SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A new NerdWallet study found the 10 most profitable U.S. companies paid an average of 9% in federal taxes last year. These low rates are particularly shocking given that the official tax rate is 35%. The study also revealed more than half of the 500 largest U.S. companies paid a lower tax rate than the average American.

To give the public easy access to this information, NerdWallet built a tax rate transparency tool. The tool allows users to select any of the 500 largest corporations in America and instantly see the tax rate that company paid. The tool also provides the name and compensation of the highest paid executive.

 

#1 Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Pre-tax earnings: $73.3 Billion

Tax Provision: $31.1 Billion (42%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $1.5 Billion (2%)

Exxon paid $1.5 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $1.6 billion. It paid the majority of its taxes to foreign governments where it operates ($28.8 billion).

 

#2 Chevron (CVX)

Pre-tax earnings: $47.6 Billion

Tax Provision: $20.6 Billion (43%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $1.9 Billion (4%)

Chevron paid $1.9 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $877 million. It paid the majority of its taxes to foreign governments where it operates ($16.5 billion). Chevron also paid $596 million to state and local government.

 

#3 Apple (AAPL)

Pre-tax earnings: $34.2 Billion

Tax Provision: $8.3 Billion (24%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $3.9 Billion (11%)

Apple paid $3.9 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $3.0 billion. It paid $762 million to state and local government, $769 million to foreign governments.

 

#4 Microsoft (MSFT)

Pre-tax earnings: $28.1 Billion

Tax Provision: $4.9 Billion (18%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $3.1 Billion (11%)

Microsoft paid $3.1 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011. It paid $209 million to state and local government, $1.6 billion to foreign governments.

#5 JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM)

Pre-tax earnings: $26.7 Billion

Tax Provision: $7.8 Billion (29%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $3.7 Billion (14%)

JPMorgan paid $3.7 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $2.1 billion. It paid $1.2 billion to state and local government, $1.2 billion to foreign governments.

 

#6 Wal-Mart (WMT)

Pre-tax earnings: $24.4 Billion

Tax Provision: $7.9 Billion (33%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $4.6 Billion (19%)

Wal-Mart paid $4.6 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $1.4 billion. It paid $743 million to state and local government, $1.4 billion to foreign governments.

 

#7 Wells Fargo & Co (WFC)

Pre-tax earnings: $23.7 Billion

Tax Provision: $7.4 Billion (31%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $3.4 Billion (14%)

Wells Fargo paid $3.4 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $3.1 billion. It paid $468 million to state and local government, $52 million to foreign governments.

 

#8 ConocoPhillips (COP)

Pre-tax earnings: $23.0 Billion

Tax Provision: $10.5 Billion (46%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $1.9 Billion (8%)

ConocoPhillips paid $1.9 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $943 million. It paid $413 million to state and local government, $7.1 billion to foreign governments.

 

#9 International Business Machines (IBM)

Pre-tax earnings: $21.0 Billion

Tax Provision: $5.1 Billion (25%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $0.268 Billion (1%)

IBM paid $268 million to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $909 million. It paid $429 million to state and local government, $3.2 billion to foreign governments.

 

#10 General Electric (GE)

Pre-tax earnings: $20.1 Billion

Tax Provision: $5.7 Billion (29%)

Actual Taxes Paid to U.S. federal government: $1.0 Billion (5%)

GE paid $1.0 billion to the U.S. federal government in 2011 and deferred paying an additional $1.5 billion. It paid $4.7 billion to foreign governments.

~~~

“Corporate tax rates and CEO compensation are controversial issues and finding this information can be difficult,” says Joanna Pratt, VP of Financial Markets at NerdWallet. “We think it’s important for every American to have access to this information.”

About NerdWallet Financial Markets: NerdWallet Financial Markets is designed to empower investors by providing unbiased and transparent access to financial markets information.

Category: Taxes and Policy, Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

33 Responses to “Top 10 Most Profitable Companies Paid ~9% Tax Rate”

  1. denim says:

    Thinking this actual effects of existing tax law, Grover Norquist obviously has more than one front open on his personal war against taxes:

    “Never mind drowning the US government in a bathtub: Grover Norquist is trying to drown the whole economy in a lake:…”
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/drowning-in-grovers-lake/

    “The pledge is really less about keeping taxes low than it is about holding down government revenues, which prevent the growth of government services. Mr. Norquist has famously said his goal is to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/opinion/22fri1.html

    Yes, Grover is happy, the beast is starving and drowning.

  2. ConscienceofaConservative says:

    Good annectdotal proof that we need to lower the corporate tax rate and broaden the base. When we say the corporate tax rate is too high, we aren’t talking about Exxon , Microsoft and Apple, but smaller companies who can’t black box their tax based decision making. Lowering the rate, and removing deductions would level the playing field between small and large companies , probably generate more economic growth and increase tax revenue from companies that don’t pay very much.

  3. Francois says:

    “Corporate tax rates and CEO compensation are controversial issues”

    Excuse me but with these kind of excesses, the time has come to drop the false “controversy”. Facts speaks for themselves. And so do some (a href=”http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003634.html”>billionaires:

    As for the notion that the divide between the wealthy and everyone else is grotesquely wide, David says: “<b.There’s always been rich and poor, the 1 percent and the 99 percent.” And then he adds, “It’s like a prison. If you only have prisoners and no guards, you’d have chaos.

  4. lucydogget says:

    This sure looks like misinformation. If a company is doing business in a foreign country they pay taxes in that country. I believe they get a tax offset too. So Exxon is paying 42% in taxes. Where it goes depends on where they are doing business. To suggest that they are not paying their fair share is wrong.
    Should we add, another 35% on top of 42%?

  5. rbbrfish says:

    Quick calculation on GE: 20.1 B profit, 5.7 B tax provision (what does that mean? exemption beyond expenses?), leaves 14.4 B. 7.2 B total taxes paid/deferred means a 50% effective global tax rate.

    This requires a deeper think.

  6. steve2007 says:

    This seems like a totally bogus article

    Looking at the numbers you see for the most part that adding the amount paid overseas to the amount paid to the Feds & the deferred amount equals the tax provision

    This is generally how it works i.e if I operate overseas, the amount I owe the US govt is less the amount I paid to the country where I operated

    Am I missing something?

  7. RW says:

    Tax provision is the tax owed

  8. RW says:

    Hit the wrong key …

    Tax provision is only the first step, a calculation of the tax owed at nominal rates. The actual tax paid, the effective rate, is typically much less. In the case of GE it is 5% to the US govt, another 23% to foreign governments. The total is 28% which is a point less than its tax provision for the US alone.

    None of this is news.

  9. rbbrfish says:

    So they paid a back obligation of 5.7B leaving the rest of the calculations being simplistic, but accurate? (Just trying to understand. Thanks.)

  10. Frilton Miedman says:

    I’d rather see this with additional info.

    For each: Total US jobs. – Average wage per employee.

    Divide total wages by total jobs, then subtract the total effective tax paid vs taxable income to glean a crude ROI in revenues lost.

    It also might be a good idea to look at source of revenues, GE takes a large amount in government contracts….do we really need to incentivize them with lower tax rates on earnings made through taxpayer money?

    Walmart lays claim to being the largest employer, but when you factor that 50% of it’s employee’s depend on food stamps, the ROI on “job creating” tax loss/investment is completely altered., they’re sunsidzed with taxpayer money as a result of inadequate wages.

  11. Jojo says:

    This should be nailed to the doors of the conservatives in Congress!

  12. RW says:

    No back obligation, just a budgeting matter: provisioning for a potential expense.

    Might as well keep it simple because there are dozens of ways a corporation can reduce stated profits and therefore at least an equal number of ways to reduce or mistate corporate tax owed regardless of provisioning.

    IMHO the corporate tax quarrel is simultaneously a red herring — the big corporations don’t pay much and could pay even less any time they really wanted to — and also a point worth arguing about: Is a corporation really a “person” and, if not, why would you charge them an income tax?

    And, more to the point, what is income (we all know what it is as a pragmatic matter of course) and is there really any justification for taxing it at a different rate based on source or putative purpose?

    If that justification cannot be adequately established then why would a welder’s or secretary’s salary be taxed at a higher effective rate than the income stream for a trust-fund baby or the carried interest of hedge fund manager?

    NB: Mixed amid the red herrings is utter nonsense statements from the rentier class that their income is somehow “taxed twice” when they receive their share of corporate profits. I do weary of this kind of febrile crap: A dollar is 100% fungible and it could be taxed dozens of times or not at all depending on its path so the notion of “double taxation” is bereft of content; how many times has the dollar a food stamp recipient spends been taxed? Give me a break [sheeesh].

    My own take? We have an income tax for corporations because we are confused.

  13. algernon says:

    Fascinating. The 42-46% paid by oil companies is pretty significant. I surmise that this does NOT include gas tax subtracted by state govts at the pump. Govts obviously get tremendously more profit out of oil companies than do their shareholders.

  14. TLH says:

    How much money do they give to the politicians to get the deductions to lower their rates?

  15. emailcraigs says:

    algernon, That is what they would have paid before all the tax incentives, deductions, etc. They actually only paid between 2 – 8 percent to the IRS. So, I would think that the shareholders….or more so the CEOs are doing very well. Of course we all know that already.

  16. victor says:

    The % of taxes paid to the IRS as shown should be derived from the companies’ US pretax earnings which in many cases are only a fraction of their total worldwide earnings. Actually corporations only pay taxes when they show a profit and the taxes paid are simply passed on to the end user of their goods and/or services. Thus, corporations do not pay taxes only people do in spite of Mitt’s gaffe.

  17. Eliza says:

    Well there goes part of the meme about US corporate tax rates as being the highest – globally.

  18. Lyle says:

    RE Oil companies, if you look at the financial statements you will find an item taxes other than income which also includes duties paid.

  19. Greg0658 says:

    “Yes, Grover is happy, the beast is starving and drowning.”
    yes in this 21st century – trust in the OpSys that is “corporate flags”
    .. but you will eventually be sorry

    Frilton I read your solution last nite – interesting fix .. I like a productive human life in the equation
    .. somewhere in the last couple days I remember reading something that ~ say it this way:
    I’d like to see a family reguarded as a corporation too – with all the benefits of writeoffs ~ but who would be left to pay for the government business ~ for mom could be an housekeeper employee with a wage to vacate all taxes?

    whats do-able? really .. we live in interesting times .. sorry your kids will have to do the work
    (not mine – didn’t make any)

    still think the fork in the road was the massive universe of twin dual novas: bonds & stocks ..
    trust us with your acorn – you will get it back (with interest) .. swear – we won’t burn down the forest

  20. willid3 says:

    actually we pay companies (any of them) their profits. costs are included but they do business to make a profit.
    and we want them to pay their fair share in the US, what they do elsewhere is their business. and the countries they do business in. they get a credit for paying other countries taxes because we want to be help them have export sales.
    I looked up what defines income (the dictionary version)
    1.
    the monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, as rents or investments.
    2.
    something that comes in as an addition or increase, especially by chance.

    so taxing corporations ‘incomes’ is pretty valid. and if i remember right from my college accounting course there is a accounting document called the income statement.
    while these might be the most aggressive in cutting their taxes, any corporation could do it. while we might quibble with the exceptions that given to some but not others. we do that with individuals too. such as carried interest.

  21. Marc P says:

    There are three obvious items to consider here:

    The headline is irresponsibly in error. The companies pay far more taxes than 9% by the data presented.

    Any commentary on corporate taxes needs to at least mention that most of corporate tax is passed through to the customers. Increasing corporate tax rates is not a very effective way to get to the goal of higher federal revenues. A well-written article would present data on this.

    Corporations pay a fairly small portion of U.S. tax receipts, something like 6%-8% depending on who is generating the statistic. Even if corporate taxes suddenly went up by half (e.g. WalMart paying 50% of income rather than 33%), it wouldn’t increase the overall U.S. government tax receipts very much.

  22. VennData says:

    We must lower the corporate tax rate! American companies can’t compete!!!! Look at how the stock market has only doubled in the last four years! Record profits, record margins, record cash on the balance sheet and record GDP are all simply uh…. uh….

  23. VennData says:

    I love Marc P above above, ‘the number isn’t right!’
    Of course he will be the first to nod his pin head when the GOP says the rich pay all the income taxes and leave out, social security, Medicare, sales and property taxes.

  24. Frilton Miedman says:

    Relevant note:

    China pays a 2.5% tariff to import to the U.S. (that’s two and a half percent)

    The U.S. pays 25% to import to China.

    More than 60% of Chinese imports are American companies that have relocated there for lower labor costs.

  25. willid3 says:

    MARC P if companies actually did pay 50% (not that we would do that) sure it would. all you have to do is look at the income distribution. of all income earned in the US who makes the most? companies a lot more than any of the others. and the top 1% make a lot more than the bottom 50%. in fact the top 1% make 20% of all income. take the top 10% and you end up with closer to 40-50%. the bottom 50%? make about 1% of all income. so lets see raising taxes on the bottom 50% will ad how much revenue? even if you took all of it, it would only get 1% of all income. now if you raised taxes on the top 1% and companies? even elementary school math will show that will increase tax receipts more than raising taxes on the bottom 50%.
    and the reason we give the companies tax breaks? was to increase jobs in theory. and it used to work. but now they export those jobs and replace them nothing. and we gave tax breaks to the top 1% to increase jobs, but they are either to wimpy to do it, or don’t create jobs at all.

  26. [...] - America’s corporate tax dodgers. [...]

  27. Joe Friday says:

    ConscienceofaConservative,

    Good annectdotal proof that we need to lower the corporate tax rate and broaden the base. When we say the corporate tax rate is too high, we aren’t talking about Exxon , Microsoft and Apple, but smaller companies who can’t black box their tax based decision making. Lowering the rate, and removing deductions would level the playing field between small and large companies, probably generate more economic growth and increase tax revenue from companies that don’t pay very much.

    Au Contraire.

    More than two-thirds of corporations pay ZERO taxes, and most of the rest pay less than 5% in taxes.

    Whenever you hear some version of, “Lower the rate, close the loopholes, and broaden the base“, translation: More tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate and raise taxes on the Middle-class and Working Poor.

    THE SHIFT

    Percentage of general fund tax collections from corporate taxes:

    1940s – 33%
    1950s – 31%
    1960s – 27%
    1970s – 21%
    1980s – 15%
    1990s – 16%
    2000s – 11%

    Percentage of general fund tax collections from individual taxes:

    1940s – 44%
    1950s – 49%
    1960s – 57%
    1970s – 66%
    1980s – 72%
    1990s – 71%
    2000s – 76%

    [Internal Revenue Service]

  28. FromLori says:

    All these companies are big obama donors what does that tell you? Yes including Exxon & Conoco

    Exxon, Conoco, Chevron, BP Greased Obama’s Campaign

    http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/03/14/exxon-chevron-bp-greased-obamas-campaign

    General Electric $529,855

    IBM Corp $532,372

    JPMorgan Chase & Co $808,799

    Microsoft Corp $852,167

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cid=N00009638

    Microsoft donations favor Obama by landslide

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/gov039t-legislationregulation/20553/microsoft-donations-favor-obama-landslide

    JPMorgan, Wells Fargo Employees Join
    Goldman Sachs Among Top Obama Donors

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-20/jpmorgan-employees-join-goldman-sachs-among-top-obama-donors.html

    Wal-Mart 2010 Donations Swing To Democrats

    http://undertheinfluence.nationaljournal.com/2009/07/walmart-2010-donations-swing-t.php

  29. [...] WTF statistic of the day Posted on August 7, 2012 by thecrosspollinator From here: [...]

  30. you know, not that I’ve, yet, read all of the Comments, above..

    but, something tells me, even from the Financial side, that that ~9% “#” is farcical..

    does it, even, begin to contemplate the, Serious, Costs, engendered by those Firms–to hire the talent, necessary, to Produce that ‘result’..(?)

    obviously (or, needless to say) the Economic Cost, of consuming all of those ‘Man-Hours’/”Mental Horsepower” for *pointless Pursuits, is Enormous..

  31. Frilton Miedman says:

    FromLori Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
    “All these companies are big obama donors what does that tell you? Yes including Exxon & Conoco
    Exxon, Conoco, Chevron, BP Greased Obama’s Campaign …”

    Sounds like a nifty conspiracy, until you factor that GOP/Republicans take a massively larger percent of contributions from corporate donors, Obama derives a much greater portion of his contributions from small donations of less than $200.

  32. [...] truth about corporate income tax: Many companies don’t pay that [...]

  33. brickman says:

    Let me get this straight. Corporations are paying less and less and the average person is paying more and more.
    The ultimate goal and philosophy behind this is to SHRINK government expenditures which of course means FEWER jobs in the public sector(fed,state,local gov’t). Now, if corps and the top !% are to use their largesse of profits to increase jobs, BUT technology is eliminating middle management and blue collar jobs,then profits go up more and more because fewer workers are needed to produce the products we desire. If we need a factory based system to manufacture what some want and need, THEN build the factory outside the USA in order to get lower wages and pay lower taxes.
    Now if those are the facts, how will the US jobless rate ever decrease below 8% in the future? The jobs that are being axed due to shrinking government and the loss of old time manufacturing jobs are not going to return unless the US economy starts to grow by creating jobs for the millions who have lost jobs due to outsourcing and downsizing. When is that going to happen?
    Now, Pres. Obama does have to run a campaign with the terrible record of recovery from the last two years. Since the mid term elections, he has had to face a reality that the Republican party is saying no to anything that would help the unemployment rate. It seems apparent to me, that the election,and a Republican victory to gain control of government has been done on the backs of the middle and lower class workers who are so turned off regarding politics, due to this concerted effort by Republicans to make the business of politics so repugnant that they drop out of process due to disgust and trying to survive from day to day.
    Now, if I have missed something along the way, please provide some clarity to what I see as concerted effort to get victory at the expense of millions of people who have lost hope in the American Dream. How will a gov’t that represents to top 10% of weath in our society be the savoir of our economy?