These 10 Companies Paid No Taxes Despite Earning Billions in Revenue

1907289_821975547831464_850966165_n-2There’s always a lot of talk from conservatives about those “lazy welfare moochers abusing the system.”  Republicans like to pretend as if it’s these people who are responsible for all of our country’s problems.  That somehow the financial crash that led to trillions being added to our national debt was the fault of the poor and not the fault of the greedy bastards who Republicans often protect.

And while I don’t deny that there are those who abuse our welfare programs, their abuse pales in comparison to these companies who do everything they possibly can to avoid paying taxes.  See, while Republicans love to use the line that the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, the effective tax rate (what these companies actually pay after taking advantage of loopholes in the tax code) is often much lower.

Take for instance a great top 10 list put together by Mother Jones that shows some of the worst tax evaders in this country.

Here they are:

Verizon Communications: Profits: $19.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -3.8%

General Electric: Profits: $19.6 billion    Effective tax rate: -18.9%

Boeing: Profits: $14.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -5.5%

NextEra Energy (North America’s largest solar and wind power operator, based in Florida): Profits: $8.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -2%

American Electric Power (Electric utility based in Columbus, Ohio): Profits: $8.2 billion    Effective tax rate: -6.4%

Pacific Gas & Electric (California electrical utility): Profits: $6 billion    Effective tax rate: -8.4%

Apache: (Houston-based oil and gas company): Profits: $6 billion    Effective tax rate: -0.3%

Consolidated Edison: (New York energy company): Profits: $5.9 billion    Effective tax rate: -1.3%

El Paso: (Houston-based energy company that operates the country’s largest natural gas pipeline): Profits: $4.6 billion    Effective tax rate: -0.9%

CenterPoint Energy (Electric and gas utility company based in Houston): Profits: $3.1 billion    Effective tax rate: -11.3%

That’s a combined $96.8 billion in revenue from these ten companies that didn’t pay any net federal income taxes between 2008-20011.  Yet you don’t hear much of anything from the Republican party about this rampant abuse.  Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t go after this tax evasion.  Oh, no.  It attacks programs that help the poor, sick and elderly while cutting taxes further for corporations like these.

And remember, these are just the ten worst.  There are other companies who fall into the same tax dodging category as well.

So the next time a Republican goes off on a rant about those “horrible welfare abusers,” just go ahead and show them this list.  It won’t make a bit of difference with their delusional way of thinking as it relates to this huge economic problem, but it is quite amusing to see them try to defend this blatant tax evasion by these corporations.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • woodenoldgoat

    hmm 20011 is a long long ways off I think you mean 2011

  • Mrs_oatmeal

    No corporate welfare here…

  • Pipercat

    You have a problem here Alan. Revenue is not the issue, income is. Revenue minus expenses equals income. Tax is levied on the income.

    • debengr

      It says profits. You know the money left after you subtract all your expenses.

      • Pipercat

        The title says revenue. Income tax is not applied to revenue; moreover, if you were to see the actual revenue of these listed companies, the numbers would be far larger than profits. Also, look at the first sentence after the examples.

        After running my own business and filing innumerable schedule C filings, I know the difference.

      • debengr

        True for the title, but the actual profits and effective tax rates are correctly identified.

      • Pipercat

        Indeed, my point is this, Alan was sloppy.

  • עמיחי

    I don’t really see what this has to do with Republicans. The first two companies listed are known HUGE contributors to the Democrat party. Obama even chose GE CEO Jeff Immelt to be his advisor on economic affairs. So yes, I guess criticism would be due for Ryan for not more aggressively going after these large Democrat contributors for not paying taxes on their income (not revenue).

    • mandate

      This is not about whether or not these companies contribute to Democrats or Republicans. It is about which party prevents laws being passed to assure that all pay their fair share. That would be the ‘no taxes Republicans.

    • Lieutenant

      If you believe that the problem is unilateral then I feel sorry for you. Both Democratic and Republican parties are to blame.

      • Na Cl

        You missed the point. It IS one party that puts the onus on individual recipients saying everything is their fault. You are so quick to post something that you miss the point of what you are responding to. The article even makes references to the name calling that is attributable to one party.

      • Lieutenant

        No, that’s what the cable news sources report. Or do we just day “it has to be true because forward progressives said so.” I’d be inclined to agree with you but I’d rather follow the policy of parties rather than be told what I am supposed to believe.

      • Phil Keast

        I’d rather an informed, educated populace followed the policies of candidates, and screw all political parties. I’m not an anarchist, I believe in a society based on a responsible, fair social contract that supports those in need and encourages those with the resources to contribute to programs that enhance the standard of living for all. That requires a government with the taxation base to implement and enforce that social contract in an unbiased, responsible manner, which in turn requires a fair and equitable taxation system that is not biased towards either the wealthy or the poor. Pity that human nature is such that such a society will probably never exist.

    • If you look at Paul Ryan’s budget that cuts the budget mostly by cuts to programs that help the poor then it is pretty easy to see which party is for protecting the poor and which party is attacking them.

      • עמיחי

        Oh…you mean cuts to the 146 Million “poor” that the 86 Million full-time workers support. Yea, I know some “poor” in my area that commit fraud by selling food stamps while driving their blinged out Cadillacs and Mercedes. I’m pretty tired of supporting them. I say get all of them off the “welfare plantation” and let them contribute SOMETHING, ANYTHING to society in exchange for their subsidies.

      • And the amount of fraud committed by the poor is small in comparison to corporations and very wealthy individuals. What I find funny is that on one hand, you have Republicans saying that Obama has done a terrible job with the economy causing so many unemployed people. Then, on the other hand, you have Republicans saying that we need to cut welfare because the poor are being lazy and won’t work.

      • עמיחי

        There’s quite a difference in 26 weeks of unemployment and 99 weeks of it. The damage Oblunder has done to the economy has been primarily to the private business sector, small business in particular. You know, the sector that EMPLOYS people? Perhaps if the government got its boot off the neck of businesses by way of regulations and such, there would be more available capital to spend on employing people. Instead, they’ll do what businesses do in a down economy – they’ll exploit people with little to no skills (working longer hours, less pay, etc) who can’t refuse. If the market was stronger, employees would have more leverage. As it is, Oblunder has flat-lined the market so that low-skilled people are as disposable as your average Schick razor. Their choice is to either live almost as indentured servants, or gain skills to make themselves more marketable. My 19 y/o works 3 jobs & goes to school full-time. She’s not letting anyone keep her down and neither should those currently on the dole. If they stay there, it’s due to poor choices or lack of ambition.

      • From what I understand, there are also a lot of highly-skilled individuals that can’t find jobs as we ship more and more them to other countries. Also, what about Walmart that employs tons of people but doesn’t pay them enough to live without also being on welfare. What if your 19 year old gets sick, or her birth control failed and she ended up pregnant, or she got fired and couldn’t find a job, maybe she volunteered and defended our country and came back unable to function? The actual unemployment number, I believe, is actually over 20%. Do you believe they are all just lazy? I’m all for more employment and better paying jobs but there are a lot of reasons why people can end up in a bad situation. I’d like to go back to your previous comments. How are the people selling food stamps while driving their blinged out Cadillacs and Mercedes making enough money to support that? And do you really not have any disgust for large corporations that spend millions lobbying congress, make millions or billions from our country, but then do everything they can to pay as little as possible or none in taxes?

      • shopper

        The Cadillac drivers are probably the drug dealers or other criminals who have income they don’t have records for so don’t report it. Depending on where you live, these people are few but they do exist and hopefully are carefully watched by local law enforcement.

      • Ok…So, if you know they are committing fraud then report them. Problem solved without hurting the people that really need the welfare to survive. If the belief is that welfare fraud happens a lot then maybe it would be worth it to pay more law enforcement, with the fraud savings, to track those individuals down. Also, why use the phrase, “welfare plantation”? Do you believe only black people are poor because I know white people that are poor and on welfare as well.

      • bananafofanna

        I commend your daughter for working so hard, but there are few people in the world who have the ability to work three jobs AND do school full-time. Applaud yourself as a parent – you absolutely should be proud of her – but it’s unfair to expect the rest of the world can do it just because she can. That’s an unbelievable amount of stress/debt to expect everyone to take on. Also, the assumption that everyone can go to college is absolutely insane, but that’s a whole new topic.

      • jeffro

        2 wrongs don’t make it right

      • Not sure what 2 wrongs you are talking about.

      • josh Weissberger

        That sounds suspiciously like that ages old Reagan canard that was debunked years ago. Being on SSI, I’m still waiting for my BMW!

    • MSMCS

      All of these major corporations contribute to BOTH parties, but giving more to the one party they favor.

  • strayaway

    Jeffrey Immelt, GE’s CEO, made over $11M last year. He has sent GE jobs to China since becoming Obama’s job czar. In 2013, GE’s earnings were $16.9B but it paid no taxes.

  • islandgirl23

    If I don’t show a profit for x number of years the IRS considers it a hobby.

  • Cubby

    there’s more to this than meets the eye. How many people are employed
    by these top 10 “offenders”. How much would government have to spend to
    get the same bang for the buck in employment. Verizon alone employs
    almost 200,000 with a sales rep making an average base of $42,000. Could
    government take those tax loophole funds and do anything close to that
    for the economy? I would much rather have a company employ people and
    give them the self-esteem that comes with a job than have them depend on
    the government for assistance. That’s not uncaring, it is the opposite.
    If you’ve ever been unemployed you know the way it eats at your soul
    and fills you with self-doubt. There’s no self esteem in a government
    check. Welfare is very necessary. We have to keep people from falling
    through the cracks, but the number one goal of welfare should be to get
    people OFF welfare. Re-training, education, whatever it takes. Not
    because its good for the budget, but because its good for the people who
    receive the checks.

    • bruce

      are you serious with that .. you have to write for the GOP, Ted Cruz would love your logic .. that is about as cynical and twisted an excuse as I’ve heard from anyone .. wow

    • debycox

      What does any of that have to do with ultra-wealthy corporations not paying their FAIR SHARE of the taxes? So, do you think if I hire someone to, say, clean my house, thus keeping this hard-working woman from being on welfare, that I shouldn’t have to pay my taxes? Nonsense.

      • Buck Narked

        If you run a company that hires people to clean houses you absolutely should declare the salaries of your employees as a business expense. Otherwise, obviously no. What is a fair share by the way?

      • debycox

        Being coy, are we? I’m guessing you’re bright enough to understand what fair is.

      • lovebears65

        Fair share. It is their MONEY to begin with and the government is stealing their money to give it to the lazy

      • debycox

        This is just silly. Nobody’s stealing their money. Lazy? You mean like the students educated with taxpayer dollars? You mean like our military that protects me and you (altho since you hate America, I wonder if you deserve protection), you mean like all those people in Arkansas who are suffering terribly after another devastating tornado and who need the police, fire, ambulance and health care — all paid for with taxpayer dollars? You mean lazy like the government employees at the FDA who inspect your food so you don’t get sick like people regularly do in places like China that don’t have food safety standards? Lazy like the Border Patrol that does its best to keep out those lazy people you hate so much? Lazy like the workers building and repairing the highways — paid for with taxpayer dollars (I’ll bet you complain when your roads have potholes)? Have any lazy relatives on Medicare? Well, you should tell them you’ll take care of their medical bills. Perhaps YOU shouldn’t be so lazy and start thinking before you write such nonsense. Do a search to discover the tiny percentage of what welfare cheats cost the taxpayers (and, of course, it should be zero — and we should work on that), and then find out how much we spend on corporate welfare. You’ll be shocked.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        and U crybabies don’t realize that 73% of food stamps feed kids 13 and under and elderly over 65
        best part??? 70 % of THAT 73% is white
        now– about those tax free houses of VOODOO( see churches)

    • Buck Narked

      I agree fully. To say these corporations pay nothing is nonsense. Every tax dollar collected from the employees of these companies is generated by these companies.

      • debycox

        Huh? What does the employees paying their taxes have to do with what the corporations pay???

  • Oscar the wonder chimp

    The insert mentions that $400 billion is lost to tax evasion. Evasion is illegal and the government has the right and power to prosecute for such actions. Tax avoidance, on the other hand, is not illegal. The “loopholes” were written into the law and passed by both parties – obviously to gain favor from those with deep pockets for some “back scratching” activities.
    Lobbyists are the greatest instigators of the loopholes. Changing the tax code in such a way that there is no such influence from lobbyists on the congress is the only way to keep the loopholes out of the law. Simply changing the law to close old loopholes will not prevent new ones from being created.

    • bruce

      loopholes weren’t written into law.. they wouldn’t be called loopholes if they were in fact part of the tax code .. this isn’t semantics .. you truly have an incredible misconception of what a loophole is .. one doesn’t “create” a loophole ..

      • ShadesOfDelirium

        Yes, one *can* create loopholes- by purposefully making it seem that certain interpretations are valid. Legalese is such technical jargon that it lends itself, easily, to forming legislation which can be interpreted in a few different ways. Many loopholes are used because the corporations and people that use them feign their interpretation of the intent of the law. Loopholes can most definitely be created, it’s closing them that’s so damned difficult.

      • J.D.

        Actually loopholes are written into the bills. Tax avoidance through the use of these loopholes are what Obama has been after his whole term of presidency. Unfortunately, the Republicans have fought tooth and nail to protect these “loopholes”. Everyone is missing the BIGGEST issue of all and that is the financial influences of corporate America on politics. Until we remove this, we will always lose. We may not have the money, but we have the numbers to accomplish change. However, we are kept divided as Americans along party lines that drive a wedge between us and keep us from uniting as one for the right causes.

  • dey needs to take sum munys fum deez crimnals an giv it to dee peepls

    • Guest

      Trolling racist pig…

  • GD

    Check out how many Congressmen, Senators, and appointed officials owe back taxes. Now THAT would be an interesting article.

  • Bob de WebsiteBuilder

    Full disclosure – I am a libertarian. However, I’ve said for years that corporations should be subject to an “alternative minimum tax” just as individuals are. Downside is that corporations just pass the cost of taxes on to the consumers anyway.

    • I never understand saying that we shouldn’t increase the tax rate on corporations because they will just pass the cost on to consumers. Doesn’t that happen with anything? If suppliers start charging other businesses more for stuff then those costs may get passed on to consumers as well. However, the free market deals with it as if the business starts charging consumers too much then they start losing costumers…so, the businesses need to balance out trying to make more profit and keeping their costumers happy.

      • Buck Narked

        I think you have just described inflation, which is the least progressive tax.

      • I think what I described is capitalism where a company can say, “ok my costs of doing business are going up. Can I pass the increase on to my costumers or will they go somewhere else causing my company to go out of business?”



  • Matthew Reece

    All taxation, individual or corporate, is armed robbery. All welfare, individual or corporate, is the receipt of stolen money.

    • So, you don’t believe in a government or things like a military that are funded by taxes?

      • David

        I agree with Matt Taking from people that WORK and Give to the Free Loaders in this Country is ROBBERY.

      • From what I understand, Matt is saying that there should be no taxes.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        would that incluse religious ( see: VOODOO) scumbags who rake in millions with no tax? or maybe the latest FOX “news” hero cliven bundy?? maybe HUGE corporations ( see: petroleum companies) who pay NO tax and are subsidized??

      • Matthew Reece

        Yes, I am an anarchist (ancap specifically). I would like to see the government-run monopoly known as the US military replaced by competing private defense agencies that must get their funding voluntarily from willing customers.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        and then matthew awoke to the painful reality. he had to poop and had no TP- so he stole some ( no one was using it at the time)

      • Matthew Reece

        Not sure if trolling or just retarded.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        neither- just tired of a so-called anarchist who pays taxes and does what we all do.
        anarchist? do what u are supposed to believe and see what happens.
        you make no sense to reality based humans

    • moe/larry & curly keys

      and,,,,,,,,,O matthew babeeee—
      did U pay your taxes ?
      if U did,,,, U are a poor anarchist —

      • Matthew Reece

        There is no moral obligation when there are guns pointed at one’s head.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        according to FOX “news” and tea party scum all U need is a bigger gun

  • David

    So we tax this Companies and just give the Money away to people that have not EARNED it. Now how can that sound FAIR Mr. President. It’s all about Fair in your world. I don’t think it is fair you get paid so much and go on Tax Payer Vacations.

    • How fair is it that these companies can use loopholes and strategies that ordinary Americans can’t so that they don’t have to pay taxes? Is it fair to have someone paying taxes that works at Walmart while these immensely wealthy companies don’t. Sounds like they are taking advantage of the American Dream until a bill comes due then they shield their money from taxes.

      • David

        If someone is working at Walmart “Trust Me they are Paying very little Taxes in all and in most cases are getting a Bigger Refund then they pay into. So your Ok with Taxing the Rich and Companies and Pissing it away on Free Medical, Food Stamps, and whatever other Social Program this Country has. NOT Me People need to get off there Asses and Work for it not get it via a Tax Hand out from the Government.

      • So, if someone works full-time at Walmart, are you saying they aren’t working because they don’t make enough to live?

      • debycox

        And you’re okay with the rich people and companies not only not paying their fair share of taxes, but, in many cases, not paying any taxes AND getting government subsidies (think big, ultra-wealthy oil companies that actually get tax-payer handouts). That’s better than our helping the working poor who are doing their best to feed their kids? That’s REALLY okay with you???

    • debycox

      I agree. It’s really horrible that this president has the nerve to take his family on a yearly vacation when no other president in the history of these United States has ever done this. I think this surely must be grounds for impeachment. Uppity jerk.

      And all those working poor — the ones who work 2 or 3 part-time jobs at minimum wage or less — certainly didn’t EARN that money. It was given to them. And shame on us for trying to help them out to feed their families. I, for one, want my money to go to the military-industrial complex and to the over-burdened oil companies. After all, we can’t really expect them to get along on only $9 billion a quarter, now can we?

  • Eric Anderson

    today’s Famous Tax Quotes are both from Judge Learned Hand:

    #4 Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.

    Gregory v. Helvering, 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934)

    #5 Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.

    Commissioner v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 851 (2d Cir. 1947) – dissenting opinion

    • I agree that companies have a right to try to avoid paying taxes legally but there are definitely some gray areas of the law that these companies push up against. Also, your judge quotes are dealing with individuals paying taxes. These are companies that we are talking about, not individuals. I would also very strongly disagree that there isn’t a patriotic duty, not to increase one’s taxes, but to morally and ethically look at if they are using, obviously, unintended loopholes to pay less taxes than should be owed.

      • debycox

        Well said; however, I don’t think we can count on corporations to do what’s morally right. The laws need to be changed, but then I don’t think we can count on our lawmakers to do what’s morally right.

  • Eric Anderson

    There is a huge difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. Tax evasion is highly illegal, while tax avoidance is highly advised. Tax evasion is not filing your taxes, filing inaccurately or attempting to defraud the government. Tax avoidance is using legal means to minimize a tax burden.

  • xpatYankeeCurmudgeon

    Behold the top ten trending stories on a site that calls itself “forward progressives” – – – not one is about the positive achievements that Donks and progs have supposedly achieved; they are all about ginning up hatred for anyone who opposes the now totalitarian Left.

    • auntielib


  • Kyle

    CPA here. These companies incurred net losses, yet they still paid taxes in certain jurisdictions, which explains the negative effective tax rates (inverse relationship between loss and tax expense). This article is misleading and the author knows nothing about the corporate tax system or financial statements.

    • auntielib

      “This article is misleading and the author knows nothing about the corporate tax system or financial statements.”
      If you read enough of his ranting articles, you’ll see that’s a regular occurrence with the stuff that Allen Clifton writes.

  • lovebears65

    Most of these companies give money to the DEMOcRAPS..

    • moe/larry & curly keys

      and stoooopid white trash scum gives their money to VOODOO( see: religion) while they praise a dead jewish fella
      gotta luv that irony

  • moe/larry & curly keys

    and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,NO religious( see: VOODOO) institutions pay any tax

    • auntielib

      BTW, charities don’t pay any tax either.
      Probably makes you mad, huh?

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        nahhhhh,,,,,,,,,,,, when U consider that MY taxable income is ONLY on (a) my 2 commercial and 1 residential rental properties and (b) capital gains on stocks/options ( gotta LUV socialist OBAMA stock market and the huge returns Ive gotten – 410% gross since the “bottom” 5 1/2 yrs ago–) while I clear on average around 90K cash (see: tax free) in my self employed chef business I really think it would be “infra dig” for me to CRY ( like republicans do) about any NON religious institution bringing home the bacon as a tax free organization.
        I do enjoy the overwhelming evidence that a cretin such as you doesn’t understand collars/spreads/iron condors/naked puts/selling calls/ETC and even better is crybaby regressives who KNOW that this great country has improved (financially as well as socially) greatly since republican GW BUSH and CO near destroyed us with those fabulous republican policies and all they can do is CRY knowing that HILLARY is ready to continue the democratic liberal centrist agenda of getting rid of scumbag tea party idiots who still want abortion illegal ( but say NO to birth control) still want marijuana illegal( but LOVE alcohol and tobacco) as well as stupid religion(VOODOO) in the legislation ( PRAISE 21st century JEEEESUS).
        bottom live? we all can easily see that republican policies and legislation on a federal level ( and most states)over the past 25 yrs has screwed us soooo bad that NO ONE–except white trash scum such as you– wants anything to do with it. let me know which regressive republican policies have helped us– u may go back 245 yrs: have fun twisting that

  • auntielib

    One can only marvel that the Democrats and Obama REFUSED to change those tax codes when they had control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, a couple of years ago.

    I guess those Democrats were happy with the tax code the way it was, huh?

    • moe/larry & curly keys

      can U say,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
      republican obstruction/filibusters/obfuscation?
      go ahead and try————
      I do know U have a linguistic problem with multi-syllabic words

  • xpatYankeeCurmudgeon

    GE, worst offender on the list, is Rachel Maddow’ s employer.

  • Xavier

    Way past time to get rid of the loopholes, so many companies just bank the profits and don’t trickle down anything to grow the economy, they’re just building up their war chests/rainy day funds/executive bonuses. Politicians need to be held to a heat to change the code they helped enact, or at least now have a platform to. And the ones crying over welfare and minimum wage, scrutiny on them about their views and actions on tax reform for these loophole users and why after all these years they persist yet the focus doesn’t.