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(Washington Post)   85% of Caterpillar's profits come from a 65 man operation in Switzerland that sells replacement parts   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 82
    More: Unlikely, caterpillars, Swiss Federal Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers  
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3240 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 Apr 2014 at 2:47 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-31 11:57:58 PM  
Yawn. Wake me up when you stop giving brown folks Obama phones and fridges. until then leave the job creators alone.
 
2014-04-01 02:02:31 AM  
Is there no end to the persecution of the 1%? If you take away all their money, how is it supposed to trickle down to the poors?
 
2014-04-01 03:16:45 AM  
Why bother doing business here if you aren't going to actually support the infrastructure that makes doing business here possible?
 
2014-04-01 03:28:34 AM  
So Congress is biatching about laws enacted by Congress?
I can see major change coming.
 
2014-04-01 03:28:58 AM  
Welcome to the global economy!
 
2014-04-01 06:10:45 AM  
Wait, they aren't suppose to do this?
 
2014-04-01 06:13:11 AM  
By using the Unlikely tag I'm guessing subby isn't aware of the ridiculous margins on replacement parts.
 
2014-04-01 06:59:47 AM  
I'm fairly sure there is a Henry Ford attributed quote that goes here. . .
 
2014-04-01 07:30:09 AM  
See also: market saturation
 
2014-04-01 08:17:45 AM  
Will congress grow a spine and change the laws?

No.
 
2014-04-01 08:18:42 AM  

dragonchild: By using the Unlikely tag I'm guessing subby isn't aware of the ridiculous margins on replacement parts.


You know how I know you didnt read the article?
 
2014-04-01 08:18:53 AM  

dragonchild: By using the Unlikely tag I'm guessing subby isn't aware of the ridiculous margins on replacement parts.


Subby probably is, but RTF:
At least 70 percent of the
replacement-parts business - manufacturing, warehousing and distribution - is housed in the United States. There are nearly 5,000 U.S. employees handling the manufacturing, and only 65 workers doing the same in Switzerland, according to the report.


What Caterpillar is doing is booking all the profits for its overseas replacement parts business through Switzerland, when in reality most of it is done from the US.  They negotiated a low tax rate with the Swiss government, and sent just 15% of the money booked through there as a "royalty" to the parent company in the US.  The rest of the money (85%) is taxed at the much lower Swiss tax rate.

But don't just blame Caterpillar, though:  They did this in response to US tax laws.  The tax rate in the US was set high enough that Caterpillar perceived it was in the best interest of the shareholders to move as much profit as possible overseas, so the expected gains from those taxes the US enacted weren't realized in the US, and Switzerland made a bunch of money it didn't make before.

But before you get the vapors about Caterpillar not paying their fair share, understand that corporations are going to seek to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.  It's what they *DO*, in fact, they have a positive duty to the shareholders to do that.  So instead of giving them perverse incentives to move their cash outside the US, or indeed, even to move out of the US entirely, why don't we try to think of ways to attract other multinational corporations here?

In the end, if you take a smaller bite out of more corporations you'll get the same amount as if you take larger bites out of fewer, and the upside is that more people in the US will have jobs.  The trick is to find the optimum level where you are taking in enough in taxes, but not so much that you are driving corporations to seek lower costs (which is what taxes are:  a cost).
 
2014-04-01 08:25:33 AM  

Alonjar: You know how I know you didnt read the article?

dittybopper: Subby probably is, but RTF

Evidently Fark is dead enough that a simple quip about replacement part costs is enough to break what's left of everyone's sarcasm meters.
 
2014-04-01 08:36:32 AM  
No dittybopper, they do not "have a positive duty to the shareholers."

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/0 1/myth-maximizing-shareholder-value.ht ml

They will still seek to minimize taxes, but not because of any legal obligation to the shareholders.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-01 08:38:31 AM  
The other trick I've read about is classifying all profits as tax-exempt royalty payments to an offshore corporate parent or partner.

You have GreedCo Belgium and GreedCo UK. GreedCo UK opens a store that brings in the equivalent of 10 million euro in (revenue less expenses). Coincidentally, it also pays GreedCo Belgium 10 million euro as a licensing fee for the GreedCo name. The license fee is a pretax business expense. On paper the store barely breaks even. Meanwhile, the corporate group is taxed at the lower Belgian rate.

(Sorry for all the uses of Belgium. I hope they don't seem gratuitous. This is a serious post.)
 
2014-04-01 08:50:34 AM  

IronMensan: No dittybopper, they do not "have a positive duty to the shareholers."
They will still seek to minimize taxes, but not because of any legal obligation to the shareholders.


In fact, pracricing "Shareholder" capitalism instead of "Stakeholder" capitalism has resulted in lower returns for investors. What it HAS done, however, is create gigantic salaries/bonuses for corporate management teams.
http://www.salon.com/2011/03/29/failure_of_shareholder_capitalism/
 
2014-04-01 09:01:41 AM  
But Mike Rowe told me that here in the states, millions of jobs are going begging for want of skilled workers! Including Caterpillar workers!

What Mike?! What?

"Are you built to be a Cat dealer tech?"
Well I don't know. Do I need an degree in international accounting to work there?

Is Mike Rowe in collusion with Caterpillar in promoting a capitalist fiction?
Well? Well?
 
2014-04-01 09:03:39 AM  

dittybopper: But don't just blame Caterpillar, though:  They did this in response to US tax laws.  The tax rate in the US was set high enough that Caterpillar perceived it was in the best interest of the shareholders to move as much profit as possible overseas, so the expected gains from those taxes the US enacted weren't realized in the US, and Switzerland made a bunch of money it didn't make before.


Nonsense.
Cat did it because they could.
Remove the option.
Everybody pays.
 
2014-04-01 09:17:05 AM  
85% of profits?  Where did subby  get this figure?


"When Caterpillar and its tax advisers launched this tax-
avoidance scheme, almost nothing changed in the real world,"



Outside of opening major operations in China, India and Brazil in the meantime, nothing has changed in the 12 years.
 
2014-04-01 09:22:13 AM  
Wait. You mean to tell me I can get an Taft fridge?
 
2014-04-01 09:27:06 AM  
FTFA: Lawmakers have argued that tax shelters are an outgrowth of a broken corporate tax code....  lawmakers also say the failings of the tax system are no excuse for companies not to pay their fair share.

Lawmakers then went on to say that fixing this retarded system once and or all or prosecuting corporations who exploit its weaknesses is completely out of the question.
 
2014-04-01 09:28:47 AM  
Har har
 
2014-04-01 09:33:55 AM  

dittybopper: dragonchild: By using the Unlikely tag I'm guessing subby isn't aware of the ridiculous margins on replacement parts.

Subby probably is, but RTF:
At least 70 percent of the
replacement-parts business - manufacturing, warehousing and distribution - is housed in the United States. There are nearly 5,000 U.S. employees handling the manufacturing, and only 65 workers doing the same in Switzerland, according to the report.

What Caterpillar is doing is booking all the profits for its overseas replacement parts business through Switzerland, when in reality most of it is done from the US.  They negotiated a low tax rate with the Swiss government, and sent just 15% of the money booked through there as a "royalty" to the parent company in the US.  The rest of the money (85%) is taxed at the much lower Swiss tax rate.

But don't just blame Caterpillar, though:  They did this in response to US tax laws.  The tax rate in the US was set high enough that Caterpillar perceived it was in the best interest of the shareholders to move as much profit as possible overseas, so the expected gains from those taxes the US enacted weren't realized in the US, and Switzerland made a bunch of money it didn't make before.

But before you get the vapors about Caterpillar not paying their fair share, understand that corporations are going to seek to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.  It's what they *DO*, in fact, they have a positive duty to the shareholders to do that.  So instead of giving them perverse incentives to move their cash outside the US, or indeed, even to move out of the US entirely, why don't we try to think of ways to attract other multinational corporations here?

In the end, if you take a smaller bite out of more corporations you'll get the same amount as if you take larger bites out of fewer, and the upside is that more people in the US will have jobs.  The trick is to find the optimum level where you are taking in enough in taxes, but not so much that you are driving corporations to seek lower costs (which is what taxes are:  a cost).


You know how I know you know fark all about taxes? The US has one of the highest marginal rates for businesses. This sucks, but (wait for it) there's a couple thousand exemptions, credits, and write offs available. What Caterpillar is doing is using the infrastructure other people's tax money pays for, and goes shopping for a tax rate. This is similar to what companies do (like Socialist-Mart) when they build stores and factories.

The end result is destructive to most involved; not just cities, states, and nations either. The 'Job Creators' (blessed be their profits, moar tax cuts!) sacrifice everything for what my market friend (retired) calls Next Quarter Syndrome (NQS). Anything to get that stock bump and take in the cash bonus. They are killing their own markets, but the people in charge now don't have to care. The person in charge 10 years from now will, but PROFIT TODAY!

Who cares if Rome burns? Drink wine and sing songs while it does. Use the infrastructure you refuse to pay for. Have the government feed the workers you won't pay enough to let them eat on their own. You won't have to face the results, so fark it all.

When the infrastructure has faded, and the workers so stupid they need pictographs ot train them, and the cities crumbling, the blessed Job Creators will just move to the next place.
 
2014-04-01 09:39:17 AM  
.....so what?
 
2014-04-01 09:39:56 AM  
Sounds about right.
 
2014-04-01 09:40:03 AM  

inglixthemad: This sucks, but (wait for it) there's a couple thousand exemptions, credits, and write offs available. What Caterpillar is doing is using the infrastructure other people's tax money pays for, and goes shopping for a tax rate. This is similar to what companies do (like Socialist-Mart) when they build stores and factories.


So?

Do you take any tax credits available to you?  Student loans? Mortgage Interest? EITC? Ever buy gas in a different state than where you live.

I hope not.  You need to pay your fair share to be a good citizen.
 
2014-04-01 09:54:10 AM  

MugzyBrown: You need to pay your fair share to be a good citizen.


If a company's CEO did not take advantage of every tax loophole available to the company - I would insist that CEO be fired immediately.  For profit companies exist to make money for their investors.

/and Caterpillar has paid taxes in the form of employment and state taxes so your examples just show you don't know what the let's make out are talking about
 
2014-04-01 09:58:02 AM  

gingerjet: /and Caterpillar has paid taxes in the form of employment and state taxes so your examples just show you don't know what the let's make out are talking about


And fuel taxes and insurance surcharges and property taxes....
 
2014-04-01 10:02:29 AM  

Cubicle Jockey: IronMensan: No dittybopper, they do not "have a positive duty to the shareholers."
They will still seek to minimize taxes, but not because of any legal obligation to the shareholders.

In fact, pracricing "Shareholder" capitalism instead of "Stakeholder" capitalism has resulted in lower returns for investors. What it HAS done, however, is create gigantic salaries/bonuses for corporate management teams.
http://www.salon.com/2011/03/29/failure_of_shareholder_capitalism/


Not to mention, it is unlikely people making comments like the original poster have ever read a Corporation's constitutional documents. The charter/bylaws/etc... doesn't tend to say what they think it says.
 
2014-04-01 10:03:28 AM  

HotIgneous Intruder: dittybopper: But don't just blame Caterpillar, though:  They did this in response to US tax laws.  The tax rate in the US was set high enough that Caterpillar perceived it was in the best interest of the shareholders to move as much profit as possible overseas, so the expected gains from those taxes the US enacted weren't realized in the US, and Switzerland made a bunch of money it didn't make before.

Nonsense.
Cat did it because they could.
Remove the option.
Everybody pays.


Then they move overseas.  I've actually seen that happen with a business I used to work for.  They moved everything overseas, including their headquarters.   So now instead of being a US based company, which they were for over 100 years,  their headquarters are in Ireland instead of St. Louis, MO, and the products they used to make in upstate New York are now manufactured in Mexico.  They moved the HQ to Ireland for lower taxes, and the manufacturing to Mexico for lower labor costs.

I'm not against "Everybody pays", but if you set the percentage high enough, you're slitting your own economic throat.
 
2014-04-01 10:04:15 AM  

gingerjet: For profit companies exist to make money for their investors.


As pointed out in the article I linked earlier, this is both a new concept, and one that is only practicied in a few countries. You will not find this sentiment in any business management textbook more than 30 years old, and you will probably not find it in any rencent book that was first published outside of the anglosphere.

For most of the 20th century in the US, and still in most of Europe and East Asia, companies were considered part of the larger social fabric, and had/have social obligations to that fabric.

The sociopathic corporation is a new development.
 
2014-04-01 10:05:38 AM  

gingerjet: If a company's CEO did not take advantage of every tax loophole available to the company - I would insist that CEO be fired immediately. For profit companies exist to make money for their investors.


Which says nothing in response to the argument that these loopholes should be closed. One can accept that the past tax-dodging was technically legal (the best kind of legal, of course) while believing that future such behavior should be prevented by closing those loopholes.

Some of us have this crazy idea that people who make a large amount of money while enjoying the benefits of our society should be asked to pay a commensurate amount back to support that society. It's this crazy notion we cling to that maybe our country shouldn't be viewed as a resource to be sucked dry by those who came out of the right vaginas and then the husk tossed to the winds of time.

/ the husk of the country
// not of the vaginas
 
2014-04-01 10:06:54 AM  

MugzyBrown: Do you take any tax credits available to you? Student loans? Mortgage Interest? EITC?


Funny you should ask.  I take the obvious ones like mortgage interest, but I'm also aggressively paying down my mortgage at the expense of the tax credit.
Same with student loans.  I benefited from the tax credit for. . . a couple years, I think.  Beyond that it wasn't worth the trouble.
I'm not quite so obsessed with avoiding taxes that I spend hours of my free time burning dollars to save pennies.

Now granted with Caterpillar, avoiding a tax is probably just a simple matter of getting value out of tax lawyers and accountants.  A few million spent on specialists can save a few billion a year, and you have to be mad to walk away from a 1000:1 RoI.
What I don't get is how this turns into dittybopper's bizarre rant about blaming everyone except the guy exploiting the loophole.  Or the guy who lobWIEd for it, for that matter.  The vast majority of the tax code is special interest giveaways.  It's disingenuous to say companies are forced to do something they specifically asked for.
What corporate taxes actually do is hurt competitors -- exploiting loopholes such as this generally requires a minimum size where those experts you hire bring in more savings than they cost, when smaller manufacturers already have to contend with diminished economies of scale.  Bills of Attainder are unconstitutional, but while you can't write "this tax break is by, of and for Caterpillar", you can structure a tax break specifically tailored for a certain business.  The unintended consequence is that other businesses can restructure to exploit the same loophole, but for all their outrage Congress doesn't care.  They're the ones who made the damn thing a law, which makes any -- ANY -- conversation on Capitol Hill about balancing the budget or controlling the deficit as fictional as a sitcom.

Thing is, I only showed up to poke fun at service parts, but I guess we gotta have this thread again.
 
2014-04-01 10:11:48 AM  
dittybopper:
the products they used to make in upstate New York are now manufactured in Mexico.

Let's be fair.  Upstate NY is a dump.

/the Cuse
//hate it
 
2014-04-01 10:14:19 AM  

dittybopper: In the end, if you take a smaller bite out of more corporations you'll get the same amount as if you take larger bites out of fewer, and the upside is that more people in the US will have jobs.  The trick is to find the optimum level where you are taking in enough in taxes, but not so much that you are driving corporations to seek lower costs (which is what taxes are:  a cost).


Each time somebody says this talking point, I like to remind people that Apple negociated a 2% tax rate with Ireland, and still cheated on their taxes to not even pay THAT.
 
2014-04-01 10:14:21 AM  

dittybopper: I'm not against "Everybody pays", but if you set the percentage high enough, you're slitting your own economic throat.


Except I've also seen companies slit their own throats trying to dodge cost boogeymen.

Case in point:  more than one company bled market share by moving their manufacturing or support overseas.  The drop in quality & service outraged their customers, revenue dropped, and the ones that didn't decide they were now a commodity shop reluctantly had to move operations back to the U.S.  And I'm supposed to believe these same fancy lads when they complain about taxes?

Hey some businesses are damn good at it (or very well-connected in D.C.), and hey maybe the company you worked for is doing great as a foreign business, but for every pro-libertarian example you come up with, I can think of a business that shot itself with an obsession to reduce costs by any means.
 
2014-04-01 10:21:23 AM  

skozlaw: Some of us have this crazy idea that people who make a large amount of money while enjoying the benefits of our society should be asked to pay a commensurate amount back to support that society.


I have this crazy idea that it makes no sense for me to pay a higher rate of taxes when I don't get any additional benefit from doing so.
 
2014-04-01 10:35:24 AM  

dittybopper: But don't just blame Caterpillar, though

Oh, I'm not, I'm blaming every short-sighted individual within every corporation who can't see past the tip of their own noses that these cost-saving measures only work if they're the only ones to employ them, meanwhile every single company is doing the exact same thing as we race towards the Tragedy of the Commons.

Honestly, I don't see how capitalism can sustain itself outside of a frontier economy. It works just fine when there is effectively infinite growth potential but in a developed economy it turns into the Ouroboros.

 
2014-04-01 10:51:51 AM  

the opposite of charity is justice: race towards the Tragedy of the Commons.


Which happens typically when there are no clear private property rights.. like from where the term is derived.
 
2014-04-01 10:52:56 AM  
Let me put my MBA cap on and give Caterpillar some much needed advise:

If 85% of your profits come from your Swiss spare parts division, you need to:
1) Shut down all your other divisions,
2) Take out loans against the expected income,
3) Hand out borrowed money to executives as bonuses,
4) Report record earnings for the quarter,
5) Sell the remaining company (Swiss spare parts division) to Komatsu at a discount from the artificially-inflated spiked stock price,
6) Cash in golden parachutes for executives,
7) Set Caterpillar management up in positions on Komatsu board and upper management,
8) Wipe hands on pants, Repeat.

Just send my $50 Million consulting fee via PayPal as a gift payment so Paypal doesn't skim anything off of it.
 
2014-04-01 11:10:55 AM  

Lance Russell's Nose: I have this crazy idea that it makes no sense for me to pay a higher rate of taxes when I don't get any additional benefit from doing so.


So leave. Nobody's making you stay and it's not really that hard to come back and visit if you want to see family and friends now and then.

If you can pick up and go somewhere else with a much lower tax rate and you don't need the U.S.'s strengths to succeed you'd have to be a complete fancy lad to stay, now wouldn't you?

That's the funny thing about people who claim they don't need society and infrastructure to succeed... they never seem willing to prove it by going somewhere that doesn't have those things. At least not until after they've already made all their money and then just want to live off savings and passive investments.

Hmmm... I wonder why that is...
 
2014-04-01 11:11:12 AM  
I can dig it
 
2014-04-01 11:48:14 AM  

NickelP: Yawn. Wake me up when you stop giving brown folks Taft phones and fridges. until then leave the job creators alone.


Is free republic offline today?  I know this is a national holiday for you types, but that seems a little extreme.

//happy holidays!
 
2014-04-01 11:55:04 AM  

Lance Russell's Nose: dittybopper:
the products they used to make in upstate New York are now manufactured in Mexico.

Let's be fair.  Upstate NY is a dump.

/the Cuse
//hate it


The Cuse might be.  Close to Vermont?  Well, more cows than people, but that's nice if you are into the whole rural hunting-fishing-outdoorsy stuff.

/World class trout stream in Washington County.
//I don't fish.
 
2014-04-01 11:59:31 AM  
Want to make a billion dollars overnight?  Forget ponzi schemes like Bitcoin.  Set up a service where individuals can launder their salaries through a country with low/nonexistent taxes.  With enough startup capital, you could bribe, er, lobby enough politicians to finagle some sort of secondary offshore residency for individuals, and allow them to claim this residency to their employer.  Pay all bills online, and use credit/debit cards for as many purchases as possible.  The only money that would be taxed at US rates would be cash withdrawls.

In bulk, this would be far more money than any corporation could pump into a countries economy, and the negotiated tax rates should be as low as any billion dollar industry.
 
2014-04-01 12:04:06 PM  
The important thing all you Farkers are missing is that Caterpillar is a horrible place to work. They actually paid pretty well when I was there, but it was a soul killing place.
 
2014-04-01 12:06:00 PM  

MugzyBrown: inglixthemad: This sucks, but (wait for it) there's a couple thousand exemptions, credits, and write offs available. What Caterpillar is doing is using the infrastructure other people's tax money pays for, and goes shopping for a tax rate. This is similar to what companies do (like Socialist-Mart) when they build stores and factories.

So?

Do you take any tax credits available to you?  Student loans? Mortgage Interest? EITC? Ever buy gas in a different state than where you live.

I hope not.  You need to pay your fair share to be a good citizen.


The difference being I don't play one city (state, nation) against the other. Why should Socialist-Mart (or Commie Club) be exempt from property taxes when they don't even pay their employees enough to shop there? They show people how to file for benefits, all while dodging the taxes that make it possible for those benefits so they can pay less. Then they funnel that money back to the state where they have enough influence to get even more credits, et al. They've gamed the system hard because we let the blessed Job Creators claim moar tax cuts is better. You've got to pay the piper, and a race to the bottom won't result in anything except this country going to sh*t.

In the case of Caterpillar, they're using the infrastructure in one country that's paid for by taxes, but ensuring they don't pay taxes on most of the monies generated there by creating a shell to pay less in a different country that isn't having it's infrastructure utilized. This is a great deal for the latter country, they basically get 15% for near nothing, but a shiatty for the former country whose infrastructure they are using but dodging taxes in.

Incidentally, that last statement (gas in a different state) is fancy ladic. I can't buy gas 'from my state' in Nebraska. I'm going to assume you mean by state borders, but I don't live near a border. That and it would probably take more time than it's worth even if I did.
 
2014-04-01 12:07:15 PM  

Great_Milenko: Want to make a billion dollars overnight?  Forget ponzi schemes like Bitcoin.  Set up a service where individuals can launder their salaries through a country with low/nonexistent taxes.  With enough startup capital, you could bribe, er, lobby enough politicians to finagle some sort of secondary offshore residency for individuals, and allow them to claim this residency to their employer.  Pay all bills online, and use credit/debit cards for as many purchases as possible.  The only money that would be taxed at US rates would be cash withdrawls.

In bulk, this would be far more money than any corporation could pump into a countries economy, and the negotiated tax rates should be as low as any billion dollar industry.


Or you could let employees opt-out of social security and receive an immediate 7% raise and the employer saves 7% as well.

My 401k would enjoy an additional 7%
 
2014-04-01 12:13:39 PM  

inglixthemad: The difference being I don't play one city (state, nation) against the other.


No? Would you ever shop for a house and look at the property tax rate for one town vs another?

Would you turn down a new job if it was located in a city that had a higher local wage tax?


inglixthemad: I can't buy gas 'from my state' in Nebraska. I'm going to assume you mean by state borders,


MugzyBrown: Ever buy gas in a different state



FYI people in eastern PA often fill up in NJ when in the state because gas taxes are a good .20+ cheaper in NJ.  People often go to DE when making a large purchase because they'll save 6-7% sales tax.

I just this weekend while in NJ filled up my tank.  I also purchased beer in NJ to avoid the 18% Johnstown Flood Tax in PA.   I could have been fined $10 per bottle!

I'm so evil not paying for the crumbled infrastructure I 'enjoy'
 
2014-04-01 12:17:14 PM  

the opposite of charity is justice: Oh, I'm not, I'm blaming every short-sighted individual within every corporation who can't see past the tip of their own noses that these cost-saving measures only work if they're the only ones to employ them, meanwhile every single company is doing the exact same thing as we race towards the Tragedy of the Commons.


I note your lack of mention of government.

Not that government regulation of business per se is a bad thing, but you're a fool if you don't think there isn't any effect on business because of it.  And if you go too far towards increasing the costs for businesses when other places have lower costs, than just like water running downhill businesses will tend to gravitate towards places with fewer costs.

And I don't know why you expect people to see past the tips of their own noses.  Politicians are no different than businessmen in that regard:  They just have a slightly different motivation.

Sure, there are exceptions in both fields, but they tend to be rare.  I mean, if you look to almost all of human history, people tend to be looking out for themselves.

So why not *USE* that tendency instead of fighting against it?
 
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