Large US Corporations are “world leaders in tax avoidance”

Large US Corporations are World Leaders in Tax Avoidance.

Conservatives like to complain that the United States has the highest corporate taxes in the world, and they’re right . . . sort of. The problem is that very few large corporations pay anything like the top corporate tax rate, and many pay no taxes at all. If you look at actual taxes paid by corporations in the developed world, you quickly learn that the US is not anywhere near the top. They are near the bottom1, and if your company did $50 Million dollars of business or more last year, there’s a pretty good chance they paid no taxes at all2.

Here’s the truth: Large corporations have lobbied Congress for, and Congress has granted, huge tax breaks that benefit them and leave smaller companies and the middle class to foot their tax bill for them. This situation is so bad that Edward Kleinbard, professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, says that large US corporations have become the “world leaders in tax avoidance3.”

So, next time you hear a political candidate claim the US has one of the the highest corporate tax rates in the world, remember that’s not the whole truth. It’s time we demanded tax equity: If politicians want to reduce corporate taxes, demand that they also level the playing field by eliminating tax loopholes that favor large corporations.


1) United States Government Accountability Office, July 2008, Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005.

2) United States Congressional Budget Office, November 2005, Corporate Income Tax Rates: International Comparisons.

3) David Kocieniewski, New York Times, May 2 2011, But Nobody Pays That . . . U.S. Business Has High Tax Rates but Pays Less.

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