GE – “We Bring Good Things to Life”

I saw in the news today that General Electric filed a 57,000 page tax return.


Not surprisingly they paid no taxes.


Let’s put that into perspective. The return, if printed out would stack 19 foot high. It would weigh 570 pounds, and the paper alone would have cost $330.60 (sale price at OfficeMax). If GE filed paper copies and broke the return into 500 page packs, printed their own mailing labels with postage (it’s cheaper than mailing at the post office) the postage would have been about $600.00.


I have to wonder.


GEs tax return was undoubtedly completed by an army of CPAs and lawyers. If they fully allocated the costs associated with this tax return they would have to include a variety of items:


1. Tax experts to locate existing tax law loopholes

2. Lobbyists to work with Congress to get additional loopholes

3. Managers to devise business practices that would take advantage of loopholes

4. CPAs & Lawyers to prepare tax return

5. Computers, copiers, administrative support for the tax preparation department (you’d expect most of experts at this level to have a staff)

6. Meetings to discuss progress and resolve questions with the tax return

7. Coffee, doughnuts and refreshments for the meetings (Okay, I’m going overboard here)

8. Damage control and marketing to counter the negative publicity of GE paying no taxes


Would it have been cheaper just to pay the taxes?


Just wondering. It’s something to think about while you watch NBC (owned by GE) under a GE CFL lightbulb (made in China.)


P.S. At first I was frustrated when GE moved its Medical X-Ray business from Milwaukee to China. Now I figure it’s better for GE to not pay Chinese taxes than for it to not pay U.S. taxes.

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