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In a year of presidential politics, many of America’s biggest corporations complain that they pay too much in taxes. But, how much is that? A recent analysis shows that many are actually getting off pretty easy. It turns out that the 10 most profitable U.S. companies only paid an average federal tax rate of 9 percent last year. This group of companies includes Exxon Mobil, Apple, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and General Electric.

1. According to Travis Waldron, which company complained that it paid too much in taxes, yet paid zero for 2008 through 2011? Explain briefly how this could happen.
2. How does the U.S. effective tax rate compare to those in other developed countries around the world?
3. The article by Eichler presents a slide show for each company and lists Tax Provision and Actual Taxes Paid. Explain the difference.
4. Which company surprised you most about the amount of taxes that they paid to foreign countries? Explain.


Waldron, T. (2012). Corporation That Paid Nothing In Taxes For Four Years Tells Congress It Pays Too Much In Taxes. The Huffington Post, July 20 (Retrievable online at

Eichler, A. (2012). Ten Most Profitable U.S. Corporations Paid Average of Just 9 Percent Last Year: Report. The Huffington Post, August 6 (Retrievable online at