GAO: Corporations pay one-third of statutory rate

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The companies examined had $10 million or more in assets, and the rate actually paid is slightly lower than the amount those companies reported to the government (13.1 percent).

The study came at the request of Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who headed the Homeland Security subcommittee on Investigations in 2012. Levin, who still chairs the panel, has been hotly critical of U.S. companies that rely on offshore maneuvers to reduce their American tax burden.

He argued Monday that the report proves that corporations are not paying "their fair share" come tax time.

"When some U.S. corporations use unjustifiable loopholes and offshore gimmicks to avoid paying Uncle Sam, their tax burden is shifted onto hardworking American families and small business," he said in a statement. "Today’s GAO report quantifies just how much of the corporate tax burden has been shifted onto other taxpayers: America’s large, profitable corporations are now paying a lower tax rate than our teachers and firefighters.” 

Coburn too chastised "giveaways and loopholes" that allow corporations to drastically trim their tax bill and used the report to bolster the case for comprehensive tax reform.

"It’s especially wrong to ask families who are struggling to make ends meet to subsidize special breaks for corporations," he said. "We would be better off with a code that eliminated these loopholes so we can lower rates for both corporations and individuals.”