A study of 280 Fortune 500 corporations from the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) calculates their average effective tax rates — for the period 2009-2010 it was 17.3 percent, less than half the statutory rate of 35 percent.
The three-year study revealed 78 of the companies enjoyed at least one year in which their federal income tax was zero or less. Total tax subsidies given to all 280 profitable corporations amounted to $222.7 billion from 2008-2010. The top ten defense contractors saw their combined tax rate decline from 19.3 percent in 2008 to a mere 10.6 percent rate in 2010. Amazon.com paid a rate of only 7.9 percent on its $1.8 billion in profits from 2008-2010.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, U.S. taxes on corporate income as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product are the lowest of all the OECD countries. Personal income taxes made up 36 percent of U.S. tax revenue in 2006, more than in most other OECD countries.