Fleecing Uncle Sam

Fleecing Uncle Sam report cover

This report reveals stark indicators of the extent to which large corporations are avoiding their fair share of taxes.

Of America’s 30 largest corporations, seven (23 percent) paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income taxes last year.

  • All seven of these firms were highly profitable, collectively reporting more than $74 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits. However, they received a combined total of $1.9 billion in refunds from the IRS.
  • The seven CEOs leading these tax-dodging corporations were paid $17.3 million on average in 2013. Boeing and Ford Motors both paid their CEOs more than $23 million last year while receiving large tax refunds.

Of America’s 100 highest-paid CEOs, 29 received more in pay last year than their company paid in federal income taxes—up from 25 out of the top 100 in our 2010 and 2011 surveys.

  • These 29 CEOs made $32 million on average last year. Their corporations reported $24 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits and yet, as a group, claimed $238 million in tax refunds.
  • Combined, the 29 companies operate 237 subsidiaries in tax havens. The company with the most subsidiaries in tax havens was Abbott Laboratories, with 79. The pharmaceutical firm’s CEO paycheck was $4 million larger than its IRS bill in 2013.

For corporations to reward one individual, no matter how talented, more than they are contributing to the cost of all the public services needed for business success reflects the deep flaws in our corporate tax system. Rather than more tax breaks, Congress should focus on addressing these deep flaws by cracking down on the use of tax havens, eliminating wasteful corporate subsidies, and closing loopholes that encourage excessive executive compensation.


Of the 100 top-earning CEOs in 2013, 31 received more in compensation than their companies paid in federal income taxes.


  • pascalmolineaux

    These are unmistakable signs of a Deep, foul–smelling rot. USA is now officially a corporatocracy un which large corporations can get away with murder and some even more corrupt politicians, doing their masters bidding, strive to vive them evento more golden privileges. Criminal minds are working real hard…

  • marid

    The Corpse, a heartless, soulless Monster, given life by High Priests in long gowns, stalks the land stealing the hopes, dreams, wealth, and very lives of the People, leaving misery, deprivation, and death behind. This is what we have devolved into, a haunt for lifeless Zombies with more rights than living people. What a sick cross section of greedy, heartless, criminal people we have in power at present, and they own the Prostitutes in Washington who have to screw people to run for office. Sick

    • mhpatterson

      Tell us how you really feel!

      • sfwm.son

        Are they wrong?

      • marid

        Makes an interesting visual at least.

  • Don Stinson

    A stunning display of sociopathy.

  • John Bayer

    When all the money is at the Top of the Tree and nothing at the bottom to hold it up. The tree will fall.
    America is headed for a Huge Great Depression. Because of the corporate structure in America today.
    You have been warned…! Save every dime you can and pay off all your credit cards, cars, homes and get ready for a big, big drop in the Stock Market. If you thought 2007 and 2008 were bad. Just wait until you see the 2016 drop.