As we near the 2011 tax deadline, taxation is on many Americans’ minds. As citizens prepare their tax reports, it is important to remember that many corporations pay no taxes. Many major U.S.-based corporations actually have so many tax breaks that they not only pay nothing in taxes—they actually get tax refunds from the I.R.S.
General Electric made $14.2 billion total profits last year (of which $5.1 billion was made in the United States). G.E. paid no taxes on these massive earnings, though. Instead, G.E. claimed a tax return of $3.2 billion!
The New York Times reports today on G.E.’s lobbying efforts to obtain and maintain the tax breaks that prevent the corporation from ever paying any taxes.
Students in HIST 423 French Revolution and Napoleon will recognize strong parallels to the tax policies of Ancien Régime France, where nobles and clergy paid no taxes, despite their control of vast wealth.
A new book by Nicolas Delalande, entitled Les Batailles de l’impôt, examines taxation policies in France from the French Revolution to today. We need more comparative histories of taxation to understand patterns of inequities in tax policies in societies around the world. The field of comparative revolutionary studies could especially benefit from such histories of taxation.