How to Pay Taxes at 12.6%

Andrew Ross Sorkin provides a rundown of the tax perks available to corporations that “have famously excelled at this game.”

“How well? Companies paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6 percent in 2010, the last time the Government Accountability Office measured the rate.”

Some of the most “egregious corporate tax loopholes” include:

Carried interest benefit. “Despite repeated efforts to repeal it, the loophole has remained, in part because of well-financed industry lobbying in Washington. But much of the lobbying isn’t coming from the private equity industry — it’s coming from another beneficiary that often goes overlooked: the real estate industry.”

Deducting legal expenses. “Amazingly, a company is allowed to claim those costs as a business expense.”

Corporate jets. “Companies that own aircraft can depreciate their planes more quickly than airlines — over five years instead of seven — and claim the deduction.”

Executive stock options. “Inexplicably, many of Silicon Valley’s newest star companies will be able to shelter a large portion of their profits as a result … The effect is enormous and has significantly changed the bottom line — and tax rates — at some of the largest companies.” Amazon’s combined tax rate, for example, was 9.4% for the period 2010 – 2012.

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