These 19 Major US Companies Paid Little or No Federal Taxes in 2021

Lakeland, Florida, USA - October 15, 2018:   Amazon Fulfillment Center and distribution warehouse.
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Nineteen of the biggest corporations in the U.S. reportedly paid little or zero federal taxes last year, despite making billions of dollars in a reinvigorated U.S. economy. According to a new report of financial filings by the Center for American Progress (CAP) provided exclusively to Axios, a few companies even managed to drive their tax rate below zero, essentially getting a refund.

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Companies’ tax returns are private, but publicly traded corporations are required to file financial reports that include federal income tax expense. The study focused on Fortune 100 corporations with effective tax rates of less than 10%, or less than half the federal statutory rate.  

The CAP report listed four companies who paid less than zero in federal income tax: AT&T, Charter Communications, American International Group and Dow Inc. These four companies earned $29.6 billion, $6.0 billion, $9.8 billion and $1.5 billion in pre-tax earnings, respectively — and reported tax refunds of $1.2 billion, $12 million, $216 million and $46 million respectively.

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Below is the list of the 19 American corporations that paid under 10% in federal taxes last year and their corresponding effective tax rates, per the CAP study.

CorporationU.S. Federal Effective Tax Rate Inc.6.1%
Exxon Mobil Corp.2.8%
AT&T Inc.-4.1%
Microsoft Corp.9.7%
JPMorgan Chase & Co.5.9%
Verizon Communications6.9%
Ford Motor Co.1.0%
General Motors Co.0.2%
Chevron Corp.1.8%
Bank of America Corp.3.5%
United Parcel Service9.9%
FedEx Corp.4.2%
MetLife Inc.1.3%
Charter Communications Inc.-0.2%
Merck & Co. Inc.4.0%
American International Group Inc.-2.2%
Dow Inc.-3.1%
Nike Inc.5.9%
Coca-Cola Co.7.1%

2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — passed by the Republican Congress, and signed into law by former President Trump — reduced the federal statutory corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%. However, many other legal tax deductions, exemptions, deferments and loopholes exist. The CARES Act, enacted in 2020, provided tax breaks as well.

Some of the companies in question have been quick to point out that they are following current tax codes, have used available government supported regulations and are acting lawfully to provide the best service possible to their customers.

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In response to Axios, when asked for comment on the CAP study, Ford Motor Co. spokesman Ian Thibodeau said, “Ford pays all the taxes it owes in every jurisdiction in which it operates — in the U.S., at the state and local level, and abroad.” Meanwhile, a MetLife Inc. spokesperson claimed that the company’s tax credits were used through spending on government-assisted affordable housing and clean energy community programs.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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