Corporations not Paying Fair Share

The bigger they are the less they pay.

This is from the Citizens for Tax Justice that does work tracking down taxes paid by corporations.

In an interview with In These Times, Carl Gibson, the founder of US Uncut, which is organizing some of today’s UK-inspired massive demonstrations against tax dodgers, explains that while ordinary Americans are being asked to sacrifice, major corporations continue to use the rigged tax code to avoid paying any federal taxes at all. As he says, if you have “one dollar” in your wallet, you’re paying more than the “combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and the Bank of America“:

[Gibson] explains, “I have one dollar in my wallet. That’s more than the combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and the Bank of America. That means somebody is gaming the system.”

Indeed, as politicians are asking ordinary Americans to sacrifice their education, their health, their labor rights, and their wellbeing to tackle budget deficits, some of the world’s richest multinational corporations are getting away with shirking their responsibility and paying nothing. ThinkProgress has assembled a short but far from comprehensive list of these tax dodgers — corporations which have rigged the tax system to their advantage so they can reap huge profits and avoid paying taxes:

  • BANK OF AMERICA: In 2009, Bank of America didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes, exploiting the tax code so as to avoid paying its fair share. “Oh, yeah, this happens all the time,” said Robert Willens, a tax accounting expert interviewed by McClatchy. “If you go out and try to make money and you don’t do it, why should the government pay you for your losses?” asked Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. The same year, the mega-bank’s top executives received pay “ranging from $6 million to nearly $30 million.”
  • BOEING: Despite receiving billions of dollars from the federal government every single year in taxpayer subsidies from the U.S. government, Boeing didn’t “pay a dime of U.S. federal corporate income taxes” between 2008 and 2010.
  • CITIGROUP: Citigroup’s deferred income taxes for the third quarter of 2010 amounted to a grand total of $0.00. At the same time, Citigroup has continued to pay its staff lavishly. “John Havens, the head of Citigroup’s investment bank, is expected to be the bank’s highest paid executive for the second year in a row, with a compensation package worth $9.5 million.
  • EXXON-MOBIL: The oil giant uses offshore subsidiaries in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Although Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes in 2009, not a penny of those taxes went to the American Treasury. This was the same year that the company overtook Wal-Mart in the Fortune 500. Meanwhile the total compensation of Exxon-Mobil’s CEO the same year was over $29,000,000.
  • GENERAL ELECTRIC: In 2009, General Electric — the world’s largest corporation — filed more than 7,000 tax returns and still paid nothing to U.S. government. They managed to do this by a tax code that essentially subsidizes companies for losing profits and allows them to set up tax havens overseas. That same year GE CEO Jeffery Immelt — who recently scored a spot on a White House economic advisory board — “earned total compensation of $9.89 million.” In 2002, Immelt displayed his lack of economic patriotism, saying, “When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China….I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to 5 billion.”
  • WELLS FARGO: Despite being the fourth largest bank in the country, Wells Fargo was able to escape paying federal taxes by writing all of its losses off after its acquisition of Wachovia. Yet in 2009 the chief executive of Wells Fargo also saw his compensation “more than double” as he earned “a salary of $5.6 million paid in cash and stock and stock awards of more than $13 million.”

Gee golly… you’d think the teabaggers would be all over this and make sure that the common people weren’t getting ripped off. Hmm. -mdw

  5 comments for “Corporations not Paying Fair Share

  1. J Hofland
    March 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    It should be obvious to everyone from the left to the right that the current tax system is broken beyond the point were it can be fixed. It doesn’t need a tune up or even an overhaul, it needs to be scrapped and replaced. One company has to file 7000 tax returns in 1 year!!! Having to do my one is a pain in the @#%$!@# enough and adds no productivity or value to the country. If you raise the taxes on corporations, they either move off shore taking there jobs with them, or they pass the increased costs on to their customers. If you think that the economy sucks now, raise taxes on businesses. Unfortunately when you do, its the smaller business that get hit hardest. Why? The bigger they are the less they pay because they can buy the politicians on both sides of the aisle (tax break for a campaign contribution?) The current system is a drain on this country and disadvantages Americans & American businesses, particularly the honest ones. That is why I support the FairTax (HR 25, S 13) tax system replacement. No more loopholes, no more punishing productivity, no more IRS. It returns power to the people. Those (individuals, businesses, & corporations) who benefit more (in the form of consumption) pay more. (

  2. March 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I agree, no more loopholes – they almost always benefit the people that SHOULD be paying more.

  3. March 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    The rich get richer….nothing will change until the public wakes up and demands an end to this egregious largesse

  4. Gregory Iwan
    March 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Corporations don’t have withholding. Why not? I begin to think Steve Forbes’ idea about a “flat tax” makes some sense, except all the lawyers and CPAs will scream like nobody’s business. Every deduction, exemption, and favor in the Tax Code represents some vigorous lobbying effort. By the way, if you read a lot of corporate annual reports, as I do, do you ever notice that the “tax” line in the income statement is almost always “allocated,” or “designated,” or “estimated liability.” They generally don’t pay it (most average about 38% of net income); so where does that dough go? Shareholders are the biggest holders — of the bag, and of the Vaseline.

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