Saturday, March 31, 2012

Corporate Tax Rate Myth and Reality

Another reminder not to be fooled by the headline tax rate, no matter how loudly politicians trumpet it.  From TJN:
...[A] comprehensive study from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that analyzed 280 of America's most profitable companies found that 78 of them paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years. It's worth mentioning that the 280 companies also received a total of $223 billion in tax breaks. In fact, the report unearthed thirty companies that enjoyed a negative income tax rate over the three year period, while banking profits totaling $160 billion. ...
The Congressional Budget Office, an independent, non-partisan agency, has reported that the average corporate tax rate on domestic profits - meaning the share of profits that companies actually pay in taxes — is at 12.1%. This is less than half of the statutory rate of 35%, which will be held up as the raison d'etre for American corporations' inability to compete and continually referred to as the highest rate in the world.  In fact, the corporate tax rate is at the lowest level since the early 1970s
...Contrary to what will be heard on the campaign trail today, the U.S. collects less corporate taxes as a share of GDP than all but one of the 26 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries for which data are available. The contribution of corporate tax revenue to the federal government decreased from 30 percent in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009.
It's the base, stupid.

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