Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett Has No Use for Auditors

In one instance at least!  Here's a little anecdote courtesy of the ubiquitous Business Insider: [I]n 1984, Berkshire highlighted its purchase of Nebraska Furniture Mart [in its annual letter to investors]. Buffett was a huge fan of NFM's chairman, the 91-year-old Rose Blumkin, who he affectionately referred to as "Mrs. B." Here's an excerpt: I […]

Warren Buffett & Friends Talking Estate Tax Policy Now

A group of wealthy people that includes Warren Buffett, George Soros and former President Jimmy Carter is pressing Congress to roll back estate tax parameters, saying the current set-up leaves “too much revenue on the table.” The group of roughly three dozen people released a statement on Tuesday calling for both the current estate tax exemption […]

Who Else Is Repeating Their Tax Rhetoric Today?

“You might have heard of this,” Obama said in his remarks, before a crowd of faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University. “But Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.” [The Hill, Earlier]

Warren Buffett Has No Problem Backing the Buffett Rule

The Oracle said as much in a letter to Buffett Rule scribe, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): Billionnaire investor Warren Buffet said in a letter Wednesday that he was “delighted” to support legislation to implement the “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that those making over $1 million annually pay at least a 30 percent effective tax […]

Chris Christie *Knows* That Warren Buffett Is Man of Means and Capability

That's a nice way of putting it, anyway. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who called for the nation’s wealthiest people to pay more taxes, should “just write a check and shut up.” “I’m tired of hearing about it,” Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that aired last night. “If […]

Grover Norquist Has a Solution to Warren Buffett’s Problem

RELATED: I'm starting to think that ol' Grover is purposely spelling the Oracle's surname incorrectly.  [@GroverNorquist, Earlier, Earlier]

Everybody Relax, Warren Buffett’s Secretary Is Not Making Six Figures

Earlier we discussed how Warren Buffett's secretary and glory hog, Debbie Bosanek, has become a poster child for all of us that have effective tax rates higher than those of wealthy dudes like her boss and GOP Presidential cyborg Mitt Romney. This has caused a number of people to freak out and start wondering aloud how […]

Everyone in Warren Buffett’s Office Pays a Higher Tax Rate Than He Does, Says His Secretary Who Is Obviously Stealing All the Glory

The fact that O^3's effective tax rate is probably lower than yours and mine is pretty ridiculous. We have Congress to thank for that. But this secretary thing is getting played. Why does she get all the attention? Why did she get to go to the State of the Union? I mean she seems like […]

Warren Buffett Takes a Burlesque Approach to Releasing Tax Return Info

The Oracle of O proves to be a master tease artist:

In a letter to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp Tuesday, Buffett revealed that his adjusted gross income last year was $62,855,038 and that his taxable income was $39,814,784.

Buffett said he paid $15,300 in payroll taxes. Buffett also said his federal income tax bill came to $6,923,494, or 17.4% of his taxable income — two points he revealed in a New York Times op-ed in August urging Congress to tax the wealthy more.

In another act of twirling his pasties, WB repeated his challenge to all his fellow “ultra-rich” peers to whip out their tax returns. Not sure if the OWS gang has jumped on this band wagon yet but it’s worth putting out there.

Buffett made $62,855,038 last year [CNN via Felix Salmon]

Warren Buffett Dares Rupert Murdoch to Whip It Out

His tax return, people. His tax return. Remember last week when the Journal told O^3 he should put up or shut up since he’s so gung ho about increasing taxes on the ultra-rich? Well, he sure does and he seemed delighted when someone asked him about it today:

Asked about the editorial on Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Buffett said he was willing to release his tax returns, on one condition: “I think it might be a terrific idea if they would just ask their boss, Rupert Murdoch, and he and I will meet at Fortune, and we’ll both give you our tax returns and you can publish them,” Buffett said. “I’m ready tomorrow morning,” he added.

Your move, Rupes.

Buffett challenges Murdoch on tax returns [CNN]

Warren Buffett Would Like to Clarify His Feelings on The Buffett Rule

“It isn’t [my idea] to have the rich pay more taxes. It’s to have the ultra-rich pay more,” he said on Bloomberg Television Friday. “It isn’t to have the rich pay more taxes. It’s to have the ultra-rich who are paying very low tax rates pay more taxes. There’s all kinds of ultra-rich who pay normal taxes, but there is a small segment–but you can find them very easily–who pay very low taxes, including me. People who make money with money only pay very low taxes at very high levels of income. … What I’m talking about would probably apply to 50,000 people out of 310 million in the country. [BBR/The Hill]

Let This Be a Lesson to All Billionaires That Give the Thumbs-up to a ‘Rule’ with Their Name Attached to It

The GOP is making a concerted effort to pressure billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett to release his tax returns to the public. Republicans say Buffett — the public face of Obama’s proposed “Buffett rule” to increase taxes on the wealthy — needs to reveal his finances if his views on tax rates are going to serve as the basis for Obama administration policy. “Will Warren Buffett release his tax returns so we can see why he should be the standard for tax policy?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) questioned in a tweet Thursday. “If he’s going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, yeah, let’s look at it [his tax returns],” Cornyn told ABC News. [OTM/The Hill]

Berkshire Hathaway: Wall St. Journal Is Wrong About Our Taxes on Bank of America Deal

Last week, folksy octogenarian (81 years today!) billionaire Warren Buffett announced that he was going to invest $5 billion in Bank of America. Some are questioning The Oracle’s intentions with this investment but considering WB came up with the idea in a place where all good ideas originate – the tub – it’s plausible that this investment will turn out okay for Berkshire shareholders (isn’t that the point?).

Regardless, some don’t think a guy who says that he doesn’t want to be “coddled” and needs – nay, WANTS! – to pay higher taxes shouldn’t be throwing around money and should just put his money where his Blizzardhole is. Accordingly, The Wall St. Journal published an editorial today accusing Buffett of being a little dodgy when it comes to Berkshire’s tax liability as it relates to his BofA investment.

Mr. Buffett’s recent decision to invest in Bank of America represents another tax-avoidance triumph for the Berkshire chief executive. U.S. corporations are subject to a top federal income tax rate of 35%, the second highest in the world. But the Journal’s Erik Holm notes [Ed. note: Thanks for linking!] that Mr. Buffett and the Berkshire bunch won’t pay anything close to that on their investment in BofA preferred shares.

That’s because corporations can exclude from taxation 70% of the dividends they receive from an investment in another corporation. This exclusion is intended to prevent double- or even triple-taxation as money is earned by one company, paid to another company and then ultimately paid out to shareholders. The policy makes sense; we only wonder why the exclusion isn’t 100%.

With the 70% exclusion for Mr. Buffett and his fellow shareholders, Berkshire will enjoy an effective tax rate of 10.5% on the $300 million in dividends it will receive each year from Bank of America.

So, a 10.5% effective rate. Not bad, right? Well, Berkshire says it’s wrong and issued a brief press release to rebut the Journal’s op-ed account and not so subtly suggests that they bone up on tax law:

An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal says that “Berkshire Hathaway will enjoy an effective tax rate of 10.5% on the $300 million in dividends it will receive each year from Bank of America.” That statement is incorrect.

Virtually all of the stocks that Berkshire owns are held in its property-casualty subsidiaries, and that will be the case with the Bank of America preferred.

The tax treatment for dividends paid by U.S. corporations to property-casualty insurance companies was materially changed by a law passed in 1986. The changes were described in detail in the chairman’s letter included in Berkshire’s 1986 annual report.

A minor change in rate was made in 1993. Since that time dividends that insurers receive from U.S. companies incur an effective tax rate of 14.175%. For Berkshire, that rate will apply to dividends it receives from Bank of America.

So, in other words, suck it editorial board. If you know Buffett like you should know him, then you know that if he could save that 3.675%, he would.

Buffett’s Latest Tax Break [WSJ]
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. News Release [Business Wire (a Berkshire Hathaway Compay!)]

Any Guesses on How President Obama Feels About Warren Buffett’s Op-Ed?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Obama has often cited Buffett’s call for higher tax rates on the rich, and he seized on the Monday op-ed in the Times and the coverage it’s gotten on the web and on cable news to do so again.

“He said we’ve got to stop coddling billionaires like me,” Obama said. “That’s what Warren Buffett said.”

“He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary,” the president added. “He figured out that his tax bill, he paid about 17 percent. And the reason is because most of his wealth comes from capital gains.”

Not to be confused with Grover Norquist’s opinion on the matter.

Obama: Warren Buffett is right on the money [Politico]

Grover Norquist Has a Sternly Worded Tweet for Warren Buffett

And just an FYI for GroverThe New York Times has a clarification for you (and many others).

Maybe the typo is GN thumbing his nose at O^3 but if the Times is calling out the entire Twitter universe, it’s conceivable that this is a common error that can even befall the most fastidious bagel counters.

[@GroverNorquist]

Berkshire Hathaway Audit Committee Has Some Thoughts on This David Sokol Matter

Namely, he violated Berkshire’s code of business conduct and ethics and violated his duty of candor to the WB, Munger and the rest of the company.

BerkshireHathawayAuditCommitteeReportAPR2711

Berkshire Hathaway CFO Would Like to Make a Bet with the SEC

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA, BRKB) took an accounting charge to reflect the declines of three stocks in its investment portfolio after regulators asked about the company’s policy for writing down investment losses. But Berkshire Chief Financial Officer Marc Hamburg complained that the current stock prices don’t reflect the worth of the shares, and predicted in a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that “each security’s market price will grow to at least the intrinsic value that existed” when Berkshire made the investments. [Dow Jones]

Warren Buffett Still Stuck in His Way Re: Taxes

You know how old people can get.

[via TaxProf]

Old Rich Guy Makes It Clear Where He Stands on Taxes

“The question is, Do we get more money from the person that’s gonna serve me lunch today, or do we get it from me? I think we should get it from me.”

Review Comments | 07.24.09

geithner-tim-4.jpgGeithner urges end to ‘dumb regulation’ – “Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, said there was “a lot of dumb regulation in our country” and urged lawmakers to act quickly in spite of resistance from the financial industry and other regulators to the administration’s plan.” [FT.com]
California Senate Approves Budget Plan – “The California Senate early Friday approved a plan to close a $26 billion budget shortfall through steep spending cuts and a medley of one-time solutions and accounting moves.” Creative accounting, Cali? FTW! [WSJ]
Buffett: I’m keeping my Goldman Sachs warrants – But thanks for asking. [Reuters]
Madoff Trustee Battles Israeli Charity Over $4.7 Mln – “A charity for homeless and runaway Israeli children that lost money in Bernard Madoff’s fraud told a U.S. judge that the trustee liquidating the con man’s business wrongfully rejected its $4.72 million claim in the case.” [Bloomberg]

Scoping | 07.24.09

BuffettCarriesLunch.standard.jpgWarren Buffett to Teach Kids About Finance in New Web Cartoon [Bloomberg]
U.K. GDP Shrinks More Than Expected – “Hopes that the U.K. economy was on the road to recovery after a severe recession received a major blow Friday with official data showing output contracted far more than expected in the second quarter.” [WSJ]
After Buffett Rebuff, CIT Eyes a Breakup – “Conglomerates Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Leucadia National Corp. made a bid to buy parts of CIT Group Inc. but were rebuffed by CIT, according to people familiar with the matter, because the price was too low.” [WSJ]
The Man Who Sank New Jersey [Forbes]