games people play

Electronic Arts’ Best Game: Avoiding Taxes

Posted by Anthony Zumpano on September 12, 2011 12:58 PM

When you contemplate the generous — some would say scandalous — tax breaks enjoyed by large companies, the benefiting brands you probably recall are multinational conglomerates like GE or “too big to fail” financial firms like Goldman Sachs.

But in addition to the kinds of brands that keep PR armies constantly marching in defense of their reputations, one sector that’s enjoyed extraordinary joy every April 15, according to the New York Times, is the gaming industry.

The Times focuses on Electronic Arts, which over the last five years paid $98 million in taxes – which sounds like a painful tax bill until you compute that if EA paid the full official US corporate tax rate of 35 percent, it would have shelled out $420 million on its $1.2 billion in profits.

Conspiracy theorists could claim that IRS agents are huge fans of EA’s Madden football game franchise, but the reality is that the company can take advantage of its three-headed brand identity: it’s a software-development brand, an entertainment brand, and an online retailing brand.Continue reading...

Runaway Pay: eBay, Boeing Strike Back at Tax Dodging Report

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 31, 2011 04:02 PM

One-quarter of the 100 highest-paid US CEOs' compensation last year surpassed the federal income tax paid by their companies.

Given America's staggering national debt, that statistic — from a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies — has touched off a firestorm led by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who called for hearings on executive compensation.

The IPS report on executive pay found the 2010 average compensation for those 25 execs was $16.7 million. Brands topping the list include: 

* eBay, whose CEO John Donahoe made $12.4 million, but which reported a $131 million refund on its 2010 current U.S. taxes.

* Boeing, which paid CEO Jim McNerney $13.8 million, sent in $13 million in federal income taxes, and spent $20.8 million on lobbying and campaign spending.

* GE, where CEO Jeff Immelt earned $15.2 million in 2010, while the company got a $3.3 billion federal refund and invested $41.8 million in its own lobbying and political campaigns.

According to Reuters, Cummings has asked the committee "to examine the extent to which the problems in CEO compensation [have] led to the economic crisis,” and "why CEO pay and corporate profits are skyrocketing while worker pay stagnates and unemployment remains unacceptably high."Continue reading...

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