Monday, August 3, 2015

"Corporate tax dodgers": Some firms pay less

DuPont paid no net state income tax in 2008-10, despite showing profits all three years, says Citizens for Tax Justice

"Corporate tax dodgers": Some firms pay less


US states levy an average 6% annual income tax rate on business. But thanks to tax breaks, "single state" tax apportionment and state rules that mirror federal tax exceptions, big US corporations only pay an average 3% of income to the states - and some profitable companies go a year or more without paying any net state income taxes, according to this study by the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice.

Three companies that reported profits in those three years paid no state income taxes at all in that period, according to Citizens: Wilmington-based chemical maker DuPont Co.; Washington, DC-based electric utility Pepco, which owns Wilmington's Delmarva Power; and Ohio-based American Electric Power.

Among locally-prominent companies, the report shows Airgas, Air Products, Campbell Soup, DuPont, General Electric, Merck, PNC and Wells Fargo paid well below the national average in state income taxes; AmerisourceBergen and Comcast paid around the national average; and Hershey, Quest Diagnostics, UGI and Universal Health Services paid above average, as a percentage of corporate income in 2008-10.

t is not unheard of for a company to either have profits at the international level and losses at the national level and vice versa or to have profits at the national level and not at the individual state level," Michael Smith, assistant director of the Delaware Division of Revenue, told me. The Division reviews corporate tax returns and seeks "appropriate remedies" if there's problems, but won't comment on either DuPont's or Delmarva's without their permission, he added.

EARLIER: DuPont "complies with all tax regulations and laws," company spokeswoman Tara Smith told me.

Among the Pennsylvania companies on the list there was no clear pattern of over- or under-payment vs the national average, perhaps reflecting the state's uneven tax code. 

The share of US corporate profits paid to states is in long-term decline, according to Citizens. Globalization, specialized tax management and recent corporate complaints that federal business income taxes are now higher than those in China and other rival countries have pressured states to concentrate on personal income and sales taxes instead.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter