It’s a golden age for corporate profits. So why don’t our biggest corporations pay more taxes?
By Paul Bucheit
The brackets are set for the big dance — the dance around tax responsibility. Most of the teams are in the bottom bracket. In this league, the lowest score wins.
Outside the stadium our nation’s kids and seniors and low-income mothers may be dealing with food and housing cuts, but on the corporate playing floor new low-tax records are being set again this year. Just as this is a golden age for sports, this is also, as noted by the New York Times, “a golden age for corporate profits.”
Corporations have simply stopped paying their taxes, perhaps using the 2008 recession as an excuse to plead hardship, but then never restoring their tax obligations when business got better. The facts are indisputable. For over 20 years, from 1987 to 2008, corporations paid an average of 22.5% in federal taxes. Since the recession, this has dropped to 10% — even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years.
Pay Up Now just completed a compilation of corporate tax payments over the past five years, using SEC data as reported by the companies themselves. The firms chosen are top-earners who have filed 10-K reports through 2012. Their US Tax figures represent the five-year total of “current” payments.
The 64 corporate teams paid just over 8% in taxes over the five-year period.
The Slink Sixteen
General Electric: The worst tax record over five years, with $81 billion in profits and a $3 billion refund.