By Tim Devaney - 08/01/14 03:52 PM EDT
Big oil companies have evaded billions of dollars in taxes over the last five years, according to a new study.
The Taxpayers for Common Sense's report found that the top 20 oil companies in the country have a current tax rate of just 11.7 percent, because they have exploited loopholes in the tax system to defer their payments.
That's a far cry from the standard 35 percent tax rate that most companies pay, the study pointed out.
"Many of the companies deferred more of their federal income taxes than they actually paid during the last five years," the report noted.
According to the report, these oil companies made $133 billion in profits between 2009 and 2013, but paid just $15.6 billion in federal taxes.
The top oil companies that received notable tax breaks during this time include ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Occidental, and Chevron. But it is some of the smaller oil companies that enjoy the biggest discounts.
The study found that they only pay a 3.7 percent tax rate.
However, oil companies paid more than 46 percent in income taxes to foreign governments where they operate during this time period, according to the report.
"Oil and gas companies may pay a lot in income taxes, but it is not to the U.S. government," the report noted.