Something to think about as tax day nears: General Electric is so good at doing their taxes, the government pays them. In 2010, the company reported global profits of $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of which came from the U.S. But using a combination of offshore accounts and aggressive lobbying for tax breaks, GE managed to not only pay no taxes, but get a benefit of $3.2 billion. GE spent $200 million on lobbying in the last decade. At one point, when a generous tax break was about to expire, the head of GE's tax team met with Representative Charles Rangel, then chairman of the ways and means committee, and begged for an extension on one knee. Supposedly it was a joke, but GE got its extension, and Rangel got a $30 million gift for New York City schools. GE is an extreme example of a historical trend: The corporate share of the nation's tax receipts went from 30 percent in the 1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009.
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