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?
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.