Walmart Gets $7.8 Billion 'Bill' for Its Taxpayer-Funded Breaks, Subsidies

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Common Dreams

Walmart Gets $7.8 Billion 'Bill' for Its Taxpayer-Funded Breaks, Subsidies

New report reveals how tax system 'provides special treatment to America’s biggest corporations and richest families leaving individual taxpayers and small businesses to pick up the tab.'

A Black Friday protest outside a Chicago Walmart in 2013. (Photo: Bob Simpson/cc/flickr)

Walmart and the Walton family are the recipients of "special treatment" thanks to a tax system that allows them to rake in $7.8 billion a year from tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies, a new report reveals.

Armed with this news, a group of Walmart workers and taxpayers delivered a $7.8 billion tax bill — an amount that could be used to fund over 105,000 new public school teachers — to the Phoenix-area home of Walmart Chairman Rob Walton.

"Even though Walmart is making $16 billion in profits, the Waltons seem to think the American people should be providing them another $8 billion in tax breaks," Anthony Goytia, who's worked at Walmart for two years, said in a statement. "When the richest family in America isn’t paying its fair share, it’s no wonder that our children’s schools, our roads and basic public programs are getting cut left and right."

Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT), which put out the report, breaks down the $7.8 billion:

  • Because Walmart pays such low wages to its employees, many of them depend on taxpayer-funded programs like food stamps to get by. That adds up to roughly $6.2 billion annually.
  • Tax breaks and loopholes allow the corporation to join the ranks of other tax dodgers to the tune of $1 billion a year.
  • The Waltons, who own more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, are legally able to avoid paying $607 million in federal taxes on their Walmart dividends because investment income is taxed at a lower rate than actual work income. The report adds: "Because the Waltons have investments other than Walmart, this estimate may significantly understate the savings they derive from the tax preference on investment income."

On food stamps, also known as SNAP, Walmart benefits in an additional way. It receives 18 percent of the SNAP market; that means its sales from food stamp recipients bring the company an additional $13.5 billion.

"Polls show that Americans want a tax system that requires large corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share," the report concludes. "This report shows that our current system is anything but fair – rather it provides special treatment to America’s biggest corporations and richest families leaving individual taxpayers and small businesses to pick up the tab."

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