“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”
Summary: The financial affairs of Microsoft and its former chairman raise serious questions which the public demands addressal of
WHETHER one calls it a “tax dodge” or “tax evasion” (Microsoft was found guilty in India, for example), it is clear that poor Microsoft (and poor Bill) would rather let all those rich taxpayers take the bills. Yes, the same goes for the Gates Foundation, which is profiteering through investments while not paying tax (it is registered as a charitable establishment). We wrote quite extensively about Microsoft and income tax in, e.g.:
- Microsoft is Still Massively Evading Tax, Insider Trading Revisited
- Microsoft in Trouble with the Law Again
- Microsoft Debt and Tax Evasion
- Microsoft Tax Avoidance, by the Numbers
- Number One Lobbyist Gets Tax Breaks, Government Deals, Innocent Children
- Is Novell’s Pal Cooking the Books as Well? (Microsoft)
- Comes, Iowa, Suppression of Truth, Collusion and Tax Evasion
- Summary of Microsoft Tax Evasion Stories
- How Microsoft Harms American Workers, Taxpayers, and the Environment
- Microsoft, a Notorious Tax Evader, Takes Money from Taxpayers to Help Its Own Business (Updated)
There is a new call for citizens of the United States to contact their representatives and complain about Microsoft’s tax dodge, which has cost the mostly-impoverished population billions of dollars all around the world (it is them who paid from their own pockets for what Microsoft ought to have paid). From a concerned and informed citizen:
When you buy Microsoft software in a box for personal use, you pay sales tax at the point of delivery. But, when large corporations purchase Microsoft software, they are actually buying an electronic download with the right to install that software on a pre-determined number of computers. The same goes for PC manufacturers such as Dell that preinstall Microsoft Windows 7 on its computers.
Aren’t there laws against this?
According to the Department of Revenue, to avoid this tax, a company, like Microsoft, would need to “effectively transfer the property to a related company (e.g., parent and subsidiary corporations) located outside Washington” and recognize income from the value of the transfer on its Washington taxes. It’s not clear that Microsoft has done this – and there are legal doctrines to charge a corporation if it illegally evades its taxes:
1) The doctrine of Nexus represents ties or links that a corporation has with a state. Microsoft clearly has nexus in Washington given its 40,224 employees, 9.8 million square feet and 79 physical sites. Its software also has nexus here as most is built, tested, marketed, sold and distributed from these facilities. Microsoft’s historical use of the laws of Washington to govern its licensing contracts, its Washington-based lawyers and its use of Washington’s courts to defend it also contribute to the nexus of its licensing business.
2) The Step Doctrine focuses on whether steps of a transaction may stand alone or, rather, whether the transaction should be treated as a whole. It can be applied when a corporation creates additional artificial steps to appear as if it is not liable to pay tax.
Do Microsoft’s Practices Constitute Illegal Tax Evasion?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking Washington’s Department of Revenue to publish a finding on the legality of this kind of tax practice. The department is required to protect the privacy of taxpayers and therefore cannot answer specific questions about Microsoft only questions about specific practices in the abstract.
From Slashdot’s summary of the above:
For tax purposes, Microsoft reports that it’s earned its estimated $143 billion in software licensing revenue in Nevada, where there is no licensing tax, as we discussed a few weeks ago. However, for legal purposes, Microsoft relies on Washington law and its underfunded courts to defend its contracts as it did in Microsoft Licensing GP vs. TSR Silicon. Application of common legal doctrines such as nexus, the step doctrine, and alter ego theory may lead to findings that Microsoft owes the state more than $1 billion in taxes, interest, and penalties.
Not enough attention is being paid to Bill Gates’ stash of questionable investment funds that he shelters inside a supposedly-philanthropist body, just like other people with his type of wealth. They have found a loophole, so even if laws are ever passed to effectively tax the upper class, most of their money will be kept away from applicability of such laws.
People must begin asking themselves these important questions and learn about the subject using the means and time available. The mainstream press is the friend of those who are buying/funding it, so rarely does it have the courage to expose those who fund it; doing so would essentially drive them out of business because money comes from business (advertisers), not readers and viewers. To press/broadcast, readers and viewers are the products that they sell to advertisers, i.e. businesses that are the real clients. To whit:
“Truthfulness with me is hardly a virtue. I cannot discriminate between truths that and those that don’t need to be told.”
In response to our last post on the subject, namely the one about the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, one person replied with the following:
Just look at who all the food-related groups which the Rockefeller Foundation funds:
CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) – the “food police” who back in March 1988 said that trans fats were “relatively harmless”
* Consumer Federation of America (CFA) – used to be headed by Monsanto shill Carol Tucker ForemanMonsanto
PETA – animal “rights” group which kills most of the pets they “rescue” (actually funded by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors)
* Nutrition Action newsletter, March 1988, “The Truth About Trans – Hydrogenated Oils Aren’t Guilty As Charged”
There is also this new gem about the Gates Foundation:
The Financial Times last week ran a story titled “Bill Gates shifts focus to hunger”, covering a major speech by Gates detailing a new emphasis by his foundation on food security and agricultural output in developing countries.
Second, will the Foundation invest in the type of engagement and advocacy on trade policy issues (exhibit A: subsidies to developed world agricultural industry) that deeply influence food security, especially in sub-Saharan Africa? While the development of new technologies and tools is critical and has often been the Gates Foundation’s sweet-spot, major progress will be held back without a serious shift in the global economic system around agriculture and food.