Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace

Moyers: 10 Disgustingly Rich Companies That Will Do Anything To Avoid Paying Taxes

Fed Ex, Citigroup and Microsoft are among the big companies named in an Americans for Tax Fairness study.

NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 22, 2013: FedEx van delivering in downtown Manhattan. The name "FedEx" is the short version of the company original air division, Federal Express, which was used until 2000.
Photo Credit: View Apart / Shutterstock.com

This week, Bill speaks to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who argues that we must reform the tax code and stop subsidizing tax dodgers. A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low — and that’s partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

Here’s a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report.

Bank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes if these funds were brought back to the U.S.

Citigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the U.S. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.

ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

FedEx made $6 billion over the last three years and didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes, in part because the tax code subsidized its purchase of new planes. This gave FedEx a huge tax subsidy worth $2.1 billion.

General Electric received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the last 11 years. While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Honeywell had profits of $5 billion from 2009 to 2012. Yet it paid only $50 million in federal income taxes for the period. Its tax rate was just 1 percent over the last four years. This gave it a huge tax subsidy worth $1.7 billion.

Merck had profits of $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2012. While dodging its fair share of federal income taxes, it pocketed $8.7 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Microsoftsaved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. It had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

Pfizer paid no U.S. income taxes from 2010 to 2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide. It did this in part by performing accounting acrobatics to shift its U.S. profits offshore. It received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds.

Verizon made $19.3 billion in U.S. pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com.