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Think tank report names and shames ‘stakeholder capitalist’ Salesforce for paying no corporate income tax in the US • The Register

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SaaSy CRM giant Salesforce.com is among the tech companies named in a think tank report for paying no corporate income tax in the US despite sizeable earnings.

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonprofit tax policy organisation [PDF], Salesforce is among nine tech and 55 S&P and Fortune 500 companies failing to pay corporation tax.

The companies are, however, using perfectly legal mechanisms to minimise their tax bills.

ITEP said the findings continued the “decades-long trend of corporate tax avoidance by the biggest US corporations.”

The report [PDF] said that the 55 companies it named “collectively enjoyed almost $40.5 billion in US pretax income in 2020,” according to their annual financial reports.

With the statutory federal tax rate for corporate profits at 21 per cent, it argued they could have paid a collective total of $8.5bn for the year.

Instead, they received $3.5bn in tax rebates, creating a total tax break of $12bn.

“The software company Salesforce.com avoided all federal income taxes on $2.6bn of US income,” the report pointed out.

Other tech companies among the list of those most successfully, but legally, avoiding US tax include AMD, which paid no tax on $1.2bn income; Verisign, which got a £124m rebate its £447m income; and Hewlett Packard, which managed a £24m rebate on its £861m income.

They join Akamai Technologies, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding, Sanmina, Tyler Technologies, and Xilinx as tech firms paying no or negative income tax. Stock options are an example of a technique used to reduce tax bills. It is not at all illegal and employed by AMD, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Salesforce.com.

The ITEP report pointed out that the scale of tax avoidance has not diminished since ex-president Donald Trump introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2017, which was intended to make more American companies pay tax in the US rather than deferring tax on foreign profits.

Far from deterring tax avoidance, “it is clear that the TCJA failed to address loopholes that enable tax dodging – and may have made it worse,” the report said.

AMD was named among the companies paying no tax since the law was introduced.

Salesforce, and its co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff, have long been advocates of so-called “stakeholder capitalism” so observers might be surprised at its tax strategy.

At global CEO shindig Devos, Benioff said: “There has been a mantra for too long that the business of business is business, but today the business of business is improving the state of the world.”

Presumably, then, that does not mean handing over cash to elected representatives of the people to improve the state of the world on Salesforce’s behalf.

Salesforce and AMD have been contacted for comment. ®

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

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The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

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Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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Charles River to create 90 new jobs at Ballina biologics site

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Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.

The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.

“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”

Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.

IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.

“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”

Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”

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