Friday, November 04, 2011

Dirty power companies AEP, Duke among big corporations that paid no taxes

As Congress continues to wrestle with polluter-driven plans to block cleanup of dirty coal-fired power plants, a new report finds that some of the biggest and most politically influential polluters -- American Electric Power and Duke Energy -- paid no U.S. income taxes between 2008 and 2010. (These corporate tax dodgers paid a heck of a lot on lobbying and campaign contributions to influence congressional opinion!)

Here is a link to the report:

Below is an excerpt of a good Reuters piece on this.

Will the Senate pay attention next week as AEP tries to whip up support for Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) resolution to block EPA's "good neighbor" power plant cleanup?

Thirty companies paid no U.S. income tax 2008-2010: report

Thu, Nov 3 2011
By Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) - Thirty large and profitable U.S. corporations paid no income taxes in 2008 through 2010, said a study on Thursday that arrives as Congress faces rising demands for tax reform but seems unable or unwilling to act.

Pepco Holdings Inc, a Washington, D.C.-area power company, had the lowest effective tax rate, at negative 57.6 percent, among the 280 Fortune 500 companies studied.

The statutory U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world; but over the 2008-2010 period, very few of the companies studied paid it, said the report.

The average effective tax rate for the companies over the period was 18.5 percent, said Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, both think tanks.

Their report also listed General Electric Co, Paccar Inc, PG&E Corp, Computer Sciences Corp, Boeing Co and NiSource Inc as among the 30 that paid no taxes...

Corporations will say rightly that the loopholes that let them slash their taxes were perfectly legal, the report said.

"But that does not mean that low-tax corporations bear no responsibility ... The laws were not enacted in a vacuum; they were adopted in response to relentless corporate lobbying, threats and campaign support," the report said...


As Congress and the Obama administration struggle with a sluggish economy and high deficits, corporations are pressing Capitol Hill for more tax breaks and a lower corporate rate.

Taxes are on the agenda of the congressional "super committee" tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in additional budget savings by November 23, but it is so far deadlocked across a familiar divide -- Republicans refusing any tax increases, Democrats defending social programs...


What are some of the tax breaks that corporations enjoy? One big one is accelerated depreciation that lets them write off equipment faster than it actually wears out. Deductions on executive stock options help. So do tax breaks for research and development and for making products in the United States instead of overseas. Offshore tax shelters play a role, too.
Power group Duke Energy Corp was one of the 30 companies listed as paying no income taxes in 2008-2010.

Chief Executive James Rogers told Reuters that Duke cut its taxes thanks to accelerated depreciation, which he said helped the company build new plants and hire construction workers.

Rogers is a frequent spokesman for a coalition of large multinationals seeking a tax break that would let them bring foreign profits into the United States at a reduced tax rate.

Others among the 30 companies included power producer American Electric Power Co Inc (AEP), chemicals company DuPont and toymaker Mattel Inc.
Like Duke, AEP said it benefited from accelerated depreciation.

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