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飞艇计划人工在线: 亚马逊今年可能不用交联邦所得税

极速飞艇开奖记录 www.23y3y.cn Rey Mashayekhi 2019年03月10日

亚马逊的免税期突显了人们对现有公司税制缺陷的批评,称这种税制不平衡,充满漏洞。

一篇报告称科技巨头亚马逊2018年很可能无需支付联邦所得税,最近引发了一场风暴。一家年度利润创美国历史新高的公司怎么能不交税?

答案是:现有多项税收规则叠加,使得亚马逊和类似公司多年来能够避免缴纳远低于标准公司税率的赋税。另外,该公司还因为特朗普政府的税改法案新规得到了一些好处,该法案已经于2017年成为法律。

虽然没有人质疑这些方法的合法性,但亚马逊的免税期突显了人们对现有公司税制缺陷的批评,称这种税制不平衡,充满漏洞。另一方面,倾向于商界的人士称,这种情况说明税法实现了预期目标——刺激公司对自身业务进行投资,从而创造就业机会,促进经济增长。

根据无党派税收政策智库税收和经济政策研究所(ITEP)的数据,尽管亚马逊2018年在美国的利润几乎翻了一番,达到111.6亿美元,但预计将免缴税款。事实上,该公司不仅毋需支付任何联邦所得税,还从政府获得了1.29亿美元的退税。

该数据来自于亚马逊向美国证券交易委员会提交的公开文件,而且,正如ITEP的高级研究员马修·加德纳向《财富》杂志所述,这些数据并不一定是亚马逊最终将向美国国税局实际申报的内容。他说,该研究所的结论是“最可能的近似值”。

这家位于华盛顿特区的智库计算出的数据引发了人们对美国公司税法看法的反复。2017年,作为《减税与就业法案》(Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)的一部分,特朗普政府修订了税法。而亚马逊在纽约市设立新区域办事处或“第二总部”一事最近经历了高调反转后,因为该新闻被再次置于放大镜下。

亚马逊在纽约市落户一事遭到了激烈反对,部分原因是政府承诺减免近30亿美元的州税和地方税。批评者称这些激励措施是为企业创造福利的教科书式范例。

加德纳表示,亚马逊避缴联邦所得税的做法“一点也不奇怪”,该组织多年的研究表明,大型企业利用“合法税收减免政策大幅减少”其应缴所得税。

例如,根据ITEP的一项研究,在2008至2015年期间,每年均报告盈利的258家《财富》美国500强企业8年间的联邦税实际税率平均为21.2%,而同期企业税率为35%。此外,还有48家企业在此期间的实际税率不到10%,18家企业根本没有缴纳联邦所得税。

郑重声明,亚马逊在这8年间的联邦所得税实际税率为10.8%。

加德纳称,特朗普政府的税收改革进一步激化了这种情况。新税法将35%的企业税率降至21%,还扩大了加速折旧等激励措施,公司因此能够立即全额抵扣新设备和新机器的费用,而不是像以前那样在使用期限内逐笔抵税。

亚马逊通过建造新设施、购买新设备等做法不断投资自身业务,对于这类公司而言,新推出的这项超级给力的加速折旧抵扣政策就派上用场了。根据亚马逊向美国证券交易委员会提交的文件,该公司披露的2018财年4.19亿美元所得税抵扣额度可能就包含此类费用,亚马逊称其“使用(抵扣额度)来减少我们在美国的应纳税收入”,可以在“2022年前实现对符合条件的资产(主要是设备)进行全额抵扣?!?/p>

这也是华盛顿智库的税务政策专家之间存在重大分歧的地方。一方面,加德纳称对像亚马逊这样的公司而言,“无论(税收激励措施)如何,都会广泛进行资本投资”。

“任何时候,如果用(税收)优惠鼓励公司更多地进行研究、资本投资、创造就业机会,就存在另一种可能:这是一种无谓的税收优惠,因为无论如何这些公司都会这么做?!彼??!拔蘼廴绾?,亚马逊都将进行广泛的资本投资。他们必须得这么做?!?/p>

但也有人认为,这种激励措施恰恰是良好税收政策奏效的一个例子——它们实现了预期功效,鼓励企业将利润进行再次投资,创造就业机会,刺激经济增长。

保守派智库传统基金会(Heritage Foundation)的高级政策分析师亚当·米歇尔称立即抵扣条款是“一项好政策,可以鼓励(公司)以资本投资的形式对自身业务进行再次投资?!彼?,如果认为即使没有这种激励措施,亚马逊和其他公司也将维持同样高的利润再投资水平,是“完全不正确的”。

“如果降低了投资成本,就不能言之凿凿地说,即使像亚马逊这样的大型盈利公司也不会改变他们的行为?!泵仔??!八衅笠档耐蹲示霾叨家愿丛拥募扑阄?。如果加入了抵扣条款,小型和大型企业都将进行更多投资?!?/p>

独立机构税务基金会(Tax Foundation)的高级政策分析师杰瑞德·瓦尔恰克表示赞同?!耙患医蟛糠掷笞峦蹲屎托吕┱诺墓静⒚挥泻芏嗫烧魉袄??!蓖叨】怂??!罢馑得魉胺ㄊ迪至嗽て谀康?;这家公司正在做你希望公司做的事,即创造更多就业机会,实现增长,进行投资?!?/p>

多年来,亚马逊不断烧钱,以牺牲盈利为代价来实现业务增长目标。亚马逊已经成为世界上最大的公司之一——现在还是一家利润非常丰厚的公司——杰夫·贝佐斯领导的这家大公司正在因为其庞大规模而获益,至少因为公司的巨额支出获得了大量税收减免。

律师事务所Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner的合伙人约翰·巴里谈到特朗普税改中的费用扣除条款时说:“你的公司规模越大,资本密集程度越高,获益就越多?!?/p>

除了所得税抵免之外,亚马逊提交给美国证券交易委员会的文件中,称其联邦所得税缴纳额不高的原因还包括另外一个主要项目(也是目前最大的项目),即“以股票期权抵扣薪酬”,这种做法让该公司减少了10亿美元的税收账单。这些抵扣额早于2017年税改法案,亚马逊还有大约14亿美元的联邦税收抵免结转(可以将之前的激励措施用于日后的税收抵免)同样早于该法案,其中主要包括研发税收抵免,根据亚马逊提交美国证券交易委员会的文件,这些抵免结转额“可用于抵消日后的税务账单”。

该公司还有约6.27亿美元的净经营亏损结转,可以用前几年的亏损抵扣未来的税额。亚马逊表示,随着它逐步用尽全部的经营亏损和税收抵免结转,“我们的纳税额将增多”。

亚马逊在报告中还表示,去年5.65亿美元的递延联邦所得税也可能会减少其2018年的税收账单——尽管该公司理论上必须在某个时候支付这些税款。

亚马逊发言人在一份回应ITEP报告的声明中表示,该公司“支付了我们需要在美国和其他经营所在国支付的全部税款,包括26亿美元的公司税,过去三年共报告了34亿美元的税收支出?!毖锹硌烦?,由于其核心零售业务具有“竞争激烈、利润率低”的特点,亚马逊的利润“维持在较低水平”,还表示该公司“自2011年以来在美国投资超过1600亿美元”来进行业务扩张。

尽管处于意识形态鸿沟两端的税收政策专家都承认,在评估公司的税收负担时,过多关注任何一年的财报都是不明智的。但是,虽然一方继续强调有利于公司增长的税收政策具有多重优点——例如传统基金会的米歇尔表示,“公司从来都不交税;他们总是会将税收转嫁给别人,要么是消费者要么是工人”——但加德纳等人认为,多年证据都表明现有制度“漏洞太多”。

“这些税收减免政策并不是心怀恶意的人虚构出来的;每一项减免能出现在法案中都是因为有人认为这是个好办法?!奔拥履伤??!暗艿睦此?,这些政策目标的最终效果是有害的?!?span class="lll">(财富中文网)

译者: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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