Friday, February 28, 2014

The Myth of No Corporate Taxes

This post originally appeared on Verizon's Public Policy blog site:

Verizon filed its 10K at the SEC last night. It’s available here – all 92,611 words.

Several years ago, when I took on responsibilities for Verizon financial communications, a senior accountant advised me that all information of relevance to an investor is contained in the company’s 10K filing.

“There’s not a question you’ll be asked this year where the answer won’t be found somewhere in the 10K,” she advised.

She was right. I’ve come to view these filings as the corporate version of an AMA, with every bit of information that’s disclosed having been personally attested to, under force of law, by the CEO and CFO -- and independently audited.

So how much does Verizon pay in taxes?

Search the company’s 10K for the number “3,786” and you will land on a table showing that Verizon paid nearly $3.8 billion in taxes in 2013 -- $422 million in income taxes, $1.282 billion in employment taxes, and $2.082 billion in property and other taxes.

This is the disclosure of cash taxes paid by Verizon last year. It’s the total of everything – the net amount after any and all pluses and minuses – in the more than 140,000 tax compliance filings that Verizon made in 2013. That’s about 6,000 income tax filings in various jurisdictions, and 135,000 property tax and other tax-compliance filings.

If you’d like more information, please see the more-detailed information in Verizon’s 10K, or the one-page summary posted here [PDF].