From Amazon to GM, here are all the major tech and transportation companies who paid $0 in federal income taxes last year

Clodagh Kilcoyne/ReutersAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • These massive companies made millions – in some cases, billions – in profits in 2018, but didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes.
  • Tax cuts passed by the Trump administration in 2017 have made it much easier for the big corporations like Amazon,IBM, and Netflix avoid paying income taxes.
  • Most of the companies on this list earned tax rebates larger than their income tax, effectively seeing a negative tax rate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In theory, the US imposes a 21% tax rate on corporations. In reality, the amount major corporations are paying is far lower.

Amazon, for example, earned over $US10 billion in income in 2018. But by taking advantage of tax credits, the company zeroed out its income taxes and earned a rebate of $US129 million, according to tax filings published by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It has become much easier for massive corporations to avoid paying federal income tax in recent years. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, one of the most significant legislative achievements by Republicans and President Donald Trump since his election, opens new windows for tax rebates for major corporations.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit think tank, analysed SEC filings of Fortune 500 companies and identified 60 major corporations that didn’t pay any federal income taxes in 2018. Of those, 11 do business in the tech or transportation industries.

“These tax loopholes allow many profitable corporations to avoid paying a single dime in taxes, but it should also be noted that many other profitable corporations are also using these special breaks to pay far less than the 21 per cent statutory federal income tax rate,” Matthew Gardner, a lead author of the ITEP report, wrote.

Here are 11 massive tech and transportation companies that didn’t pay any federal income taxes last year – negative tax rates indicate that companies got more money back in rebates than they had to pay in taxes.


Activision Blizzard

Reuters

2018 US income: $US447 million

Federal income tax after rebates: -$US228 million

Effective federal income tax rate: -51%

Activision Blizzard’s federal income taxes decreased sharply after the Trump tax cuts took effect, dropping from a $US696 million tax in 2017 to a $US228 million tax benefit in 2018, according to the company’s 10-K filing.

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard emphasised that the company paid other taxes beyond the federal income tax, including state taxes.

“We did not receive a tax refund in the U.S. for 2018. In fact, we paid approximately $US100 million in U.S. federal and state income taxes based on our 2018 U.S. income,” the spokesperson said.


Amazon

ReutersAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

2018 US income: $US10.8 billion

Federal tax after rebates: -$US129 million

Effective tax rate: -1%

An Amazon spokesperson noted that Amazon paid billions in taxes other than the federal income taxes, including state and local taxes, and added that Amazon has brought its total US workforce to more than 250,000.

“Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the US and every country where we operate, including paying $US2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $US3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” the spokesperson said. “Corporate tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits remain modest given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business and our continued heavy investment.”


Delta Airlines

Associated PressFILE

2018 US income: $US5 billion

Federal tax after rebates: -$US187 million

Effective tax rate: -4%

A spokesperson for Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


General Motors

ReutersGeneral Motors President Mark Reuss.

2018 US income: $US4.32 billion

Federal tax after rebates: -$US104 million

Effective tax rate: -2%

A spokesperson for GM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Goodyear

Reuters

2018 US income: $US440 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US15 million

Effective tax rate: -3%

A spokesperson for Goodyear did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


IBM

ReutersFILE PHOTO

2018 US income: $US500 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US342 million

Effective tax rate: -68%

A spokesperson for IBM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


JetBlue

Reuters

2018 US income: $US219 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US60 million

Effective tax rate: -27%

A spokesperson for JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Netflix

Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for Netflix

2018 US income: $US856 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US22 million

Effective tax rate: -3%

A spokesperson for Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Pitney Bowes

2018 US income: $US125 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US50 million

Effective tax rate: -40%

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Pitney Bowes emphasised that, while its federal income tax was zeroed out by rebates, the company still paid other taxes totaling approximately $US127 million in 2016, $US53 million in in 2017, and $US26 million in 2018. The spokesperson added that the company’s taxes lowered following the sale of its production mail business last year.


Salesforce

Ryan Young for Business InsiderSalesforce co-CEO Keith Block.

2018 US income: $US800 million

Federal tax after rebates: Not immediately available.*

*In its report, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy notes that some companies’ vague language in their 10-K annual financial filings makes it difficult to calculate the exact size of their rebates. ITEP notes that Salesforce disclosed $US132 million in “tax credits,” but doesn’t go into more detail.

A spokesperson for Salesforce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Tech Data

2018 US income: $US210 million

Federal tax after rebates: -$US10 million

Effective tax rate: -5%

A spokesperson for Tech Data did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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