Walton Family Rips Off the Rest of Us, Again

The Wal-Mart heirs, who make up the world’s richest family by far, are expected to collectively dodge as much as $180.6 million in federal income taxes, thanks to aggressive pursuit of tax benefits set to expire Dec. 31, 2012.

In a move that received little attention due to the Black Friday Strike coverage, the Wal-Mart board announced Nov. 19 that it will rush payment of its quarterly dividend, giving shareholders their bonuses on Dec. 27, instead of Jan. 2 as previously scheduled, reports the New York Times.

The date change means the Walton family (who together own 48% of Wal-Mart) and other shareholders will claim those earnings at the current dividends tax rate of 15%.

The Walton family’s 2012 take of the pie is estimated at a combined $636 million. After taxes, the Walton family should net $540.6 million from the Dec. 27 payment, saving the family $180.6 million over paying the taxes next year as scheduled (based on figures tax attorney Kenneth K. Bezozo supplied to the New York Times).

If Obama gets his way and the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich expire by Dec. 31, the income/dividends tax rate for wealthy individuals will reset to the pre-Bush-era level of 39.6%. In addition, the health reform bill is partially supported by an additional 3.8% tax on investment income, nudging the total potential tax rate for the wealthy to 43.4%, which is 28.4% higher than the current dividends rate.

The three Walton family members who sit on Wal-Mart’s board recused themselves from the vote, which doesn’t seem to deflect much suspicion about who’s backing the tax avoidance action. Each of the Walton family board members will make tens of millions off the early dividend payment.

Keep in mind that these people do not need a tax break. Instead, they should readjust their notions of what’s fair considering American consumers, workers, land grants, and infrastructure made them rich. The Walton family, who pay most of their workers minimum wage with sparse benefits, have a combined wealth of $102.7 billion, which is 49% GREATER than the wealth of the #1 richest person in the world (Carlos Slim, worth $69 billion according to Forbes).

Of course, Wal-Mart isn’t the only company calculating an advantage from this one-time tax break; more than 100 public companies are expected to do so — among them is Wynn Resorts. You may remember pre-election coverage of CEO Steve Wynn, who sent his employees a 67-page “voter guide” urging them to vote for pre-selected conservative Republican candidates. Wynn, who owns 10% of Wynn Resorts, also is leading his board in releasing an early dividend payment. Wynn should net an after-tax sum of $64 million from the $750 million total dividend, saving an estimated $21.3 million in federal taxes, compared with receiving the dividend in Jan. 2013.

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3 comments on “Walton Family Rips Off the Rest of Us, Again

  1. dave house says:

    1. It’s Not your money, not mine;
    2. If you were a Walton, why would you throw away $200M? Really, if you were an altruistic, philanthrophic Walton [not like Sam], would you let $200M go into the infinite hole that Obama’s created, knowing your money would be wasted on half a day’s interest payments [because of our $16 TRILLION debt...]?

    That would be stupid in any sense, regardless of how much or how little we’re talking about.

    • bhypes says:

      Obviously you understand the economic dynamic at play here. The Walton family hoards all that money while under-paying their work force and providing no or minimal benefits. So that they can keep all that money in Bentonville, the rest of us pay taxes that provide their workers with food stamps, housing subsidies, medicaid, free school lunches for their kids, etc. In short, the Waltons are collecting from us twice so they don’t have to pay out anymore in labor costs than absolutely required. We pay for inferior made in China junk that steals our jobs, and we pay so that their workers can eke out the barest of livings in this land of plenty.

      • dave house says:

        1. Thank Clinton for NAFTA, WTO… neither good ideas for US;
        2. As for Chinese “junk”, I’m not sure that the quality is necessarily lower than comparably priced American…
        3. That Walmart doesn’t pay well but does pay steady for 1.5M is good, though it could be better…. just not a market reality… those are not trained positions, and Walmart has survived while most of their competitors are gone or seriously reduced because that’s what those jobs pulldown…
        4. They netted 3% on $446B in revenues… not much, and lost money 2 of the last 3 years [ebita]… They are not, then, keeping tons o’ dough in Bentonville.
        5. As for our entitlement society picking up the tab if only one parent/adult in a household is working, and working at Walmart, yeah, $15K is poverty is most parts of the country — even Arkansas, I think… and instead of voting in a team that knows how to run a budget And a state, we voted for yoyo-man who has a) no record of accomplishment, and b) no plan, other than converting us to a Muslim-friendly Marxist state… kinda tough to fix anything when you start with that premise…

        Sorry to say I don’t think Walmart is a bad guy, it does provide goods the American populace can afford, gosh, it even sells AR-15s! :)

        The class warfare crap that Obama put out is really toxic: that living on a no-skill Walmart retail job doesn’t cut it is true and tough, and, thankfully, we still have a seriously progressive tax system [none of those employees pay ANY federal taxes past payroll], and we do have low-income safety nets — just as Mr. Romney observed…

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