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April 20th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

G.E. and Bank of America paid no federal income taxes last year

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As we reported in the Cafferty File last week - 47 percent of all U.S. households will pay no federal income taxes for last year… not a dime. They're in good company.

General Electric and Bank of America also managed to pay no income taxes to the federal government for 2009. That's right - not a single dime.

Here's how: Although GE earned lots of money last year - they did it overseas and not in the U.S.: General Electric's American operations lost about $400 million, while its international businesses netted nearly $11 billion in profit.

After deductions and adjustments - GE reported a negative 10.5 percent federal income tax rate... and wound up with a "tax benefit" of almost $1 billion.

When it comes to income tax payments on the overseas profits, they defer those "indefinitely."

Not bad… make $11 billion and get a tax benefit of a billion more. The rest of us need their accountants.

As for Bank of America - after major losses in 2009... it ended the year with a tax benefit of almost $2 billion.

Meanwhile - this country faces a staggering $12 trillion national debt... with skyrocketing deficits, estimated to top $1.6 trillion this year alone.

We are going bankrupt and Washington refuses to do anything meaningful about it.

But, don't worry, the big corporations are doing just fine. They own the politicians and the government as evidenced by these kinds of tax bills.

Here’s my question to you: Is it right that companies like General Electric and Bank of America paid no federal income taxes last year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Anne writes:
Kind of makes the whining about corporate tax rates nonsensical, doesn't it? They aren't the only corporations that pay little to nothing in taxes. Fair? No. Shouldn't be legal either. And now they can spend all that unpaid tax money to buy more politicians to shape laws to suit them. Why does any American with a brain support them?

Randy in Minnesota writes:
And you wonder why we are unable to pay the bills around here? With no tax money coming in, there's no money to pay out. If we're smart, we can put the Republicans back in charge in November and go through this again. It's time for the big companies to pay up and close the loopholes Republicans gave them over the past several years. Let's start paying down the deficit.

Clifford in New York writes:
If G.E. is playing by the IRS tax rules and abiding by our ridiculous tax code then they're entitled to whatever they can get. This really points out how ridiculous the tax situation is. Corporations that make billions of dollars should be paying taxes to help support the country they are doing business in. Small wonder that the taxpayers in America are so angry. The list of injustices seems to go on and on.

Larraine in Maryland writes:
What a surprise! We are always being told by Republicans that we need to end the corporate income tax. It looks like it's already ended. So they earned their income overseas? Does that mean that American soldiers don't need to defend them? It would be nice to see a little patriotism from these jokers, but don't hold your breath.

Peg in New York writes:
Who, exactly, allows this to be OK? Sounds like what is good for big business is not good for the tax-paying masses. That is just plain wrong in so many ways, on so many levels. I need new appliances, so G.E. is off my list!

Andrew writes:
Jack, How dare you suggest that corporations pay income tax? It is the responsibility of the citizens to pay the taxes so the government can give the bailouts, tax exemptions, tax credits, and subsidies to corporations.


Filed under: Taxes
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Gregory Tripp, Mechanicsburg

    It is not just right, it is good business. When we "tax" businesses, they must account for the cost by charging more for their product or service. We, the consumer, are stuck with the bill whether we like it or not. I would prefer not to have the taxes I pay hidden in the cost of things I consume. It somehow seems dishonest to me like our government is trying to pull a fast one over on us.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  2. David from Herndon, VA

    Of course it's not right. And while we're at it, why does nobody ever seem to get punished for this stuff - the theft of BILLIONS of tax dollars, yet when an illegal immigrant steals a pack of cigarettes the entire conservative movement goes absolutely crazy about it?

    April 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  3. Charlie in NJ

    Yes. This is pretty simple. They lost money in the US so why should they pay money on a loss. Remember in most years they pay huge taxes. In fact they paid (GE at least) taxes to a bunch of nations where they made a profit. GE didn't make the rules, they are just playing by them.

    Oh and by the way, if they were forced to pay taxes on a loss, what do you think would happen to the price of their products and who ultimately would suffer? The consumer.

    All those who immediately responded "of course they should pay taxes" should think about that last part

    April 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  4. MNResident

    Jack, according to one study, 47% of the American public already pays zero federal taxes. Why should it surprise me that a similar percentage of companies don't pay any, either?

    April 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  5. Sue

    So what! This is what Republicans are fighting for, isn't it?

    April 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Lia in Bradenton

    If by "right" you mean the direction political odors are wafting – then, yes. Corporate write-offs for everything from janitors to jets have long compromised our tax system. As long as politicians cower to the power they've greedily bestowed and the public believes the threat of job elimination, nothing will change.
    The least we should have done was levy the same obscene interest rates on the bailout money that those companies charge their everyday, law-abiding customers.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  7. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, a loaded question if there ever was one. My answer is that if they followed the law in determining their federal taxes, GE & Bank of America have done the right thing. This is more pandering to the person who pays little or no federal income taxes themselves, and yet is being made to feel jealous of someone more successful than they are. This class warfare is not going to help. Something like the Fair Tax will help, and it would have more support if media types such as yourself would quit lying about it!!

    April 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  8. Wisconsin Don

    And GE is one of the biggest supporters of Obama and stands to make billions off of his green energy push. What a stunning surprise!

    Wisconsin Don
    Racine Wisconsin

    April 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Ron Lambert

    Jack.

    If those companies were forced to pay federal income taxes then they would just pass that on to the consumer. But yes, they should pay taxes. Not an excessive amount just thier fair share. Everyone should pay taxes if your working or running a business.

    We would have much added revenue if the government would just let alot of tax breaks expire. Also I recommend a 5 % cut across the board no exceptions on all government spending including defense and every government program. That would go along way to closing the huge gap and would only reduce any programs affected by 1/20th. so it would not unduly harm any one institution or program.

    Ron
    Miami FL.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  10. Jim Wardlaw

    Of coarse, congress is bought and paid for , and the corporations are the buyers. We need a new system. Factoid, Buffet pays 17% in fed taxes and his receptionist 37%. He also is a wonderful man and spends billions on the poor, but he is an exception.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  11. Mike

    No wonder the repubs are fighting so hard against corporate reform. (come to think of it those clowns are against everything.) Akron Ohio

    April 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  12. Alex

    When corporations save money on taxes, they supposedly invest that money in creating new jobs. Yet unemployment is still abysmal. Those savings went right into the pockets of executives. I say make 'em pay.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  13. Francap

    No of course it's not. We the people have been had for far too long.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  14. oldfuzz

    Of course, unless they are violating the law.

    Tax laws are specific.and everyone is entitled to arrange their financial house to optimize their financial balance.

    Your question, by its nature, encourages outrage.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  15. Ray in Nashville

    No, but it's the Republican way, Jack. Corporate America and the rich get rules they can use to make insane profits. I'm still waiting for that part of trickle down economics where the middle and working classes benefit.

    April 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  16. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    NO Jack BUT when the corporate political entities 1 & !A who are in office 'representing y'all ' are beholden to the corporate elites, can there be any sense of real surprise ??
    Methinks not !!!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Alex in Gig Harbor

    There should be a law that prevents corporations from off-shoring their money (and their jobs). Since GE had a stateside loss, I'm sure some of their foreign profits were brought home to pay for executive bonuses. That money should be subject to taxation.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  18. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    No, but things will never change as long as we allow all the lobbyist to keep stuffing the pockets of congressmen with large sums of money. The only cure is to vote the lousy jerks out of office, it is either that or we can watch the United States turn into a third world country.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  19. Conor in Chicago

    Hello! Don't vote Republican or Democrat if you want a democracy!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    If GE is carrying a loss over they should have to take it against ALL of their profits. WHAT allows GE to defer taxes on overseas profits? You got it right Jack,Big Corporations do own the politicans and I do hope that this next election ALL emcumbants be voted out and that the new crop of the people's respresentatives institute term limits.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  21. chris

    plain and simple there in bed with our politicians and the president and the irs so they get a free pass while they go after the little guy and let them go scot free

    April 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  22. Ralph Spyer

    Is it right that Churchs pay no Taxes they own a lot more property than G.E. or bank of America. Their hospitals pay no taxes, their schools pay no taxes.Churchs are the bigest corporations in the world they they have money and power. They degraded women,they try to explain the unknown with ignorance.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  23. Jane (Minnesota)

    It very wrong, Jack. It's one of the main reasons our unemployment is as high as it remains, too.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  24. Homeless D in Atlanta

    Of course it is not right that GE and BoA paid no taxes!!!!

    And until the American People get smart enough to find some outrage about this, and until the American People DEMAND that there be a fair tax structure in this country, not a thing will change.

    It would also help if the American People were smart enough to realize that all the hype from the Tea Party folks and others who oppose 'big government and taxation' that the taxation they are talking about if NOT the income tax we pay, but the huge taxes that the big corporations SHOULD be paying!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  25. Mr. D

    It sounds like the old shell game to me. Let's shift as much as we can to foreign entities and avoid US taxes. Isn't corporate welfare wonderful? Next year I think I'll claim that my taxable social security came from China (oops, it does.)

    April 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  26. Marion/Birmingham

    When there is a 35% tax on money brought back into the USA,why would any corporation bring money back here for investment? Ireland charges 11%,If we were business wise,as the government never is, if we would charge 5% we would be rolling in the extra money invested for jobs and Taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  27. Kathy, Willcox, Arizona

    Absolutely not. Can you say "trickle down economics", Jack? Seems to me that the wealth trickled down to countries other than the good ol' US of A.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  28. Jeremy D from Michigan

    No it's not. Big business is already ruining America. They shouldn't pay just like everyone else.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  29. Jim in Alabama

    It says "a grossly inequitable and corrupt tax system" to me Jack. I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore! How many are with me?

    April 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  30. William Connor

    This is a prime example of Congress turning the other way when they are supposed to represent the American People and not BIG BUSINESS ! ! !
    Bank of America raised their Credit Card Rates, lowered credit limits and wanted to spend Taxpayers monies to retrofit the CEO office to the tune of over 1 million dollars.
    Income is income, wether its made in the US or overseas, it makes no difference. This is just another example of Congress being bought off by the big Corporations.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  31. Bob Tampa Fl

    No, can anybody spell Tax Law Reform or, more appropriately, will anybody in Congress propose it?

    April 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  32. Mike Oklahoma City

    Uhm let me think about it....NO!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  33. Chad from Los Angeles

    Of course it is, just ask the 5 Con. Supreme court Justices. They think, along with many other cons, that a corporation is the same as a citizen. It is insane how we give so much power to an entity thats sole purpose is to make money off the people. Corporations don't look out for their fellow man, they screw the common man, as often as possible, for the all mighty dollar!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  34. ed in ri

    Jack;
    Send them all to jail and let their tax benefits pay for their incarceration. I'm sick and tired of this country getting raped by all the too good to go down scumbags in industry, banks, and Washington!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  35. Bill in Penna

    Jack,

    Please. Remember. Corporations are persons too. Why should any tea bagger or republican pay any taxes to support a government which only provides the best military in the world. Supports private medical insurers with great subsidy payments, the least regulation of business on the planet earth. Why we give our bankers BILLIONS of tax payer dollars for their billions in bonuses. Over 50% of all corporate persons pay no taxes and the uber rich limit them selves to 15% but many like Warren Buffet pay none..
    Than one percent of persons human and corporate have their main hones in London, Rome, Bern, Berlin or Paris, all of which have socialized medical care so they are sure to have the best medical care.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  36. jimmy in greenville, nc

    Jack, it's fine with me. They probably can spend it more wisely than Washington. The less we send.... the less pork Congress gets to fight over. Congress made the tax code and it's available to everyone to take whatever advantage they can.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  37. Bill

    If you are a US company and you are subject to taxes (C-corp) you should pay them-no accouting tricks. The 47 million citizens noted I am sure pay taxes for FDIC, etc and they do not have the advantages that corporations have. It is immoral and should be illegal for any corp. not to pay taxes on ALL it's income if it wants to be a US company. That includes the jerks from Goldman-Sachs, and all the little toadstool hedge-fund managers who continue to manipulate and bet against the US, it's hardworking people and companies who do pay. Why shoudl it not be illegal to bet AGAINST the system using all sorts of loopholes and accouting tricks to control the outcome. We need to eliminate all these weasels and get back to making REAL products and making an honest living while risking our own money. Rich people, rich companies do not make the wealth, we working people who run small businesses do. They just unfaily siphon it off from us.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  38. Moe Dallas TX

    I think its great they are able to make all that money overseas and not pay any taxes here. I also think its a great idea for them and the entire upper management staff move to Bangladesh and take advantage of all the great benefits that country has to offer them, especially the great interstate road system ...

    April 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  39. Jo

    Of course it's not right that any company doesn't pay taxes. We, the middle class, are getting crushed with taxes and expenses while the the rich and big companies pay little or nothing. I think we should do away with our tax system as it is. Everyone should pay a percentage of tax on the goods they buy and then everyone pays something. If a big corporation buys a lot of equipment or spends a lot then they pay more. Giving them a break for doing business overseas is only hurting our country as more companies will go where they get "FREE" money.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  40. Joseph

    Exxon-Mobil made $35 billion (yes, billion with a B) in profits last year and didn't a penny in taxes to the U. S. government. If all these companies can avoid paying taxes - legally - why can't I?

    Joe in Delray Beach, FL

    April 20, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  41. Anne Eisele

    Anne from GE here:

    Here's a shortened version of our statement that is perhaps easier to use:
    –In contrast to the 2009 results, GE’s cumulative U.S. current tax provision from 2000-2009 totaled almost $7.4 billion. GE paid almost $23 billion of taxes to governments around the world from 2000-2009, making it one of the highest payers of corporate income taxes.
    –This is the first time in at least decades that GE has reported negative U.S. pretax income and it reflects the worst economy since the Great Depression.

    Anne Eisele
    Director, Financial Communications
    GE
    Fairfield, CT

    April 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  42. Ramsey Florida

    We need reform now. We can't live with this level of debt. It weakens our position internationally and our security if another war comes.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  43. Jon-Delhi,NY

    The haves continue to have more while the rest of us get nailed. Of course it's not right! The politicians are owned. And it will be no different with new politicians in office. They are all freeloaders.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  44. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    That's outrageous, dispicable, and.... I just don't know what else to say.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  45. JIM,Roanoke,Va

    You will not see O'bama going after G.E. like big banks.Why? Simply put.They are one of his big time supporters,contibuting a lot of money and time working to get him elected.They stand to make tons of money if some of his plans go into effect. He's not going to bite the hand that butters his bread !!!

    April 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  46. Linda in Arizona

    Sure Jack. It's the American way under republicans. Greed is good. Huge greed is better. Quit complaining and get rich.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  47. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course it’s not right. But when you own the politicians who let you write the laws, you win while the rest of us have the cumulative value of the stuff these guys scrape off the bottom of their shoes, “these guys” being corporate bigwigs and politicians alike.

    April 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  48. Donn Thornton

    A failing democracy is more dangerous than other forms of government. Their was a time, a few decades ago, when government was interested in doing the work of the people. Not anymore. Today the apathetic are content with things as is. This leaves us the minority with no way out. Banks et al take the same view as Oprah did on her recent challenge; "This to will pass".

    Las Vegas, NV

    April 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  49. Pete Bakersfield Ca

    Bank of America hold the mortgage on my homes I find them the most lovable, wonderful, best place to do business on earth, now can I have my mortgage reduced?
    They have the same defense as Goldman Sachs, everyone is doing it!
    However the news is that this is news, is it a right for corporations not to pay taxes if they did pay would that not be double taxation they pay the politicians with contribution, Republicon(federates) would never strand for that!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  50. John, Fort Collins, CO

    According to GE's 2009 annual report they paid $2.5 billion in cash taxes in 2009, stating income taxes were 10.5% on consolidated earnings from continuing operations (see page 30 of the annual report). Since they are one of the few investments in my rollover IRA that is doing well, the information I am passing along is a bit selfserving. However, I don't own any Bank of America stock so I am outraged they didn't pay any taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  51. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    And you hear many Congress people talk of lowing taxes on businesses, how much lower can they get when they're receiving credits? It's obvious those in Congress are full of (fill in the blank) when it comes to discussing anything factual.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  52. Homeless D in Atlanta

    BTW, As a GE shareholder I can ASSURE you that the rank and file shareholders are NOT getting rich from these companies!!!!!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  53. diana g

    why does it make them so speical

    April 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  54. Sue From Idaho

    If the big companies own the government they really own nothing and are deeply in debt.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  55. jim Blevins

    Now your getting to the crux of the problem - huge incomes that are untaxed. Clearly this must be corrected.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    April 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  56. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Now Jack, do you understand why I do not get all worked up on people not having the financial means to pay income tax (which is why education reforms is needed) in comparison to corporate getting away with making enough money and yet somehow end up not paying their share of responsibility : ironic since products or services of companies sold are also bought by people not having enough financial means to pay income tax : you get the double insult of corporate making a good living also from the poor...ironic no!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  57. Christopher Dawson

    I guess the tax burden is not always on the rich....companies that is.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  58. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    Jack
    You shouldn’t ask this question. Now that anti-capitalist, socialist President will probably get involved and devise intrusive regulations that will be the end of our freedoms and free enterprise.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  59. Ken in NC

    Companies like GE and BoA do not make less than $250,000.00 so they cannot qualify to be tax exempt. They do, however, make more than 10 million so, by standards of “Big Companies Rules”, they qualify to be exempt from any tax liability.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  60. randy from Minnesota

    and you wonder why we are unable to pay the bills around here. no tax money coming in no money to pay out.. hey if were all smart we can put the republicans back in charge in november and go through this again yee haw won't that be a hoot. its time for the big companies to pay up close the loop holes republicans gave them over the past several years and lets start paying down the deficit.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  61. steve- virginia beach

    But Jack, McCain and his fellow Republicans say that the US has among the highest corporate tax rates in the world. If zero percent is the highest does that mean that other countries pay corporations to locate there? The Repub spin doesn't pass the smell test. And if they're outsourcing most of our jobs and paying zero taxes, why do we want them to stay here using our oxygen and government-funded services? We need to take the tax breaks from the heavy outsourcers and shift the rewards to comapnies that hire American (and not illegals).

    April 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  62. Kevin

    Sure Jack – Just remember the golden rule,
    He what has the gold, makes the rules. Just ask your politician who has the gold and how rules are made.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  63. Larraine, Abingdon, MD

    What a surprise! We are always being told by Republicans that we need to end the corporate income tax. It looks like it's already ended. So they earned their income oversees. Does that mean that American soldiers don't need to defend them? It would be nice to see a little patriotism from these jokers but don't hold your breath.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  64. Marty Pulvers

    What a stupid question. "Right" clearly has nothing to do with it.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  65. Jay in SC

    Of course it's not right! But do you see the "Tea Partiers" complaining about this at their rallies? NO! I though they are supposed to be protesting what they are being Taxed. Maybe we ALL need to focus on how the big corporations are getting off scott free while we are burdened with our Taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  66. Anne Nelson

    Kind of makes the whining about corporate tax rates nonsensical doesn't it? they aren't the only corporations that pay little to nothing in taxes. Fair? no. Shouldn't be legal either. and now they can spend all that unpaid tax $$$ to buy more politicians to shape laws to suit them. Why does any American with a brain support them?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  67. Doreen

    The fact that these companies did not pay one cent in taxes last year is a true statement on our tax policies. They need to change. All companies should pay taxes on their overseas profits. These profits are after all at our expense.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  68. Tony from Southport

    I guess it's OK since GE contributed so much to the Obama campaign. Don't even get me started with Bank of America. Isn't payback allowed anymore?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  69. Steve S.

    Companies don't pay taxes ever. It is their customers that pay the taxes because they pass on the cost.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  70. Kathy

    Jack, This is UNBELIEVABLE. While everyone else bust there butts, they get a free ride. When are we going to get this right. Please is there anyone out there that can fix this mess.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  71. Roberta

    Jack, I'm all for reining in big business and am a big fan of Obama. Just one question about GE and the others, however. They didn't pay U.S. taxes but did they pay (or owe) taxes to the foreign countries where they did make a profit?
    Bobbie

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  72. Jim Burke

    We live in a Corporate State. That's why all the other issues like health care, abortion, immigration, energy policy, the wars,etc. are a joke. A smokescreen. Political theater to entertain the Plebs. Meanwhile, the crooks on Wall St. use their employees in Government to loot all the equity out of our nation.
    We are suckers. We just keep pulling the same levers in the voting machines for the same crooks over and over.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  73. jonathan sauer

    This issue infuriates me like none other. If you want me to stay glued to your program continue to follow this story.

    It just makes me so mad Jack. For 8 years I had to pay taxes to a government that was stealing from the treasury hand over fist. Now I have to pay taxes to fix the very corporations that robbed me before. What is the point of hassling the working class for trivial sums of money when there are billions upon billions of dollars in uncollected corporate taxes? It's a glaring injustice.

    Hold their feet to the fire Jack!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  74. BORIS MARCHEGIANI

    The legal difference between a business and a human being is very little except when it comes to the IRS code. The main difference is the pockets of our congressmen...why don't we demand a flat tax for all, we humans can't go wrong.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  75. Michael from Ft. Worth, Texas

    Jack this only validates that our Congress and elected leaders everywhere are bought and paid for by corporations. Worse than Judas or any other traitor in history, they gouge their customers and then refuse to support the very system that gave them the privilege to exist. We need a revolution like the French did and do scrap our whole governmental system in favor of one in which the people do indeed rule.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  76. Canute J. Chiverton

    They can get away with it because think of the thousands of people in their employ who do end up paying $$$ on their Personal Income Taxes. I guess it all works out! As long as money is coming in, money will circulate, unless you put it under the mattress.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  77. Glenn

    All of the AmericanTax Payers Should Get together and Register ourselves as a Corporation.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  78. Nick, Longmont CO

    Jack,

    I'm glad that you brought this up. The tax code is full of exemptions for corporations, including overseas income that is never taxed. While 47% of Americans did not pay income tax, they did pay Social Security and Medicare taxes; the corporations you mentioned paid zero taxes. That means a minimum wage worker paid $1153.62 in Social Security and Medicare last year (at $7.25/hour). GE and Bank of America paid zero. Wall Street investors paid zero or no more than 15% of their investment income in taxes. And the Republicans, and corporations, are complaining that they have the highest tax rate in the world. They are right, they do have the highest coporate taxes in the world, but special favors in the tax code, and special accounting, makes them pay next to nothing in taxes.

    Jack, why don't you see what Time-Warner (owner of CNN) paid last year in taxes; it could prove interesting.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  79. Larry of Maine

    I understand Exxon can be added to your list of Billions in profits and no US taxes.

    Why am I not surprised?

    We've got the best government money can buy.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  80. Fred Johnston

    It is this sort of hypocrisy that several vocal groups don't want to change. Get people agitated by anything else so big companies can sell America, lock, stock, & barrel. Citizens and the constitution mean nothing to these companies, it is not in their best interest.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  81. Carol

    I think we in the USA should get serious and boycott Bank of America and G E. If they can't sell their product in the USA they can sell their product to the Chinese, that's who's probably making GE products anyway.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  82. Michael Kiriakou

    Is it right? I think its as Right as you can get Jack. A central part of our country is caught up in corporate business. They will do what they have to to show a deficit and take what is essenitially waiting Federal handouts. Just like any other business or person in this country. We run a big budget collectively as Americans and many of us from all levels of prosperity want something in return. The loopholes are there waiting for big government handouts and all you need is a high priced attorney to get through the loopholes to them.

    Michael Kiriakou
    Norfolk, Virginia

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  83. April

    Mr. Cafferty you hit the nail on the head. Big business OWNS our government. I'd like to think my vote means something but I can't afford to buy a Congressman or Senator so I seriously doubt it. I think my only real vote is were I spend my money so from now on I'll avoid giving GE and Bank of America any of my business. Thank you for your effort and keep up the good work!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  84. Asif

    Double taxation?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  85. Mike Allen

    Your right Jack. The Billionaire CEOs do run the Government. More specifically, they own the Republican Lawmakers. This is why the Republicans are commited to stopping financial regulatory reform. And if you oppose the Corporate agenda then you are labeled a Socialist.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  86. Rebecca

    Well Jack, of course it's not right that these big companies paid NO income tax last year. And i quite agree with you on them owning the polititians, with that new ruling allowing the big coorporations to fund the presidential elections to thier wishes, it's no surprise they pay no income tax, they own the senators and soon the future presidents. Welcome to america, huh.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  87. Andrew Buckley

    Jack,

    How dare you suggest that corporations pay income tax. It is the responsibility of the citizens to pay the taxes so the governemt can give the bailouts, tax exemptions, tax credits, and subsidies to corporations. How much sense would it make to make them pay taxes, when we are going to turn around and give them the same money back in subsidies. The people who should really feel ashamed is those on welfare, and those who want a government medical system. They take / steal from corporations by taking federal funds we could giving to GE, and other corporations.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  88. Pamela holt

    Foley,al especially since isn"t bank of America the bank that allowed illegal immigrants to get credit cards from them without proof of citizenship??? Enlighten me, Jack, after all I am just a peon!!!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  89. Dave (Altoona, PA)

    Yes- it is a good thing. How do companies make a profit? By selling goods or services. Where does this money come from? The customers. Us. Corporate taxes are included in the price of the product. If taxes go up, so do our prices. We, the people, pay the corporate taxes, not the company. The evil corporations are just the middle men.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  90. Christian Larsen

    Whatever happened to the debate about the Fair Tax? Is the solution too simple? Would it knock out too many IRS employees, tax lawyers and companies that can work the loopholes? Wouldn't it address issues regarding those who have failed to file and wouldn't it make the system less complicated for those of us that can't afford a CPA or tax lawyer?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  91. Lauren

    You missed the point with your argument. It isn't about why they didn't pay tax but why they are overseas in the first place. If you don't want companies taking their business overseas to make money then Obama needs to stop implementing policies that cripple and tax to death businesses at home. If he made it more attractive for companies to do business here not only would we get their tax money but we would also have job creation which would help solve the unemployment problem that Obama can't manage to solve.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  92. Jen - Kansas City

    Jack-
    As a practical matter we can hope for better times and taxable earnings in the US. Otherwise, they will just move their entire business operations off-shore. There is no easy answer other than an incentive to repatriate the money at a reduced tax rate...one that is similar to England.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  93. Bob In Florida

    It LOOKS as though the Republicans got their way. NO TAXES for the wealthy. So, if the wealthy corporations are NOT paying taxes and 49% of individuals do not pay "Income Taxes"......WHO IS paying taxes? Maybe that is why we have such high federal deficits!

    Oh, and while I am at it, "WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS THAT ARE GENERATED BY THESE "NO TAX" CORPORATIONS??????" At the reality of nearly 10% unemployment, I guess that blows the heck out of the notion that if the wealthy and corporations ARE NOT burdened by taxes.....the wealthy and corporations WILL create more and more jobs!!!!!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  94. Matt W,

    While I think it's extremely unfair that large, highly profitable companies are not paying income taxes when mid-to-small businesses are paying their dues, I think our entire federal tax code is broken. Too many loopholes and side-deals corrupt the system and there's no end in sight. I say let's put all businesses on the same level playing field. Eliminate corporate income tax,in fact eliminate personal income tax as well – both discourage investment, growth, entrepreneurship. Let's enact a national sales tax, the Fair Tax for example, and make the argument irrelevant.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  95. Frank H. Rowan

    How about this idea have all big corporations pay federal income tax in the same amount of their total political donations to politicians. IE if they give $10,000,000 to congressional representatives then they pay $10,000,000 income tax which would be used to pay off the national debt.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  96. Jim Martin

    What concerns me is the 47% of the voters do not have to pay taxes. Until they have to pay something we will continue to be poorly represented by our elected officials. One of the 53% that paid taxes and served in the military to defend my right to pay taxes?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  97. william f barnett

    You answered your own question. It's right because the politicians they own, enact legislation that says it's right. This helps them to be able to afford the paltry 8 million dollar per year pension plus life time limo service and use of corporate jets for life for their retired CEO. Is this a great country or what?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  98. paula

    I wonder if the "adjustments" quoted are not taxes paid to the foreign governments involved. While living and earning money in The Netherlands we, as US citizens had to prove that we had paid taxes to the Dutch government in order to not owe taxes to the US. Governments have reciprocal agreements to collect from citizens. I do not know if the agreements are the same for businesses. In any case, we did not get tax credit – only a bottom line of $0 due.
    This is not an endorsement of taking our business overseas or outsourcing. I think we should keep our business at home and let our own government benefit from the profit through taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  99. John Klang

    Of course not, and them getting a check means some one isn't doing their job right. let them have no taxes, but giving them money is like spitting in the face of tax payers. How this happend is showes that we are doing something wrong, and need someone to fix these problem.

    John Klang, KY

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  100. John from Dallas

    Did General Electric get that billion as an "Earned Income Credit"? Just wondering.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  101. steve- virginia beach

    Instead of hating on these companies, we should be compiling a list of the names of elected officials who think these companies should continue to pay zero taxes when profitable.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  102. Mel Silberberg

    Of course they should pay taxes, especially since they are making money oversees, free and clear. That's why this country is in financial trouble. No taxes, no 'trickle-down' – remember way back when?
    Dezavu all over again!

    Thousand Oaks, CA

    April 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  103. A Bynum

    I believe all U.S. companies should be held accountable for their incomes and taxed on that money even if it was earned in another country. They enjoy U.S. protections and have the obligation to support their government. Getting a $1billion dollar refund when GE made billions is criminal. This evasion of tax responsibility is why our country is in financial trouble. Regular working citizens do their part to support the government, and I am disappointed in these two mega companies, and I believe this represents the robber baronism that got us trouble in the 1920s and have us in trouble now. Shame on GE and Shame on Bank of America. They do not represent the American I relate to. What is Congress doing to solve this?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  104. Anthony from Arizona

    Jack, the problem is government! It is not Democrat or Republican or Independent it is government itself. I have owed taxes the last two years after working my behind off to earn more by enhancing my job skills and yet only owe more to government. What in the hell is this country coming to? If I tried not to pay my taxes I will be put in jail, yet the "Fat Cats" running these companies and their lawyers find the loophole! Yes, Jack it is time for a revolution in this country as it has gotten to large for its own good!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  105. Canute J. Chiverton

    They can get away with it because think of the thousands of people in their employ who do end up paying $$$ on their Personal Income Taxes. I guess it all works out! As long as money is coming in, money will circulate, unless you put it under the mattress.

    Houston, Texas

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  106. Zachary P from Phoenix, Ariz

    No. Here I am, getting by on a very modest income, a recent grad and I owed taxes. You're telling me GE and BofA don't need to pay? Perhaps if BofA wrote down those underwater mortgages off their balance sheet we'd know what they're really worth. But no, the Fed gave them exceptions and wavers. The great charade continues on and on... where it stops is anyone's guess. Thanks, politicians for out-cronying yourselves yet again!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  107. Vishrut N.

    We can talk about all the outrage there should be from this but fact of the matter is this is NEVER going to change. All major corporations have the politicians regardless of party affiliation in their pockets. We can only hope and pray for an independent candidate being voted to the Congress or White House but that will NEVER happen either.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  108. marvin Jamieson

    Sure they should pay taxes. How about the groups that are railing against taxes using their voices on this. Speak up "Stop Taxing Us" and "Tea Partiers"

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  109. Lucia Jewell, South Carolina

    If you are an American citizen OR an American company, your income should be taxed no matter where your work or sell your products.

    If an American citizen spends part of the year working for an American Company in an overseas office/plant – are their wages taxable? It's money earned while in another country! If you are an American company, I think your income should be taxed! It's not where you work or sell your products – it's where you maintain your corporate headquarters. Let's level the playing field – the same rules for everyone!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  110. Onofrio Loconsole

    Jack, you got it right...the multi-billion corporations own our polititions. All was cozy when these corporations set up camp overseas,(along with our jobs) and nothing was ever questioned by our "Fat-cat" representatives who went along with shares in their companies.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  111. Carole, Ventura Co., CA

    I'm so glad to know that the $20,000 in taxes we've paid to the federal government over the past two years is helping G.E., B of A, et al, and the other 47% of the population who avoid paying their fair share. And we are on the lower end of the quickly disappearing middle class. I think I'm now going to cry in my Two Buck Chuck, which I can barely afford.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  112. Phyllis

    Jack. We lost $6,000 on our family farm this year. We have lost money for the last four years. We were advised by our tax accountant that we should reduce the expenses we claimed for 2010, in order to reduce the size of our loss, because four years of loss would/could trigger an IRS audit. Is it possible that the IRS might audit General Electric? Do you suppose GE's accountants might help us out?. We are simply trying to make a living and we are honestly reporting our farm income and expenses. Something wrong here, I think.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  113. Joan Nashville TN

    Sure. It's just as right as Goldman Sachs posing as Captialists for the
    "Common Good." Its all a sad pitiful situiation in the eyes of middle America.Soooo........wHATEVER !!!!!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  114. clifford Rocque

    If G.E is playing by the IRS tax rules and abiding by our ridiculous tax code then they're entitled to whatever they can get. This really points out how ridiculous the tax situation is. Corporations who make billions of dollars should be paying tax to help support the country they are doing business in. Small wonder that the taxpayers in America are so angry. The list of injustices seems to go on and on .

    April 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  115. Carmen

    Of course it isn't right! It was my understanding that the Obama administration would clamp down on such devious practices. If we’re going to clean up this mess we’ve got to reach far into every crack and crevice. I feel like we’re in a coyote and roadrunner cartoon, being outsmarted at every turn…

    Carmen
    Winnetka,Ca

    April 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  116. lynnej in nc

    No it isn't right. These huge corporations get huge tax breaks and tax credits. It doesn't matter if they make most of their profits overseas, they're an American based company and should pay some American taxes. GE made 11 billion. It wouldn't hurt for them to part with 4 to 5 billion of it. They give that much away in bonuses and perks. Do something constructive with it, pay your taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  117. Fred Johnston

    All companies and corporations should pay their share of taxes. I live in Tucson, AZ and over the years have seen the corporations and their lobbies drive our country to poverty. By not paying taxes and buying votes the companies can shove Americans around.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  118. Tom

    I think it's fine if they don't pay income taxes if their income wasn't made here in America, but tax benefits? That's just not right.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  119. Emmet Wilson

    Big Businesses pay taxes...I like that...it has a good ring. but that is why they call them Big Businesses. They are untouchable somehow.
    But pay taxes? That's likethey're being under some superior control or supervision or transparancy, and being allowed to go under if they fail like the rest of small businesses. Like employers or employees who steal from companies and actually go to jail. What a great idea, treat large and small businesses the same, no matter who they are, and pay taxes. Great idea, why didn't I think of that before?????

    April 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  120. Rick Clements

    You're right Jack. Corporations own the politicians and the government itself. Unlike states that allow it's citizens to bypass or create popular law through ballot propositions, the Congress and Senate are shielded from such voter devices that could strike down and repeal such corporate bought laws. As it stands now, as long as politicians can accept corporate campaign contributions to buy politicians off with, the tooth fairy will always be there to pay the taxes for these guys! Guess who the tooth fairy is? Hint: It's not Donald Duck!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  121. Karl

    The illegals are running these companies Jack! A country of laws? Criminals? Crime? Come on Jack!!!! Where's the REAL OUTRAGE???? Ii rest my case!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  122. Birddog in Mississippi

    Well Jack, since the Supreme court just ruled that Corporations are 'people', I guess that means that 'people' are also corporations. So, I'll be filing as a corporation next year.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  123. mike

    Let me guess. The republicans worked these deals out with these companies... it figures.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  124. John

    Just another example of the need for government oversight/ regulation. There will always be but two true power-brokers in the world. Government and Corporations. Taking power from one gives it to the other. Putting the power in the hands of the super rich is akin to supporting your owner on the plantation.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  125. Peter M

    And yet, they are supporting and paying the so-called tea-partiers to protest hugher taxes!!!! How stoopid is that???

    April 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  126. V

    I think America should get together and let these companies be responsible to the national debt. No more tax increase for the middle class! why should we pay more tax when these businesses is not being taxes?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  127. Robert Skidmore

    Why is it that many of the Republicans claim that corporations are taxed too heavily? It seems to me that far too many establish off shore addresses or claim their income comes from overseas and therefore are not subject to US Income Taxes. Yet many of those who pay little or no taxes also dump millions of dollars into our government in the form of lobbyists and in support of political campaigns. It is terribly wrong that corporations that are essentially based in this country escape paying their fair share of taxes. Oh by the way, I am moving to a post office box in the Cayman Islands. It may be a bit crowded but the tax advantages are incredible.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  128. Ed Hailio

    Why should they Jack, when all govts. are terrorist and criminal orgs. They have absolutely no intention of doing anything to benefit their enslaved. Their families and friends are growing exponentially and it takes a lot of their "Capitol" to keep them in their exalted life styles. Why do you think Bernie Madoff went to prison? He scammed them. Why do you think that an offense against the ordinary citizen is classed as a civil matter and not a crime? We have all been mentally corrupted to believe their lies. It is time to relook at our human history and if we dare to take their blinders off we will see their pattern of corruption which is leading to the total destruction of all Life. It is their imposed Armageddon.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  129. Shea

    These big corporations that don't pay any federal income tax employ thousands of employees that do pay federal income tax. When a company doesn't produce a profit allowing it not to pay taxes will cause that company to grow and become profitable and employ more employees that will pay federal income taxes.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  130. Frank Nardo Cape Coral, FL

    I DON'T CARE, why should I get myself all stressed out because big business does'n't pay their fair taxes, if I die because of non payment of taxes by big business, then I would not be able to practice honing my skills with my big business voodoo replicas, I would rather stick pins into etiology of the companies, and bring them down with pins and evil wishes. WISH ME LUCK!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  131. Charles in NJ

    Jack:

    You only reported part of the story. Both companies paid income taxes in the country where they made profits. This is perfectly legal and you can't fault either company for following the law. I think you may have a different opinion if you owned a international business. Your logic would put companies out of business.

    I didn't hear anyone complain when these companies paid billions in US taxes in a profitable year!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  132. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, we don't have a word strong enough in the English language to express the disgust for the corporate tax cheaters, above –particularly, given our almost 10% unemployed–I for one, believe the right to work and be productive citizen should be a legal right in America and we could employ thousands of Americans from their tax theft!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  133. William

    Anyone that owes money to bank of America, of GE Capital should just claim chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  134. ed schleker

    they should pay taxes no matter were they operate – if i work in one state and live in another i pay to both in some way.
    we realy need a reform of tax sys for all in this country.
    .

    April 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  135. Sandy Reaven

    I feel this type of tax exemption is totally deplorable! Number one, we are still trying to recuperate from a very harmful recession. These large companies don't deserve such an exemption especially now when the country needs that money now to go into government coffers to payback the national debt–that's where it should go! I hope we can getsome BIPARTISAN help from our repubublican enemies in Congress to ddo something good for a change instead of just being the PARTY OF NO! i am going to get signatures and send the list to my congessman from Illinois and Dick Durbin–hopfully they can work together and create some legislation soon.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  136. Karen Mattonen

    Way to go Capitalism – said tongue in Cheek. Hey, isn't this what the Tea Party is fighting for?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  137. nick from arkansas

    Jack what we are witnessing is the fall of democracy. Corporations have hijacked our country. Soon we will all be part of the the coming one world government. Why else would the politicians be driving this country into the ground? Unless it's to steal every last penny from the unsuspecting American with an even bigger bailout, only this time it's to save the country.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  138. Anthony - Morgantown, WV

    First they send our jobs overseas and now they're able to send billions in tax dollars overseas too. Maybe next they'll send me so I can get out before the ship goes down.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  139. Sebastiaan Beuk

    I wish these were the only 2 companies on the list. Chevron is also one of them. The highest profit of any US corporation and paid zero $ in taxes.

    To be honest. I hope CNN can spend more time on this subject than just bringing it up on the cafferty file since it would be good to educate americans on this subject: I am sure the amount missed in income taxes from US corporations is at least 3 times bigger then if the 37% or so of americans that did not pay taxes had to pay taxes over 50K

    April 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  140. William

    Everyone who owes any debt, to any financial institution across the US should file for bankruptcy.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  141. Double Standard

    Hi Jack,

    Any company that is pulling this type of tax scam should be outlawed from charging any type of user fees or penalties on customers!

    Big Joke
    USA

    April 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  142. steve- virginia beach

    Sounds like we're rewarding companies for outsourcing our jobs. By the way, is this the same GE that owns NBC that hearlded candidate Obama as if he was the second coming? It isn't right but snowball's chance in hell they'll pay taxes any time soon.

    April 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  143. Clyde Albert

    This is concrete confirmation of my theory that we Americans have a government OF the people BY the politicians FOR the crooks. The problem is that we don't DEMAND anyhing different when we keep re-electing the same crooked politicians, and expecting different results. Democrats, Republicans or whatever else, have come to realize that they can do to us whatever they please once they're in office. What if we had an election and everyone wrote in names that were not on the ballot – names like Bugs Bunny, Tarzan, Mr. Chips, and such?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  144. Mari, Utah

    Isn't it amusing that Bank of America & G.E. did not pay taxes last year.......... nor did they pay taxes in '08, '06,'04. And let's add all the other Corporations like say, Big Oil who actually receive billions of our hard earned money!

    Funny, how the Tea Party folks, demonize President Obama because they believe the lies, that he is raising taxes when actually the Working & Middle Classes got a nice tax cut!

    Now, we need to ask President Obama to make sure that Big Banks, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Corporations pay their fair share of taxes too!

    April 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm |