Allan Sloan’s July 13 Business commentary, “Tax-dodging firms are sticking us with the bill,’’ had me cheering. Finally a voice calling out U.S. corporations that choose “inversion” and “never-here” strategies to dodge U.S. taxes on their profits from the country where they receive so many benefits. This corporate strategy is un-American. Inverters are deserters.
I was especially touched by Mr. Sloan’s grateful tribute to the country that took in his grandparents and gave him the life that he enjoys. My parents were Greek immigrants from Turkey who came to the United States in the early 1930s. I remember an argument between them as my father completed his tax return, taking no deductions, which prompted my mother to object. My father, a restaurateur who worked 18-hour days, seven days a week, responded: “This country has given us a great life. I’m proud to pay!”
Where are the great Americans who claim to be patriots, and who enjoy the personhood extended to corporations, when it comes to recognizing their responsibilities in supporting this country? Is our Congress so bought and paid for by corporate money that these practices cannot prompt enough outrage to enact legislation?
Irene Kovakas Creed, Washington
I was dismayed by Allan Sloan’s contention that U.S.-incorporated companies are dodging billions in taxes by reincorporating overseas.
Foreign-incorporated multinational companies, which may operate worldwide in the same way as U.S. multinationals, are not subject to the relatively harsh U.S. tax rules on foreign operations. These foreign corporations may pay much less tax on their foreign operations than similar U.S. corporations. This makes U.S.-incorporated companies uncompetitive.
U.S. corporations are not legally prohibited from taking steps to avoid uncompetitive U.S. taxes, but the headline on the continuation of the article maintained that these corporations should nevertheless refrain from doing so since this is “un-American.” Is it un-American to try to legally reduce your tax burden?
As Judge Learned Hand noted in 1934, “one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”
Henry Scott, Potomac