back to article Facebook tells US tax bods: Swear to God, we were only worth $6.5bn in 2010 because we were menaced by... MySpace and smartphones

Facebook has told a court the reason it valued itself at just $6.5bn back in 2010 is not because it was seeking to avoid paying billions in extra tax, but because people had started using their mobile phones more. At the time, the antisocial goliath was reliant on ads on its desktop site. The US tax authorities – the IRS – beg …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    You don't think...... I mean it's not possible that um.. Facebook has lied at all?

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      No, they just remember things differently. They often do that until presented with evidence to the contrary, at which point they: insist they did nothing wrong, promise not to do it again, and then proceed to do it again in new and different ways.

      1. robidy Silver badge

        Bit like when the EU go after American tech companies to pay their fair share of tax, Trump accuses us of bullying.

        If the US do it then it's all forgotten about and they're fair game.

      2. Crisp

        Re: "No, they just remember things differently. "

        Ah! The Eric Cartman Defense.

        "I misinterpreted the rules!"

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        They often do that until presented with evidence to the contrary

        So Facebook are the tech version of Trump?

        Certainly as sociopathic.

  2. cpm86

    Complimentary or complementary?

    I like the idea of Facebook being a "complimentary offer" to Myspace. Something along the lines of "you look fantastic darling" perhaps?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But they say they pay all the tax they legally owe. Facebook wouldn't lie to us! :O

    Companies always say this. And always end up having to come to tax settlements with tax authorities to pay tax that they owed.

    At some point, don't you start to suspect that companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google etc don't actually pay all the tax they legally owe. They constantly refuse to pay the tax they owe, they do everything in their power to artificially arrange things such that they pay as little as possible.. and *STILL* cheat on top of that.


    Do you think it's because cheating actually pays? That they think they can get away with simply flat out lying about paying their tax, while paying armies of accountants and lawyers to contrive schemes that even worst case, when they get caught, will get off with a no admission of liability deferred prosecution agreement with pennies on the dollar paid out in fines.

    No i'm not fucking cynical, because this is EXACTLY how reality operates

    Oh and if any of them do go to jail, yeah long shot obviously what with those deferred prosecution agreements, Trump'll just pardon them.

  4. Mark Exclamation

    Never thought I'd say this, but "Come on IRS, you can do it!".

    1. Sanctimonious Prick

      I dunno... can they afford the legal fees?

      1. e^iπ+1=0

        can they afford the legal fees?

        Maybe the legal fees are tax deductible.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope that ZuckFartbook loses

    big time.

    He is responsible for more people being addicted to something than all the drug lords with their cocaine, heroin and meth put together.

    25-to life in jail is him getting off easy IMHO.

    Just say no to FartBook (and the rest) and get on with your life before social media got in the way.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I hope that ZuckFartbook loses

      Even if he loses, he'll still win. He's friends with The Donald and will get a hand scribbled note in big (uuuughe) letters that will get him off the tax hook. Afterall, Zuk is one the best people... very best.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    Zuckerberg's word is his bond

    And his bonds are in his dog's name. In a safe place. In a filing cabinet in the basement of Bank of Ireland marked "Do not allow the IRS access to this. EVER"

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Zuckerberg's word is his bond

      And a sign "beware of the leprechaun"?

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Zuckerberg's word is his bond

        "The distance to the basement's stairs is 20 yards. The leprechaun can cover that in less than 5 seconds, can you?"

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Zuckerberg's word is his bond

          20 yards in 5s? It's quite slow, short legs and a club don't help <G>

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Zuckerberg's word is his bond

          No, but I took my fat mate with me and I can outrun him!

  7. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    There is probably a reasonable argument

    that facebook was potentially worthless and was valued by its own hype, was struggling to reform ad income models effectively and data selling activities etc.

    IRS should have just been a shareholder!

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

      Re: There is probably a reasonable argument

      True disruption.

      Since, public companies have probably a stronger legal compulsion to report fact to their shareholders than to the general public and the tax-man. Hence, if the tax-man becomes an investor: think of the additional insight.

  8. Velv Silver badge

    Much as I'd love to see Billions ripped out of Facebook I have to question why it has taken the IRS 10 years to reach this conclusion. They must have assessed the deal at the time and didn't raise any question over the valuation at that point, or in the immediate few years afterwards. I hope someone at the IRS gets sacked for this fuck up too.

    1. FlossyThePig

      "...the Silicon Valley giant's 2010 valuation, and was filed in 2016...

      If it took that long to file what is the backlog at the IRS like?

    2. macjules Silver badge

      IRS: "When are Facebook likely to achieve a disposable wealth of $9Bn?"

      Facebook: "Oh, let's say in 2020 or 10 years from now."

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Agent Orange

    I'm surprised that Trump hasn't yet declared war on Ireland just for the sake of making them seize assests from the California tech companies he hates.

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    How does that work?

    "Facebook “sold” the rights to its software and trademarks to a subsidiary based in Ireland"

    So, you have multi billion dollar company and you create an off-shore subsidiary. How does that small off-shore subsidiary come by enough cash to buy all your IP and then licence it back?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does that work?

      You either "sell" it under valued, loan it to them (while they only sell it's rights or outsource usage back to you) or they borrow the funds to do so. At which point they also make zero profit and have a large tax deductible "expense" which is even more fun if you own the bank lending them the money.

      I'm no account or lawyer... but I never got into trouble for handing in my homework late, or on occasion not at all.

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