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A Missing PR Trick On Tax

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A missing PR trick on tax

Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders, which go back to 1965, are always a treat.

This year’s is shorter than usual but still interesting, still a method of persuasion, about more than just investing.

Our own Terry Smith does something similar, but his style tends to be to demonstrate that everyone else is wrong rather than just that he is right.

(Smith is very good. Buffett’s track record may just shade him.)

You don’t have to be a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder to read the reports, but if you are they make you feel good.

(A Class shares are today priced at $461,912. Each. I own a few of the B types, which you can get for $305.)

Buffett is open about his mistakes, and equally so about how few winners you need to have to make a serious difference.

Sometimes his own explanations of his genius don’t go much further than: He bought Coke, American Express and Gillette on the basis that people would always be thirsty/need credit/want a shave.

He understands the corporate language that gets mocked here sometimes, but has no care for it.

One of his themes is how much tax Berkshire pays to the federal government.

In the decade to 2021, the US Treasury received $32.3 trillion in tax. Berkshire paid $32 billion of this.

He writes: “And that means – brace yourself – had there been roughly 1,000 taxpayers in the U.S. matching Berkshire’s payments, no other businesses nor any of the country’s 131 million households would have needed to pay any taxes to the federal government. Not a dime.”

The only UK company I have noticed making as big as deal of the tax they pay is JD Wetherspoon, that much maligned, rather brilliant business.

Either other large companies don’t brag about tax because they have nothing to brag about. Or they are missing a PR trick.

Press release of the day

Which bank customers are most at risk of falling victim to fraud?

According to this from VPN Overview, Santander is top, NatWest and Barclays come second.

The Co-op Bank is lowest risk.

The methodology, based on Google searches, isn’t that clear – it needs explaining better.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Is Aston Martin sticking to its targets of selling 10,000 cars a year by 2025?

2) Is Germany happy to let unemployment rise if that helps inflation fall?

3) Where is Reckitt Benckiser seeing worst supply chain inflation?

4) What would happen if Russia really ditched the dollar for the yuan?


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