Report finds twice as many companies will pay zero in taxes this year

A new report, citing data from a left-leaning think tank, reveals that at least 60 companies avoided paying taxes this year as a result of the new tax law — a total that is about twice as many as previous years.

NBC News, in partnership with nonprofit investigative news outlet The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), reported Thursday that under the GOP-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, more top companies were able to “zero out their federal income taxes.” 

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The report cites data released Thursday from the left-leaning Washington, D.C., think-tank the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

ITEP reported that the companies listed used a “diverse array of legal tax breaks,” including accelerated depreciation, stock options and energy-related tax subsidies to “zero out” their federal income taxes.

According to the report, some of the companies that avoided paying any federal income taxes in 2018 include tech giant Amazon, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, television streaming service Netflix, a number of airlines and publishing group Gannett.

Matthew Gardner, ITEP senior fellow and author of the report, said that the lowering of the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from its previous 35 percent effectively “lowers the bar for the amount of tax avoidance it takes to get you down to zero.”

“In 2018, 60 of America’s biggest corporations zeroed out their federal income taxes on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income,” the ITEP report reads. “Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes at the 21 percent statutory corporate tax rate, these companies enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE and congressional Republicans have touted the 2017 tax overhaul, which cut the individual and corporate tax rates, as one of the administration’s greatest victories. Opponents said that the changes would benefit corporations over middle-class families, as well as raise the federal deficit.

The Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the corporate tax rate cut will save corporations about $1.35 trillion over the next decade. The Treasury Department reported this week that the deficit for fiscal 2019 is likely to reach $1.1 trillion by the end of the year, largely due to the tax plan.