Okay, this isn’t only about Facebook, but it seems there’s a tax loophole that allows publicly traded companies to decrease their taxes for the difference between what the employees pay for the stock and what it’s worth — when an employee exercises their stock options. It’s entirely legal (Hell, Wall Street lobbyist most like wrote the bill that allows this). Facebook has taken advantage of this loophole, and didn’t pay any state or federal tax AND got money back from the government to the tune of $451 million.
So Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the other social networks get people to voluntarily give up their personal information about their likes so advertising can be sold back them. The quid pro quo is that we (the users) get a place to post details about our lives for our “friends” to see (and by “friends” that includes the social network you use). We happily enjoy our Likes, comments, +1s, and Favored Tweets for all the fleeting joy they bring us, and the social network mines that data to sell to advertisers who are hungry to sell their stuff to us. In turn, social networking companies makes lots and lots of cash from advertisers who get accesses to social network users; users who freely give them access to their profiles, pictures, comments, chat sessions, Like pages and so forth. Oh, and these companies pay zero taxes AND get a huge refund from the government.
Most people who work for a living see their paychecks shrink each year because of healthcare costs, the cost of food, gasoline, utilities, and the like. Sure, you might get a tax refund from the government not because of a loophole, but because the amount taken out of your paycheck each pay period was estimated higher than it should be. Oh, and the government services many of us rely on (i.e., Social Security, Medicare, and the like) are to blame for bankrupting the country?
Facebook (and other companies like them) pay zero (that’s ZERO) taxes AND get a sizable amount of money back from the government, and they’re not to blame for the lack of money state and federal governments spend on its citizens? Remember when Mitt Romney said that there are 47% of Americans who are takers, don’t pay any taxes, just want their government programs and won’t vote Republican no matter what? Does that 47% include Facebook? Maybe so. Since, as Mitt says “Corporations are people, my friend” I suppose the person known as “Facebook” is living large off of government largess.
Must be nice.