15 Top Fortune 500 Corporations Paid No Taxes for 2011

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Big No-Tax Corps Just Keep on Dodging
April 9, 2012 9:33 AM

Read the PDF of this Report.

Last November, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a major study of the federal income taxes paid, or not paid, by 280 big, profitable Fortune 500 corporations. That report found, among other things, that 30 of the companies paid no net federal income tax from 2008 through 2010. New information for 2011 shows that almost all these 30 companies have maintained their tax dodging ways.

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 fouryear 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.

“These big, profitable corporations are continuing to shift their tax burden onto average Americans,” said Citizens for Tax Justice director Bob McIntyre. “This isn’t fair to the rest of us, it makes no economic sense, and it’s part of the reason our government is running huge budget deficits.”

The Size of the Tax Subsidies:

Had these 30 companies paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate over the 2008-11 period, they would have paid $78.3 billion more in federal income taxes. Or put another way, over the four years, the 30 companies received more than $78 billion in total tax subsidies. 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).

Taxes in 2011:

In 2011 alone, 24 of the 30 companies paid effective tax rates of less than 4 percent, including 15 that paid zero or less in federal income taxes in that year. For all 30 companies, the average 2011 effective federal income tax rate was a paltry 7.1% — only a fifth of the statutory 35 percent federal corporate tax rate.

Additional tables and company-by-company notes follow:


Clearly the answer is to raise taxes for private citizens.


Registered User
Fair Tax. No corporate income taxes, period. It would create shit tons of jobs, and all of the new workers would be paying the federal tax every time they bought a new product.


Yeah, that stat conveniently forgets to mention that every member of those corporations pays taxes as an individual. What they are getting out of here is corporate double taxation, and on top of that, they are doing it legally.

Norm Stansfield

Partycock, just out of curiosity: have you bothered reading the document you linked to? And if you have, have you then bothered googleing what that "accelerated depreciation" thing they keep mentioning is?

And if you have, how come you didn't bother sharing your newfound knowledge with the class, by explaining why it is perfectly legitimate, and universally legal, to amortize the cost of an asset over a period of time, thus subtracting a fraction of its cost each year from the yearly accounting profits of a company?

And that, given this legitimate practice (which subtracts the cost of actual purchases made by the company, early in its use rather than all the way through it - logical, right, why wouldn't you be allowed to do this?), the claim that these companies made 200+ billion in untaxed profits is A BIG FAT LIE? How come you don't mention that anywhere, buddy?

It's a lie. That's all it is. There's nothing sophisticated or complex about it, it's just a lie. What they are saying is not true. These companies didn't pay taxes because they didn't have any profits. Those assets they are now paying for will eventually be profitable, and then they'll pay their taxes in full. But not right now. Which is not that weird. Out of 500 companies, some are gonna end up being not profitable in any given year.

Norm Stansfield

P.S. If you'd care for an example of what accelerated depreciation is, there's a wikipedia page that explains everything perfectly. I'll just post the crystal clear, simple example they give:


As a simple example, a company buys a generator that costs $1,000 that is expected to last for 10 years. Under the most simple form of depreciation, the company might allocate $100 of the cost of the generator to its expenses every year, until the $1000 capital expense has been "used up." Under accelerated depreciation, the company may be allowed to allocate $200 of the cost of the generator for five years.

If the company has $200 in profits per year (before consideration of the cost of the generator or any effects of debt or other factors), and the tax rate is 20%:

a) Normal depreciation: the company claims $100 in depreciation every year and has a tax profit of $100; it must pay tax of $20 on the $100 gain. Over ten years, $200 in taxes are paid.

b) Accelerated depreciation: the company claims $200 in depreciation for the first five years, and nothing for the last five years. For the first five years, it has no taxable profit and pays no gains tax. For the last five years, the company has a gain of $200, and pays $40 per year in tax, for a total of $200.

To compare these two (simplified) cases, the company pays $200 in taxes in both instances. In the second case, it has deferred taxes to a much later period. The deferral of taxes to a later period is favorable according to the time value of money principle.

(This example has been simplified for a basic demonstration of how accelerated depreciation works. It does not factor in an accurate class life, recovery period or account for convention.)
So, what's the problem with this? They will pay taxes, but later on, when the assets they bought start paying off, in terms of profits.


Registered User
Clearly the answer is to raise taxes for private citizens.
Thats the plan. Why do you think Warren Buffet and the rest of the billionaire club asks for higher taxes? They know their taxes will not be raised, all the wealth will be transferred from the people to the ultra rich and liberals are begging government to take our money and give it to the banks and corporations. The commies have taken over.


Registered User
corporations don't pay taxes

they just collect taxes for the gov't


PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Citizens for Tax Justice

These big, profitable corporations are continuing to shift their tax burden onto average Americans...
The government directs tax burden, not corporations.