How Transfomers and SpongeBob Cost Taxpayers $4 Billion

Someone’s telling a story here, and it’s either those that have found out that ViacomCBS has been avoiding paying their share of taxes for years or ViacomCBS itself. The thing is that ViacomCBS almost sounds as though they’ve been put on the defensive, which isn’t entirely inactive of guilt, but is curious since if there’s nothing to hide then it should be fairly easy to make quick work of such a rumor. But the idea that the company, which is the parent company for Paramount, which also has franchises such as Spongebob Squarepants and the Transformers under their collective belt, is shuffling their profits around from place to place to avoid paying taxes, makes it easy to lose faith in them as they continue to deny what’s going on. This is what was said in a report about the issue of tax shelters that ViacomCBS has been using, as per MovieWeb:

“Media companies like Disney, Netflix and ViacomCBS produce digital content such as television shows, movies and subscription channels. All of these intangible ‘goods’ are protected by intellectual property rights (IPs), and they are represented as intangible assets on the balance sheet. By nature, intangible assets are easily relocated from one jurisdiction to another. This means that companies that rely on intangible assets can easily shift a large part of their global profits to tax havens, where most of their profits remain untaxed. As this report will show, the international rules for the taxation of multinational companies have not been adjusted to the economics of value creation through intangible assets.”

In other words, the idea is that ViacomCBS hasn’t been paying a dime toward taxes on the profits they’ve been making from some of their biggest franchises and that as many people should know is kind of a big no-no since everyone is expected to pay in to Uncle Sam one way or another. That also means that someone else has had to pick up the slack when big companies such as this aren’t paying into the pool and that usually ends up falling to the taxpayers, the same folks that go to see the movies that ViacomCBS is responsible for and is soaking up the profits from. Now granted, the movie industry is insanely expensive since not only do the actors pull down enormous salaries that are, honestly, pretty ridiculous, but making the movies, paying for the effects, and then having to pay everyone else that’s involved can be a hassle.

But with the billions that the franchises have made one would think that it would be possible for ViacomCBS to actually look at the profits and think that they could kick in their fair share since otherwise, they might as well send out letters to each of their fans saying “Thanks for picking up our tab”. It sounds short-sighted, right? Some are bound to argue that such an attitude doesn’t take into account everything that ViacomCBS and other companies have to deal with and blah, blah, blah. The fact is, no one goes into their business without thinking that they’re going to have spend some money to make it work. The only difference here appears to be that ViacomCBS apparently thinks that they can make it appear that they’re paying out what they should when in reality they’re having to hold the door behind them closed on account of the money might spill out if they moved aside. This is actually what the company had to say in their own statement:

“It is filled with mischaracterizations, material omissions and numerous false claims. ViacomCBS fulfils its tax obligations in all 180-plus countries and the territories we operate, and all of our revenues, including those identified in this report, are fully taxed in relevant jurisdictions around the world, including the United States, as required by applicable law.”

That might not be too hard to accept save for the fact that ViacomCBS has been opening up other companies that reportedly don’t have a single employee in them, and has been opening several such companies for a little while now. It would appear that they’re fond of playing the shell game and sticking their lawyers in front to palm the hidden information they don’t want anyone seeing. The only trouble with this is that apparently the information might have gotten away from them, and now they’re attempting to claim that it wasn’t the real information, that it was what people wanted to see and what they wanted to be true. If not for the idea that this is something that liars tend to say, it might be possible to believe the company. It’s easy to bend the laws and skirt past certain rules when one can grease the right palms and keep their profits away from prying eyes. But if any of this is true it would mean that ViacomCBS might be looking at a pretty big hit, IF there’s any justice.

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