Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft To Get $100M Annual Tax Cut and Amnesty

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the legal-but-questionable dept.

Microsoft 406

reifman writes "Despite a $2.8 billion deficit, Washington State's House Bill 3176 would provide Microsoft with an effective $100 million tax cut annually and possible amnesty on its $1.27 billion Nevada tax maneuverings. Under current law, all of Microsoft's worldwide licensing revenues of approximately $20.7 billion annually are taxable at .484 percent. Under the new law, only the portion of software licenses sold to Washington state customers would be taxable. Ironically, after slashing Microsoft's tax burden, HB3176 directs the Department of Revenue to crack down on 'abusive tax transactions' like those in Nevada — except for a loophole that may provide Microsoft amnesty on its twelve year practice. The bill's lead sponsor is Ross Hunter of Medina, home to Bill Gates and a number of current and former Microsoft billionaires and multi-millionaires, and other areas around Microsoft's corporate campus."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148488)

The bill's lead sponsor is Ross Hunter of Medina ...

The article's update notes:

Update: Rep. Hunter is a former Microsoft general manager.

As does his bio [wa.gov] :

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
I retired from Microsoft in 2000 after 17 years of service ranging from program manager for Microsoft Access to general manager of the Microsoft Commercial Internet System.

At this point apathy consumes the rage that would normally well up inside me ... Halliburten got contract after contract with a former employee as vice president of the United States ... should this sponsorship surprise me? I guess it doesn't fall under conflict of interest though a large part of me feels it should ...

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148534)

As a Washington state resident who also considers the amount of the state's budget deficit, I can't figure out how even a representative with MS ties could figure that this move should be viewed favorably. Let's shoot this down folks.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (4, Interesting)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148602)

There's so much back scratching going on here that these guys must sleep on their stomach. I'm sick to mine.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1, Insightful)

ccarson (562931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149208)

Taxation kills economies. Large government is the problem. Lower taxes and you'll see real economic stimulation.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149314)

Typical conservative. Can't see beyond your own nose.

"TAX CUTS TAX CUTS TAX CUTS" is not a real solution.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148946)

I don't get why people don't understand that corporations don't pay taxes. Taxes are just another expense that gets added into the final price of the product. It doesn't matter that they actually write the check, you pay Microsoft's corporate taxes every time you buy one of their products. We should eliminate them entirely. Nearly every company in the world would want to be headquartered in the US if we had no corporate taxes, imagine how many jobs that would create. The end result would be a wash for the average United States citizen, prices would drop across the board, but we could add in a federal sales tax to make up for the revenue shortfall and our goods would be competitive in the world market again.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149088)

I don't get why people don't understand that corporations don't pay taxes. Taxes are just another expense that gets added into the final price of the product. It doesn't matter that they actually write the check, you pay Microsoft's corporate taxes every time you buy one of their products.

Product prices will be the highest the market can bear, regardless of expenses. Software already has massive profit margins, so taxes merely eat into those profits, thus depriving the company from money they can use to buy other companies, run ad campaigns, pay bribes and manipulate market in other ways.

We should eliminate them entirely. Nearly every company in the world would want to be headquartered in the US if we had no corporate taxes, imagine how many jobs that would create.

Corporate headquarters are only considered useful for locals because THEY PAY TAXES. The local employment they provide mostly consists of secretaries and janitors.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149114)

It's simple, really: Corporations pay taxes because, legally, they are distinct entities carrying on whatever their business is. That is the basis on which the "limited liability" thing hangs.

If corporate taxes were such a crushing burden, you'd see a lot fewer LLCs. Apparently, though, limited liability is quite valuable.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

longfalcon (202977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149308)

don't you see though? its a way to stealthily raise taxes on everyone, and still say you are "sticking to the evil corporations" and appear as a populist. its all a money grab for ${insert_favorite_program_here}

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (5, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149328)

Regardless of how you may feel about taxes, it really isn't at issue. Here we have a company breaking the law, and using its influence to avoid the consequences, and to seek special treatment under the law.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (0, Redundant)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148662)

Halliburten got contract after contract with a former employee as vice president of the United States

Of course, it got the same sorts of contracts when Bill Clinton was President.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148736)

X: They are shooting little children.
Y: So what? Under the last administration they shot little children too.
X: oh; that's okay then. Sorry I mentioned it.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148850)

The poster I replied to was clearly implying that Haliburton got their contracts during the Bush Administration because Dick Cheney used to work for them. However, Haliburton was getting the same type of contracts before Dick Cheney was Vice President, so I was pointing out that his case was not made.
It is important when trying to fight government corruption (or other wrong doing by the powerful) to clearly make one's case and to not get sucked into edge cases that have an appearance of serving a partisan agenda. This is because there are many who will use corruption fighters for partisan advantage and then promptly abandon the cause when their group is in power.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149060)

However, Haliburton was getting the same type of contracts before Dick Cheney was Vice President, so I was pointing out that his case was not made.

Yes, but they were not getting no-bid contracts under Clinton. In my opinion, that's a huge significant difference.

Not that Clinton doesn't help his own friends out, he does too. Cronyism does run rampant in both parties.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (4, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149204)

X:How can you shoot women and children?
AM:It's easy. You just don't lead them as much.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (0)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148950)

No it didn't. It got contracts alright, but it had to bid on them like everyone else. With old Dick, they did away with that pesky issue of bidding and selecting the lowest cost, best value. They just gave it to Halliburten.

Re:Hardly Surprising (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148666)

Politicians get into power by getting corporate sponsorship, once they are there they quite naturally pay back the favour. Really, the Politicians are not much more than Corporate Representatives in Government. There is the minor formality of convincing the public to vote for the company candidate but you just throw money at that and hire good advertising companies.

The US has the best politicians the corporations can buy.

Sadly up here in Canada, its no different as far as I can see. I still believe in democracy, but I am no longer sure we still have it :(

Re:Hardly Surprising (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148724)

Democracy is a compromise, not something that requires or benefits from belief.

"I used to believe in forcing my neighbors to do things, but then they started forcing me to do things."

Re:Hardly Surprising (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148824)

I am not talking religious belief there. I meant that if I didn't still think that democracy was a worthwhile process to participate in, then I wouldn't continue to participate in it. I am also concerned that the current system as present in Canada (and likely in the US) is too compromised by the power of corporations to influence elections, and that the candidates who do get elected have to make some compromises to their ideals, and end up helping out the companies that supported them as a means of payback. Thats a bit pedantic as an explanation but its what I meant when using "believe".

Re:Hardly Surprising (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149070)

If enough people do not believe the system is fair, it will end violently.

It absolutely depends on belief-- partially belief that was brainwashed into us from the time we were in 1st grade and partially belief from propaganda constantly delivered by all the media sources ( "liberal", "conservative" -- no real difference- all are owned by extremely wealthy individuals and corporations and serve the same brainwashing crap).

Re:Hardly Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149218)

Democracy doesn't benefit from belief? What about all the people who don't think their vote counts and don't vote, or perhaps even worse, just vote for someone whose ad they saw on TV?

Not to mention the need for government that the people can believe in. If enough people think that the government is not representing us, well you don't need to look farther than our own founding for what happens then.

Re:Hardly Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148878)

Do you really think that money, power or "chosen few" influencing or even controlling government is something new?

Re:Hardly Surprising (2, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149120)

No, but pretending that "chosen few" are not really in power is something relatively recent (18 century recent, to be exact).

Re:Hardly Surprising (5, Insightful)

lord_rotorooter (1482955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149368)

They should then be required to where corporate logos on their suits just like they do in NASCAR...

Makes sense. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148672)

Ofcource Washington state is going to do all it can to please the biggest and most successful software company in the world. When you have a company that employs tens of thousands of higly paid engineers, you'll get special favors too. This isn't specific to MS (well only on slashdot) every large company enjoys this advantage.

Even Mozilla dodges taxes because they are a "non profit" and get PAID millions of dollars from google as part of a business deal. But I guess if you pay a tiny percentage of that money to pay for nerds to work on open source, you're immune from criticism on Slashdot.

Re:Makes sense. (5, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148870)

Even Mozilla dodges taxes because they are a "non profit" and get PAID millions of dollars from google as part of a business deal. But I guess if you pay a tiny percentage of that money to pay for nerds to work on open source, you're immune from criticism on Slashdot.

Right. Because the income dealings of a non-profit corporation are really just so shrouded in secrecy, loopholes and backroom deals.

In the time it took me to respond, Microsoft just wrote off more in taxes than the Mozilla Foundation is worth.

http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/documents/mf-2008-audited-financial-statement.pdf [mozilla.org]

Blow me.

Re:Makes sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148980)

You missed the point.

They specifically take money to promote/advertise Google. And then turning around and claiming tax exemption because they are a "non-profit for public benefit" is just plain ludicrous.

But its OK. I don't expect to convince anti-ms people on Slashdot.

Re:Makes sense. (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149028)

No, I didn't miss the point at all, I simply understand that it's perfectly legal and ok for non-profits to promote and advertise, and even to accept advertising.

I'm not anti-MS, I'm just anti-stupidity.

But that's ok. I don't expect to convince clueless AC shills of anything.

Re:Makes sense. (2, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148896)

There are legal distinctions between for-profit and non-profit companies that have nothing to do with software licensing. If Mozilla is a non-profit, it operates under a different set of restrictions than Microsoft, but these restrictions do permit business deals. Why do you think the Salvation Army operated a store in our neighborhood, if selling stuff would make them lose non-profit status?

Re:The other side (4, Insightful)

prakslash (681585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148678)

To play devil's advocate, giving tax breaks to attract/keep major businesses is a normal thing for state governments. After all, these businesses bring in major direct (income taxes) and indrect revenue (local employees' property taxes, sales taxes etc) to the state. Nine years ago, Boeing ditched Seattle and moved to Chicago [nytimes.com] partly because of tax breaks offered by Chicago.

No Income taxes (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148744)

There are no Income Taxes in Washington State.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_USA_highlighting_states_with_no_income_tax_on_wages.svg

Re:The other side (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148890)

The problem isn't whether companies will make smart business decisions (e.g. moving to friendlier tax areas), it's that this is a highly visible example of "he who has the gold makes the rules".

Everybody knows that wealthy people receive preferential treatment in our society, but nobody likes having their nose rubbed in it. A situation like this one with MS, coming at tax time, just feels like a big middle finger.

Re:The other side (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149344)

Illinois is set to become the next California. This post points [slashdot.org] out that Cali gave huge breaks to tech companies.

Giving 'tax breaks' doesn't seem to be sustainable long term for states.

Seriously, this entire state is one huge cluster fuck dictated by a single geographical area. It needs to be roped off, along with Gary, and made its own state.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148746)

Are you a resident of Washington? If not, why worry about it?

If they were really clever, they would cut all corporate income taxes (and maybe make up for it with slight increases in personal income taxes). Imagine the outrage from neighboring states!!

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148830)

slight increase from 0% would outrage the citizens not the neighboring states.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148986)

More like the outrage from the citizens.

Repeat after me: Businesses do not just pass on all costs to consumers.

If they could increase their prices they already would have. Of course MS being a monopoly makes this not 100% true.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

sylvandb (308927) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149212)

Repeat after me: Businesses do not just pass on all costs to consumers.

Ask yourself...

*) Does a business have expenses?

*) Does a business have sources of income?

*) Does a business make a profit?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you can be 100% certain that all costs are paid by those sources of income.

In the case of a business where you call the source of income "consumers" then yes, all costs are paid by the consumers. Trying to claim anything else is delusional.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149258)

Sometimes business do not get that last one, and sometimes the profit just goes down when costs go up.

Prices are held in check by the perceived value in the market not by the MSRP. If they could have raised their prices to cover these costs, why not just raise the price now and get more profit?

Maybe Toyota should take a cue (2, Insightful)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148800)

Back in the 90's when MS was in trouble with the DOJ they had an epiphany. Hire lobbyists and donate to campaigns to get the feds off your back. It hasn't failed them since.

Perhaps if Toyota could field some candidates, or buy a few, they would get rid of their latest headache.

Re:Maybe Toyota should take a cue (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149016)

Google is also in the process of learning that lesson. There is an implied agreement that if you are a big corporation you will sponsor a huge Washington lobby. If you don't they will screw you in ways both subtle and not-so-subtle. It isn't like it is only corporations that are at fault.

If there is no viable third party alternative soon then there will be no way to get back. When the SC struck down the laws on corporate funding of political campaigns that pretty much set the timer. Americans have, probably, just one more election cycle to get serious about voting for anyone BUT a democan.

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149230)

If the government was properly limited to its moral role, and using the tax code to generate revenue instead of a means to modify behavior, this wouldn't be a problem, now would it?

Re:Bill's Sponsor Also Ex-Microsoft Employee (1)

jfern (115937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149248)

This kind of corruption is quite common in American politics. For example, Senator Evan Bayh's wife Susan works for the health insurance companies. Quite naturally Evan insisted on a health care bill that was a total giveaway to the health insurance companies. Now that everyone hates his guts for pushing for such a crappy bill, he's taking his ball and going home.

The best government (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148546)

Our system of government may not be the best, but it's the best that money can buy!

Re:The best government (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148872)

I wonder what would happen, if I created a website, where people could propose things the government should to, and then everybody could throw his cash in for it, so that someone would buy the government with that money.

Oh wait, that’s called “campaign sponsoring“ in an “election”.

Votes? What’s that?

I can understand these being sponsored but.. (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148562)

the obscene things is that the reason these get passed is that every other member of congress gets the same or better for their wealthy constituents.

every state does this? (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148600)

every state does this to lure companies and jobs to their states. every company including Google, Apple and all the slashdot favorites take advantage of this. one reason why Silicon Valley and the movie industry are in California and don't move their industries elsewhere is because California gives out big tax breaks to tech and the movie industries. in the last few years they talked about taking them away and everyone involved told the idiot legislators that it would result in an exodus out of the state. just like the home contractors left after the idiotic workman's comp rules went into effect a few years ago.

Re:every state does this? (3, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148674)

Ok, I can get how tech companies can relocate if they don't like your local taxes, but home contractors?

If you want a home built in California, you're going to have to have somebody do the work under California law. So, how would home contractors have any leverage, unless CA wanted to impose regulations on their activities out-of-state?

Sure, maybe some would choose not to do business there any longer, but I doubt that in a recession that anybody is going to have trouble finding somebody to take their money to build a house.

Re:every state does this? (2, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148956)

"Ok, I can get how tech companies can relocate if they don't like your local taxes, but home contractors?"

Absolutely this can happen. I contracted to have a house built for me on the west side of Los Angeles and in the middle of it all my contractor just up and moved out of the state. But really, it hasn't been a problem. Except that my house ended up in Iowa.

Re:every state does this? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149092)

every state does this to lure companies and jobs to their states.

Well, exactly. Claiming that WA is losing $X or that Microsoft is getting $X in subsidies is no different from the RIAA claiming that a pirated song is the same as a lost sale. The actual cost to WA is the amount of money spent providing services to the Microsoft campus, not how much they would be paying if some tax or another were invoked. I dare say they get a lot more money from taxing Microsoft's employees than they they'd collect between the day they began taxing Microsoft directly and the day that Microsoft completed its move to another state.

I can't stand MSFT or their practices, but still think this arrangements benefits all involved, from MSFT to its employees to the state of Washington to its other residents.

just a proposal (3, Interesting)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148612)

Has this been voted into law as the summary and title suggests?

Or is this a proposal that us Washingtonians get a chance to contact our representatives about and make sure they understand how important it is to us?

I like representative democracy. It sometimes works.

Re:just a proposal (1)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148840)

I like representative democracy. It sometimes works.

It's working perfectly fine right now. Giant corporations are the constituents. Ross Hunter is at the forefront of representing Microsoft. This is representative democracy in action.

No mention of Republican Party (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148632)

That must mean....sure enough, he's a Democrat. Yes sir re bob.

I don't see what the trouble is... (5, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148634)

I have no objection to the government taxing my income at 0.484%

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (2, Informative)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148814)

True...but just to be clear (and I speak as someone who owns a business in Washington), the specific tax in question is the state "Business and Occupation" tax, which (for manufacturing activities, at least) is a tax levied at .484% of the gross revenue of the business - not the net income, not the net profit, but the gross total of checks that came in the door . Yes, it's pretty bizarro, but then without a state personal or corporate income tax, they do what they can to keep the lights on in the Capital Building.

All by way of saying that .484% adds up to a pretty tidy sum when levied on Microsoft's gross licensing revenue, worldwide.

/tsg/

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148962)

So? Why does it matter that it's on gross income and not net income? The government taxes me based on gross income, why shouldn't it tax corporations the same way? Corporations fight for their rights as "individuals" under the law, they use utilities just like everyone else. Frankly, I'm sick of corps getting special treatment just because they have tons of money. I know why it happens; jobs in a state are important and politicians will do anything to keep them there but it's a bit frustrating when a state is bankrupt itself and has to throw more money down the drain to do something like this.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149180)

it's a bit frustrating when a state is bankrupt itself and has to throw more money down the drain to do something like this.

I agree, they should spend no money on well established megacorps, if they have to spend it, instead use it as venture capital for small startups in the area.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149186)

Most businesses make a total net profit of about 3% to 7%. So a .5% gross tax would take 1/6th to 1/14th of their profit.
I.e. you buy 1,000 dollars worth of wood and build a piano that you sell for 1,100 dollars. You are not getting taxed on the 100 dollars left over after costs- you are getting taxed on the 1,100 dollars. The lower the companies net profits, the more likely a tax like this is to take their entire net profit.

It would be sort of like if the government took .5% of your gross income from your savings account each year (on top of any other income tax or sales taxes).

I'm very sick of the abuses being allowed. I feel we are very close to some kind of major breakdown. Folks tried to vote for change with Obama and all we got was another corporate stooge.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149238)

You obviously know nothing about business. Taxing revenue instead of profit is idiotic; this means that a company that has a very high profit margin because their operating expenses are low has a big advantage over a company that has high operating expenses.

For instance, look at Boeing, a big WA state employer. They build big, expensive planes. These planes aren't expensive just because Boeing decides to set the price on them at $250 million. They're expensive because it costs a lot to build a big plane: parts, materials, labor, safety testing, etc. That plane might cost a quarter-billion dollars, but only a small portion of that is profit, the rest is money they have to pay out for labor expenses, for raw materials costs, for parts from their suppliers, etc. Why should they pay taxes on all of that? You get to deduct your student loan and home loan interest from your taxes, as well as other things like medical expenses, and other unavoidable things.

Whereas some company that just does, for instance, motivational speeches, is almost pure profit (except for the rent for conference rooms or wherever).

Only a moron would think it's OK to tax companies on gross income. The effect of this is that companies will do whatever they can to reduce operational expenses, including cutting labor costs, outsourcing, cheapening their parts and materials (leading to poor quality), eliminating testing (leading to people dying when airplanes crash), etc. Every decent governmental entity does not tax on expenses; in fact, companies don't even normally pay sales tax for anything which will be used for resale.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148964)

True...but just to be clear (and I speak as someone who owns a business in Washington), the specific tax in question is the state "Business and Occupation" tax, which (for manufacturing activities, at least) is a tax levied at .484% of the gross revenue of the business - not the net income, not the net profit, but the gross total of checks that came in the door .

My state personal income tax is based on the gross as well. So is the federal personal income tax, with some exceptions. If they only taxed me on the money I managed to keep, I'd be a lot better off.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148974)

Individuals get taxed on their gross income so why is it so absurd that the poor starving corporations be taxed the same way? As things are now, individuals don't get to deduct anywhere near what corporations do.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149310)

You get a "standard deduction" to take care of things like essential food, and you get to deduct student loan and mortgage interest. No, it's still not quite enough (since it penalizes renters, doesn't really account for the true cost of food and medical care, etc.), but it's something.

Yes, businesses have too many loopholes, and pay too little tax.

However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Taxing companies on gross revenue is just plain idiotic, and penalizes manufacturing companies that have to buy raw materials and parts to create finished products. Your mentality is EXACTLY what has caused corporations to move all manufacturing offshore.

The only thing which should ever be taxed is profit. The lawmakers simply need to work to close loopholes so corporations can't shelter their profits from taxation. Ideally, corporations should be able to operate as non-profits if they want, as long as they really don't have any profits, and all money is used for expenses (including salaries; any leftover profits can be given out as bonuses at the end-of-year). The government will still get its money from the employees' income taxes.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149352)

Individuals get taxed on their gross income so why is it so absurd that the poor starving corporations be taxed the same way?

Because those individuals really would be poor and starving, were it not for the corporations that hire them.

Re:I don't see what the trouble is... (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149050)

To put that into perspective, if you look at their SEC filings [microsoft.com] , that would mean 0.484% of, worst case, a little over $19 billion, or $92 million for the 2nd quarter of 2010. Of their net income (i.e. profit), that would account for 1.4% of their total profit; needless to say, MS can probably absorb that. Of course, that $19 billion was their gross revenue, of which a good chunk of that probably isn't taxed per Washington's corporate tax law (IANAA) and certainly doesn't apply as licensing revenue (gross revenue would also include XBoxen, Zunes, and other hardware, among other things). That said, I will point out that most businesses don't operate at a 33-50% profit margin or somewhere thereabouts; I would have to imagine that a 0.484% on gross retail would be particularly painful, since most retail establishments are lucky if they can break 5%.

I will, however, point out that I live about five minutes away from MS Licensing's office in Reno, so I'm really getting a kick out of these replies.

"To get"? (4, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148638)

I see the authors are using the phrase "Microsoft to get" to mean the less-common "Microsoft may get if a bill proposed by one Representative is passed by both Congressional bodies in its current form which is not going to happen."

Scintillating!

Its welfare (2, Interesting)

ldconfig (1339877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148676)

I can not goto a store like best buy and buy a PC without paying the microsoft tax yet microsoft gets out of paying their fair share. (Before anyone wants to accuse me of running a stolen copy of windows we are a 110% Linux household)

Waaaah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148888)

You can't get one with BSD either. If you don't want a PC with an M$ OS then buy a Mac or buy a Linux PC online. You don't have any special right to to expect businesses to carry products of your personal choice.

Not everybody hates microsoft like you.

Re:Its welfare (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148898)

System76 and Dell offer Linux pre-loaded PCs. But I agree, MS does everything it can to milk cash out of people through whatever means are at its disposal and they ought to have their arse handed to them.

Re:Its welfare (1)

themightythor (673485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148934)

we are a 110% Linux household

You can't do more than 100%. To say that you do makes you a tool.

Re:Its welfare (1)

ldconfig (1339877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149162)

Name calling how cute lol

Re:Its welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149284)

Yes, uber-dork, we all know that. In your ignorant rush to pedantry, you missed his joke.

Re:Its welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148972)

I can not goto a store like best buy and buy a PC without paying the microsoft tax yet microsoft gets out of paying their fair share.
(Before anyone wants to accuse me of running a stolen copy of windows we are a 110% Linux household)

So, you put Linux on every computer in your house - that brings you up to 100%. the 10%.....you put Linux on your vacuum cleaner? You what, taped the DVD to its handle?

Re:Its welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149188)

Virtual machines

Corporations are people (2, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148706)

I can't help but notice that this article comes on the heels of the OK of corporate personhood status.

I can't find the words that compares the figures from TFA to those on everyone's recently received W2s.

i dont see any problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148716)

dude, this is just how politics in this country is. there are certain drawbacks to have a free-market system, if you don't like capitalism and the way politics work in america, then take your bloody liberal ass somewhere else and stop bitching.

Now my serious response is below:

This is just another example of what's wrong with our country today, its corporatism. Business and government in bed together... its kinda what Obama likes to call "free-market" economics. Really what it amounts to is two-fold: A.) Business is allowed all the benefits of success while being permitted by peddling influence in washington to escape all culpability for its failures (i.e. AIG). B.) A misappropriation of the burden of funding the federal government towards the poor/middle class through both inflation, and what essentially amounts to legal tax evasion by way of again... peddling influence in washington.

But hey, the people have spoken, and basically they're all pussies that just want the government to take care of them... forget about personal responsibility, i'll give my uncle sam all the money and power needed to just keep terrorism out, and the welfare checks rolling in and i'm content.

Re:i dont see any problem (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149002)

You do remember that the AIG bailout happened way back in 2008... right? Obama wasn't on watch at the time, that was all Bush Jr (and the congress, mostly democrats).

Re:i dont see any problem (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149372)

Bush and Obama are exactly the same. Why people keep trying to bash the other when someone bashes one is beyond me; it's the stupid two-party mentality at work, and what's keeping any real positive change from happening. Point out how bad the current party is, and get everyone to vote for the other party, which is in reality exactly the same.

As you pointed out, the Democrats were in control of Congress during the AIG bailout. Then Obama took over, and what changed? Nothing. Continuing bailouts, continued wars, etc.

$100 million? Shit, The Fed Doesnt need my TAXES (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148748)

I think I'll contact my congressman so that perhaps he could sponsor a bill that would give me a $20,000 tax break.... Just in case I find a job this year.

America is fucked in the head.

Re:$100 million? Shit, The Fed Doesnt need my TAXE (2, Interesting)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149006)

I would love to see the fed allow everyone to write off any necessities (living expenses, school expenses, necessary food purchases) as tax free payments instead of having to pay taxes BEFORE necessary payments are made. Then, I wouldn't mind so much about things like this happening.

Or, get rid of the income tax, increase sales tax, and add a fed sales tax. Necessities wouldn't be taxes, as they are now, so for those of you who say a sales tax-only system would hurt the poor too much, tell them to stop buying things they don't need and they wouldn't have to pay any taxes.

Microsoft has a say (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148778)

The representatives are afraid Microsoft will leave Washington if it doesn't have its way. They probably assume the tax revenue from MS employees is better than nothing.

Re:Microsoft has a say (2, Insightful)

Kostya (1146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148842)

Except that this is WA--where there is no state income tax. So WA state isn't getting all that much from MS employees (who probably buy quite a bit online and dodge the local sales tax too).

Re:Microsoft has a say (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149082)

There's always property taxes. Bill Gates has to live somewhere.

This really doesn't horrify me that much. (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148780)

I mean, if the summary is right that this dude's district is chock full of Microsoft people, isn't it basically his job to propose legislation that his constituents favor?

Now, if the rest of the state's representatives actually go along with it, you have a different story.

Re:This really doesn't horrify me that much. (0, Troll)

daseinw (244962) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149108)

At the risk of getting lost in hyperbole (sorry), consider your viewpoint if he came from a district full of rapists and wanted to reduce the penalty for rape to a $50 fine:

"I mean, if the summary is right that this dude's district is chock full of rape suspects, isn't it basically his job to propose legislation that his constituents favor? Now, if the rest of the state's representatives actually go along with it, you have a different story."

On one hand, you're right. But many people smarter than myself would argue that it's not just his job to propose legislation that his constituents would favor but to also use his reason and operate with a sense of ethics that aren't seated in taking advantage of power for the powerful minority.

Re:This really doesn't horrify me that much. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149148)

Right... and if his district was chock full of pedophiles, then it would basically be his job to propose legislation lowering the age of consent to 2, right? Yes, if the system works, the rest of Washington state's congresscritters SHOULD tell him to see figure 1 [dourish.com]

Just Like Google? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148782)

http://www.prlog.org/10491956-internet-marketing-ireland-news-the-google-tax-dodge.html

Corporate Welfare (2, Interesting)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148806)

The most interesting part of this amazing corporate welfare is that Microsoft has to offer no concessions for it. Usually I read about corporations getting offered tax incentives for moving into a state, or building a new facility in one. This is more of a pat on the back and a thank you. This sure reminds me of Leona Helmsley [iwise.com] .

Free market? Democracy? (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148864)

Where are your ideals now, America?

Re:Free market? Democracy? (2, Funny)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149048)

What? Sorry, I was too busy watching Jack Bauer kick the crap out of terrorists on TV.

Ooooh, IDeals. Is Apple going into the coupon business?

Geese and golden eggs (3, Insightful)

5KVGhost (208137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148866)

I have no problem with this. The state of Washington is not $2.8 billion in debt because corporate taxes are too low or because Microsoft makes too much money. The state government is in debt because they insist on spending vastly more money than they actually have available. The state could take every single penny MS owns and they'd soon find themselves back in the exactly the same situation, looking for someone else's money to take.

Creating a hostile environment for employers only encourages them to leave your state and set up shop somewhere else. Like another state where they're not punished for being successful.

Re:Geese and golden eggs (2, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148996)

I have no problem with this.

OK - so Microsoft employs how many people in Washington?

Around 40,000, as I recall. Let's give about 30,000 as the number of children and another 20,000 for spouses and significant others. Let's devote around 1300 teachers for those kids, and about 400 administrators for those teachers (up to the state level, and I think I'm being conservative). Let's factor in the infrastructure businesses that exist in Washington whose entire existence is centered around Microsoft.

So, between the load on the roads, the educational system, firefighters, police and other essential services, you're entirely satisfied that Microsoft is giving at least as much as it takes from your state? And that the rank and file employee state taxes fairly offset those for the MS cream of the crop?

You live in Washington, have considered these factors, and still believe that Microsoft is a good corporate neighbor?

Re:Geese and golden eggs (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149046)

giving at least as much as it takes from your state?

      Oh I see. Government financial mismanagement, corruption and ineptitude is actually the CITIZEN's fault, not the fault of the people actually doing the financial mismanagement, corruption and ineptitude. I get it now.

      Please remove yourself from the population so that you can do your part to help curb the deficit!

Re:Geese and golden eggs (2, Interesting)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149090)

Oh I see. Government financial mismanagement, corruption and ineptitude is actually the CITIZEN's fault, not the fault of the people actually doing the financial mismanagement, corruption and ineptitude. I get it now.

I'm happy to have given this simple civics lesson - when citizens don't vote, they get what's coming to them.

Please remove yourself from the population so that you can do your part to help curb the deficit!

The times I consider removing myself from the population is more centered around having to live in a world with assholes like you.

Re:Geese and golden eggs (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149250)

No, they need to be setting up a hostile environ for unproductive, rent-seeking monopolists like Microsoft. If they decide they have enough money left over in the budget, all of it should be spent on venture capital.

Is this a great country or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31148970)

I don't understand why intelligent, progressive people all over the world are not thrilled we're trying to convert them to our democratic ways.

Another corrupt practice - does it have a name? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149008)

Here's something that must be killed off in every democracy - embedded clauses that have nothing to do with the main bill or its stated purpose.
I've heard that the Credit Card bill that Obama passed contained a clause permitting carrying loaded weapons in national parks.
How does shit like this get justified? Can you even do this with a straight face without being a psychopath?

Several years ago, an attempt was made in the EU to pass legislation that would curb or prohibit the sale of natural health products.
It didn't get through thanks to the veto of the Polish representative - he struck it down because he felt such a provision had no place
in a bill on FISHERIES!!

His is an example that all politicians should follow and those that try the above-mentioned practice should be made a felony with a mandatory
minimum sentence of at least a year with no good behavior or other time credits - you do the full year, no exceptions. If you're sick, too bad - I fully support
you get the necessary healthcare but no matter what, you MUST do 365 days in jail.

If the author of said provision can't be identified, then 5 members of the party that tables the bill will be chosen by straw ballot to do a full year each.

It's well past time to stop the pigs at the trough from fucking with the system.

Campaign contributions ruling (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149012)

Now that the US SCOTUS has removed all barriers to corporate campaign contributions, kiss what few rights you had left goodbye. Look for huge amounts of funds funneled into campaigns in the next few months.

There is a move to limit contributions by:
1) Gov't contractors including military contractors,
2) TARP recipients,
3) Corporations with foreign money invested in them,
TARP and other gov't bailout recipients.

But we need to hurry.

Power corrupts (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149132)

Power corrupts.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Big money translates to big power.

Billions and billions of dollars of influence will make any politician paint on a smile, disrobe, bend over, keep smiling, and say "Is there anything else I can do for y'all?"

Amnesty?? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149354)

possible amnesty on its $1.27 billion Nevada tax maneuverings.

So, Washington is proposing that Microsoft get amnesty on a completely legal activity (yes, the Nevada activities are completely legal)? And here I thought we usually gave amnesties for criminal acts, not legal acts.

Note, by the way, that NOT giving them amnesty on their perfectly legal past activities amounts to an ex post facto law - which is perfectly unconstitutional....

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?