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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Most companies want to maximize profits. This year, a lot of them are more interested in maximizing losses.

How it works: As part of the CARES stimulus bill that passed in March, companies' 2020 losses can be "carried backwards" — that is, they can be deducted from previous years' profits, including years when profits were taxed at 35%. (The corporate tax rate now is only 21%.)

  • For every $1 of 2020 losses, companies can claim back 35 cents from the taxes they paid in the past.

"Strategies include buying deductible equipment, accelerating bonuses, contributing to pension plans and exploring accounting-method changes," write Richard Rubin and Theo Francis in WSJ.

The bottom line: This is the best possible year for companies to lose money, by any means necessary. Expect a lot of very large contributions to corporate pension plans — even though the stock market is near record highs.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Nov 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

Big businesses' corporate paradise may be coming to an end

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If Trump's presidency is about to end, an unprecedented golden era for big businesses could end with it.

Why it matters: Thanks to support from the president, Congress, the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve reaching levels not seen in recent history — if ever — large companies have done a lot of winning.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Barr says DOJ has not seen evidence of fraud that would change election results

Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told the AP on Tuesday that the Department of Justice has not uncovered evidence of widespread voting fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: It's a direct repudiation of President Trump's baseless claims of a "rigged" election from one of the most loyal members of his Cabinet.

42 mins ago - World

Israel headed for early elections as Gantz-Netanyahu coalition falls apart

Gantz (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Gali Tibbon/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israel's governing coalition is falling apart, setting the stage for the fourth election in two years.

Driving the news: Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced tonight that his Blue and White party would vote in favor of dissolving parliament on Wednesday because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Gantz's political rival turned coalition partner — was refusing to pass a budget and reneging on their power-sharing deal.