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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.

18 mins ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.