Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goldman Sachs’s Tax Rate Drops to 1%, or $14 Million

From time to time I reflect on nineteenth century American populism (I know, gotta get out more, etc.) and gentle reader sees headlines like "Go Long Pitchforks: How To Profit From The Coming Populist Backlash." or "American Taxpayer on the Hook for $1 Trillion of Banks Non-, Mis- and Malfeasance. Plus: Music to Hunt Bankers By" where I say stuff like (Sept. '08):
...It appears there will be a decade long wealth transfer from savers to bankers. To reliquify the big banks balance sheets, the powers that be will let the banks borrow cheap from the Fed or at artificially low shorter term rates, then turn around and lend at higher rates to the Treasury. There is probably a carbon trading angle here too. You just watch....

...I've been a close observer of financial behavior for many, many years and while essentially an optimist, sometimes I just want to bitch slap the folks who brought us to this point. A June 17 comment at MarketBeat:

...Just be sure you’ve got the helicopter gassed up because when the townsfolk come, it won’t be with pitchforks and torches.
And pinstripes make lousy protective coloration. As they used to say in the Brit. nature shows:
“Sadly now, there can be but one outcome…”...
Or (Mar. '08): "How Banks Will Make Huge Money On Fed Borrowing (C; JPM; BAC)"
(see also today's post ""Mom, Ben Bernanke Likes Bankers Better than He Likes You")
When I get in these moods I like to listen to "Music to Hunt Bankers By".
(the rondo from Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 2)

Today, Bloomberg informs us:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which got $10 billion and debt guarantees from the U.S. government in October, expects to pay $14 million in taxes worldwide for 2008 compared with $6 billion in 2007.

The company’s effective income tax rate dropped to 1 percent from 34.1 percent, New York-based Goldman Sachs said today in a statement. The firm reported a $2.3 billion profit for the year after paying $10.9 billion in employee compensation and benefits.

Goldman Sachs, which today reported its first quarterly loss since going public in 1999, lowered its rate with more tax credits as a percentage of earnings and because of “changes in geographic earnings mix,” the company said.

The rate decline looks “a little extreme,” said Robert Willens, president and chief executive officer of tax and accounting advisory firm Robert Willens LLC.

“I was definitely taken aback,” Willens said. “Clearly they have taken steps to ensure that a lot of their income is earned in lower-tax jurisdictions.”>>>MORE

Meanwhile I shall be doing due diligence on an implement with the light weight of the DuraFork but with the aperture making ability of steel tines.