My tax bill v. Boeing’s

Calendar - Tax Day CircledOkay America…you just wrote that check to the IRS and feel good about doing your part to make our country a better place and you slept well on April 15th knowing that the big and powerful did the same. Well pretend you (I’m kidding about pretending) just woke up on the 16th and discovered you were wrong. That huge corporations, like Boeing Aircraft, paid no federal taxes and in fact, were eligible for a refund. And Boeing wasn’t alone. Here’s a list of twenty-five others that also had a negative tax burden between the years 2005 – 2008:

  1. Pepco Holdings -33.0%
  2. PG&E Corp. -16.7%
  3. NiSource -13.6%
  4. Wisconsin Energy -13.5%
  5. General Electric -11.1%
  6. CenterPoint Energy -8.5%
  7. Integrys Energy Group -8.2%
  8. Atmos Energy -7.7
  9. Tenet Healthcare -6.0%
  10.  American Electric Power -5.8%
  11. Ryder System -4.7%
  12. Con-way -3.5%
  13. Duke Energy -3.3%
  14. -3.0%
  15. FirstEnergy -3.0%
  16. Apache -2.4%
  17. Interpublic Group -2.1%
  18. Verizon Communications -1.8%
  19. NextEra Energy -1.6%
  20. Consolidated Edison -.1%
  21. CMS Energy -1.1%
  22. Northeast Utilities -0.7%
  23. Corning -0.3%
  24. Paccar Rate -0.1%
  25. MetroPCS Communications -0.1%

All the above ended their fiscal year owning a 35% tax rate. But after their army of tax attorneys and certified accountants get through playing the tax laws for every break possible they end up with an average tax bill of only 13%. Remember Mitt Romney in 2012 refusing to reveal his tax records and the speculation that he may have paid zero taxes during a ten-year period? Well, even if he did pay taxes it was most likely at or below the 13% average.

Just to put a little perspective on these numbers I am now seventy-two years old and living on a fixed income. My retirement income is struggling to keep up with inflation and my investments are paying about .25% on the dollar and isn’t enough to buy a cup of spit. My federal tax burden as a retiree in 2013 was almost 18%. My wife and I just signed a sizable check payable to the IRS and we didn’t complain about it. We’re in that group who believes we have a responsibility to pay our part. The debts of the United States are our debts and we are responsible for paying them. But I can’t deny that it more than hurts knowing that some of the nation’s wealthiest and most powerful corporations are gaming the system to lower or avoid their fair share. I don’t like knowing that I’m paying a higher tax rate than GE, or Verizon, or Mitt Romney, or Warren Buffett, or anyone else who has a taxable income higher than mine.

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