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Area residents protest Chevron's tax return

Original post made on Apr 19, 2011

More than 30 people spent their lunch hour protesting outside Chevron's headquarters on Monday afternoon. Participants called for higher taxes for wealthy corporations such as Chevron, which allegedly received a $19 million IRS refund in 2009 without paying taxes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 18, 2011, 4:58 PM

Comments (40)

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Posted by paying their taxes
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 6:58 am

Just saw news report stating that the prices at the gas pumps are artificially inflated because there MAY BE shortages later. Right now there is a glut and CA refineries are on slow down. Much of that profit is going straight to the gas company's bottom line and analysts expect Chevron profits to be up 41% this quarter (ABC News 6:30 am)


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

Chevron paid nearly $8 billion in income taxes in 2009. This can be verified by reviewing Chevron 2009 Annual Report. This information is a matter of public record.

Please see page 51 of the following link:

Web Link
In addition to income taxes, Chevron also paid over $4.5 billion in Federal excise taxes in 2009. That means Chevron's total taxes paid in 2009 was over $12.5 billion.

Wouldn't it be great if Ann Katzburg, the second-grade teacher at Hidden Hills Elementary had done her homework before she spoke out at this protest? Had she done so, she would have learned that Chevron is by far California's largest taxpayer.

Jessica, I hope in the future, you will check your facts before publishing this type of article. Your readers deserve to know that Chevron is a responsible corporate taxpayer.


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Posted by Jessica Lipsky
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

Spcwt,

If you read my article carefully, you'll notice that I have double checked my facts and gave Chevron fair play in this article. (e.g. "Comey said Chevron's total income taxes amounted to $211 million in 2009 and $2.06 billion in 2010.")

I was in touch with Chevron all day yesterday and am still waiting to hear back from a specialist who can better clarify their tax situation. Admittedly, it's extremely confusing.

Jessica Lipsky
Editor


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:41 am

Checking with the company's spokesperson is a good start, but as a journalist, it would seem you have a duty to verify facts that are in the public domain. As you have access on the internet to anything a company submits to the SEC, you could (and probably should) have checked that before merely parroting what people tell you.

Not sure who Comey is, but he's not a tax guy, and he's wrong. If you want to double check, all Chevron's tax info is actually on page 49 of Chevron's 2009 Annual Report (it's on p. 51 if you're looking at it on Adobe Reader).

If your readers would like to know who's really getting a great deal on taxes, it's all those high tech companies. As their assets are largely intellectual property, they have been moving their assets offshore to tax havens, like Bermuda, Bahamas, Ireland, etc., deferring U.S. tax indefinitely.

Check out this article about Google. Google's tax rate on its foreign earnings is 2.4%. Chevron's is 44%. Chevron pays more taxes in one week than Google pays in one year.

Web Link

And no offense to that second-grade teacher. Chevron and Chevron employees have donated many thousands of dollars to Hidden Hills Elementary and no doubt will continue to do so. It's a great school. A lot of Chevron kids go there.


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Posted by JIm
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:48 am

It's not an oil supply problem, it's a lack of refining capacity. All we've done in the last 30 years is upgrade existing refineries, as opposed to adding new ones. But since we're about to loan almost $3 billion to Colombia to upgrade one of it's refineries, we don't need to spend that money here, right?

California gas is so expensive because of our standards. It can only be refined here at higher production costs. And Richmond refused to let Chevron upgrade it's plant to expand it's capabilities as well as improve it's overall environmental impact. We're our own worst enemy.

Corporations don't pay taxes, their customers do. When you go out and protest, realize that if you succeed, it will only result in you paying even more at the pump.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

I agree 100% with SPCWT on these issues, and I am dissapointed in the very liberal, anti-business remarks from the so called "educator" who was protesting at Chevron. I am also dissapointed in the editor for not doing some basic background information, like reading the public tax statements SPCWT referenced. No wonder so many businesses are leaving California, with the teachers union and media unfairly using them for their scapegoats. Chevron has a long record as being a good corporate citizen, and pumps billions of dollars into our local economy, and deserves better.


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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

Great comments and correctional info, spcwt and JIm!

Some people have quick, easy, and illogical animosity towards "oil" and "oil companies". They are the big evil, devil, satan! Yeah, right! Go back to walking and living in caves.

Small minds and untrained thinkers can't figure out that, of course, Chevron does PAY TAXES. And it only receives a REFUND because it has previously paid in to the government too much in "withholdings" before the taxes were computed. The government is not "giving" Chevron money; it is only returning money that Chevron overpaid.
And then, like Jim said, Chevron is just a corporation, a shell for a business to reside in. It is us, the customers, who will ultimately pay the price--of the production costs and taxes--at the pump.

Shame on the SEIU union for taking its member's union dues and spending them on this type of "political propaganda" and anti-oil message which has no direct and real bearing on the betterment of its represented workers. This is where the liberal leadership of massive unions are skewing politics and abusively using the money of its members, often in direct opposition to some members personal political beliefs.


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Posted by TL Nelson
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

This protest is a sad commentary on the economic illiteracy of a large and growing portion of the U.S. population. Our education system is surely to blame for this lack of basic economic understanding.

One important point ... corporations do not actually pay taxes. Any tax imposed on them increases their cost of doing business and increases the cost of their product .. so in the end, it is the people who buy their product that pay taxes imposed on the company. Any cursory review of Chevron's annual report shows that they pay plenty of taxes.

These protestors also do not understand the critical role that profits play in efficient allocation of capital. Any corporation is a system that brings together people, materials and capital to produce a product. The employees are paid for in wages and salaries while the capital is paid for with profits. When a company fails to generate an acceptable return on capital, the money moves elsewhere where returns are higher ... thus assuring that this limited resource is applied where it can most effectively benefit our society and overall economy.

It also annoys me to hear profitable companies like Chevron referred to as "greedy". Who are these greedy people? Are they the scientists and engineers who work to for the company? Are they the people who explore for, produce, and refine energy products? I don't think so.

Are the owners/shareholders the greedy people? This is also unlikely since most of these protestors are probably part-owners of Chevron through their pension funds or investment of their savings in mutual funds.

Millions of older Americans depend on the dividends of profitable companies like Chevron to support them in retirement .. but I don't think they are necessarily greedy. Who can these greedy people possibly be?


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

People also need to realize that while the U.S. can tax American oil companies like Chevron on their worldwide profits, the U.S. can't tax foreign oil companies except on profits earned in the U.S. Most profits from the oil business are made overseas. Thus, a tax on a U.S. oil company merely puts the U.S. oil company at a disadvantage to a foreign oil company in competing for new projects. When the U.S. company pays a U.S. tax that a foreign oil company does not pay, it gives that foreign oil company a price advantage. The foreign oil company can then offer more competitive bids and has a leg up winning new oil projects. Oil companies need new projects or they will eventually go out of business.

Taxing American oil companies so that they become weaker compared to foreign oil companies is not smart, as it costs U.S. jobs and eventually then only non-US oil companies will be in the oil business, and those non-US companies generally do not have America's best interests in mind.

In addition, U.S. oil companies like Chevron are small players in world oil market. Out of the 86 million barrels of oil produced each day, Chevron produces less than 3 million barrels. All the major oil companies combined, like Exxon, Shell, BP, Total, etc. produce less than 10% of the world's oil. The vast majority is produced by the national oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, etc. who reap the biggest profits and are not subject to U.S. tax.

Chevron's profits are good, but they must invest nearly all of their profits in new projects or they will go out of business. For example, Chevron earned $10.4 billion in 2009, but their capital budget for 2009 was $22.8 billion. For 2010, Chevron's profits were $19 billion, but their capital budget for 2010 was $26 billion.

Finally, Chevron generates tax revenue in other ways besides making direct tax payments. Chevron employs over 10,000 people in California who pay taxes. In addition, every Chevron job creates nearly six additional jobs in other sectors (contractors, suppliers and other supporting businesses), so that Chevron supports a total of nearly 70,000 California jobs, generating further tax revenue for the state.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Ms. Katzburg is VP of the local teachers union. I think that is more pertinent to identifying her than the fact that she has a second grade class.
[portion removed]


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Where does she think the money that pays her salary comes from? Chevron employees pay property taxes that pay her salary...Chevron employees donate endless hours of their off time doing volunteer work for her school district...If Chevron left the area, what does she think would happen to her school? This is who is "educating" our children? God help us all.


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Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

American, it's also important to point out that the as a business, Chevron's property taxes are calculated a higher rate than for private homeowners. Chevron puts a lot of money into the SRVUSD just through property taxes.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm

This so called "educator" should apologize to Chevron, their employees, and shareholders for her misguided and ill conceived liberal propaganda...How would she like it if the Chevron employees and shareholders, during their lunch break, held a protest and picket signs outside of her place of work? That is the problem with most of these teacher union agitators, they lack critical thinking skills, and try to influence the public that they speak for the parents of the students, which they do NOT!


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Posted by fanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

Yes, let's see some apologies from these liberal propagandists for their false or misleading statements. (Yeah, right! Like you wouldn't just get more distortions from: Frank Burton and Karen Berk, organizers for MoveOn.org, the SEIU union, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and Ann Katzburg, VP of the local teachers union.)
How about bringing some accountability to bear upon local teacher Ann Katzburg for her inaccurate statements.
How about an investigation into "what content" Katzburg is teaching her young, open students in class (behind closed door)--what statements of supposed fact she is uttering to them?
Just look at the words of some of her quotes:
".... by not paying your (Chevron's) fair share in taxes....." Oh really? The IRS hasn't said so.
"....Everyone's paying their taxes except the corporations......," Really, she can state that corporations aren't paying their taxes.
Maybe the tax returns of Katzburg (and these other liberal groups) should be examined more closely--they seem to have trouble stating facts and financial matters correctly.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

It is inspiring to see our small town engage in a conversation and except for the personal attacks on an educator and news reporter I see a sense of fairness. We want to believe that the corporations we have supported are patriotic. Here are the facts as I understand them. Source: www.sec.gov Chevron paid a 1% tax rate in 2009.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Web Link
Here is further evidence that the reporter's quotes were correct.


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Posted by TrueView54
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Bottom line FACT: Chevron's days as a producer of fosil fuels are, thankfully, numbered. They are not part of the solution to our energy dependenccy, despite their claims that they invest "tremendous amounts of research dollars and resources in altnernative fuel & engergy sources...". Instead, they remain one of the main reasons for this nation's reliance on corrupt governments and dictatorships for the supply of petroleum. They do whatever they can to curtail or hault innovation and progress towards more practical fuel and energy solutions and they buy their way into the conversation by paying lobbyists and politicans who work to uhold the quid pro quo. They have no political gain to achieve or sustain with the proliferation of alternative fuel and/or energy sources and they have no political will to change their stances on the matter. Their outdated leadership is antiquated, out of step w/ the inevitable realities of our world and full of mis-steps with planning and execution of fundamental business practices. I am not the kind of America who believes this sort of crap should be tolerated because this sort of crap is un-American and does not represent what business's across our country stand for; they're an embarrasment to our nation.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Randy, your link didn't work for some reason. And where on the SEC site do you find "Chevron paid a 1% tax rate in 2009"? Did you happen to view the link to Chevron's 2009 Financial Reports that I posted above detailing how Chevron paid over $12.5 billion in taxes in 2009? Are you saying Chevron's Financial Reports are wrong? That's a pretty big accusation.

TrueView54, your view of Chevron is incorrect, ad hominem and lacks facts. Was it really necessary to refer to Chevron using terms like, "Crap," "Un-American," "an embarrasment [sic] to our nation." FYI, You'd probably persuade more people by reducing your use of superlatives and pejoratives. You might also want to work on your spelling.

Sadly (for our planet), fossil fuels will be the dominant energy source for the foreseeable future, as they are plentiful and cheap compared to alternative energy. It has nothing to do with supposed "paying lobbyists and politicans [sic]" or efforts "to curtail or hault [sic] innovation." People love cheap, reliable energy. That's pretty much sums up fossil fuels.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

My and Senator Sanders' interpretation (see below) of the Annual Report shows that Chevron deferred the taxes for 2009. It is my understanding that some corporations are hoping that they will get a Tax Holiday like they did in 2003 (or was it 2004?) We need the money now and cannot afford profitable corporations to be exempt from paying their fair share. I agree with Spcwt we need different energy sources and if oil companies would pay more for research and less for tax accountants we would be closer to getting them.

Here is the message from Senator Sander's staff:

Sen. Sanders' information is correct, according to Chevron's own annual report to shareholders, which is attached.

Chevron did pay $211 million in taxes in the United States – but that entire $211 million was state and local taxes – not U.S. federal income taxes. In fact, Chevron should have paid $230 million in state and local taxes and $128 million in federal income taxes, but they had minus-$147 million in deferred U.S. federal income taxes.

So minus -$147 million in deferred U.S. federal income taxes + $128 million in current U.S. federal incomes taxes = minus-$19 million in federal income taxes.

I hope that addresses your question.

Michael Briggs
Communications Director
Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
332 Senate Dirksen Office Building
O (202) 228-6492
C (202) 557-1935
michael_briggs@sanders.senate.gov


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Posted by guynextdoor
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Attention critics. Das editor took my 4/20 post down because I mentioned "another trip to the journalistic woodshed" for another biased liberal "article selection" and report; my small but persistant effort to bring the media back to professionalism and objectivity. Let's see how long this one lasts. The time is 7:46PM, 4/21/11.


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Posted by citizencrane
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Randy, Michael, To get the true picture, check 3 years of Chevron's annual reports and tax returns. Then comment. Noting Sen. Sander's address, in the immortal words of the Honorable Senator Everett Dirksen,"Never get mad; just get even".


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 8:48 am

Citizencrane, thanks for the comment. I have been haunted by the response to this article. How can other Americans be so critical of people getting involved? We are on the verge of losing a minimal social safety net (social security and Medicare) and we need shared sacrifice. Everyone, including Chevron needs to contribute to the unfunded Wars, Med D, and financial meltdown costs. Not defer their taxes (none of us are able to do that) or get a Tax Holiday. What is equally unsettling is the attack on teachers in our country. I guess I was hoping that Danville citizens would be more civilized. Anyone else out there feel the same way? Anyone?
Web Link


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Posted by GG
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

"Financially and operationally, 2010 was an outstanding year," Watson, Chair and CEO of Chevron, said in a statement. "Earnings and cash flow increased significantly in 2010 as a result of higher prices for crude oil, higher net oil-equivalent production and improved refined product sales margins."

Market Watch - 1/28/11


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Posted by Stick to the Facts
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

Ms. Katzburg is VP of the local teachers' union? Now THAT is a fact that should have been stated right up front in the news article.
I imagine that Ms. Katzburg's true agenda is trying to sell an uninformed public on the idea that Chevron should pay more taxes so that more money can be funneled by union-controlled democratic lawmakers to pay teachers' salaries, and their mandatory union dues. Next time you pay exorbitant prices at the pump, do so gladly in the realization that you are actually supporting the teachers' union and its lawmaker lackeys.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

Randy,

My apologies. Upon closer inspection, I discovered you are right about 2009. But I also noticed something quite disturbing than makes me question why you chose to focus on taxes Chevron paid in 2009 rather than 2010 or any other of the past 10 years. And it appears you and the other protestors are distorting the truth at Chevron's expense.

First, let me say I agree with you about 2009. I made my previous comment looking at pg. 49 where Chevron reported paying $7.965 billion "Total Income Tax," which includes both U.S. and international income tax. Upon closer inspection, footnote 15 on pg. 53 shows the amounts you cite: $128MM - $147MM = ($19MM).

But p. 53 also shows that Chevron paid over $3 billion of federal income tax in 2008 and $1.6 billion in 2007. And if you look on Chevron's 2010 Annual Report, (p. 55) you will see Chevron paid over $1.6 billion of federal income tax in 2010.

So why have Chevron's federal income taxes consistently been in the $billions, but then suddenly drop to -$19MM in 2009?

More importantly, why did you and these protestors decide to cherry pick 2009 as "proof" that Chevron doesn't pay it's "fair share" of taxes? Why not look at 2010, 2008, 2007 or any other year for that matter, when Chevron paid billions in federal income tax? And why not mention the $4+ billion per year of excise tax that Chevron pays to the federal government as part of Chevron's "fair share" of tax?

As to the question of why Chevron's 2009's income tax was low compared to other years, you will recall, in July 2008, the price of oil shot up to $145 a barrel. This price demand caused a corresponding increase in expenses for oil companies, such as contractor and drilling costs, drilling materials, service fees, etc. But then the financial crisis hit, and the price of oil dropped dramatically to $35 a barrel by Dec. 2008. And it took a while for these expenses to come down.

If you look at p.35 of Chevron's financial statements, you'll see that from 2008 to 2009, Chevron's revenue dropped by over $101 billion, while its expenses dropped by only $76 billion. My guess is, this $25 billion difference between revenue and expense explains why Chevron's tax expense dropped so dramatically from 2008 to 2009 and then went back up to a more typical $1.6 billion federal income tax in 2010.

Finally, as Chevron is a global company, it pays income tax all over the world. As most of Chevron's profits are made overseas, you would expect Chevron to have a much larger foreign income tax liability than U.S. tax liability. You can't just look at Chevron's U.S. tax to see if it is paying a "fair share" of income tax. You should also look at all tax payments, not just income tax, to see what's fair.

As you can see on p. 35 of Chevron's 2010 Annual Report, Chevron paid $12.919 billion of income tax and $18.191 billion of other taxes on its worldwide income. That means Chevron paid over $31 billion of taxes in 2010.

That means in 2010, Chevron paid $85 million of taxes per day. That's $7 million per hour and over $1 million every 10 minutes. That's a lot of taxes, wouldn't you say?


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Posted by Robert Schepman
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Their gripe should be with the elected "leaders" that pass the laws that the IRS administrates. Chevron did what the law allowed, just like all the indivduals do on their taxes.
Direct your anger where it belongs, Congress.
And good luck.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Robert, absolutely Congress needs to close loopholes and targeting corporations helps discourage companies from trying to lobby for even more loopholes. The article included 2009 data (It was not my quote) I simply verified a quote. That being said, excusing anyone of avoiding taxes for 2009 is quite remarkable, considering the financial crisis our country is/was in. Some may be impressed that Chevron paid taxes for other years, but we need everyone to pay taxes every year. Shared sacrifice through reducing spending and obtaining all federal tax revenues is needed.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

One thing not mentioned by any one in this string of comments is that corporate lobbyists are a huge influence on Congress. Lobbyists are right there in Washington. They have access to congressional members. They have representatives calling on the members of Congress regularly. They lobby to get favorable tax treatment. Congress doesn't create tax laws in a vacuum. The entities with the most influence in taxation are the ones who can afford to pay for professionals to lobby the government and who are there in Washington. Chevron does business worldwide--in 180 nations worldwide--so of course the company pays taxes in those nations. Many of those nations also support terrorists bent on attacking the U.S. That's the reality of the world we live in today. But to say they are over taxed or not taxed enough is a subject worthy of examination, discussion and debate.


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Posted by Todd
a resident of Danville
on Apr 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Chevron is an oil company. Not an angel. Chevron was found to have evaded $3.25 billion in federal and state taxes from 1970 to 2000 through a complex petroleum pricing scheme involving a project in Indonesia. Chevron and Texaco, before they merged in 2001, each owned 50 percent of a joint venture called Caltex, which pulled crude oil from the ground in a project with the Indonesian state oil company, Pertamina. Chevron was accused of reducing its tax liabilities in the U.S. by buying oil from Caltex at inflated prices. One internal Chevron document set the price it paid Pertamina for oil at $4.55 a barrel higher than the prevailing market price. Chevron was then able to overstate deductions for costs on its U.S. income tax returns. Indonesia appeared to levy tax on this oil at 56%, a rate far higher than the corporate tax rate in the U.S. Because the United States gives companies a credit for taxes paid to foreign governments, tax paid to the Indonesian government reduces tax to the U.S. government. Caltex transferred fund out of the U.S. to Indonesia, because the Indonesian government compensated Caltex for the excessively priced oil and the extra taxes paid by giving oil for free. Because Caltex had to pay taxes on that oil, too, the Indonesian government gave it even more oil to cover the taxes.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2011 at 9:06 am

I am not trying to win any argument here, simply to persuade people to recognize that all citizens and companies who have benefited need to pay their fair share. It is patriotic and needed. My personal success was in large part due to the college grants that my government provided me and it pains me to know that those grants are not available to others because of unfunded programs and tax avoidance. I liken it to a family who has pooled their resources and then it is discovered that one of the more wealthy ones chose not to contribute during a year that many in the family were either unemployed or uninsured. There would be outrage and a quest for the member to contribute. As a former corporate lobbyist I know their power, but as a citizen I am more powerful because justice for all is on my side.


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

Web Link


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

Spcwt: Here is the link that showed the 1% tax rate.
Web Link


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Posted by Eloise Hamann
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

If you want to know if Chevron pays their fair share of taxes some readers think one should just ask Chevron. Here's what Wikipedia has on the subject.

Web Link

Tax evasion: Chevron was found to have evaded $3.25 billion in federal and state taxes from 1970 to 2000 through a complex petroleum pricing scheme involving a project in Indonesia.[19] [20] Chevron and Texaco, before they merged in 2001, each owned 50 percent of a joint venture called Caltex, which pulled crude oil from the ground in a project with the Indonesian state oil company, Pertamina. Chevron was accused of reducing its tax liabilities in the U.S. by buying oil from Caltex at inflated prices. One internal Chevron document set the price it paid Pertamina for oil at $4.55 a barrel higher than the prevailing market price. Chevron was then able to overstate deductions for costs on its U.S. income tax returns. Indonesia appeared to levy tax on this oil at 56%, a rate far higher than the corporate tax rate in the U.S. Because the United States gives companies a credit for taxes paid to foreign governments, tax paid to the Indonesian government reduces tax to the U.S. government.

Caltex transferred fund out of the U.S. to Indonesia, because the Indonesian government compensated Caltex for the excessively priced oil and the extra taxes paid by giving oil for free. Because Caltex had to pay taxes on that oil, too, the Indonesian government gave it even more oil to cover the taxes.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 25, 2011 at 10:25 am

Randy,

It boggles the mind how you can say with a straight face that Chevron doesn't pay its "fair share" of taxes, knowing that Chevron paid $31 billion in taxes in 2010 on $19 billion of net profits? Yes, Chevron's 2009 federal tax liability dropped precipitously, but that was most likely due to expenses beyond their control and a massive drop in oil revenue due to the drop in the price of oil as a result of the financial crisis. What other California company pays even close to $31 billion in taxes per year?

Todd & Eloise,

The Indonesian transfer pricing case you mention arose due to poor guidance from the IRS in the 1970's & 1980's, not from taxpayer neglect. Chevron was one of many taxpayers that got tripped up due to very poorly written Treasury Regulations.

Remember, back then, the IRS gave very limited guidance on transfer pricing and it was a relatively new area of tax law, with little judicial precedents or other guidance. The rules were so murky, in the 1990's over 80% of the cases on Federal Tax Court docket related to transfer pricing issues that arose in the 1970's and 1980's. After the dispute arose, Chevron, along with many other taxpayers, settled the matter to the full satisfaction of the IRS. Of the original $1 billion tax assessment, Chevron settled and paid $675 million. Fortunately, since then, the IRS has issued new regulations that have greatly clarified the transfer pricing rules. The IRS also requires companies like Chevron to provide sales contracts and other supporting documentation and to explain to the full satisfaction of the IRS why their transfer pricing methodology is justified.

Chevron has had a longstanding policy to comply with all tax laws and the evidence clearly shows that Chevron has always lived up to this obligation. Remember when the Enron scandal broke? Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley, requiring auditors to extensively review their clients' tax liabilities. Even under that intense scrutiny, Chevron came out smelling like a rose. This should give investors and the public a high degree of confidence that Chevron continues to comply with all tax laws, just as it has always done.


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Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Apr 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Apple Corp just made HUGE profits and a huge percentage increase in their profits over the previous increasing period. ("Last week, Apple reported sales of $24.67 billion and earnings of $6.40 per share for its fiscal second quarter. That improved upon last year's second-quarter revenue and earnings per share by 83 percent and 92 percent, respectively.")

Yet you don't see any criticism of Apple from the Left, like they level at the oil companies. Why not? Because this controversy is NOT really about "profits" at all, it is about "the evilness of oil."

It has been an aggressive (and somewhat popular) tactic of liberal and/or environmentalist groups to attack "oil companies" for their (supposedly excessive) high profits during periods of rising or high gasoline prices.

The ploy is to persuade the unthinking masses that, when they are suffering the pains of high priced gasoline, it is the "fault" and "cause" of the oil companies--that the oil companies intentionally planned and implemented all the variables leading up to the high price of gasoline. They've been making this pitch since the 1970s and trying to tack on "windfall profits" taxes to let the government try to rake in extra money during these "high price" periods.
The real underlying motivation behind this attack is an ingrained hatred and dislike of the "oil industry" itself (its companies and its products).
Don't be fooled into thinking that the government really cares about your pocketbook pain. They are the ones who are limiting the production/refinement in the US and forcing us to use overseas oil from enemy countries.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Psmacintosh,

You raise a good point about the seeming bias against oil companies. If you look at p. 39 of Apple's 2010 10-K, you'll see they have an effective income tax rate of 24%. Chevron's is 44%.

Web Link

Why is Chevron's income tax rate so much higher than Apple's? Because high tech companies like Apple have moved much of their intellectual property and other valuable intangible assets to offshore tax havens. Oil companies like Chevron can't do that. It would be pretty hard to move an oil field to Bermuda.

Apple has foreign pre-tax earnings of $13 billion it keeps safely offshore away from U.S. tax, most likely in a tax haven like Bermuda or Ireland. (see p.68). If Apple brought those earnings home, it would have to pay $4.3 billion of U.S. tax. (see p. 66). By keeping those earnings offshore, Apple can defer that U.S. tax indefinitely. This is a common tax strategy in the high tech industry.

I wonder why Randy and friends aren't protesting over at Apple?


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Posted by Randy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm


I would happily protest in front of any of the buildings of any of the corporations that haven't paid their fair share, including Apple. (I actually have) I vote and am distressed that lobbyists continue to write in loopholes in the tax code. I know that corporations do not like negative press and am hopeful that together we can shame them into paying their fair share every year and not spend undisclosed amounts on lobbying and contributions. I am willing to increase my tax rate to pre-Bush levels and support rational spending cuts. Let me know if I am missing something, but are we having a financial crisis?


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Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Apr 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

jrm is a registered user.

spikwit, pizzmac and "American" are all predictable....not surprising they are full on behind big oil...most of their posts reflect the big oil monopoly bias...ride the gravy train while you can boys, and I hope Obama joins the rest of us to reign in your profit mongering and the process save our fragile recovery. I hope you rascals can sleep at night....your patriotic fervor is tainted by your company's well documented greed....and I am not alone in my feeling on this...the oil industry is the cloaca of capitalism...


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

JRM: Wow, what a surprise, you and I disagree on an issue! Before you crucify Chevron, answer me this: If Chevron left the area, because they got tired of liberals like you constantly ripping them, and moved to a more friendly(both for tax and opinions) place, like Texas, what do you think would happen to our local schools, our local town budgets, our property values, not to mention the huge loss of well paying professional jobs in our little Camelot? No corporation is perfect, but Chevron employees are well known for constantly donating their time and treasure(money) to local schools and charities. You are "predictable" in your liberal analysis, and failure to see the forest thru the trees, my friend!


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Danville
on Apr 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm

So that settles it. Chevron shouldn't have to pay their fair share of taxes. Nor should the other dirty dozen that were picketed on tax day.


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