Requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Wednesday revealing that at least two-thirds of active U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2006 and 2012. The report also found that large, profitable corporations only paid 14% of their profits in federal income taxes on average from 2008 through 2012, while approximately one-fifth of them paid nothing at all.
“There is something profoundly wrong in America when one out of five profitable corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes,” Sanders asserted. “Large corporations cannot continue to get more tax breaks when children in America go hungry. We need real tax reform to ensure that the most profitable corporations in America pay their fair share in taxes. That means closing corporate tax loopholes to raise the revenue necessary to rebuild America and create millions of jobs.”
Between 2008 and 2013, General Electric, Boeing, and Verizon paid no federal income taxes. During that period, these three companies amassed more than $102 billion in combined profits, yet they ended up receiving over $4.1 billion in income tax rebates from the IRS.
According to a report last year from U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice, nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies tucked away $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. In 2014, at least 358 of these massive corporations maintained 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries throughout Panama, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and other havens.
“At a time when Republicans tell us that we don’t have enough money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure or provide universal childcare, maybe, just maybe we should stop allowing huge corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes,” Sanders declared. “Corporate greed is destroying the fabric of America. It must come to an end.”
If elected president, Sanders plans to close these tax loopholes in order to create and maintain at least 13 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, railways, and airports. Sanders also plans to crack down on corporate tax dodgers by closing loopholes allowing U.S. corporations to avoid paying federal income taxes by setting up a post office box in a tax-haven country, artificially inflating foreign tax credits, and using offshore subsidiaries to evade taxes.
On Wednesday, the GAO released a study requested by Sanders that found roughly 20% of large, profitable U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2008 and 2012. The percentage of large, profitable corporations that paid nothing each year ranged from 17.9% in 2008 to 24.1% in 2011. The study also discovered that 42.3% of large corporations, possessing at least $10 million in assets, paid no federal income tax in 2012.
Joining nearly 40,000 Verizon employees on the picket line on Wednesday, Sanders pledged his support to the workers demanding fair wages while fighting against the company’s plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period. On Twitter, Sanders wrote, “Thank you to those on strike today. You’re standing up for justice not just for Verizon workers but for millions who don’t have a union.”