back to article Zuckerberg gets $26m in 'other' Meta compensation

Meta only paid Mark Zuckerberg $1 last year, and the board recently voted to do the same in 2022.  That single Zuck Buck may serve as a talking point, a token of humility, but that is hardly the full compensation story. As is the case with many execs the strategy hinges on generous allowances instead of income, as seen in Meta …

  1. msobkow Silver badge

    Sorry, but those hundreds of thousands are taxable income and Zuck needs to start paying his share on ALL those billions, not just these few extra million.

    So damned tired of "exceptions" being given to the rich.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      The tax due on all of this will be part of the 'other' millions.

      But I agree, paying his dues one way or the other really is non negotiable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is no exception here; in-kind compensation is taxable income whether it's a free meal on the job (the IRS has entire tables for how these are to be valued) for someone making $10 an hour or full-time use of a private jet for some fatcat. Mr Zuckerberg will have owed, and presumably paid, federal and state income taxes on it, the overwhelming majority of it at a total rate of approximately 52% (37% federal, 1.45% Medicare, 13.3% California provincial).

      And if the company "grossed up" the amount, supplementing it with the cash required to pay the hefty tax bill on the non-cash comp, *that too* is taxable income, also at the same eye-watering rate. Assuming that was the case, it's likely that Mr Zuckerberg got the various non-cash comp and allowances and after paying his taxes got pretty much nothing else. I'm sure he's not hurting any -- he can borrow against his stock at trivially low rates of interest -- but the idea that he's somehow entitled to massive tax breaks on account of being rich needs to be justified. In fact it's on account of being rich that he or his company has to pay an extremely high tax rate. There are really very few tax breaks available on plain old current income; you can take advantage of tax shelters and lower rates on capital gains and NOL investments and all the other hundreds of little loopholes and exceptions only when you do something with the already-taxed money you have. Cash or in-kind, the comp described by this filing is going to have been fully taxable to either Mr Zuckerberg or his company.

      If you want to be angry about something, ask yourself why the owners of the company put up with paying for all this stuff instead of handing him $1m a year and telling him to pay for his own security. Perhaps if he were forced to do so he would consider being less of a dick; the company's own filing says outright that this costs so much money because everyone hates him. Perhaps that should create an incentive for a bit of introspection.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "If you want to be angry about something, ask yourself why the owners of the company put up with paying for all this stuff instead of handing him $1m a year and telling him to pay for his own security."

        The answer to this one is easy: only Mark Zuckerberg controls Meta, not a majority of shareholders, because his shares have special voting rights.

        https://www.axios.com/mark-zuckerberg-king-facebook-meta-e6b89525-4c2f-477b-b25d-3619ed2994da.html

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        All great points, except you confuse top marginal income tax rate with effective tax rate.

        tldr: Zuck does not pay 52%.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Well he would if he has at least a million or so in other ordinary income that's not offset by deductions. Most likely though this is the only ordinary income he has, and the rest of his income is capital gains from stock sales. Though he might not even have that, since he could borrow against his stock and pay no taxes on that.

          He may also pay zero in taxes if he has enough deductions from stuff like charitable contributions to offset all his income. But Zuck is enough of an antisocial asshole I doubt he contributes anything to charity, unless there's a charity that pays people to steal candy from babies.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "All great points, except you confuse top marginal income tax rate with effective tax rate."

          I did not confuse them; as I said, the great majority of that income would be taxed at that rate. Depending on exactly how his income shakes out, the first $500k or so will be taxed at lower federal rates and the first million at lower provincial rates. Considering the wide margin by which his total income exceeds those thresholds, it's safe to say that his effective tax rate is not much less than the marginal rate. Even if we assumed both those lower rates to be zero (they aren't), his effective tax rate would be 50.52%.

          "tldr: Zuck does not pay 52%"

          True, it's probably about 51-51.5%. I don't have his return in front of me. To me that's not a material difference but I apologise if you consider my well-researched post misleading on account of it. Thanks for playing "well, actually" today.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Mr Zuckerberg will have owed, and presumably paid, federal and state income taxes on it [ ... ]

        Bullshit.

        https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax

        Zuckerberg's compensation scheme is precisely the kind of compensation scheme described in the article above, which enables recipients to pay anywhere from zero to fractions of a percent in taxes.

        If there was no difference between getting paid in cash vs. getting paid in something-other-than-cash for tax purposes, they'd take the cash. None of them do, however.

        Try a different one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          First, we are told by your source that they "have obtained" tax records of private individuals. Disclosure of those records is prohibited by law, so either the records they obtained are false or the person/s who disclosed them were themselves committing a crime. We're off to a bad start.

          The key sentences in the material you linked are: "America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell."

          This is 100% true. However, it is not a tax evasion mechanism and it does not obviate the requirement to pay lawfully owed income taxes on ordinary income. This article is not about unrealised capital gains, it is about direct compensation paid to Mr Zuckerberg. That income is taxable, almost certainly in its entirety as "ordinary income". The tax rates on ordinary income are as I stated.

          Those are matters of fact. Whether Mr Zuckerberg actually paid the tax he owes is a matter of justice; I never claimed to know, but since people who don't pay the taxes they owe are usually prosecuted I would assume that he did. Whether you think something in the neighbourhood of $13m is "adequate" is a matter of politics, on which I am not going to comment because there's little point in it: you've made up your mind already and nothing will ever change it. Next time your landlord comes round for the rent, I would encourage you to offer him some unrealised capital gains. The outcome might change your perspective, but I won't hold my breath.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > First, we are told by your source that they "have obtained" tax records of private individuals.

            Cut the shit. The same reportage made front page at The New York Times. Maybe you've heard of them. The newspaper of record. They do check their sources.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/business/dealbook/billionaire-taxes-propublica.html

            Maybe you want to question The New York Times' sourcing or credibility as well. Because you are so much more credible.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              There's no shit here. Which of these facts do you deny?

              - Disclosure of income tax records without consent or a court order is a crime.

              - Unrealised capital gains are not, in law or in fact, income.

              - Realising capital gains by selling his Facebook shares would cause Mr Zuckerberg to incur a taxable event, in which he would legally owe (after some trivially small exemption) 33.3% of his realised gains in taxes.

              - This article is about Mr Zuckerberg's compensation, which is unrelated to realised or unrealised capital gains or losses, and under US and California law he would be likely to owe roughly half the nominal amount of that compensation, whether received in-cash or in-kind, in income tax.

              To the best of my knowledge, those are facts. Nothing you have posted here contradicts any of them. You have instead chosen to link to a crackpot organisation's article in which it constructs a cutely named "true tax rate" with no basis in law or reality for the sole purpose of stirring up outrage among their deeply envious and financially illiterate readers. When I point out these facts and attempt to refocus the discussion on the actual subject of this article (and not some other), you decide to name drop another crackpot organisation instead of disputing my facts. Again, whether you think Mr Zuckerberg "should" have to pay more or less than ~$13m in taxes on his ~$26m compensation is a matter of politics, not fact or law.

              Envy is every bit as viciously, brutally ugly as greed.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                > Disclosure of income tax records without consent or a court order is a crime.

                Sez you. How come no charges have been filed?

                I won't bother with the rest because it's all bullshit.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "Sez you."

                  No, says 26 USC §6103 (definitions) and 26 USC §7213 and 7213A (crimes), which apply to this case because the "records" are claimed to have come from the IRS. See https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7213 and go from there.

                  "How come no charges have been filed?"

                  I am not privy to the workings of the US Attorney's office. If it's like most crimes, because they don't have enough evidence to obtain an indictment. Or perhaps the US Attorney is like you and thinks crime should be punished only if the victims are likeable.

                  "I won't bother with the rest because it's all bullshit."

                  You won't bother with the rest because the facts don't support your ideology.

              2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                >- Disclosure of income tax records without consent or a court order is a crime.

                Where?

                If you claim all your income is earned in the Narnia Islands and you are tax resident in Morder you can hardly run to the feds to claim USA law should protect you.

                Similarly if somebody hacks the bank accounts in Narnia and publishes it in the independant republic of Sealand whose laws are broken ?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Mr Zuckerberg is a US citizen and a resident of California. The publisher claims the records were obtained from the US federal tax agency, the IRS. Those records are stored in the US and are subject to US law, which forbids unauthorised disclosure. Whoever obtained them committed a crime in the US, regardless of where that person was at the time. It may also have been a crime in that location. This is exactly as it would be if the IRS were a private target, and it's exactly the same way it is in the UK and the EU. El Reg has carried several stories about people being extradited for this type of crime to a country in which both the victim and stolen data were located. Whether the *publication* of the leaked data is a crime depends on the laws of the country in which it was published, but I never claimed that publication was illegal (in the US it wouldn't be; in Canada and the UK it very likely would have been forbidden had the stolen records been domestic in origin), only that whoever supplied these records either fabricated them or committed a crime to obtain them.

                  We have now gone from "well, actually" to "what about"; apparently there is unlimited desire to distract from the basic facts here. I can't answer your questions because those places don't exist. Thankfully the answers don't matter because the questions don't describe what happened in the matter under discussion. There's no need for complex hypotheticals here, but if you want a hypothetical to make this easier to understand I will offer you a simple one: how would you appreciate having your personal tax records stolen from your government (to whom you have no choice whether to supply them nor any say in how they are protected) and given to a journalist? If you are like most people I would imagine you wouldn't be pleased, which is why most jurisdictions forbid this.

                  Is it so hard to admit that this was a crime, even if you personally dislike the victims, that you have to tie yourself into fantastic logical knots to avoid the essential question?

                  1. msobkow Silver badge

                    Talk about an utterly pointless deflection and distraction from the facts. You're just bent on ignoring the blatant abuses of the tax system that is enabled by loopholes that only the rich can avail themselves of or the CEOs and directors of major corporations on down to the lowest level management that receives stock options.

                    So a crime was committed by "stealing" some tax records.

                    Big whoop.

                    You'll see DOZENS of them every night on the news, and that is just the ones they thought you'd stay tuned to watch sound bites about.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    > Is it so hard to admit that this was a crime [ ... ]

                    It's not a crime until and unless proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

                    No charges have been filed in connection to this disclosure. As such, there is not even an allegation of a crime.

                    STFU.

      4. sabroni Silver badge
        Facepalm

        re: There is no exception here

        Except, clearly there is.

        Tons of waffle explaining why it's fine that kids are starving while this rich fuck hoards capital.

        The system favours the rich. You going in to great detail explaining why that is logical is called "Stockhausen Syndrome".

        It's clear to see to anyone who looks that the system has favoured the wealthy for so long that it's basically not fit for purpose.

        But you go on defending the status quo. You've only got a few years before the floods make all this irrelevant anyway, eh? Not like we could stop global warming, that would require a global change in behaviour.

        Like we had a couple of years ago for Covid. Remember, all the city dwellers realising there were mountains a couple of miles away?

        No, we must worship the greedy and feckless because a massive system of rules set up to keep them rich is keeping them rich.

        Time to wake up. Try and do it before the planet starts to burn, eh?

  2. JDPower666 Bronze badge

    Poor bloke, practically destitute.

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Devil

    Government advice?

    Maybe Nick Clegg has just given Zuck a few explanations of the way that British politicians avoid tax payments...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Government advice?

      But then they might Sunak you...

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    personal security for Mr Zuckerberg cost Meta $15,195,103 last year

    Having to live 24 hours a day surrounded by your own Imperial Guard because of so much paranoia about the number of people who might be out to get him doesn't sound like such a pleasant existence to me. No wonder he was so attracted by the idea of a virtual world where he can exist in safety, and most others thought it sounded like a terrible way to exist.

    Never mind Mark, just put the headset on and relax, nobody will be able to get you now, that's it, slide slowly into the nutrient tank and feel the warmth, there's no risk that someone will discover the secret code that activates the skull probes................

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: personal security for Mr Zuckerberg cost Meta $15,195,103 last year

      >Zuckerberg family's security at home and while traveling, even for personal reasons.

      Cos nobody would try and kidnap or kill him when he's travelling for personal reasons - that wouldn't be against the rules

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Zuckerberg currently sits in 13th place with a fortune worth $79.5 billion.

    We don't seem to hear much about what he does with his $billions. I mean, Gates has his foundation, Bezos and Musk of the penis substitutes space programmes etc. Does the Zuck do anything "good" with his money or does he just wallow in it like Scrooge McDuck?

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Zuckerberg currently sits in 13th place with a fortune worth $79.5 billion.

      He buys up potential competitors and destroys them by "absorbing" whatever few bits of their technology he feels is useful for increasing his personal wealth even further...

    2. Sampler

      Re: Zuckerberg currently sits in 13th place with a fortune worth $79.5 billion.

      Buys most of Hawaii by the sounds of it, pissing off the native people and banning them from their land.

      (because land bought that was stolen, is still stolen)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Zuckerberg currently sits in 13th place with a fortune worth $79.5 billion.

        (because land bought that was stolen, is still stolen)

        That's really going to take a chunk out of the UK's housing market.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Terminator

    Guys, guys, guys

    Any fool knows that robots don’t pay tax (yet)

    - The Zuckerborg Loves You

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Guys, guys, guys

      Didn't Germany make companies pay union dues for assembly line robots ?

  7. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    16 bobyguards in 2016... I wonder how many he has now?

    https://pagesix.com/2016/02/14/mark-zuckerberg-has-16-bodyguards-at-his-home/

    EDIT: It's a 70 plus security team

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9469495/Facebook-spent-24MILLION-security-Mark-Zuckerberg-family-year-to.html

  8. Sp1z

    "Zuckerberg's private jet, which needs hangar space, pilots and crew, fuel, catering and more."

    That's interesting because I've always wanted him to "Zuck off and fly".

    Or at least something rhyming with that.

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