I smell a couple of amazing public relations opportunities in the works here. The timing is perfect. Obama has created a public dialogue on US tax inverting companies. “I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong!” Mark Cuban is now speaking out.
Mark Cuban on Tax Inversions: If You Move Overseas, I’m Selling Your Stock http://t.co/TrOpj4SnSY
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 25, 2014
Ever the brilliant PR manager, and certainly an outspoken businessperson, Cuban is right to make a stir. The practice of pushing around international accounting numbers to avoid a heavy American tax burden is nuts. In the aggregate, it weakens the US and individual Americans. It contributes big time to income disparity. And is down right unethical.
Maybe I’m being an ignorant boob, but what if it became really popular to pay corporate taxes. What if a big American company, like Apple or Google, came out and promoted the fact that they DO NOT hire expensive accountants to evade billions of dollars in taxes each year. That they owned their tax contribution as a badge of honour instead of as something to keep completely hidden from the public.
“We are a proud American company. We believe thoroughly in the United States of America. And we know that in order to contribute to the financial well-being of the country today and for the foreseeable future, we have to pay our fair share of taxes, and refuse silly subsidies.”
Like big oil companies that take subsidies form American government in the form of billions of dollars, rake home billions in profits, and then don’t pay taxes because of bogus loopholes. It’s silly, plain and simple. These balances of billions of dollars could help build up the country’s infrastructure, be invested in scientific research, education, health-care. Let’s be honest, the list of places where I would rather see a billion dollars is incredibly long vis-a-vis some rich oil tycoon’s pocket.
Am I crazy to think that if a big company made an announcement that they were paying all of their taxes this year, instead of hiding money in caves across the world, that they would be hit with a massive boost in popularity and likely a massive boost in sales? Do American citizens hate their government so much that this wouldn’t play? Maybe. That notion aside, what about a big public works project that pitted real profits and real revenue against what a corporation should be paying in taxes. Like a website that simply showed these stats. Applauding those companies that adequately contribute to the health and wellness of the government. And shaming companies that worked magic and international accounting/tax arbitrage to bilk the American government of billions and billions of dollars.
Anyway. Rant over. Thanks for reading.