The unwillingness of companies to fork over their fair share has consequences for all of us—especially in these hard times of fiscal cliffs and sequestrations. The 288 profitable corporations studied by Citizens for Tax Justice enjoyed tax subsidies to the tune of a whopping $362 billion from 2008 to 2012. This is $362 billion that could have been instead spent on education, health care, and social services for the betterment of all of us.
And with all this tax-dodging, the burden of running the federal treasury has shifted to you and me.
“Corporate taxes paid for more than a quarter of federal outlays in the 1950s and a fifth in the 1960s,” says the report. “In fiscal 2012, corporate taxes paid for a mere 7 percent of the federal government’s expenses.”
One of the more interesting revelations in the report is how corporations are masters at using arcane breaks to avoid paying any taxes at all. Take the deduction that companies get on stock options, in which they’re able to subtract from their taxes the difference between the amount employees pay for a company’s shares and the face value. Facebook used this one deduction to avoid paying any federal income tax at all in 2012 on a billion dollars of profit.