Exxon: We pay U.S. income taxes

Although I came up with that by reading the company's annual 10-k filing with the SEC, ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers assures me that this is wrong, that Exxon did indeed pay substantial income taxes to the U.S. Treasury in 2009, and that it overpaid taxes in 2008. How much? Well, Jeffers says so far he's not at liberty to disclose that information. "That's not something we're required to disclose, nor do we."

So what gives? Jeffers explains that what ExxonMobil reports in its annual consolidated financial statements is just accounting, that the numbers reflect expenses or credits recorded throughout the year and "do not represent our tax bill," which has not yet been filed, let alone settled. The financial results listed in the 10-k "is an accurate reflection of what it is, but not what you thought it was," says Jeffers.