Wells Fargo received nearly $18 billion in tax breaks from 2008 to 2010, reducing its taxable income, researchers found.

By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
November 4, 2011

Many of the nation’s most profitable companies are paying far less than the government’s 35% corporate income tax rate, with dozens paying no taxes at all, according to a controversial new report.

Left-leaning advocacy and research groups Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy examined 280 companies and concluded that they paid an average rate of 18.5% from 2008 through 2010 — about half the official rate.

Several firms mentioned in the report lashed out at the findings.

General Electric Co., which according to the study averaged a negative 45.3% tax rate over three years due in part to nearly $8.4 billion in tax subsidies, accused the report of being “inaccurate and distorted” and said that it expected to pay 30% in overall tax this year.

Verizon Wireless said the study, which called out the company for landing $12 billion in tax breaks, was “union-orchestrated” as well as “deceptive and politically motivated.” The broadband giant said that it paid $1.8 billion in taxes over the three-year period.

The study was culled from Fortune 500 firms that had been profitable for each of the last three years. Report authors said their findings were not meant to be “anti-business.”

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