. “Starbucks used to buy their coffee beans from that well-known coffee producer, Switzerland,” says Alexon Bell, head of anti-money laundering at analytics startup Quantexa. Technically, according to the European Commission, the company’s major European division was paying “an inflated price for green coffee beans to Switzerland-based Starbucks Coffee Trading SARL.” It also paid a royalty to Alki, a Starbucks-owned U.K.-based company, “for coffee-roasting know-how.” At the time—Oct. 2015—Starbucks issued a statement that it complied with relevant tax rules, laws, and guidelines and had paid $3 billion in global taxes from 2008 to 2014, as the New York Times reported then.

Tax credits

In addition to shifting profits, corporations are also always on the hunt for ways to increase paper expenses and even losses. “Some of the ways that corporations pay very little to no tax in the United States is by using operating losses that they generated from prior years,” said Jennifer Correa Riera, a tax attorney and partner in the firm Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph.

Opting for various tax credits is a popular strategy and one made possible by Congress. An example is a popular credit for research and development, or R&D. Companies normally deduct R&D costs as expenses, which means they reduce taxable income. Effectively, the tax savings is 21%—the new U.S. corporate tax rate—of the expenses.

Under the R&D credit, these expenses aren’t deducted from corporate revenue before calculating tax. Instead, all qualified research and development spending—which can mean working on new products, technologies, software processes, or techniques—is subtracted directly from the total calculated tax. Instead of reducing the total tax by 21% of the R&D expenses, the company gets to reduce taxes by 100% of the expenses.

It’s a bonus that can save a lot. The irony is that modern companies that wish to be competitive must innovate and improve anyway. With the credit, a company further lowers its their taxes by doing something it might have done anyway. Tax observers also point to credits some companies get for putting up new buildings as an example of rewarding a behavior that is a fundamental cost of doing business.

Kind of like paying taxes used to be.

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张鸿林为什么会不打cba