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Corporations are paying even fewer taxes than you thought

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Uncle Pennybags Monopoly

Looks like big businesses have it even cushier than you probably already suspected: a new study found that the biggest publicly traded companies in the U.S. pay an average of 18.5 percent in corporate taxes, a far cry from the official corporate tax rate of thirty-five percent. 

The study, which came out of the generally liberal Citizens for Tax Justice, looked at the regulatory filings of 280 of the nation's most profitable companies, and found that corporations that took advantages of tax loopholes did so at the expense of those who did not. A quarter of the companies in question paid less than ten percent in taxes, and others, like Wells Fargo, General Electric, and Boeing, seem to have paid nothing at all.

The study's author wrote of the discrepancy:

“Companies that are paying their fair share ought to demand that the tax-dodging companies pay their fair share too. So should the public, which is subsidizing them in terms of increased federal debt… Closing the loopholes will have real benefits, including a fairer tax system, reduced federal budget deficits and more resources to improve our roads, bridges and schools — things that are really important for economic development here in the United States." 

Some of the businesses involved have already questioned the study, claiming it failed to include deferred taxes and information from corporate tax returns, which are not available to the public. However, the numbers make it pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that the companies making the most money have ended up paying the lowest tax rates. Expect related Occupy Wall Street signs to start popping up any minute now.