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Companies are buying back their own stock at a rapid clip despite a new tax meant to discourage them.

So far this year, U.S. companies have announced nearly $224 billion worth of planned buybacks, compared to $189.5 billion during the same time period in 2022, according to Birinyi Associates. Those companies include Chevron, which announced a $75 billion buyback in January, and Facebook-parent Meta, which said it plans to buy back $40 billion of its stock.

Last year planned buybacks hit an all-time high at $1.26 trillion, data complied from Birinyi Associates shows. And we could see another record-breaking year in 2023, says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices. Silverblatt says he expects buybacks to increase this year compared to last due to the pace so far as well as comments from company executives indicating they intend to buy back stock this year. Executives at major companies like J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, for example, have indicated they aim to resume stock buybacks in 2023.

Stock buybacks are a way for companies to return profits to shareholders, but they're controversial. This boom in buybacks comes amid a 1% tax on them that went into effect at the beginning of this year.