Mr. Biden’s often-cited list of 55 companies comes from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, or ITEP, a progressive group that publishes a regular report on the zero-tax-company phenomenon. This year’s list included companies such as VeriSign Inc., Sealed Air Corp. and DTE Energy Co. Amazon.com Inc., often the political poster child for light corporate-tax burdens, was included in past years.
To find no-tax companies, ITEP looks at companies’ annual income statements to see which ones show no current U.S. tax expense. That approach highlights low-tax and no-tax companies, often because of the gaps between the definitions of income for accounting and tax purposes.
Matt Gardner, a senior fellow at ITEP, said the report has always been meant to provide high-profile examples of low corporate-tax payments that highlight broader trends in corporate tax burdens. Eliminating zero-tax companies shouldn’t be the primary policy aim, he said.
“Is there anything in this bill that would stop companies from paying zero? I don’t think so,” said Mr. Gardner, who praised the Ways and Means bill’s international tax provisions. “But I don’t think that was ever the real problem. The real problem is the much broader array of companies paying low but positive tax rates.” Read more