Total tax contribution: How much do large US companies pay in taxes?

January 2009
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Total tax contribution: How much do large US companies pay in taxes?

At a glance

PwC survey of taxes paid by corporations, using the Total tax contribution framework commissioned by the Business Roundtable.

2008 survey with Business Roundtable

Business Roundtable commissioned PwC to conduct the first United States survey of taxes paid by corporations, using the total tax contribution framework. The results of the study highlight that in addition to income taxes, corporations bear a wide variety of non-income taxes that have little visibility in financial statements yet add $62 of extra tax burden for every $100 of corporate income taxes paid by survey participants.

These non-income taxes include customs duties and state and local property and gross receipts taxes. Companies also serve as tax collectors for government, remitting $169 of sales, excise, withholding and other taxes imposed on customers and employees for every $100 of corporate income taxes paid by survey participants. The total tax contribution report also finds that the total tax rate of US survey participants averaged 36% — one of the highest rates among countries where similar surveys have been conducted.

These results are explained in part by the United States ranking as the country with the second highest corporate tax rate among the 30 OECD member countries and the relatively heavy reliance in the United States on taxes borne by business (such as corporate income tax) rather than taxes collected (such as sales tax).This report is intended to inform the debate on companies’ contributions to government revenues and the competitiveness of the US tax system by providing data on taxes paid by America’s largest companies.