The ‘Dirty 30’ Are the Top U.S. Companies That Managed to Pay No Taxes

The top U.S.-based multinationals that dodged $67.9 billion in taxes over three years.

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General Electric

When it comes to dodging taxes, no company is more skilled than General Electric. As The New York Times reported last year, the company employees 975 tax experts, many of whom used to work for the IRS or the Treasury. From 2008 through 2010, it spent $84 million lobbying Congress. The money was well spent: despite making $10.5 billion in U.S. profits over the three years, GE paid no federal taxes and got $4.7 billion back in rebates.

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has been doing well since its 2009 bailout. The bank made $49 billion in profits from 2008 and 2010, and padded that with another $680 million in tax rebates. It spent  $11 million on lobbying between 2008 and 2010—and another $7.8 million last year.

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The telecommunications giant spends a lot on lobbying: $52.2 million from 2008 through 2010. But it gets a good return on investment. Verizon made $32 billion over that period and got $950 million back in rebates. Given that the corporate tax rate stands at 35 percent, that’s effectively $12 billion in subsidies.

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PG&E Corp

PG&E spent even more on lobbying than Verizon: $79 million over three years. It, too, got what it paid for: the company paid an effective tax rate of negative 21 percent on almost $5 billion in domestic profits, getting rebates and credits worth over $1 billion back in taxes.

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Corning Inc.

Corning Inc., a company that makes industrial glass and ceramics, made almost $2 billion in profits over three years and paid an effective negative tax rate of 4 percent. That amounts to a subsidy of $696 million. They spent $2.8 million on lobbying.

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The aircraft manufacturer paid an effective tax rate of negative 1.8 percent on almost $10 billion in domestic profits over three years. The price for such treatment: $52 million on lobbying.

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Toy companies are just as good at gaming the tax code as the energy and finance giants. Mattel paid negative 9 percent in taxes on just over a billion dollars in domestic profits, but spent a relatively paltry $800 thousand on lobbying.

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Duke Energy

Duke supplemented its $5.4 billion in profits with $216 million in tax refunds. It spent $17.5 million on lobbying, and also made ample use of offshore tax shelters. The company has 27 subsidiaries in overseas tax havens.

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DuPont paid an effective tax rate of negative 3.4 percent, getting back $72 million in federal tax rebates. It spent $13.8 million on lobbyists and has 12 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens

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American Electric Power

For American Electric Power, spending $28.8 million on lobbying was a worthwhile investment. It paid an effective tax rate of negative 9.2 percent on $5.9 billion in domestic profits. That’s essentially a subsidy of more than $2.6 billion.