The Largest 100 Companies Pay This Much in Taxes

The United States has in recent years been grappling with both its political and economic identities. Tax reform, naturally, has proved to be one of most hotly contested policy battlegrounds, with a confluence of contradictory agendas -- partisan, industrial, and theoretical in nature -- muddying the waters. In the process, the role of the large multinational corporation as a tax-paying entity has come under intense scrutiny.

With memories of corporate greed and Great Recession bailouts still fresh in the minds of taxpayers, the myriad "revelations" about corporate accounting practices that have emerged from inspection of quarterly financials have fueled indignation as well as confusion among us little guys who feel as if we might be getting the short end of the stick.

This all, of course, raises a number of very important questions -- from how much large corporations really pay in taxes and how easy those numbers are to distort, all the way to what the ultimate taxpayer hierarchy should be between consumers and corporations.

WalletHub attempted to shed some light on those issues by analyzing annual reports for the S&P 100 -- the largest and most established companies on the stock market. We compiled 2012 data on company profits, withholding practices, and tax payments on the state, federal, and international levels to determine effective and deferred tax rates for each business.

Note: For visual purposes, we excluded the companies with the five highest and lowest effective tax rates.

  • S&P 100 companies pay roughly 30% lower rates on international taxes than on U.S. taxes.

  • Tech companies -- including Apple , eBay , and Google -- paid up to 80% lower rates abroad.

  • Six S&P 100 companies are actually paying a negative overall tax rate and are therefore due a tax refund: Abbott Laboratories , Morgan Stanley , Bank of America , AIG , Bristol-Myers Squibb , and Verizon .

  • Among the remaining companies that owe taxes, Citigroup , Visa , AbbVie , and MetLife pay the lowest rates.

  • The average S&P 100 company pays a 14% higher tax rate than the top 3% of consumers.

Sources: The data used to compile this report comes from the Internal Revenue Service, Quantria Strategies, Yahoo! Finance, and corporate annual reports.

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