To: President Donald Trump

Don't Let BP Write Off Oil Spills As Tax Deductions

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Settlement payments for corporate misconduct should not just be a cost of doing business.
Don't let BP claim any more tax deductions for the Gulf oil spill.

Why is this important?

BP has paid about $42 billion to address the Deepwater Horizon disaster since oil first started spilling in 2010. About 80% of those payments have qualified for tax deductions, effectively shifting the cost of BP’s “gross negligence” onto taxpayers.

The practice of writing off settlement agreements is both legal and common—but it doesn’t have to be.

Should BP be able to write off its payments made to address the Gulf Coast oil spill? Should Wall Street banks be allowed to deduct their settlements for mortgage abuses as business as usual?

Tell the Justice Department no tax deductibility for BP in the upcoming Gulf spill settlement and to make other future settlements for corporate misconduct non-deductible as well.
These write offs send the wrong message. They diminish the value of settlements as a deterrent to future misbehavior. They are also costly for the public because taxpayers must make up for the lost revenue through cuts to public programs, higher tax rates, or more federal debt. When settlements become write-offs, Americans pay both for the cost of corporate misbehavior, and secondly to subsidize the tax write-offs.

It’s time to demand an end to this practice: no more write-offs for corporate wrongdoing.