Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway views an exhibtion of goods he invested during the annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, the United States, May 6, 2017. The Annual Meeting of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway attracted more than 40,000 shareholders from around the world as well as a wide variety of media outlets to Omaha every year. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman and chief executive, said on Saturday that his company preferred reporting investment losses this year for the tax advantage.
"We would rather take losses than gains because of the tax effect ... and there's probably just one touch more emphasis on that this year," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting, often known as Woodstock for Capitalists, held at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha of Nebraska.
"There's some chance of that rate being lower, meaning the losses would have less tax value to us after this year," he said, pointing to the tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the administration would work with congress to pass the ambitious tax reform this year, which would cut the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent.
"It may get to be more of a factor in deferring any gains and perhaps accelerating any losses as the year gets closer to Dec. 31," Buffett said, noting the company has unrealized investment gains worth of 90 billion U.S. dollars.
Berkshire reported on Friday that its net earnings for the first quarter of this year fell by 27 percent to 4.06 billion U.S. dollars, driven by underwriting losses at Berkshire's insurance business.
About 40,000 investors around the world over the weekend came to Omaha to attend Berkshire's annual meeting.
The main focus of the meeting is the question-and-answer session, during which the 86-year-old billionaire and his 93-year-old partner, Charles Munger, take questions from financial journalists, analysts and shareholders, ranging from Berkshire's business, the economic outlook, the stock market to the investment philosophy.