Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Tax Avoidance, by the Numbers

Guess who is left to pay Microsoft's and BIll's bills

Debt and demand



Summary: Another up-to-date look at how Microsoft loots the American public

SEVERAL readers have independently brought to our attention this post from Slashdot, which reiterates old facts about Microsoft's tax avoidance.

"With Washington State facing a billion-dollar biennial budget deficit, the spotlight again shifts to Microsoft's software licensing office in Reno, Nevada. 'Although the majority of its software development is performed in Washington State, Microsoft records its estimated $18 billion in licensing revenue per year through a corporate office in Reno, Nevada where there is no licensing tax. Just by enforcing the state's existing tax law from 2008 onwards, we could reduce Washington's revenue shortfall by more than 70 percent. Alternately, we could pursue the entire $707 million from Microsoft's thirteen years of tax dodging and cover most of the expected deficit going forward.' We have discussed Microsoft's creative capitalism in the past."


Here is the main source referenced by Slashdot. It states its case by citing some older reports and connecting them to contemporary trends and figures.

Last week, the Seattle Times reported that Washington State's tax revenue is expected to decline by $238 million creating a $430 million shortfall in the biennial budget. The deficit is expected to grow further as a result of "rising demand for state services and other factors". Luckily, there is an easy way to shore up our finances - ask Attorney General Rob McKenna to begin enforcing the state's existing tax law on software licensing.

Over the past thirteen years, I estimate that Microsoft has avoided paying more than $707 million in B & O taxes on sales of its corporate software licenses (see Citizen Microsoft and Microsoft's $528 million Washington tax break ). Although the majority of its software development is performed in Washington State, Microsoft records its estimated $18 billion in licensing revenue per year through a corporate office in Reno, Nevada where there is no licensing tax.


For more information about Microsoft's practices, see previous posts on the subject, including:



More recently we showed that Steve Ballmer is blackmailing Obama to protect this status quo. Until people stand up and demand change, nothing is likely to magically correct itself. This whole taxation game characterises not just Microsoft's finances in the United States but also elsewhere (accounting in Ireland, as outlined in prior posts) and the personal finances of Bill Gates. Microsoft and Gates rely heavily on people's ignorance not only when it comes to technical computing matters.

"My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes."

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

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