Questions on GE's 0 percent tax rate
US President Barack Obama(R) and GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt makt their way to the stage following a thour of the GE Plant January 21, 2011 in Schenectady, New York.
March 25th, 2011
06:11 PM ET

Questions on GE's 0 percent tax rate

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The Obama administration has been talking about corporate tax reform a lot lately. And so it was on Friday – but not through prepared bullet points.

Reporters peppered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney with questions about a story in the New York Times detailing the efforts of General Electric to avoid paying taxes.

At issue: GE chief executive Jeff Immelt's side job as head of Obama's innovation and jobs council.

Corporations typically face a 35 percent federal income tax, but many end up never paying that amount.

One aim of tax reform is to lower the corporate tax rate while greatly scaling back tax breaks and loopholes that allow many corporations to pay less in tax.

Thanks to its deductions, adjustments and offshore profit centers, GE has paid a rate of exactly zero for two consecutive years.


Topics: Economy • White House

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Anne Eisele

    Anne from GE here. Presume this is an old version of CNN's post, as we certainly did respond to comment, though admittedly it took a little time on a rather busy day. I spoke to Charles Riley and provided him our formal response here:

    Please update your coverage to reflect GE's response and thanks for reaching out.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  2. naksuthin

    I don't know why I bother to pay taxes. No one else in this country wants to contribute it's fair share.
    Even Republicans who can't wait to pour money into useless defense projects are calling for less taxes.
    American's have become so selfish. Everyone wants the other guy to spend his tax dollars to keep our army strong and our country running.
    But no one wants to pay taxes themselves.
    Let the other guy support our country!

    Makes me want to move to another country where taxes are low or where everyone pays their fair share.

    GE should be ashamed of itself.

    Americans all need to chip in to keep our country running. But no one wants to pay taxes.
    We want a strong military, we want war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, cleanup in the gulf, tax breaks for nuclear power...but we aren't willing to write a check for any of it.
    It's like going out to dinner with friends and letting them pick up the tab

    March 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Sioux Citizen

      This only goes to show that lower taxes on corporations create more jobs. It then becomes the recipient's, i.e. the employee to pay the taxes for the entitlements the non-productive in the society that voters seem to feel that the society feels that those that don't produce “need”.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • rushin2

      Everything in US is a Commerce. You, as a walking human being have an SS #. Your corporate straw man (your CAPS LOCK NAME) is a Corporation. GE is a corporation. Corporate fictitious creations are concerned about 1 thing ONLY. Profit.

      You, as a Human Being, care about your's and others' well being. Please research the difference as it is imperative to realize the difference. That is precisely why GE is not going to pay ANY tax. Your Corporate straw man will pay the tab. Yes, YOU. Unless you quit consenting to it. YOU are in a contract and You didn't even realize it. Isn't it time to wake-up?..

      March 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  3. Gary Sheffer

    Gary Sheffer from GE. One fact for your readers that the Times falied to explain. The biggest contirbutor to GE's low tax rate in 2010 was siginficant losses at GE Capital during the financial crisis. We expect our tax rate to increase in 2011 as GE Capital recovers.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  4. Willis Simpson

    Even the house oweWwwr pay 0 tax as well. Due to house repair, as same way to big companion.

    March 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  5. Blaine

    GE's responsibilities are to its customers, employees and shareholders. We should not be upset at GE for hiring the best tax team and using legal methods to lower its tax rate. By doing so, they have lowered the prices of our light bulbs, paid higher wages and given jobs to our friends/family and have been able to earn more and pay higher dividends to the underfunded defined benefit pension plans that will provide retirement to our school teachers, police officers and State employees. If anything, the NYTimes article showed all the reasons to eliminate the US corporate income tax entirely so all US companies could have the same benefits that GE gives its customers, employees and shareholders.

    Let's fix the US economy and kill the corporate income tax at the State and Federal level.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • gisk

      No, Blaine. We don't need a Corporatocracy in this country. Our founding fathers warned us about this kind of takeover. No way is the American people going to give up their rights under the Constitution to "Corporate Rule".

      April 1, 2011 at 11:24 am |
      • Vikas

        I am not up to date on this particular poaiitcll football, which it clearly appears to be, but I always find it interesting how my Dem friends refer to their own as the adults and the others as children and yet my conservative friends see Obama and his crowd as kids with toys that they don't know how to use, and themselves as the responsible adults trying to explain life to the youngsters.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Rbk

      Wall street seopulatcrs contribute to the high cost of gas at the pumps. Do we really cut down on use of fuel? Or do we cut costs elsewhere, entertainment, clothing or groceries instead? The carbon tax shows how useless the Green vote is. It was supported politically merely for the idea and whether it was successful doesn't seem to matter. We can only hope that the Green party and other enviros actually look at this and acknowledge that it failed to do anything to fix the emissions levels in BC.Target taxes are a failure. The public are aware of pollution and just give us other options in the marketplace that is affordable, then you will see the gas engine car gone.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  6. stone

    Two highflying GE employees responding to a single CNN article! Looks like GE really had a contingency scenario ready in place for when the truth got out.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  7. gisk

    GE is one of those companies that knows how to snow ball the tax system. One way, is to submit a tax return of 27,000 pages that they know the IRS could never fully audit. Who is kidding who.

    "Thanks to its deductions, adjustments and offshore profit centers, GE has paid a rate of exactly zero for two consecutive years". Right!

    April 1, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  8. gisk

    Guess who is one of the largest military contractors that is receiving tax money? I rest my case. And this isn't even mentioned in Anne Eisele's reply or the link she provides. We all know of the exorbitant prices we pay for GE's materials. Talk about light bulbs, I had to change brands to a foreign one, because GE's burnt out before the stated life of theirs. If our troops have to depend on their expertise, they are dealing with not one, but two enemies.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  9. need more tax cuts for the wealthy

    How hard is it to close these loopholes? Just assign SOMEONE to do the job. And close those overlapping/defunct govt programs while you're at it.

    April 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Leticia

      No. It has to be a registered 501(c)(3) chairty. If you gave more than $250 to any single chairty, they must give you a receipt. Receipts required for all cash donations no matter how small. Retain receipts for your records for 6 years in case you get audited.References :

      July 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  10. panamalaw fraud

    I do not even know how I stopped up right here, but I believed this post was once great. I do not understand who you are however certainly you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already. Cheers!

    April 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  11. Auth

    The everyday BC poesrn, is just there to be exploited by the BC Liberals. It has been going on, for over ten years now. The Liberals have been thieving from the people to give to big business, using every dirty tactic in the book. Campbell thieved the people's BCR and sold it. Irregardless his election lie, the BCR wasn't for sale. Campbell also thieved our rivers and sold them too. Has everyone seen the photo's of the eco damage, the run of the rivers is doing?Campbell's other election lie, the HST wasn't on his and Hansen's radar. Throw in, the small provincial deficit. Harper, Campbell and Hansen colluded on the HST, long before the BC election. Hansen was caught in a lie, and finally had to admit it.The HST was designed for big business and big business only. Just another tax grab, to give to the wealthy. The carbon tax, is just another tax grab too.As far as the environment, the giant corporations could care less, greed comes first. Scientists have found acid right to the shores of BC. They had thought the acid, was way out in the deep. The acid is eating the shell's off crustaceans. The coral reefs are turning brown. This is a serious wake-up call, our oceans are dying, they have absorbed all of the carbon monoxide they can take. Do the giant wealthy gas and oil corporations give a damn? Hell no!!!Harper and Campbell worked hand in hand, when China bought a huge chunk of the Alberta dirty tar sands. Harper and Campbell are going to force the Enbridge pipeline, and the dirty oil tankers from China and the U.S. into our beautiful coastal waters. There was another terrible pipeline burst, in a U.S. river, AGAIN!!! However, Harper and Campbell are just the pair of idiots, that will try and force it through too. I am afraid, there may be deadly civil disobedience over this one. Thousands of BC people are supporting the First Nations people. Never have I seen, such an angry province as BC in my life.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:09 am |