Study: Corporations avoid state taxes

Dozens of Fortune 500 companies paid no state corporate taxes in at least one recent year, according to a new report from liberal groups.

The study, from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that 269 companies in all paid about 3.1 percent in state income taxes between 2008 and 2012 – or roughly half the average statutory rate of 6.25 percent.

Of those companies, 90 avoided state corporate taxes in at least one of those years, 38 in at least two and 10 corporate titans paid zero or less when taking the whole five-year span into account. Those companies include Boeing and Merck.

“Corporations continually lobby states for tax breaks and other giveaways under the false premise that they need tax breaks to create jobs or remain economically competitive,” Matt Gardner, ITEP’s executive director, said in a statement.

“But in reality, many corporations already pay little or nothing in state income taxes, and there is very little evidence that tax breaks and incentives create economic growth.”

The study comes on the heels of another recent analysis from the two groups, which found that many Fortune 500 companies paid well below the top statutory corporate rate of 35 percent.

The groups noted that their new study also came as more than couple states are considering slashing or eliminating corporate taxes, and as states consider giving a range of tax breaks to attract corporate investment.

The corporations that are discussed in the studies have long said that the groups understate their tax rates.