A new report from Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) illustrates how profitable Fortune 500 companies in a range of sectors of the U.S. economy have been remarkably successful in manipulating the tax system to avoid paying even a dime of tax on billions of dollars in profits.
As a group, the ten companies paid no federal income tax on $16 billion in profits in 2012, and they paid zero federal income tax on $57 billion in profits over the past five years. All paid exceedingly low rates over five years – in fact, all but one had a lower tax rate in 2012 than a median-income family of four:
While General Electric, Facebook, FedEx and Pepco are fairly well-publicized tax avoiders, the CTJ report report also includes:
- The oil and gas exploration company Apache, which paid no tax on $7.6 billion in pretax income over five years, enjoying a $169 million tax rebate over that period.
- Health-care giant Tenet Healthcare, which hasn’t paid a dime of federal income tax on $905 million in U.S. income over the past five years, receiving a tax rebate of $51 million.
- In the airline sector, Southwest Airlines paid no federal income taxes on $673 million in U.S. income last year, and actually received an income tax rebate of $45 million.
- The Principal Financial Group, an investment services provider, which avoided all federal income taxes on its $919 million in 2012.
- Ryder System, which provided truck rentals and services, paid a negative 2.3 percent federal income tax rate in 2012 and a negative 4.7 percent rate since 2008.
- The Interpublic Group, a marketing and communications firm, also had negative tax rates both in 2012 and over the five-year period.