By the Numbers: The Myth of the Overtaxed Corporation
It's an election-year staple: The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. But the official tax rate is far higher than what corporations actually end up paying. How it happens:
1. More than ever, people pay more in taxes than corporations do.
2. But we tax corporate
Average tax rate?
3. And some of the wealthiest corporations pay no taxes at all.
They even get money back.
corporations from 2008 to 2010 paid
in taxes and received refunds totaling
General Electric was the champion. It made a $10.5 billion profit. At the statutory 35% rate, it would have paid about $3.7 billion in taxes. Instead, it got refunds of $4.7 billion. That’s a total tax subsidy of $8.4 billion dollars.
Also paying no taxes , 2008-2010
Verizon made $32.8 billion in profit and got
Wells Fargo made $49.4 billion and got
Boeing made $9.7 billion and got
4. Lobbying. The best investment around.
For its tax subsidy of $8.4 billion, General Electric spent $84.4 million on lobbying: a 100-to-1 return on investment.
In 2004, Congress was considering a one-time-only “repatriation holiday” law. 93 companies spent a total of $282.7 million lobbying for the bill, which allowed corporations to bring billions of dollars home from overseas accounts, but to pay income tax on only 15 percent of the money.
The law passed, and the corporations that lobbied saved $88.6 billion. That’s a 220-to-1 return on investment.
Doug Pibel wrote this article for 9 Strategies to End Corporate Rule, the Spring 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Doug is managing editor of YES!
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"Representation Without Taxation," U.S. PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice, 2012
"An Empirical Analysis Under the American Jobs Creation Act," Raquel Alexander, Susan Scholz, Stephen Mazza, April 2009
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