Buffett gets a break on fee
By BRODY MULLINS
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has argued that wealthier Americans should pay more to Washington, a rallying cry that has become a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
But NetJets Inc., the private-jet company owned by Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., spent more than $1 million over the past three years to lobby Congress to cut a user fee, benefiting the company’s well-heeled customers, who buy or lease shares in planes. The reduced fee, part of the recent Federal Aviation Administration bill that took effect earlier this month, will save customers of NetJets and other similar companies roughly $83 million over about four years, according to congressional estimates.
The lobbying victory comes as Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats are using Mr. Buffett’s comments to criticize the likely Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who paid a relatively low federal tax rate of 13.9% for 2010. Last year, Mr. Buffett called it unfair that wealthy investors often face lower effective tax rates than their secretaries, largely because capital gains are taxed at lower rates than salaried income.
More at the link. But it should also be noted here that NetJets, which Mr Buffett is expanding into China, is being sued by the federal government for unpaid taxes:
Private Jets, Buffett and Taxes
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Get this: Uncle Sam is suing Warren Buffett’s company over taxes. Yes, taxes.
The United States government, in a little-followed case in Ohio, filed a lawsuit this month against a unit of Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, seeking $366 million in taxes and penalties. The Berkshire division at the center of the suit is NetJets, the private-aircraft company that caters to the nation’s wealthiest — the people Mr. Buffett says should pay more in taxes.
It is an odd twist that a company controlled by Mr. Buffett — perhaps the most outspoken businessman in the country in support of raising taxes on the “mega-rich” — is now in a dispute with the government over his company’s paying too little in taxes.
If I tried to make up a story about greater hypocrisy, I think I’d fail.