Corporate Tax Dodgers Didn’t Miss a Beat in 2011

by Mike Hall – Reposted from the AFL-CIO NOW Blog

What’s the “job creation” centerpiece of the Romney/Ryan/Republican budget?

Cutting those burdensome, job-killing corporate taxes. American firms, according to Romney and friends, are being bled dry by the oppressive U.S. corporate tax rate. That might be good rhetoric, but it’s nowhere close to the truth.

new report shows that most of the 30 Fortune 500 companies that paid no federal income tax from 2008 through 2010 were able to keep up their tax dodge two-step in 2011. Those nimble firms include Verizon, G.E., Boeing, Wells Fargo, Tenet Health Care and more.

The report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that 26 maintained their negative federal tax rate—with tax breaks and loopholes, they actually made more money after taxes than before.

Don’t feel bad for the other four. Their effective tax rate was less than 4 percent. Overall, says the report:

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 negative 3.1 percent over the four years.

It’s not just the dirty 30 ducking taxes. Overall the actual tax rate corporations pay, called the “effective” tax rate, is at 12.1 percent of profits—far, far less than what most of us pay.

But these corporations and other big companies have armies of tax lawyers who squeeze cash through the tiniest of loopholes. If they paid their fair share—along the lines of what working families pay—it would help raise the kind of revenue needed to support essential programs and services for working families, military service personnel, students, veterans, seniors and the poor. The same vital programs Romney, Ryan and the Republicans want to cut.

Join 100,000 activists of the 99% Spring on April 17, Tax Day, to demand that the 1% and corporations pay their fair share. Click here to find a Tax Day action near you. Click here to find a training session near you.

On April 19, we will launch our updated Executive PayWatch site that will look at the hundreds of billions of dollars of cash from profits and tax breaks corporations are stashing while they lay off workers, send jobs overseas and pay outrageous CEO salaries, bonuses and perks.