12 Worst Corporate Tax Dodgers


Billionaire real estate investor and famous tax evader Leona Helmsley once said: “Only the little people pay taxes." It turns out Helmsley was all too right. 

At a time when billions are being slashed from the federal budget and we’ face cuts to necessary health, education and environmental services, corporations are doing their part to keep their pockets padded and the profits as far from the people as possible.   

Last month’s discovery that GE paid zero in taxes has exploded across the news. But GE is not alone. Rainforest Action Network (RAN) reviewed the top four banks, oil and coal companies in the country, and found that all of them are gaming the system. In fact, Bank of America, Citi, Massey Energy and Chevron have also all paid zero in federal income taxes this year or in year’s past. 

RAN reviewed 12 of the dirtiest corporate tax dodgers: Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Chevron, BP, Shell, Exxon, Massey Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. These 12 banks, oil and coal companies are largely responsible for foreclosing on millions of people’s homes and polluting our air, water and climate. At the same time, we found that they pay next to nothing into a tax system that provides the very services that protect the homeless, the sick and our environment.   


Our new infographic, Dirty Corporate Tax Dodgers, shows that banks, oil and coal companies made billions in profits last year and paid much less than their fair share in taxes. In fact, we found that if these 12 banks, oil and coal companies actually paid the IRS corporate tax rate of 35% they would be giving back $62 billion this tax season. That is almost double the $38 billion in federal budget cuts. 

To add insult to injury, while these multi-billion dollar industries we raking in the profits and evading their taxes they were also paying millions in CEO compensation and lobby dollars. These corporations are happy to pay large sums to manipulate our democracy but aren’t so interested in paying to support it.   

We were shocked to find that:

  • Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell together made $1.26 trillion in gross revenues, but paid a paltry 2.04% average tax rate;
  • Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo collectively dished out $83.4 million in CEO compensation;
  • and, while the top 4 banks made $454.4 billion in gross revenue, the top 4 oil companies made $1.26 trillion (yes that’s a ‘t), and the top coal corporations made $17 billion, they collectively only paid $8.74 billion in federal taxes.

Last year, the American people faced 3.8 million foreclosure filings due to reckless Wall Street banks, footed a whopping $115 billion to bail out those banks, and lost 130,000 people to coal pollution-related deaths. We know these dirty corporations are costing us dearly. Unfortunately, now we also that they’re not paying up.       

So, let’s get one thing straight. America is not broke, and these dirty corporations don’t need any more handouts, bailouts, or subsidies. We don’t have a money problem we have a priorities problem. We’re slashing billions from our budget, much of which will come out of social services and environmental protections, while allowing corporate giants to slip ever-increasing profits into offshore accounts.  

By reversing years of tax giveaways to the largest corporations, Congress could raise trillions in revenue not only covering our budget deficit but also enhancing education, health and environmental programs that safeguard our families and our future. 


Pissed off? You should be. It’s time corporate tax dodgers pay their fair share.

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