While Verizon workers toil without a contract, a report issued jointly today by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that it’s not just its workers the company is short-changing; it’s all of the American people. For the last three years, Verizon has paid less than zero taxes. That’s right—through the use of corporate loopholes, Verizon has actually “made” money through its tax filings, according to the report, “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers.”
One area where Verizon didn’t mind paying out? CEO compensation—to the tune of $18.1 million last year.
And Verizon is hardly alone: 29 other corporations listed on the Fortune 500, according to the report, paid either no taxes, or, like Verizon, enjoy a negative tax balance on their filings for 2008, 2009 and 2010. Other household names on that ignominious list include Honeywell International, DuPont, Boeing, Mattel, Duke Energy and Wells Fargo (which also benefited from the bank bailout).
As report authors Robert McIntyre, Matthew Gardner, Rebecca Wilkins and Richard Phillips write:
[T]oday corporate tax loopholes are so out of control that most Americans can rightfully complain, “I pay more federal income taxes than General Electric, Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, etc., etc., all put together.” That’s an unacceptable situation.
And it doesn’t end there. Examining 280 companies listed on the Fortune 500, the authors find70 companies—25 percent of their sample—”paid effective federal tax rates on their U.S. profits of less than 10 percent.” (On a happier note, they found nearly as many paid their full freight of 35 or so percent.) In a statement, lead author Robert McIntyre, director at Citizens for Tax Justice, said:
These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $224 billion in tax subsidies. This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.
You can download the full report, Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax-Dodgers, 2008-2010, in PDF format here.