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Major firms avoid state income taxes

Eugene Weekly
January 5, 2012

Many of the nation's Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, Oregon's largest private employer, have paid little or no state income taxes in recent years despite reporting large profits to their shareholders, according to a report released in late December by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).

The report examined corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and calculated the sum of all state income taxes paid by 265 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable each of the three years studied, 2008 through 2010. Data on file with the SEC did not allow ITEP and CTJ to determine the amounts paid in taxes to particular states, according to a press release from Chuck Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

"The report confirms the need for state corporate disclosure laws," said Sheketoff. "Oregonians have a right to know which large corporations are using accounting gimmicks, special laws and tax loopholes to avoid paying income taxes on their profits."

Of the 265 corporations studied, 68 paid no net state income taxes in at least one of the years from 2008 to 2010 — even as these companies together reported making almost $117 billion in pre-tax profits in the years when they paid no taxes.

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