Regarding "Tax Reform May End Up as Tax Cut" (Times Board of Economists, June 4), columnist Don R. Conlan says that the idea that corporations should pay taxes is "one of the most specious of traditional left-wing ideas."
"Sorry, folks," he says, "corporations do not pay taxes--only people pay taxes. Corporations are a conduit, nothing more, nothing less."
But it is Conlan who is being specious here. By legal definition, a corporation is a "person"--a fictitious person, true, but a person nonetheless as far as the law is concerned.
It has independent existence of its owners, the shareholders, as well as existence in perpetuity, outside of the life span of any individual shareholder. It is precisely its "personhood" that allows the corporation to take on liabilities and allows its owners limited liability.
Is Conlan suggesting that the stockholders of corporations should enjoy the benefits of the corporate status (untaxed corporate profits) and also enjoy limited liability, i.e., not be responsible for the corporation's losses beyond their own individual investments?