US corporate taxes are the highest in the world.
Youve heard it over and over during the past 2-1/2 years. Not only from Teapublicans. But from supposedly authoritative sources such as the US Chamber of Commerce. So lets examine this myth more closely.
While it is true that the corporate income tax rate for the US is 34.2% (which includes a state tax rate of 6%), that is not significantly higher than the corporate tax rate for many other developed nations, and it’s less than Japan’s. Brazil has a rate of 32.5%; France and Germany have tax rates of more than 31%; Australia 30.8%; Canada 28% and the UK has a rate of 25.4%.
More to the point, this is not the rate that most large US corporations actually pay. In fact, the effective tax rate for large US corporations (after deductions and subsidies) is less than 18%!
For example, 12 major corporations made $171 billion in profits from 2008 to 2010, yet had a negative income tax rate of 1.5 percent! And the most egregious example is GE. Last year the global conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing in US federal income taxes. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion!
Moreover, employer payroll taxes in the US are just 7.7% – less than Korea, India, Mexico, Poland and most of the developed world. And since the 1940s, the corporate share of all federal income taxes has dropped dramatically. In 1940, corporations paid 43 percent of all the federal income taxes collected in the US. But, in 2010, that percentage was only 8.9 percent! Indeed, the US raises less corporate tax revenue than most developed countries.
So though the US has the world’s 2nd highest corporate income tax rate, the rate actually paid by US corporations is much lower. In fact, our effective tax rate is less than that of even Mexico, India, Vietnam, Korea, China and Russia. And that’s the truth!