Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owes $1 billion in back taxes

posted at 1:25 pm on September 2, 2011 by Tina Korbe

C’mon, IRS. “Stop coddling the super rich.” Contrive to successfully extract the taxes they already owe.

Mr. Buffett, I barely want to waste my breath on your blatant hypocrisy.

And, Mainstream Media (by which I mean the NYT, which ran Buffett’s obnoxious op-ed in the first place), WHERE ARE YOU?

From NewsMax:

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett triggered a major debate over taxes recently when he wrote in The New York Times that he should be paying more to the federal government. He called on Washington lawmakers to up tax rates on the rich.

But it turns out that Buffett’s own company, Berkshire Hathaway, has had every opportunity to pay more taxes over the last decade. Instead, it’s been mired in a protracted legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service over a bill that one analyst estimates may total $1 billion.

Yes, that’s right: while Warren Buffett complains that the rich aren’t paying their fair share his own company has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid paying a larger share.

The story of Berkshire’s years-long tax battle, which is generally known in business circles, took on new life this week when a group called Americans for Limited Government (ALG) reported that, according to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report, the company is embroiled in an ongoing standoff over its tax bills.

Human Events’ John Hayward opines perfectly:

On top of this tax bill, figure the value of the time IRS agents have invested trying to collect it – they don’t work cheap, and we pay their salaries – and the resources Buffett’s people have invested fighting back.  All of which would have been saved if Buffett simply practiced what he preached, and willingly handed over his fortune to the brilliant and compassionate “leaders” he commands the rest of us to support without resistance.

Warren Buffet is no different from the other liars and frauds orbiting Barack Obama.  His hypocrisy just runs billions of dollars deeper.  When it comes to “shared sacrifice,” you do the sacrificing, and they do the sharing.

Meantime, Dan Primack over at CNN Money whines at the accusations of hypocrisy surrounding another of Buffett’s tax-minimizing moves (investing in Bank of America, which enables Berkshire to pay a 14.175 percent tax rate on the money it receives as dividends from BOA — rather than the typical 35 percent corporate federal income tax rate):

At this point, I’m not really sure who’s allowed to advocate for higher taxes on the rich. Certainly not the lower 98 percent, lest they be accused of engaging in “class warfare.” And apparently not the uber-wealthy like Warren Buffett, who is to be ignored until he donates a cargo plane full of gold bullion to the IRS.

Mr. Primack, anyone is allowed to advocate for higher taxes on the rich, but no one is allowed to controvert the evidence: People respond to the incentives set up by the tax system, including the Oracle of Omaha. That’s why it makes no sense to raise taxes on the folks most able to provide jobs for a job-starved nation. They’ll respond to those tax increases — and it won’t be in a way to save Obama from the high unemployment rate that threatens his reelection.


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Terp Mole, what are your feelings on this?

rogerb on September 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Mr. Buffett please write your check and never lecture me again!

Oil Can on September 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Kerry’s Yacht tax avoidance.

Dandapani on September 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM

This big swine invested billions in BofA, which is about to become the infrastructure bank Obama will speak of.

He will stuff the Obamas’ pockets.

Don’t be foole.

Bank of America even sounds “national” and socialistic already. It’s the perfect ploy.

Call me tinfoiled. You’ll come back to this, if the congress doesn’t stop the insanity, or better, yet, if the people don’t.

The mortgage ploy, from the left to the right should put quite a few in Congress to prison, from both sides.

Wake up.

Schadenfreude on September 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Heh, he didn’t know it this would come out?

We need better cronies.

the_nile on September 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Wow, Warren! Looks like you paddled up a crick, and lost your oar. For someone who is so rich…that was a pretty stupid stunt.

capejasmine on September 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Seems buffett is in the same tax bracket as ge is? ZERO, taxes!
L

letget on September 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Yeah, raise that tool’s taxes to what he owes.

Akzed on September 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I believe the biblical phrase is “he who hath no sin may cast the first stone”
or
maybe
insert foot in mouth is better suited
what an freaking jackass

Political Chef on September 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

ALINSKY RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

It’s about time we started to use Alinsky to our advantage. Buffet can’t withstand the sunlight. Keep digging.

faraway on September 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Warren Buffett: This was intended for EVERYBODY ELSE, not ME!

gullxn on September 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Yeah but his secretary owes $6 billion, which is why he wants the rich’s taxes raised: so that what he fails to pay is greater than what his secretary fails to pay. Justice!

Weight of Glory on September 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Me and all the other rich people should be taxed more…. except me.

Scrappy on September 2, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Maybe, Warren can throw in a little tip on top of those back taxes being that he’s not currently taxed enough…

Fallon on September 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Just to show you really care, Buffett, write a check for twice the amount, you blatant hypocrite.

rplat on September 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Mr. Buffett, I barely want to waste my breath on your blatant hypocrisy.

And, Mainstream Media (by which I mean the NYT, which ran Buffett’s obnoxious op-ed in the first place), WHERE ARE YOU?

Yeah, Tina! You go girl!

I don’t really have much to add to that.

Chip on September 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Lessons “protected” Charlie Rangel taught him.

viking01 on September 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Bayam hit hardest.

BallisticBob on September 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Bloody hypocrite. I wonder if he was hoping his suckup to little Bammie might cause the IRS dogs to be called off? Ya gotta wonder.

slickwillie2001 on September 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett triggered a major debate over taxes recently when he wrote in The New York Times that he should be paying more to the federal government. He called on Washington lawmakers to up tax rates on the rich.

He meant to raise those taxes on him that he’ll continue to fail to pay….like Timmy G on the TurboTaxes…

ted c on September 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Pay up, shyster!

cartooner on September 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM

i smell refudiation

ted c on September 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Ruling Class Jackassery.

…..and they wonder why the serfs think our Rulers suck so much.

wretches.

PappyD61 on September 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I just wonder: how many Tax Lawyers does Mr. Buffett employ to take advantage of Tax Loopholes and minimize what he SHOULD HAVE PAID?

gullxn on September 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Come on! Buffett is talking about lofty principles here. Don’t try to distract the issue by bringing up a lousy billion or two.

Drained Brain on September 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

If the republicans were smart enough, they would be able to easily show how this is the liberal’s way of life. Call for less freedom on others and live in complete hypocrisy.

If you are a liberal, this is your future. How can you defend this position?

withmanitisimpossible on September 2, 2011 at 1:43 PM

ted c on September 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Exactly! “Sure, raise my taxes. More. Higher, I deserve it. Oh, wait, you want me to PAY those taxes? Ha! Get bent.”

DrAllecon on September 2, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Heh, he didn’t know it this would come out?

We need better cronies.

the_nile on September 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Most people will never hear about this. Especially liberal dupes who only read NYT and the like.

zmdavid on September 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM

I think this is why he is backing obama so much. either he backs him or pay the taxes. kind like blackmail to me

ConservativePartyNow on September 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM

What is it about these people? If you’re going to make big news you might want to make sure that your bare hind end isn’t hanging out. It’s like the guy railing about the evils of prostitution while exiting the whore house.

Mason on September 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Gotta say, this is priceless. Sort of writes itself. Obambi surrounds himself with people that just never cease to amaze, like Solis yesterday too, it’s hilarious.

Tim Zank on September 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Why do I suspect there was a deal with the WH to ignore this if he came out for taxing the rich?

Don L on September 2, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Simple solution, write a check, shut up.

Speakup on September 2, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Swine.

Key West Reader on September 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Wow I guess Buffett should just get used to being called a colossal phony.

This economy really has shown up a lot of people for what they really are….and it ain’t pretty.

Dr Evil on September 2, 2011 at 1:57 PM

HEY WINGNUTS HAS JOE THE PLUMBER PAID HIS TAXES YET, IF THAT IS HIS REAL NAME, ETC.

Jim Treacher on September 2, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Why do I suspect there was a deal with the WH to ignore this if he came out for taxing the rich?

Don L on September 2, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Buffett is bought and paid for. He’ll be the sacrificial capitalist pig, trotted out by the Oministration. Can’t you see?

Poor Warren. He had NO IDEA what he was getting in to when he licked Obama’s boots.

Key West Reader on September 2, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Hey, he is just following the fine, patriotic example set by tax cheat himself, Timothy Geitner, who is in charge of the IRS.

karenhasfreedom on September 2, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owes $1 billion in back taxes

Pay Up Sucker!

rukiddingme on September 2, 2011 at 2:01 PM

What is the record for non tax paying cabinet members, czars, and Obama hanger ons’ now?

Dr Evil on September 2, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Oh could many of us write about about rich liberals.

They just want to give my poor cousin’s money away. The one who saved for years to get ONE THIRD TO PUT DOWN ON A HOUSE AND REFUSED FOOD STAMPS SOME YEARS BACK WHEN HE WAS ENTITLED. This is while jerks wrecked our economy getting stuff they did not earn. Playing with paper.

I create and try to make products. I make investments.

They play with paper. Like Warren the stinking old RAT.

See how it works? Our media does not.

IlikedAUH2O on September 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Some major firms pay more than they have to.

IlikedAUH2O on September 2, 2011 at 2:13 PM

WHERE OH WHERE are the trolls?

MeatHeadinCA on September 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Terp Mole, what are your feelings on this?

rogerb on September 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Ok…I’ve been seeing this..who the hell is Terp Mole???

What did I miss??

BigWyo on September 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM

This big swine invested billions in BofA, which is about to become the infrastructure bank Obama will speak of.
Schadenfreude on September 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Does no one else grasp this? A few years ago the HA crowd would have made this a major topic of discussion.

Now, all but a few are such shallow thinkers.

LegendHasIt on September 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Don’t forget that Buffet is also protecting his fortune from the tax man by donating it on his death to the Bill Gates foundation.

So Buffet is working hard not to pay taxes while alive or dead while telling us to raise taxes!

RJL on September 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM

So when Buffet says “Raise My Taxes”, he’s really saying “Raise My Taxes– I won’t pay them anyway”

Nethicus on September 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Convict his asss, throw him in the Grey Bar Hotel for 99 years with a big, hairy cell-mate and a 55-gallon drum of K-Y jelly.

The War Planner on September 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM

WHERE OH WHERE are the trolls?

MeatHeadinCA on September 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM

..hell, where is OmahaConservative?

The War Planner on September 2, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Convict his asss, throw him in the Grey Bar Hotel for 99 years with a big, hairy cell-mate and a 55-gallon drum of K-Y jelly.

The War Planner on September 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Kidding, you are. He’ll fight to re-elect Obama, because both will be filthy rich when BofA will be the national infrastructure bank, which will scroom the taxpayers even heftier.

OmahaConservative was in the house last night.

Schadenfreude on September 2, 2011 at 2:35 PM

I’m sure it is being taken care of in a subtle manner befitting an egoist and lapdog.

Fuquay Steve on September 2, 2011 at 2:41 PM

I just wonder: how many Tax Lawyers does Mr. Buffett employ to take advantage of Tax Loopholes and minimize what he SHOULD HAVE PAID?

gullxn on September 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Warren, make public the tax lawyers’ bills which you have paid in this tax avoidance scheme.

Pffffftt … there isn’t a single mainstream media journalist with the integrity or balls to put the question to Buffett.

Jaibones on September 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Just another lying Obama sychophant. This hypocrite was one of Arnie’s financial advisors and we wonder why California is bankrupt. Is there anyone remotely supportive of the president capable of the truth?.

volsense on September 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Hey now, why are we all hating on this guy? Mr. Buffet was exactly right. If his secretary hadn’t paid her back taxes, she’d be in jail.

That was his point, right?

Lily on September 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM

If you are a liberal, this is your future. How can you defend this position?

withmanitisimpossible on September 2, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Because all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

DrMagnolias on September 2, 2011 at 2:51 PM

I think we have found a replacement for Geithner.

Vashta.Nerada on September 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM

If the check has cleared through infamous Clintoon pardons broker Holder then Warren likely figures there’s nothing to worry about. Get out of jail free card redeemable at least through January 2013.

(Paging Mark Rich…)

viking01 on September 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Ok…I’ve been seeing this..who the hell is Terp Mole???
 
What did I miss??
 
BigWyo on September 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM

 
He spams the Libya threads (very pro-Obama-bombing, refuses links on rebel atrocities, and insults/berates everyone who disagrees) within a half-hour of them being listed but doesn’t post anywhere else.
 
I suspect he’s only assigned (mole?) to propagandize them but I thought I’d see if he checks any other threads. Doesn’t look like he does.

rogerb on September 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Thank God, I never again have to listen to my union-supporting, Democrat-loving in-laws blather about how “even Warren Buffett wants to tax the rich.” I can now legitimately respond, “In a pig’s eye.” I probably won’t get asked to any more graduation parties. Win-win.

RebeccaH on September 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

This big swine invested billions in BofA, which is about to become the infrastructure bank Obama will speak of.

He will stuff the Obamas’ pockets.

Don’t be foole.

Bank of America even sounds “national” and socialistic already. It’s the perfect ploy.

Call me tinfoiled. You’ll come back to this, if the congress doesn’t stop the insanity, or better, yet, if the people don’t.

The mortgage ploy, from the left to the right should put quite a few in Congress to prison, from both sides.

Wake up.

Schadenfreude on September 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I won’t call you tinfoiled. In one sense, the big banks are already infrastructure banks since the gov bails them out discriminately.

Buffett has been the recipient of one of the the longest running PR jobs in MSM history. He earned the title of money maker. I wouldn’t call him an oracle like the MSM, since I suspect he gets his messages not from the gods, but from latching like a sea lamphrey onto those at the top, and swimming in the same direction

BOA is dumping part of its mortgage business now, like a snake shedding its skin. It gets old

Buffett buying into BOA would be a simple hard deal if Buffett wasn’t spending so much time at the WH with his best buddy

Patriotic investor rescues business in hard deal with low tax bite, waves flag and demands sacrifice. Its a tale told by an oracle. He rescued Goldman Sachs and GE too. Buffett, always on the ready

entagor on September 2, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I’m sure Warren could point out the “nuance” for us.

GarandFan on September 2, 2011 at 3:03 PM

We’re always told that preachers & Republicans are attacked more violently by the press when they commit sexual indiscretions because of the hypocracy involved, while liberals are given a pass because they have & preach no morality in sexual matters.

So why isn’t this a “deadly sin” for Buffett?

Liberal’s only “morality” is being a good drone for the state and paying as high a tax rate as possible (anything else is just downright “unpatriotic). So why aren’t libs called on it when they cheat on taxes like conservatives are when they cheat on their wives?

29Victor on September 2, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Oh well, there goes his credibility.

John the Libertarian on September 2, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I guess the NY Times does no background check on conflicts before they run an op ed

georgealbert on September 2, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter how HIGH the tax rate is if when the taxes come due you don’t pay ‘em, you just tell Uncle Sam to pound sand.

Hypocritical b@stard.

oldleprechaun on September 2, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Wesley Mouch said it was OK for Berkshire Hathaway not to pay the taxes. Or maybe it was Cuffy Miegs. I cannot keep those guys all straight.

In any event, Mr. Buffet is on board with the Equalization of Opportunity Act and the forthcoming Unification Boards, so all is well.

(If you have not read Atlas Shrugged, go buy it. Now.)

tryptic on September 2, 2011 at 3:47 PM

This post seems to be WAY OFF BASE to me. Berkshire Hathaway is a publicly traded company. The officers are legally end ethically required to protect the share holders. The share holders are not only the rich officers. Argue about whether Buffet pays an ethical share of taxes but that is a different subject than how much tax the company pays.

burt on September 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM

HEY WINGNUTS HAS JOE THE PLUMBER PAID HIS TAXES YET, IF THAT IS HIS REAL NAME, ETC.

Jim Treacher on September 2, 2011 at 1:58 PM

How the hell does that relate to anything pertinent, either living or dead?

rplat on September 2, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Well, he wanted to pay more- he could start by paying what his company owes.

hawksruleva on September 2, 2011 at 4:26 PM

rplat on September 2, 2011 at 3:53 PM

 
He’s making fun of (D)s. Treacher is an oldie/goodie here who used hotair.com as a springboard to bigger and better thing, and I’d bet I speak for many when I say it’s nice to still see him around.

rogerb on September 2, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Buffett the self-righteous faker. Put your money where your lying mouth is

bayview on September 2, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Speaking of taxes…

… where is George Soros?

Seven Percent Solution on September 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Speaking of taxes…

… where is George Soros?

Seven Percent Solution on September 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM

He saw the light, or the darnkness, and moved on, to milk another cow.

Buffet took his place. Watch the BoA deal being made.

Schadenfreude on September 2, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Ya know if we could get Democrats to pay their taxes the tax rate could be cut very low for the rest of us and we could still reduce the debt!

Herb on September 2, 2011 at 5:06 PM

If you have a billion dollars and pay 0.1% percent of it per year in campaign donations, you will never have to pay a penny in taxes. When you can get the government to write laws around you, it’s all perfectly legal.

Where people screw up is in blaming the people who pay the protection money, instead of blaming the government that runs the protection racket in the first place.

logis on September 2, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Warren Buffett wants to not pay more taxes

J_Crater on September 2, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Warren Buffett wants to not pay more taxes

J_Crater on September 2, 2011 at 5:55 PM

All liberals – rich and poor alike – would be perfectly happy if everyone’s taxes were doubled, tripled or, better yet, quadrupled.

And why not? It won’t cost them a penny more than they’re paying now.

logis on September 2, 2011 at 6:06 PM

How much did Al Capone go to prison for? In 2011 dollars, I mean?

Knott Buyinit on September 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM

What a dumbazz. The minute he opened his yap and started blathering on about how he wasn’t taxed enough is the minute the IRS opened up an audit on him. They should tax him an extra billion just for being so stupid.

NoLeftTurn on September 2, 2011 at 7:41 PM

He should’ve stayed out of politics and opining on matters not investestment related…

Gohawgs on September 2, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Why does anyone think that this is a rare occurrence among the wealthy? They fight to keep what they have just like anyone else.

Sorry, but if this rich a$$clown were our rich a$$clown, there’d be all sorts defending him because he’s successful and creates jobs.

Sure, he’s a hypocrite, but he’s not the only one.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 2, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Wow. Do any of the super rich pay THEIR taxes? This actually scares me because our system has been so corrupted. I’m thinking they actually do write laws around them. And they are the ones to lecture us? How come I’ld be in jail for not paying my measly “fair share”?

conmo on September 3, 2011 at 12:58 AM

What Buffet and his companies are doing is both correct and moral. However, his comments are immoral and delusional, to say the least. No moral person has ever supported a democrat. NEVER.

proconstitution on September 3, 2011 at 9:14 PM

proconstitution on September 3, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Raising taxes in a recession is a good idea?

I could give a better exposition of the morality of the actions of Buffet and Wall Street than I offered above but I made my point.

All he understands is accounting and market valuation in the stock exchanges and more power to him for that.

He and the others on our exchanges do not power our economy or even understand how to improve it.

IlikedAUH2O on September 6, 2011 at 2:24 PM

“When it comes to “shared sacrifice,” you do the sacrificing, and they do the sharing.”

John Hayward, this may be the most thought-provoking words in this entire debate.

itsspideyman on September 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 2