The Huffington Post: Here Are The Effective Tax Rates Of 17 Companies Pressuring Congress To Cut Corporate Tax Rates

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(Original Post)

The Huffington Post  |  Posted: 04/01/2013 6:48 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/01/2013 7:27 pm EDT

Many big companies are complaining about their tax bills again, but some of them appear to not be paying all that much to begin with.

The top leaders of 19 companies, along with two trade groups, signed a letter sent to Congressional leaders on Monday claiming that the top U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent -- which is now the highest rate in the industrialized world -- has made American business "less competitive" and investment in the U.S. "less attractive." The signatories asked Congress to cut corporate tax rates by a "significant" amount.

This has been a common refrain from many U.S. businesses, who claim that high taxes are holding back the American economy. But there's a catch: Just three of these companies are paying a tax rate close to 35 percent. Most of them are paying far less.

Below is a list of some of the companies pressuring Congress to cut corporate tax rates, along with the effective rates they have been reported to pay. The Huffington Post reached out to every company that signed the letter asking for verification of reported effective tax rates. We've included the responses that we received.

Altria Group: 35.4 percent in 2012 (Altria Group)
altria group corporate tax rate

Gap: 34.9 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
gap corporate tax rate

Reynolds American: 34.9 percent in 2012 (Reynolds American spokesperson Jane Seccombe)
reynolds american tax rate

Ford: 33 percent in the first quarter 2012 (MarketWatch)
ford corporate tax rate

CVS: 32.9 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
cvs corporate tax rate

Walt Disney: 27.3 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
walt disney corporate tax rate

Viacom: 27 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
viacom corporate tax rate

UPS: 24.1 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
UPS spokesperson Kara Ross said in a statement to HuffPost that UPS' effective tax rate in 2011 was 34.1 percent.
ups corporate tax rate

Lockheed Martin Corporation: 20.2 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
In a statement to HuffPost, Lockheed Martin said, "The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world. While other countries have lowered their rates substantially over the past 25 years, the U.S. rate has increased."
lockheed martin corporation corporate tax rate

Kimberly-Clark: 18.4 percent between 2008 and 2010
(Citizens For Tax Justice)
kimberlyclark corporate tax rate

Southern: 17.4 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
southern company corporate tax rate

Raytheon: 13.7 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
Raytheon spokesman Jonathan Kasle wrote in an email to The Huffington Post that the Citizens for Tax Justice study is "inaccurate." He pointed to one regulatory filing indicating an average tax rate of 29.8 percent between 2008 and 2010. He also said that Raytheon's effective tax rate in 2012 was 31.6 percent.

Matthew Gardner, an analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, defended the report in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Raytheon is trying to change the subject from 'what Raytheon paid this year in federal income taxes' to 'what Raytheon will eventually pay in worldwide income taxes,'" he wrote. "They're including not only the 'current federal taxes' the company actually pays in each year, but also the 'deferred federal taxes' that the company does NOT pay in a given year."
raytheon corporate tax rate

Macy's: 12.1 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
Jim Sluzewski, a Macy's spokesman, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post that Macy's' effective tax rate "over the past few years" has been between 36.5 to 37 percent. He wrote that the CTJ study "leaves out key facts" and that Macy's tax rate fell during the economic downturn partly because pension contributions are tax-deductible.

Matthew Gardner, an analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, said in a statement to The Huffington Post: "In fact it has been a full decade since Macy's paid the full 35 percent tax rate in current federal taxes; the last time was in 2002. If they say otherwise, it's because they are including deferred taxes they did not actually pay."
macys corporate tax rate

AT&T: 8 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
att corporate tax rate


FedEx: 0.9 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
In an email to HuffPost, company spokesperson Maury Donahue wrote that CTJ's report is "simply inaccurate because it does not reflect the fact that large amounts of our federal income taxes in recent years have simply been deferred to later years due to accelerated depreciation deductions on new investments we made." FedEx paid an effective tax rate of 35.3 percent in 2012, 35.9 percent in 2011 and 37.5 percent in 2010, according to a report sent to HuffPost.
fedex corporate tax rate

Boeing: -1.8 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice) In an email to HuffPost, company spokesperson John Dern said that Boeing paid an effective rate of 34 percent in 2012 and a rate of 25.6 percent and 26.5 percent in 2011 and 2010, respectively. While Dern did not look at CTJ's methodology for deriving its tax rates, he said that often times organizations do not take into account Boeing's deferred taxes, which skews their numbers.
boeing corporate tax tate

Verizon: -2.9 percent between 2008 and 2010 (Citizens For Tax Justice)
verizon corporate tax rate

NOTE: Liberty Media and Time Warner Cable also signed the letter. HuffPost was unable to report their effective corporate tax rates.