31 January 2004


Death and taxes got you down? Why not incorporate? Not only can Your Name Corp. outlive you, but as a corporate entity, you can join the more than 60 percent of U.S. businesses that pay no income tax at all. Welcome to the corporate world, where profits were up 8.9 percent last year [2000], but corporations paid 2.1 percent less in income taxes.

The Treasury Department says the problem of corporate tax evasion is "unacceptable and growing." And while it's difficult to document an absence of taxable income, the circumstantial evidence is compelling: Large corporations reported $119 billion less income to the IRS than they did to shareholders in 1996, the last year examined in a recent Treasury report. Of course, such creative bookkeeping is not risk-free: Both UPS and Compaq got busted last year for using illicit tax shelters. But getting nabbed is the exception to the rule. Odds against the IRS auditing a large corporation this year: 100-to-1. —.:Tim Dickinson:.

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