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Ventura County Star (California)
Jan 06, 2005

by Editorial - M. Ratcliff

A slap for taxpayers

When most of us file our income-tax returns, we either owe more money than we've already paid, or we have overpaid and so are entitled to a refund. Wouldn't it be nice if you could pay no taxes at all, and still qualify for a refund?

According to The Associated Press, that's exactly the situation with 25 California-based corporations. The state Board of Equalization recently decided to grant nearly $5 million in refunds to three companies, with the prime beneficiary, Conexant Systems Inc., of Newport Beach, which received a whopping $4.1 million grant.

Two other companies received lesser amounts. Though the money is described as tax refunds, that's clearly a euphemism. If the companies paid no taxes, there really would be nothing to refund.

In addition to the three cases already cited, there are 22 more requests for funds awaiting action by the board. Those requests total $77 million. In granting the three requests so far, the board rebuffed the recommendations of its own staff. That gives little reason to assume the pending 22 requests will be denied, even if the staff recommends denial again.

Upon hearing the news about the first three cases, Doug Heller, a spokesman for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, could have been reflecting the reaction of many Californians when he said, "To actually be giving a gift to companies that paid no taxes is a slap in the face of every taxpaying citizen in the state."

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