Mister Buffett has been getting a lot of attention lately. He is now in the crosshairs of the political right due to his “qualified” support of income tax increases for the wealthy along with his fundraising support for the President. These developments sent me reading the 2010 annual report of Berkshire Hathaway and sure enough, Berkshire Hathaway has IRS issues to settle on behalf of its shareholders.
The Income Taxes section of the Notes to Financial Statements state that their US Federal Tax Returns are only settled up to 2001. They are sitting on $4.1 Billion in funds socked away in foreign lands they wish they could bring home without paying the high US Corporate Income Tax Rate.
Mr. Buffett knows that an outgoing President is in a position to return favors without a political cost, i.e.; President Reagan’s pardon of George Steinbrenner and President Clinton’s pardon of tax cheat, Marc Rich.