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The Center for Tax Justice has an update to the big report they issued last November, detailing how much the Fortune 500 corporations paid, or avoided, in taxes. They found then that "30 of the companies paid no net federal income tax from 2008 through 2010." None. Nada. Zip.
In their follow-up, they find that 24 of these companies avoided paying taxes again in 2011.
In fact, all but four of the 30 companies remained in the no-federal-income-tax category over the 2008-11 period.
Over the four years:
26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years!
Of the remaining four companies, three paid four-year effective tax rates of less than 4 percent (specifically, 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.8%). One company paid a 2008-11 tax rate of 10.9 percent.
In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of –3.1 percent over the four years.
You read that right. These 30 companies had an effective negative tax rate of –3.1 since 2008.
So how much federal revenue was missed out on in those four years? Or, more to the point, how much did all the rest of us schlubs who actually pay our taxes end up subsidizing those companies over the last four years?
That would be $78.3 billion, that's how much they received in tax subsidies by avoiding the 35 percent tax rate they're supposed to be paying. "Wells Fargo alone garnered $21.6 billion in tax subsidies over the four years, followed by General Electric ($10.6 billion), Verizon ($7.7 billion), and Boeing ($6.0 billion)."
Meanwhile, the Republican budget (the Romney-Ryan budget) would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. Maybe they're shooting for a –10 percent tax rate for corporations. Rep. Paul Ryan says that of course that massive tax break, as well as the one for millionaires, will be revenue neutral, and they'll somehow magically find enough tax loopholes to close to make up the difference. He just can't tell us which loopholes. That's super secret information. Of course, even if he does have real loopholes in mind, a revenue neutral plan would still mean that American taxpayers would be cheated out of about $20 billion a year that these companies should have paid.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM PDT.