Remember Lloyd Blankfein’s November op-ed in which he announced, “I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate”? This week, his company, Goldman Sachs, made sure that its executives would avoid much of the incoming tax hike that he had supported:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. handed insiders including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and his top lieutenants a total of $65 million in restricted stock just hours before this year’s higher tax rates took effect.
The New York securities firm gave ten of its directors and executives early vesting on 508,104 shares previously awarded as part of prior years’ compensation, according to a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday.
Goldman’s decision is the latest illustration of the lengths large U.S. companies have gone to shield their stakeholders from the higher taxes that loomed throughout the so-called fiscal cliff standoff at the end of 2012. Congress on early Tuesday morning passed legislation that includes the largest tax increases in the past two decades.
Goldman’s move could shield its executives from increased tax rates, which will rise as high as 39.6 percent in 2013 from 35 percent last year.