Tax Credits For Oil Spills


When I learned that BP has claimed $10 billion in tax credits by writing off expenses related to the Gulf oil spill two years ago, I took it personally.

My brother, Gordon Jones, was one of the eleven hard-working men killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon deepwater oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. Unlike BP, I believe my brother was more than a number or tax credit.

He was a committed employee, with a loving family at home.

How can BP characterize the suffering of my brother’s family as a business expense — one that is entitled to millions of dollars in tax credits?

Luckily, you and I can do something about it. The Department of Justice can prohibit BP from deducting the expense of the settlement.

Gordon left behind a pregnant wife, Michelle, two year old son, and a tremendous void in our family that will never be filled. Almost two years have passed since that tragic day. Holidays and birthdays have passed without Gordon’s infectious laugh and gentle personality.

No amount of money will ever bring Gordon back.

That's why it infuriates me that BP and others believe not only that proper compensation has already been paid, but that they should receive an additional credit for any payments made for these damages. BP has negotiated a settlement, for less than full value, knowing that its effective tax liability is half of that payment amount.

When a corporation pays a fine, it's not allowed to deduct the cost as a business expense for tax purposes. But, if they settle the case instead, BP can write off those costs unless expressly prohibited by the terms of the settlement.

I truly believe, as did Gordon, that you should pay for your mistakes. You should learn from them, but also take responsibility for the damage they cause. BP has never once expressed any sort of condolences to any member of my family ... Instead, BP is telling us, through its claim of millions of dollars in tax credits, that Gordon, and his fellow co-workers, are merely business casualties that entitle BP to offset its losses.

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 credits.

Join me in telling the Department of Justice that we shouldn't pay for BP's mistakes.

Sincerely, Chris Jones

Baton Rouge, Louisana

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