Tax season is upon us–and by us, I mean everyone who is not Amazon, Netflix, Chevron, or pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co., because they are among the 60 or so corporations that paid zero dollars in federal income taxes on the billions of dollars in profits they earned in 2018.
That’s according to a new analysis, released today by the Washington-based think tank Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and first reported by The Center for Public Integrity. After analyzing the 2018 financial filings of the country’s largest 560 publicly held companies, they found that companies like Amazon and Netflix were “able to zero out their federal income taxes on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income,” thanks to the tax overhaul bill pushed through Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump.
“Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes, as the new 21% corporate tax rate requires, these companies enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion, blowing a $20.7 billion hole in the federal budget last year,” ITEP reported.
As former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) once said, “The purpose of a tax cut is to leave more money where it belongs: in the hands of the working men and working women who earned it in the first place.” While the corporate tax laws probably needed some overhauling (Obama fought to make them more globally competitive), when hardworking Americans have to pay taxes, in some cases more than in previous years, and billion-dollar, profit-making corporations have to pay nothing, it’s hard to see who this new tax bill is benefitting.
Of course, as Albert Einstein said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”