GAO: Corporate tax breaks equaled revenue in 2011

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) – who requested the report with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) – said the findings showed that “many Americans are paying their federal income taxes to contribute their fair share to the cost of our national security and of vital public services.”

“But much of corporate America is still not doing the same,” added Doggett – along with Lewis, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Republican tax-writers, meanwhile, have long argued that the individual and corporate tax systems need to be overhauled together, because so many business pay taxes as individuals.

The GAO report found that the 56 tax breaks used by both corporations and individuals in 2011 led to $122.4 billion in less revenue from corporations and $125 billion less from individuals. The two dozen tax breaks just used by corporations amounted to almost $59 billion in lost revenue.

The accelerated depreciation tax break, which itself accounted for some $76 billion in lower revenues from corporations, has support from both parties, and has previously been seen as a major reason for the fall in corporate tax receipts.

Deferral of offshore profits added up to $41.4 billion in revenue, while five other incentives – including those for domestic production activities and research and development – added up to another $37.7 billion.