Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (which owns News International and thus The Times, The Sun and so on) makes thousands of millions of US dollars from United States taxpayers. How much in taxes has his companies managed to avoid paying in Britain?
On profits of $10.4 bn (ten thousand four hundred million dollars) over the last four years US corporate taxes of $3.6 bn (three thousand six hundred million US Dollars) should have been paid.
Instead the US Treasury paid Murdoch companies $4.6 bn in income tax refunds.
How is this done? According to David Cay Johnson, a columnist at Reuters News Agency, in a July 12th column :
News Corp. has 152 subsidiaries in tax havens, including 62 in the British Virgin Islands and 33 in the Caymans. Among the hundred largest U.S. companies, only Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have more tax haven subsidiaries than News Corp., a 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office study found.
News Corp. had nearly $7 billion permanently invested offshore in 2009, money on which it does not have to pay taxes unless it brings the money back to the United States. Meanwhile, it can use that money as collateral for loans in the United States, where interest paid is a tax-deductible expense.
Johnson goes on to detail how this trick can be pulled off…
His concluding paragraphs:
Murdoch assiduously courts the powers-that-be for favorable laws and regulatory rulings. Contrast that with the rough and sometimes relentless attacks on politicians and government programs of his newspapers and his Fox News Channel.
Murdoch's news outlets can prove enormously helpful to politicians. His support boosted Hillary Clinton's 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate from New York, helping her to beat Republican Rick Lazio. Murdoch even hosted a Clinton re-election campaign fundraiser in 2006, while restraining New York Post gossip mongers who looked on her husband as red meat in the White House.
Murdoch gets invited to weddings and celebrations of top American, British and Chinese officials. He flew Tony Blair halfway around the world to a company event in Australia when the future British prime minister was opposition leader.
Imagine how well Jesus might have done if he had put a corporate jet at Caesar's disposal. Or if he had a tabloid like the News of the World to put Caesar in fear of him.
So does News International extract monies from the UK by similar means? I hope someone can take up this question…
Cay Johnson has completely withdrawn his story.
"Readers, I apologize. The premise of my debut column for Reuters, on News Corp's taxes, was wrong, 100 percent dead wrong.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp did not get a $4.8 billion tax refund for the past four years, as I reported. Instead, it paid that much in cash for corporate income taxes for the years 2007 through 2010 while earning pre-tax profits of $10.4 billion.
For the first time in my 45-year-old career I am writing a skinback. That is what journalists call a retraction of the premise of a piece, as in peeling back your skin and feeling the pain. I will do all I can to make sure everyone who has read or heard secondary reports based on my column also learns the facts and would appreciate the help of readers in that cause."