Here’s one thing we have in common with Facebook: we’re both waiting on our tax refund checks. Here’s where we are different: they’re waiting on a $429 million check and we are not.
According to The Atlantic, Markie Mark’s Facebook should expect damn near a half-billion dollar check coming their way despite raking in $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits last year. Oh and they’re probably not going to pay any state or federal taxes either. How is this at all possible? Take it away, Atlantic!
Because of the way Facebook treats stock options distributed to investors and employees instead of cash compensation on its balance sheets, the company is able to claim paying a tax liability worth hundreds of millions of dollars when the reality is they’re getting paid.
You won’t find any $429 million tax refund in Facebook’s financial statements. Indeed, the company says it had a $559 million federal tax liability in 2012. But that liability isn’t an actual payment. In a footnote, the company also said that it had a $1.03 billion “excess tax benefit” last year related to “stock option exercises and other equity awards.” That benefit is what flips the federal tax liability into a refund. (A small portion is applied against state taxes.)
A much simpler answer could’ve been, “This is America.”
H/T: The Atlantic