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Activists outraged: BP claims Gulf settlement as tax deduction

March 27, 2012
KEYWORDS accident / justice / pirg
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BP HQA nationwide network of consumer groups is mobilizing against BP's bid to use expenses related to the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill as tax deductions.

According to U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), BP has claimed $10 billion in tax deductions by writing off expenses related to the 2010 accident and subsequent spill. The group has launched an online campaign aimed at blocking BP from doing that.

"Unlike BP, I believe my brother was more than a number or a tax deduction," said Chris Jones. His brother Gordon Jones was one of 11 workers killed in the explosion. "Gordon left behind a pregnant wife, Michelle, a two-year-old son, and a tremendous void in our family that will never be filled."

Jones said it "infuriates" him that BP is attempting to receive additional deductions for payments made for damages. "BP has negotiated a settlement, for less than full value, knowing that its effective tax liability is half of that payment amount." He added that BP never expressed any sort of condolences to any member of his family.

While corporations are not allowed to deduct the cost of fines as business expenses, they are entitled to write off expenses paid in a settlement -- unless prohibited from doing so under the terms of the settlement.

U.S. PIRG says the United States Justice Department can prohibit BP from using the Gulf settlement monies as business expenses. The group is urging people to send emails to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder via its website.

"Soon, the Department of Justice will bring suit for billions of dollars in environmental fines, and if BP gets its way, you and I will pay for them in the form of tax deductions," said Jones.

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