Seventy-Eight Corporations Paid Zero Dollars in Taxes on U.S. Profits, New Study Finds

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Dan Smith,Federal Tax and Budget Associate
Office: 202-546-9707 x340
DSmith@pirg.org

Seventy-Eight Corporations Paid Zero Dollars in Taxes on U.S. Profits, New Study Finds

WASHINGTON - New data released today by Citizens for Tax Justice reveals that 78 Fortune 500 companies did not pay any federal income taxes in at least one of the past three years, despite posting $160 billion in U.S. profits. The report found that thirty companies paid a negative average tax rate over the past three years, meaning they took in more income from tax credits and write offs than they paid in taxes.

Many of these companies avoid paying taxes on U.S. profits by shifting those profits to subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens. An earlier U.S. PIRG report found that tax havens, which cost the U.S.an estimated$100 billion every year, result in each individual American tax filer paying an extra $434 in 2010 to make up for the lost revenue or shouldering that much more of the federal debt.

“Small businesses and ordinary taxpayers can’t afford the clever tax lawyers that make income earned in America magically show up on the books in the Caymans,” said U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Associate Dan Smith. “When giant corporations escape paying their taxes, the rest of us get stuck with the bill.”

This report comes on the heels of a new proposal from the tax writing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (MI) to create a territorial tax system. Under current law, corporations must pay taxes on off-shored profits when they bring the money back to the country. However, the reform proposal would exempt such profits from virtually all corporate taxation.

“Existing loopholes already allow profits legitimately earned in the United States to sit tax-free in places like Bermuda,” said Smith. “With the door allowing gimmicky corporate tax avoidance already ajar, Camp’s proposal kicks it wide open,” he added.

Click here for a copy of Citizens for Tax Justice’s report.

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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