Take a Look at What 10 Big US Companies Are Paying in Taxes

As countless small business owners wonder what the new year will bring to their profit margins- a year already colored by the looming specters of the fiscal cliff and healthcare reform- it seems several big businesses are sitting quite cozy, indeed. In September of this year, a congressional report put a spotlight on maneuverings that allowed two tech giants, Microsoft and Hewllet-Packard, to avoid paying taxes on billions of dollars in offshore profits.

These companies are certainly not alone. The corporate annuls are filled to the brim with sophisticated tax dodging that often goes hand-in-hand with enormous outlays of money dedicated to political lobbying.

How bad is it?

Here are stats on ten of the most profitable companies in the US: how much they made last year; how much they actually paid in US taxes (keep in mind that the official corporate tax rate is 35%); how much they spent on political lobbying.

Judge for yourself…

1. Exxon Mobil

Pre-tax earnings 2011: $73.3 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $1.5 Billion (2%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $9,870,000

 

2. Chevron

Pre-tax earnings 2011: $47.6 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $1.9 Billion (4%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $7,080,000

 

 

 

3. Apple

Pre-tax earnings: $34.2 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $3.9 Billion (11%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $1,430,000

 

 

 

4. Microsoft

Pre-tax earnings: $28.1 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $3.1 Billion (11%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $5,656,000

 

 

5. JPMorgan Chase

Pre-tax earnings: $26.7 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid:$3.7 Billion (14%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures:  $4,900,000

 

6. Wal-Mart

Pre-tax earnings: $24.4 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $4.6 Billion (19%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $4,650,000

 

7. Wells Fargo

Pre-tax earnings: $23.7 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $3.4 Billion (14%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $5,290,000

 

8. ConocoPhillips

Pre-tax earnings: $23.0 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $1.9 Billion (8%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $2,359,000

 

9. IBM

Pre-tax earnings: $21.0 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $0.268 Billion (1%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $3,560,000

 

10. General Electric

Pre-tax earnings: $20.1 Billion

Actual Federal US Taxes Paid: $1.0 Billion (5%)

Total Lobbying Expenditures: $15,550,000

Sources:

Shoddy Paperwork in the Race to Foreclose; Now Big Banks Face Nationwide Moratorium

The spate of foreclosures in the U.S. might be coming to a halt. Homeowners have long been complaining that banks use improper documentation to seize their homes. Their clamoring became so loud that lawmakers and banks have finally taken notice. Now, several of the big guns in banking have declared a nation-wide moratorium on foreclosure action.

 

 

Bank of America, GMAC Mortgage, and JP Morgan Chase have suspended foreclosures while they investigate the situation. Under duress from lawyers and judges, banks have admitted to unlawful behavior. Flooded with foreclosure affidavits, banks allowed their employees to sign documents without reading them. For example, GMAC admitted that employees signed thousands of affidavits without knowing their contents.

The underlying problem is the verification process. Before banks can submit documents for legal foreclosure proceedings, they have to check the information contained within the documents. Bank employees have reported that they failed to verify information such as amounts owed by borrowers, and names of banks currently holding the mortgage. Additionally, lawmakers have uncovered suspicious circumstances such as clear forgeries of officials’ names and notarizations of signatures by out-of-state notaries.

Housing experts expect the foreclosure suspensions to strongly affect the market. While the legal system sorts out the problems, properties involved in foreclosure will probably not be sold.

The banks attribute their sloppy paperwork to the rapid pace at which they have been processing foreclosures. Now, as they backtrack and reassess the particulars of each foreclosure, both the foreclosure rate and the housing economy should slow significantly.

(Image Credit

Sources:

The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal