INSTITUTE INDEX: The staggering new numbers on corporate income tax dodging

A new report on corporate tax avoidance found that North Carolina-based electric utility giant Duke Energy did not pay any federal corporate income taxes in seven of the eight years studied while earning $18.2 billion — and in fact actually got back $482 million in tax rebates. (Photo by Alexisrael via Wikipedia.)

Percent federal corporate income tax rate under current law: 35

According to an unprecedented new study of 258 consistently profitable Fortune 500 firms over an eight-year period, percent effective federal income tax rate they actually paid: 21.2

Of those 258 companies, number that paid no federal income taxes in at least one year of the study, which in turn affects what states can collect: 100

Number that paid no federal income taxes in at least four of the eight years: 24

Number that paid no federal income taxes during the entire study period: 18

Total amount in tax breaks enjoyed by the 258 companies over that period: $513 billion

Portion of those tax breaks that went to just 25 companies: more than 1/2

Portion of the companies studied that paid higher corporate tax rates in foreign countries where they operate than in the United States on U.S. profits: more than 1/2

Rank of gas and electric utilities among the sectors that paid the lowest effective federal corporate income tax rate during the study period: 1

Percent rate they paid: 3.1

Of the eight years studied, number in which North Carolina-based Duke Energy, the nation's largest electric utility based on market value, paid nothing in federal corporate income taxes: 7

Profits the company earned in those seven tax-free years: $18.2 billion

Amount Duke Energy got back in federal tax rebates during those same years: $482 million

Effective income tax rate that translates to: -2.6

Federal income tax rate paid by oil, gas and pipeline companies, putting them in fourth place among the lowest payers after industrial machinery and telecommunications companies: 11.6

Profits earned by Texas-based Exxon Mobil during the study period: $2.6 billion

Amount it got back in tax rebates: $1 billion

What the average American pays in federal income taxes: $9,118

(Click on figure to go to source. Most of the figures in this index are from "The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth" by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.)