This study details which companies have benefitted the most from the decline in corporate taxes over the past three years, and which have been less fortunate. It also measures the effects of loopholes in our corporate tax laws that predated the George W. Bush administration.
Specifically, the study looks at the federal income taxes paid or not paid by 275 of America’s largest corporations in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The companies in our report are all from Fortune’s 2004 list of America’s 500 largest corporations, and all of them were profitable in each of the three years analyzed. Over the three years, the 275 companies in our survey reported pretax U.S. profits of $1.1 trillion. Pretax profits for our 275 companies jumped by 26 percent from 2001 to 2003—just as the Commerce Department reports for corporations overall—even as their average effective income tax rate fell by a fifth. In total, the meager tax payments by our 275 companies represented more than two-fifths of total federal corporate income tax collections over the calendar 2001-03 period.