The Tax Issues — Including Permanent Tax Deferrals — Pfizer Lobbied For, Spending $2.38 M In-House, In Q3 2015

By my lights, this lobbying disclosure is about two months overdue. Late. That’s doubly important, given that Ian Read proposes to renounce his company’s US tax domicile, by purchasing an “in name only” Irish domiciled public company (Allergan).

Pfizer has finally indicated what it was asking after — hat in hand — from the halls of our federal government, in the way of tax preferences, in Q3 2015. It spent $2.38 million, just in in-house funds — before third party lobbyists were hired. This is all particularly galling, given that it was planning, in essentially the same moment, to effectively exit the domestic US corporate income tax system. But still it seeks welfare — tax welfare, to be precise. Here it is, in pertinent part:

. . . .[Tax] Deferral; Comprehensive Tax Reform; Territorial Systems [of Taxation]; Tax Extenders; Patent Innovation Box; Cadillac [Healthcare Plan] Tax. . . .

I’ll have more on this — when time permits. But make no mistake, by a wide margin, the biggest recipients of our tax entitlement programs — about which the Republicans regularly complain — are not single moms, but are, in fact. . . multinational companies, now sheltering tens of billions in revenue, offshore.

They are deferring (perhaps forever), the payment of taxes on those revenues — by manipulating intellectual property licenses, between controlled companies, to show only losses, inside the US. This, even though it is clear that the US purchasers of these drugs pay three to ten times what people elsewhere in the world pay for the very same products. How can it be, in any rational economic model, that the cheap drug/low tax countries (Ireland, and Benelux, for example) show profits in the multinational chain of subsidiaries, while the expensive drug geography (the US parent company) shows only losses — or a token profit? How can that be?

It is certainly true that US corporate taxes are in need of reform, system wide. But in the mean time, Mr. Read games them rather than working for reform.

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