Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tax Fact of the Day:35 IRS Agents at XOM Full-Time

On a blogger conference call yesterday with API and ExxonMobil, Jaime Spellings,Vice President and General Tax Counsel for ExxonMobil said:

"And the IRS – we have a permanent team of 35 IRS agents who live here year-round.You know, we accommodate them, we deal with them every single day."

Seems like that would pretty much guarantee that ExxonMobil pays "its fair share of taxes."


At 5/10/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Well..or, pretty much guarantees they will end up working for Exxon, directly or otherwise. The regulated ere long control the regulators, in this country.

BTW, I think the corporate income tax, now a minor source of federal income tax revenue, should be deep-sixed entirely, replaced by general sales tax, or gasoline tax.

Imagine the lawyers and accountants put out of business.

At 5/10/2011 3:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Imagine the lawyers and accountants put out of business."

And, those 35 IRS agents at XOM.

At 5/10/2011 4:15 PM, Blogger hideflolife said...

You mean, objective, like embedded journalists during wars?

At 5/10/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

I'm sure they pay their "Legal" share.

It was quite legal when the oil producing countries changed the word "royalty" to "income tax."

It's legal that they transfer most of their profits to offshore subsidiaries, and thus delay the taxes on those profits till the end of time.

They're regular "legal beagles."

At 5/10/2011 4:29 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

In the 1990's a WSJ op-ed said that the IRS occupied an entire floor at Chrysler headquarters.

At 5/10/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Those millions of dollars of contributions they make to our thieving politicians are perfectly legal.

As far as "fair?"

At 5/10/2011 4:46 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Imagine if one year those IRS agents were paid a percent of taxes levied at Exxon.

At 5/10/2011 4:51 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

"...permanent team of 35 IRS agents who live here year-round."

Do they bunk with the regulators?

At 5/10/2011 8:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"...permanent team of 35 IRS agents who live here year-round."

Do they bunk with the regulators?

Don't ask don't tell.

At 5/11/2011 5:36 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Benjamin: "The regulated ere long control the regulators, in this country."

And yet som many people in this country never seem to get tired of calling for more regulators to protect them from the regulated.

At 5/11/2011 7:42 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

I took a tour of a distillery once, and there was a house on site for the federal revenuer. An actual house where a federal goober lived to make sure all the tax money was collected and paid. I wonder how long until every office and factory in the country has one of those.

At 5/11/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger morganovich said...


can you show me one company that pays more taxes and higher rates than XOM?

seriously, try it.

i'll bet that you cannot.

you act as though they are getting some kind of free ride when, in fact, they are likely the most highly taxed company in America.

they are taxed (by the US) in numerous ways that non oil companies are not. far from getting a break, they are getting additional taxes.

have you ever even looked at their income statement/10K?

they already pay something like 70% of pretax income in various taxes.

they paid 29bn in sales taxes, 36bn in duties, and then 22bn in income tax.

pretax income was 118bn. so sales taxes and duties were 55% of income.

then, they paid 22bn in income tax on the 53bn in income remaining after the other taxes, a 42% income tax rate.

put all together, they paid 74% of income in taxes.

can you seriously want to raise that?

if you are looking for a company dodging taxes, this is not it.

again, i defy you to find any company in the world that pays this much in tax at this high a rate.

sure, not all of it goes to the US, but XOM doe a lot of business in the rest of the world. they don't own the land they get oil from and have to pay governments for it. that's how business works. nothing the US can do will change that. macys does not have to pay new york sales tax on a store in connecticut. that's even a weaker example that what happens with XOM. to drill in nigeria, you have to be a nigerian company. XOM is FORCED to create a subsidiary there. as a result, they pay HIGHER taxes. they are not tax system shopping, they are being extorted by the governments that control the resource they seek to recover. you act like they a a thief when in fact they are the victim. they pay MORE taxes as a result, not less. can you possibly believe they would do this if they had any choice? you think they'd rather pay 45% to some african despot than 35% to the US? get real rufus. your repeating the same flawed logic over and over gets tiresome.

your whole meaningless argument basically boils down to you wanting the US to collect the taxes that are levied by other governments. that's foolish and naive. do you think that XOM would be allowed to drill and pump in those place if they didn't pay those taxes? be serious.

sop what is it you want to do? double tax them until they pay a 90% tax rate? tell them they cannot drill in nigeria? send gunboats to force nigeria to let XOM drill and not charge taxes? seriously, have you thought this thorough at all?

XOM would LOVE to pay exclusively US income taxes. it would make their accounting easier and lower their tax rate. they have a fleet of tax lawyers etc. you think if there was a way to do this they would not have found it? your whole argument is totally inconsistent in this respect. if they are such brilliant and nefarious tax avoiders, why are they paying income tax at a rate 7 points higher than the US maximum?

At 5/11/2011 8:47 AM, Blogger Bumper said...

..."I wonder how long until every office and factory in the country has one of those."
They all ready do. It's called the Finance Department.
They're also the unpaid bill collectors for the government. The treasury does not pay for the service.

At 5/11/2011 9:58 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Imagine that! Having to deal with 35 federal government parasites every day...

At 5/11/2011 10:38 AM, Blogger juandos said...

From the CEI: Ten Thousand Commandments - An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State - 2010 Edition

A very rough extrapolation from an evaluation of the federal regulatory enterprise by economist Mark Crain estimates that annual regulatory compliance costs hit $1.187 trillion in 2009...

At 5/11/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...


Kudos, sir.

At 5/11/2011 12:19 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...


Thank you. I notice libs like making broad, sweeping generalizations that are long on demagoguery and short on facts and evidence. Yours is the best refutation I have seen in a long while.

At 5/11/2011 2:55 PM, Blogger Mike said...


Would I be wrong to say that raising the tax burden on oil companies would do absolutely nothing but raise consumer prices (meaning that we actually pay any tax hike)?
It seems that higher taxes on oil companies would hurt the smaller groups (creating less exploration and production) and that tax rate would inevitably get pushed down the line to the pump.
I see any tax break or subsidy the oil companies get as being more of a subsidy for consumers rather than producers in the long run.

I can only imagine the unnecessary work that 35 IRS agents create for XOM. Maybe the feds should reduce that number by 34, focus on just making sure there isn't any collusion and our prices might actually fall.

At 5/11/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Their job is not to make Exxon pay taxes. They only enforce the tax law, which may allow Exxon to not pay any.

If they were on commission, it would not make any difference.

I once worked for a company that had 40 or so people permanently on site at IRS, just to keep the software up to date.

In nay case, that many people spending that much time just to collect taxes is silly.

Nixon was right "The tax code is a disgrace to the human race."


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