Corporate Tax Dodgers: 10 Companies and Their Tax Loopholes

By:  Sarah Anderson, Scott Klinger and Javier Rojo

As the budget battles in Washington continue, corporations have stepped into the fray with some of the most aggressive lobbying we’ve seen in years – calling for cuts to corporate tax rates, a widening of offshore tax loopholes that already cost the U.S. Treasury $90 billion a year, and cuts to government services and benefits, including Social Security and Medicare.

In making their case, corporate executives decry the U.S.’s 35% corporate tax rate claiming it is the highest in the world and makes their businesses uncompetitive globally. The evidence suggests otherwise.

Corporate profits are at a 60-year high, while corporate taxes are near a 60-year low [See Figure]. U.S. stock markets are at record levels, and American CEOs are paid far more than executives who run firms of similar size in other nations. Many U.S. corporations pay a higher tax rate to foreign governments than they do here at home.

America’s 35% tax rate is the highest among industrialized nations, but very few companies pay anything like those rates. Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% of U.S. profits in 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The average profitable company in the Fortune 500 paid just 18.5% of its profits in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonpartisan tax research organization. Dozens of large and profitable companies paid nothing in recent years.

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