Big Box Watch: Companies want tax refunds to cut losses

According to, many large companies, inluding Office Depot and International Paper Co., are lobbying to revive a campaign to get refunds for taxes paid as many as five years ago, as losses mount.

At issue is a proposal to allow companies to use 2008 and 2009 net operating losses (NOLs) to get refunds for taxes paid as far back as 2003. Current law allows only a two-year carryback of those losses.

“The NOL provision is the strongest tool you can provide to help companies in a broad cross-section of industries weather the current economic conditions,” the CEOs wrote to lawmakers.

“It will allow businesses to meet payroll, retain their work force, help avoid additional layoffs and stabilize the business environment,” they wrote.

So basically, a lot of large big-box companies are in such deep trouble that they’re looking to extend the rule (which allows you to seek reimbursement for taxes paid up to two years ago) to go back FIVE years to try to cover their ever-expanding losses. I’m all for economic stimulus, but I’d like to think that there must be a better way to “meet payroll, retain workforce, avoid layoffs” and so on. In Office Depot’s case it’s especially hypocritical; they ask for government assistance with one hand and engage in all kinds of shady dealings with the other. Try offering value to your customer and provide a fair and honest work force, and I doubt you’d have all these money troubles. Seems to work for us.

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