The top ten tax-dodging corporations

Did you know you will pay more taxes this year than GE or Exxon Mobil? These corporations, and others, will not only avoid paying any taxes, they will get millions in refunds.

On March 30, on a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Sanders called for the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations to do their share to bring down the deficit. According to Sanders, it is “grossly unfair for congressional Republicans to propose major cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants, the Social Security Administration, nutrition grants for pregnant low-income women and the Environmental Protection Agency while ignoring the reality that some of the most profitable corporations pay nothing or almost nothing in federal income taxes.”

Following is a video of Sanders calling out these corporations, and below is a handy list for your reference.

1. Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009.  Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.

2. Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

3. Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

4. Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

5. Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

6. Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

7. Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

8. Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

9. ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

10. Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

My questions are: Why is Senator Sanders the lone senator pointing out the obvious, that giant, profitable corporations are paying little or no taxes and even getting refunds, while working people are paying the lions’ share of the government’s revenue? Where are the other Democratic senators and the President on this issue? Why isn’t the media investigating tax-dodging corporations?

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not so mysterious. Giant corporations (like GE for example) own news media outlets, which do not report that their parent company pays no taxes. And of course, wealthy individuals, corporations and banks contribute large sums to both Republican and Democratic politicians in return for their not raising their taxes. And most Senators, being millionaires themselves, have a personal interest in keeping their tax rates low. So, except for Bernie Sanders, you will hear crickets in the Senate when it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy or closing the loopholes that benefit corporations.

Senator Sanders has introduced a bill that would close corporate tax loopholes and eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He also introduced legislation to impose a 5.4 percent surtax on millionaires that would yield up to $50 billion a year. He strongly feels that the federal budget should not be balanced solely on the backs of working families. In the House, Representative Schakowsky (D-IL) has introduced the Fairness in Taxation Bill. For more information on Senator Sanders and Representative Schakowsky’s bills, read a previous Occaisional Planet post titled “Raise taxes on the rich to benefit working families.”