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Corporate Tax Graph
7.19.02
Politics and Economy:
The Off-shore Shell Game
More on This Story:
Corporate Tax Rates and Yours

This whole debate over off-shore shell companies, and how they're used to avoid taxes, is taking place against the bigger backdrop of an overall decline in the amount of taxes paid by U.S. Corporations. In 1960, corporations paid 24% of all federal taxes. In the 1970's, that share fell to 15%. As recently as 1996, it was 12%. Now, corporate taxes make up only about 8% of U.S. revenues. That, Bob McIntyre, of Citizens for Tax Justice, says, is the result of all sorts of loopholes and laws, written by politicians friendly to corporations.

Citizens for Tax Justice has compiled the U.S. profits, federal income taxes and taxes paid for ten major American corporations. Click on the image below to compare the personal tax rate for an American family of four and corporate tax rates of some of the country's largest companies for 1999-2000.

Of course, stimulus packages, off-shore tax havens, and other breaks are not isolated to the United States. Just take a look at the FINANCIAL TIMES (of London) for June 25, 2002. "The Isle of Man yesterday unveiled plans to cut its main business tax rate to zero, while insisting that it was not trying to lure companies away from mainland Britain."

Evidently, the move comes in response to the European Union's efforts to "eliminate harmful tax competition." Indeed, in just the last two years official (pre-break) corporate tax rates have dropped throughout the developed world. The chart below illustrates the maximum rates for 2001, rates will more than likely be lowered again in 2002.

Below wealthy countries are ranked from highest corporate tax rate to lowest. Remember, that these are rates before stimulus bills, tax breaks and other reductions.

Corporate Tax Rates, January 2001, %

Canada:
 42.1%
Japan:
 42%
Italy:
 40%
Belgium:
 39.8%
United States:
 39.7%
Germany:
 39.4%
France:
 35%%
Greece:
 34.8%
Netherlands:
 34%%
Australia:
 33%
Austria:
 33%
Denmark:  30%
Britain:  29.9%
Sweden:
 28.5%%
Switzerland:
 26%%
Ireland:
 20%%

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