26 CEOs paid more than Uncle Sam

A new report flags 26 companies that paid less in taxes last year than they paid their CEOs, ending up with little or no tax bill on an average $1 billion in revenue. Here's how they pulled it off.

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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

226Comments
Sep 18, 2012 9:18AM
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For those of you interested in learning, read the book The Divine Right of Capital and you will see why the poor get poorer and the rich get richer: corporate feudalism.
Sep 18, 2012 8:59AM
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The warfare against corporations is misguided to say the least. Who writes the excessively complicated tax laws that allow so many LEGAL loopholes? I, like corporations, look for any legal way to save on taxes.
Sep 18, 2012 8:53AM
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Today's government is all about the stock market, banks and how much they get. Then pacify non workers on government charities. The CEO's will continue with their over payments as nothing much is being done to stop them. The middle class is just another commodity to rip off.
Sep 18, 2012 8:19AM
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Don't blame the rich guy. If they are exploiting something that is not there, it is because we as men (and women of course) put them there. More specifically, politicians did. They made the laws; in this case tax laws. So to blame rich people for utilizing advantages put in place by our government, is ridiculous. People will always try to retain as much money as possible. Everyone reading this does, or at least should.  The the question arises; if the loop holes are there, and we don't change them, why?
Sep 1, 2012 3:03PM
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This corporate and business greed has been going on through the centuries.  My dad's time, his dad's time, and my time, just keeps getting bigger and  more greedy as times pass. If anyone is causing class warfare it is the greedy businesses and corporations wanting to rob the middle class, poor, elderly, veterans, disabled to continue filling their pockets and bank accounts.  As far as the grand children go, yes they want a future for their grand children a greedy one at that, but not yours.  Check the history through the ages, it is always been the greed of the greedy that has caused the downfall of any great nation.
Sep 1, 2012 1:40PM
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This has all happend under Republinazi rule, Lord Willard. Dubya Bush and Raygun and their bought and paid for Republinazi party have ruined the middle class and conducted the largest wealth distribution in the history of man from the middle class to the Aristocracy.

 

The first thing Lord Willard would do if elected is cut the capital gains tax to ZERO so that instead of paying 12% on his millions in income he and his too big to fail, bailed out, bonus for Failure pals would pay ZERO. The middle class will have to make up the difference and suffer the cuts to social programs while the Lazy Entitled hand out taking Lords bathe in the blood of what was once the Americn Middle class as they push what is left of this country over the cliff for their own benifit.

Sep 1, 2012 7:22AM
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It is blatantly wrong for ANY corporation to be able to pay its CEO more than they pay in Federal taxes! This is why the Federal government is wallowing in red ink!
Aug 25, 2012 5:29PM
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All the companies that had to take tax payer bailouts should have clawed back their CEO salaries, not paid them MILLIONS.

It's disgusting that AIG's CEO Robert Benmosche got paid $13.9 million in 2011 and
AIG got a 
Federal tax refund: $208 million, because our economy is still suffering from what was partially AIG's fault.

All in the name of paying a market-competitive CEO salary?! What a joke! If only the hard working little people were revered like that!

Quote from the article on AIG:
"American International Group's (AIG) practice of insuring dodgy mortgage-backed securities during the credit bubble landed the insurer in serious trouble when those securities blew up in 2008. U.S. taxpayers then saved the day with a $182 billion bailout. Like Citigroup (C), AIG got special treatment allowing it to keep its huge losses as tax write-offs, even though the government's sale of its big AIG stake should have wiped out those deductions.
The upshot: AIG was able to claim a $208 million refund last year even though it had $16.9 billion in net income. "The taxpayers are paying twice. They paid for the bailout and now they have to absorb the tax loss write-off," says Anderson, of the Institute for Policy Studies. AIG is also suing the government for $30 million in back interest on taxes it overpaid in 1991. "When is enough, enough?" asks Anderson.
Meanwhile, CEO Robert Benmosche got $13.9 million in pay last year, up from $8.4 million in 2010.
AIG responds that Benmosche gets a "market-competitive salary" approved by Treasury Department administrators of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which helped bail out AIG and the banks. AIG also notes the government and the Federal Reserve have sold most of their stake in the insurer, for a profit of $14 billion. " - end quote


Aug 25, 2012 2:53PM
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And most of these CEOs have outsourced, offshored, and downsized their companies to make things look good for the investors, with nods of agreement from their boards also made up of other company CEOs who are paid millions per year -
all while we worry about losing our jobs so much that we no longer take our vacations, and work on our days off, work overtime without OT pay, and don't take sick days.

That's why the class war continues.... because the right blames the middle class people who are struggling to survive, but in reality everyone just wants an opportunity to have a stable career that pays a living wage.

Aug 25, 2012 2:33PM
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Quote: "We're being fed this image that America is broke, and we have no choice but to slash spending," says Sarah Anderson, a co-author of the study. "We are actually quite a rich country, but so much of our wealth is diverted into the pockets of top executives." - end quote
Aug 25, 2012 1:55PM
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Please stop with the "class war reporting"; I am tired of a divisive media who is trying to inflame the public.  Please just report the facts without the commentary or personal political slant and let us make up our own minds.   I enjoy this website and most of its content.  Business is competitive by its nature, not a communal system.  It is what has made this country great.  There is always pros and cons to every system, there is no such thing as a utopian society or culture.
Aug 22, 2012 7:54PM
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What worthless reporting. When you buy $14.95 worth of groceries and give the cashier a $20.00, do you expect your change back?
A tax refund is no different. It never belonged to Uncle Sam in the first place.

Aug 22, 2012 7:42PM
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I am convinced that if Obama cured cancer tomorrow 20-25% of the population would still hate his guts.

Aug 22, 2012 7:40PM
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The Institute for Policy Studies is a "progressive think-tank".  The study isn't worth the paper it was printed on.  The follow-up comments made by the co-author are fairly embarassing for a scholarly study.  Claiming a refund is not the same as paying no taxes.  I claimed a refund of 5K last year but I paid over 20K in federal taxes since I over withheld during the year.  Most of these companies had large tax bills in the prior year and thus are required to pay estimated prepayments based on the prior year's tax.  They ended up owing less in taxes this year so they "claimed a refund".  This is just another piece of class-warfare propaganda from MSN.  Funny, they never cite studies by the Heritage Foundation on this site. 

Aug 22, 2012 7:01PM
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Damn it!  Why does the media do what it does?  It vilifies companies and individuals who legitimately pay little or no taxes.  The problem is not the companies or the individuals.  It is the twisted tax code.

Who among you that reads this would not do everything legitimately possible to pay less taxes.  Does that mean you are a cheat?  Of course not.

The other sad thing is that people foolishly think these companies and individuals did nothing to achieve their seemingly low tax bills.  The government creates tons of incentives for companies and individuals to spend money in certain ways to "earn" tax credits.

So what is worse, a low tax bill created by a company that spends millions of dollars on plant and equipment that creates employment or not spending that money, giving it to Uncle Sam, and letting him decide where to spend the money?  This is a no brainer?
Aug 22, 2012 6:34PM
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I know these types of reports are extremely upsetting for every working and honest tax payer in this country.  These reports in an election year is designed to bring out strong feeling in hard working tax paying American against one party or the other.  I was a poor immigrant and now a wealthier business man that has his own company.  Depending on the type of company you have, and there are many types such as C corp, S Corp etc. Some companies legally with out using any loopholes do not pay taxes directly to the goverment.  They pay their employees all the revenue minus the cost of running the business and the individual people pay their Taxes.  These are thing that this article does not tell you.  As far as loopholes, there are none.  And the fact is the richer you get they take away all you deductions.  After 100K you can not deduct student loan interest, this is just one example.  Be careful about what you read.  It is so easy to hate, but remember the top 2% pay over 80% of Taxes.
Aug 22, 2012 6:30PM
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Elect Mitt Romney and you get more of this!
Aug 22, 2012 5:18PM
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You can't fairly look at corporate taxes on a 1 year basis - how many times in the article did the author refer to deferred taxes or offsets from previous losses.  To be fair the author should have looked at a longer time period because the same company that might have paid a low rate this year could have paid a high rate in previous years - over time the offsets and credits even out to give you a more accurate picture.

 

Also you can't blame a company for taking advantage of credits from Obama's stimulous bill - if you don't like the impact on taxes critisize the stimulous bill not the company who took the action the bill asked them to.

 

Aug 22, 2012 5:18PM
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You can't fairly look at corporate taxes on a 1 year basis - how many times in the article did the author refer to deferred taxes or offsets from previous losses.  To be fair the author should have looked at a longer time period because the same company that might have paid a low rate this year could have paid a high rate in previous years - over time the offsets and credits even out to give you a more accurate picture.

 

Also you can't blame a company for taking advantage of credits from Obama's stimulous bill - if you don't like the impact on taxes critisize the stimulous bill not the company who took the action the bill asked them to.

 

Aug 22, 2012 4:53PM
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What do you mean by singling out CEO pay as spiraling, while ignoring Hollywood types, media types, entertainment types, and professional athletes?  Maybe a little jounalistic bias?  If you would have a liitle more journalistic integrity and give a more complete picture, maybe your stories would be worth reading.  Is Matt Lauer really worth $25 million per year?  Albert Pujols?  Lady Gaga? Oprah?  George Clooney?  Your bias is showing.
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