An inconvenient truth: US oil companies pay more taxes than any other businesses

Posted at 10:42 am on March 15, 2012 by vermontaigne

Wall Street Journal via American Power:

Here’s a staggering fact: The Tax Foundation estimates that, between 1981 and 2008, oil and gas companies sent more dollars to Washington and the state capitols than they earned in profits for shareholders.

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company, says that in the five years prior to 2010 it paid about $59 billion in total U.S. taxes, while it earned . . . $40.5 billion domestically. Another way of putting it is that for every dollar of net U.S. profits between 2006 and 2010, the company incurred $1.45 in taxes. Exxon’s 2010 tax bill was three times larger than its domestic profits. The company can stay in business because it operates globally and earned a total net income after tax of $30.5 billion in 2010 on revenues of $370.1 billion.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s 2013 budget—like its 2012, 2011 and 2010 vintages—includes a dozen-odd tax increases that would raise the industry’s liability by $44 billion over the next decade, according to the White House, and by $85 billion, according to the trade group the American Petroleum Institute (API). At any rate, the President’s economists ought to be weeping for joy for the revenue windfall from an industry that grew 4.5% in 2011, compared to overall GDP growth of 1.7%…

As for the “subsidies” that Mr. Obama says the oil industry receives, these aren’t direct cash handouts like those that go to the green lobby. They’re deductions from taxes that cover the cost of doing business and earning income to tax in the first place. Most of them are available to other manufacturers.

What Mr. Obama really means is that he wants to put the risky and capital-intensive process of finding, extracting and producing oil and gas at a competitive disadvantage against other businesses. He does so because he ultimately wants to make them more expensive than his favorites in the wind, solar and ethanol industries.

That’s kind of paranoid, don’t you think?