Does Wal-Mart Skip Out on Taxes?

Thanks to Vince at Capitol Annex, that’s the question that we all should be asking. Or at least the Lege should be asking Wal-Mart. Vince brought to our attention this article in the Wall Street Journal that says that Wal-Mart uses loopholes to avoid paying taxes by registering its stores as REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and then paying rent to itself. The WSJ article has a great diagram and detailed explanation.

To answer half of Vince’s question, the stores in Dallas County are owned by Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trusts. I don’t know enough about corporate tax to know if Wal-Mart is cheating our state. Maybe some state tax experts can help us both.

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