And thirty companies, the report says, had a negative income tax rate from 2008 to 2010, even though they took home a combined $160 billion in pre-tax profits.
The financial services industry netted the largest share -- at 16.8 percent -- of the $222.7 billion in total tax subsidies that the companies received, the study found. Wells Fargo took home the most tax subsidies of them all, raking in nearly $18 billion in tax breaks over the last three years.
Officials at some major corporations lashed out at the study's findings following its release. In a statement, GE called the report "inaccurate and and distorted," according to the Washington Post. Verizon spokesman Robert Varettoni, told WaPo that "findings in this and other recent reports have been more politically motivated than truthful."
The findings come as politicians wrangle over the best way to cut the nation's budget deficit. Republicans recently proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and paying for it by eliminating business tax breaks. A study by the Joint Committee on Taxation, requested by congressional Democrats, found that eliminating the business tax breaks alone wouldn't bring in enough revenue to make up for the lowered rate.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said last month that if elected president he would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. Perry told The New York Times that he didn't care that his tax plan could possibly increase income inequality. Another Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain, vowed to slash the corporate tax rate as part of his 9-9-9 plan, which if enacted would cap sales tax, corporate income tax and personal income tax at 9 percent each.
Companies such as Apple and Google are lobbying Congress to pass a specific tax loophole known as a repatriation tax holiday that would allow corporations to avoid taxes on more than $1 trillion in offshore profits, Bloomberg reports. In exchange, the companies argue, companies would invest those dollars in the U.S.
U.S. corporations with foreign profits that amounted to 10 percent or more of their worldwide profits paid tax rates to foreign countries that were nearly one-third higher than the tax rates they paid to the U.S., the tax justice study found.
– Thirty corporations paid less than nothing in aggregate federal income taxes over the entire 2008-10 period. These companies, whose pretax U.S. profits totaled $160 billion over the three years, included: Pepco Holdings (–57.6% tax rate), General Electric (–45.3%), DuPont (–3.4%), Verizon (–2.9%), Boeing (–1.8%), Wells Fargo (–1.4%) and Honeywell (–0.7%).
(G.E. Barack's most favored U.S. corporation, since he has put them in the White House, is number two!)