FedEx CEO and Chairman Frederick W. Smith wants a chance to debate federal tax policy with A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, after the paper published an “outrageous” story about the delivery giant paying no federal income tax.
“The New York Times published a distorted and factually incorrect story on the front page of the Sunday, November 17 edition concerning FedEx and our billions of dollars of tax payments and billions of dollars of investments in the U.S. economy,” Mr. Smith wrote Sunday in a statement posted on his company’s website.
“Pertinent to this outrageous distortion of the truth is the fact that unlike FedEx, the New York Times paid zero federal income tax in 2017 on earnings of $111 million, and only $30 million in 2018 — 18% of their pretax book income,” he continued. “Also in 2018, the New York Times cut their capital investments nearly in half to $57 million, which equates to a rounding error when compared to the $6 billion of capital that FedEx invested in the U.S. economy during that same year.”
Mr. Smith went on to challenge Mr. Sulzberger to a public debate in Washington about federal tax policy “and the relative societal benefits of business investments and the enormous intended benefits to the United States economy, especially lower and middle class wage earners.”
The New York Times reported earlier Sunday that FedEx paid no taxes in fiscal year 2018 overall and had saved at least $1.6 billion since President Trump’s tax cuts in late 2017.
“In the 2017 fiscal year, FedEx owed more than $1.5 billion in taxes,” the report said. “The next year, it owed nothing. What changed was the Trump administration’s tax cut — for which the company had lobbied hard.”
The newspaper responded to Mr. Smith’s complaint Monday, saying it was “clearly a stunt” and an attempt to distract from the real story.
“FedEx’s colorful response does not actually challenge a single fact in our story,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, the Times’ vice president of communications, told The Washington Post. “We’re confident in the accuracy of our reporting.”
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