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御龙在天100锭银子等多少钱: 亞馬遜今年可能不用交聯邦所得稅

御龙在天十大烧钱名人 www.xfivd.icu Rey Mashayekhi 2019年03月10日

亞馬遜的免稅期突顯了人們對現有公司稅制缺陷的批評,稱這種稅制不平衡,充滿漏洞。

一篇報告稱科技巨頭亞馬遜2018年很可能無需支付聯邦所得稅,最近引發了一場風暴。一家年度利潤創美國歷史新高的公司怎么能不交稅?

答案是:現有多項稅收規則疊加,使得亞馬遜和類似公司多年來能夠避免繳納遠低于標準公司稅率的賦稅。另外,該公司還因為特朗普政府的稅改法案新規得到了一些好處,該法案已經于2017年成為法律。

雖然沒有人質疑這些方法的合法性,但亞馬遜的免稅期突顯了人們對現有公司稅制缺陷的批評,稱這種稅制不平衡,充滿漏洞。另一方面,傾向于商界的人士稱,這種情況說明稅法實現了預期目標——刺激公司對自身業務進行投資,從而創造就業機會,促進經濟增長。

根據無黨派稅收政策智庫稅收和經濟政策研究所(ITEP)的數據,盡管亞馬遜2018年在美國的利潤幾乎翻了一番,達到111.6億美元,但預計將免繳稅款。事實上,該公司不僅毋需支付任何聯邦所得稅,還從政府獲得了1.29億美元的退稅。

該數據來自于亞馬遜向美國證券交易委員會提交的公開文件,而且,正如ITEP的高級研究員馬修·加德納向《財富》雜志所述,這些數據并不一定是亞馬遜最終將向美國國稅局實際申報的內容。他說,該研究所的結論是“最可能的近似值”。

這家位于華盛頓特區的智庫計算出的數據引發了人們對美國公司稅法看法的反復。2017年,作為《減稅與就業法案》(Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)的一部分,特朗普政府修訂了稅法。而亞馬遜在紐約市設立新區域辦事處或“第二總部”一事最近經歷了高調反轉后,因為該新聞被再次置于放大鏡下。

亞馬遜在紐約市落戶一事遭到了激烈反對,部分原因是政府承諾減免近30億美元的州稅和地方稅。批評者稱這些激勵措施是為企業創造福利的教科書式范例。

加德納表示,亞馬遜避繳聯邦所得稅的做法“一點也不奇怪”,該組織多年的研究表明,大型企業利用“合法稅收減免政策大幅減少”其應繳所得稅。

例如,根據ITEP的一項研究,在2008至2015年期間,每年均報告盈利的258家《財富》美國500強企業8年間的聯邦稅實際稅率平均為21.2%,而同期企業稅率為35%。此外,還有48家企業在此期間的實際稅率不到10%,18家企業根本沒有繳納聯邦所得稅。

鄭重聲明,亞馬遜在這8年間的聯邦所得稅實際稅率為10.8%。

加德納稱,特朗普政府的稅收改革進一步激化了這種情況。新稅法將35%的企業稅率降至21%,還擴大了加速折舊等激勵措施,公司因此能夠立即全額抵扣新設備和新機器的費用,而不是像以前那樣在使用期限內逐筆抵稅。

亞馬遜通過建造新設施、購買新設備等做法不斷投資自身業務,對于這類公司而言,新推出的這項超級給力的加速折舊抵扣政策就派上用場了。根據亞馬遜向美國證券交易委員會提交的文件,該公司披露的2018財年4.19億美元所得稅抵扣額度可能就包含此類費用,亞馬遜稱其“使用(抵扣額度)來減少我們在美國的應納稅收入”,可以在“2022年前實現對符合條件的資產(主要是設備)進行全額抵扣?!?/p>

這也是華盛頓智庫的稅務政策專家之間存在重大分歧的地方。一方面,加德納稱對像亞馬遜這樣的公司而言,“無論(稅收激勵措施)如何,都會廣泛進行資本投資”。

“任何時候,如果用(稅收)優惠鼓勵公司更多地進行研究、資本投資、創造就業機會,就存在另一種可能:這是一種無謂的稅收優惠,因為無論如何這些公司都會這么做?!彼??!拔蘼廴綰?,亞馬遜都將進行廣泛的資本投資。他們必須得這么做?!?/p>

但也有人認為,這種激勵措施恰恰是良好稅收政策奏效的一個例子——它們實現了預期功效,鼓勵企業將利潤進行再次投資,創造就業機會,刺激經濟增長。

保守派智庫傳統基金會(Heritage Foundation)的高級政策分析師亞當·米歇爾稱立即抵扣條款是“一項好政策,可以鼓勵(公司)以資本投資的形式對自身業務進行再次投資?!彼?,如果認為即使沒有這種激勵措施,亞馬遜和其他公司也將維持同樣高的利潤再投資水平,是“完全不正確的”。

“如果降低了投資成本,就不能言之鑿鑿地說,即使像亞馬遜這樣的大型盈利公司也不會改變他們的行為?!泵仔??!八釁笠檔耐蹲示霾叨家愿叢擁募撲鬮?。如果加入了抵扣條款,小型和大型企業都將進行更多投資?!?/p>

獨立機構稅務基金會(Tax Foundation)的高級政策分析師杰瑞德·瓦爾恰克表示贊同?!耙患醫蟛糠擲笞巒蹲屎托呂┱諾墓靜⒚揮瀉芏囁燒魎襖??!蓖叨】慫??!罷饉得魎胺ㄊ迪至嗽て諛康?;這家公司正在做你希望公司做的事,即創造更多就業機會,實現增長,進行投資?!?/p>

多年來,亞馬遜不斷燒錢,以犧牲盈利為代價來實現業務增長目標。亞馬遜已經成為世界上最大的公司之一——現在還是一家利潤非常豐厚的公司——杰夫·貝佐斯領導的這家大公司正在因為其龐大規模而獲益,至少因為公司的巨額支出獲得了大量稅收減免。

律師事務所Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner的合伙人約翰·巴里談到特朗普稅改中的費用扣除條款時說:“你的公司規模越大,資本密集程度越高,獲益就越多?!?/p>

除了所得稅抵免之外,亞馬遜提交給美國證券交易委員會的文件中,稱其聯邦所得稅繳納額不高的原因還包括另外一個主要項目(也是目前最大的項目),即“以股票期權抵扣薪酬”,這種做法讓該公司減少了10億美元的稅收賬單。這些抵扣額早于2017年稅改法案,亞馬遜還有大約14億美元的聯邦稅收抵免結轉(可以將之前的激勵措施用于日后的稅收抵免)同樣早于該法案,其中主要包括研發稅收抵免,根據亞馬遜提交美國證券交易委員會的文件,這些抵免結轉額“可用于抵消日后的稅務賬單”。

該公司還有約6.27億美元的凈經營虧損結轉,可以用前幾年的虧損抵扣未來的稅額。亞馬遜表示,隨著它逐步用盡全部的經營虧損和稅收抵免結轉,“我們的納稅額將增多”。

亞馬遜在報告中還表示,去年5.65億美元的遞延聯邦所得稅也可能會減少其2018年的稅收賬單——盡管該公司理論上必須在某個時候支付這些稅款。

亞馬遜發言人在一份回應ITEP報告的聲明中表示,該公司“支付了我們需要在美國和其他經營所在國支付的全部稅款,包括26億美元的公司稅,過去三年共報告了34億美元的稅收支出?!毖鍬硌煩?,由于其核心零售業務具有“競爭激烈、利潤率低”的特點,亞馬遜的利潤“維持在較低水平”,還表示該公司“自2011年以來在美國投資超過1600億美元”來進行業務擴張。

盡管處于意識形態鴻溝兩端的稅收政策專家都承認,在評估公司的稅收負擔時,過多關注任何一年的財報都是不明智的。但是,雖然一方繼續強調有利于公司增長的稅收政策具有多重優點——例如傳統基金會的米歇爾表示,“公司從來都不交稅;他們總是會將稅收轉嫁給別人,要么是消費者要么是工人”——但加德納等人認為,多年證據都表明現有制度“漏洞太多”。

“這些稅收減免政策并不是心懷惡意的人虛構出來的;每一項減免能出現在法案中都是因為有人認為這是個好辦法?!奔擁履傷??!暗艿睦此?,這些政策目標的最終效果是有害的?!?span>(財富中文網)

譯者:Agatha

A report that tech behemoth Amazon is unlikely to pay federal income tax for 2018 recently set off a firestorm. How could a company with record U.S. profits for the year avoid paying up while most Americans can’t?

The answer is a combination of existing tax rules that have enabled Amazon, and companies like it, to avoid paying well below the standard corporate tax rate for years. And the company is also getting a little help from new provisions in Trump administration’s tax reform bill, which became law in 2017.

While nobody is disputing that these methods are legal, Amazon’s tax holiday highlights what critics claim are flaws in an unbalanced, loophole-ridden corporate tax system. Pro-business observers, on the other hand, describe the situation as the tax code working as intended—to provide companies with incentives to invest in their own operations, which in turn creates jobs and grows the economy.

Amazon’s expected tax avoidance comes despite it nearly doubling its U.S. profits to $11.16 billion in 2018, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonpartisan tax policy-focused think tank. In fact, instead of paying any federal income taxes, the company received a $129 million tax rebate from the government.

The data is based on Amazon’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and does not, as ITEP senior fellow Matthew Gardner tells Fortune, necessarily reflect what the company will actually report to the Internal Revenue Service. The group’s conclusion represents “the best approximation,” he says.

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank’s calculations have triggered a back-and-forth about the U.S. corporate tax code, which the Trump administration revamped as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. And in the case of Amazon, it’s brought further scrutiny following the company’s recent high-profile reversal on creating a new regional office, or “HQ2,” in New York City.

The company faced fierce opposition over its arrival, partly because of nearly $3 billion in promised state and local tax breaks. Critics called the incentives a textbook example of corporate welfare.

Gardner says that Amazon’s federal income tax avoidance is “not at all surprising,” citing years of his organization’s research that shows how major corporations have used “legal tax breaks to sharply reduce” their income tax liabilities.

For example, the 258 Fortune 500 companies that reported profits in all years between 2008 and 2015 had an average federal effective tax rate of 21.2% over the eight-year period versus the 35% corporate tax rate at the time, according to an ITEP study. Meanwhile, 48 corporations had a tax rate of less than 10% over that period while 18 paid no federal income taxes at all.

For the record, Amazon’s effective federal income tax rate over the eight-year period was 10.8%.

Those sorts of figures have only been exacerbated by the Trump Administration’s tax overhaul, according to Gardner. The new tax law slashed the 35% corporate tax rate to 21% and expanded incentives such as accelerated depreciation, which lets companies immediately and fully expense the cost of new equipment and machinery rather than write them off over their useful life, as was previously the case.

For a company like Amazon, which continuously invests in its business by building new facilities and buying equipment, the new, super-charged accelerated depreciation deductions come in handy. According to Amazon’s own SEC filings, such expenses likely fall within the $419 million in income tax credits that the company disclosed for the 2018 fiscal year, which it says it is “utiliz[ing] to reduce our U.S. taxable income” and which allows the “full expensing of qualified property, primarily equipment, through 2022.”

This is where there is significant disagreement among the tax policy experts in D.C.’s think tanks. One the one hand, Gardner claims that companies like Amazon were “going to engage in widespread capital investment no matter what” tax incentives were available.

“For every occasion in which these [tax] breaks actually encourage more research, capital investment and job creation, there is another case in which it’s simply giving companies tax breaks for what they were going to do anyway,” he says. “Amazon was going to engage in widespread capital investment no matter what. They have to.”

But there are others who believe that such incentives are simply a case of good tax policy at work—that they’re functioning as intended, and encourage companies to reinvest profits to create jobs and stimulate growth.

Adam Michel, a senior policy analyst at conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, describes the immediate expensing provision as “a good piece of tax policy that encourages [corporations] to reinvest in their businesses in the form of capital investments.” He calls it “flatly incorrect” that Amazon and others would reinvest their profits as much as they currently do without the aid of such incentives.

“If you lower the cost of making an investment, you can’t unanimously say that even a large, profitable company like Amazon won’t change their behavior,” Michel says. “All businesses make investment decisions based on sophisticated calculations. If you add in provisions like expensing, you will get more investment from both small and large businesses.”

That sentiment was echoed by Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst at the independent Tax Foundation. “A company that is plowing most of their profits into new investments and expansion doesn’t have a lot of profits to tax,” according to Walczak. “This is the tax code working as intended; the company is doing what you generically want companies to do, which is to create more jobs, grow and invest.”

For years, Amazon burned through cash with the goal of growing its business at the expense of profitability. Having established itself as one of the largest companies in the world—and now a significantly profitable one at that—the Jeff Bezos-led giant is now benefiting from its scale as far as reaping the tax rewards of its sizable expenditures.

“The bigger you are and the more capital intensive you are, the bigger the benefit,” John Barrie, a partner at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, says of the expense deduction provisions in Trump’s tax overhaul.

In addition to income tax credits, the other major line item (and by far the biggest) in Amazon’s SEC filings that explain its limited federal income tax liabilities are the more than $1 billion in deductions for stock-based employee compensation. These deductions pre-date the 2017 tax reform bill, as do Amazon’s roughly $1.4 billion in federal tax credit carryforwards (past incentives that it can claim in future years) that consist primarily of research and development tax credits and that are “available to offset future tax liabilities,” according to its SEC filings.

The company also has around $627 million in net operating loss carryforwards, which are losses from previous years that it can use to offset future taxes. Amazon says that as it uses up both the operating losses and tax credit carryforwards, “we expect cash paid for taxes to increase.”

And it also reports $565 million in deferred federal income taxes from last year that likely also helped reduce its 2018 bill—though the company will, presumably, have to pay those taxes at some point.

In a statement on the ITEP report, an Amazon spokesperson says the company “pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years.” Amazon notes that its profits “remain modest” given the “highly competitive, low-margin” nature of its core retail business, and adds that it has “invested more than $160 billion in the U.S. since 2011” in scaling out its business.

Tax policy wonks on both sides of the ideological divide acknowledge that it would be unwise to read too much into any one year’s worth of financial reports in assessing a company’s tax burden. But while one side continues to point to the merits of a pro-growth corporate tax policy—“Corporations don’t ever pay any tax; the tax is always passed on, whether it’s to consumers or workers,” the Heritage Foundation’s Michel notes—those like Gardner suggest that there is years’ worth of evidence pointing to a system that is “more loophole than law,” as he put it.

“Nobody dreamed up these tax breaks with malicious intent; every break is in the code because somebody though it was a good idea,” Gardner says. “But on balance, the net effect of these objectives is a pernicious one.”

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