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Journalist David Cay Johnston: Why Trump tax cut is really a tax increase with interest.

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump signs a financial services Executive Order during a ceremony in the US Treasury Department building on April 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump is making his first visit to the Treasury Department for a memorandum signing ceremony with Secretary Mnuchin. (Photo by Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images)

The report is out on Donald Trump’s tax cut and it is not pretty. Just as we expected it helped corporations and not the people. David Cay Johnston said the tax cut scam was nothing but a future tax increase with interest. He was unequivocal in the clip below as he slammed the tax cut.

David Cay Johnston slams Trump tax cut scam

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued the report Corporate Tax Avoidance in the First Year of the Trump Tax Law.

Executive Summary

This study provides a comprehensive overview of profitable corporations’ effective tax rates in 2018, the first year that companies were subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the tax law signed by President Donald Trump at the end of 2017. The law lowered the statutory federal corporate income tax rate to 21 percent (a 40 percent decrease from the previous 35 percent rate) and made other changes affecting what companies pay.

ITEP’s examination of Fortune 500 companies’ financial filings identifies 379 companies that were profitable in 2018 and that provided enough information to calculate effective federal income tax rates, which is the share of 2018 pretax profits they paid in federal income taxes in that year. This report only includes companies that were profitable in 2018 and would thus be expected to owe income tax for that year. (The corporate income tax is a tax on profits.)

For most of these companies, their effective federal income tax rate was much lower than the statutory corporate tax rate of 21 percent. This is by design.

When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate. Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones. The unsurprising result: Profitable American corporations in 2018 collectively paid an average effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, barely more than half the 21 percent statutory tax rate.

Key Findings:

  • The 379 profitable corporations identified in this study paid an effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, slightly more than half the statutory 21 percent tax
  • 91 corporations did not pay federal income taxes on their 2018 U.S. income. These corporations include Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton and IBM. An ITEP study released in April 2019 examined 2018 Fortune 500 filings released to date and found 60 companies paid zero in federal income taxes. Now, all companies have released their 2018 financial filings, and this report reflects that.
  • Another 56 companies paid effective tax rates between 0 percent and 5 percent on their 2018 income. Their average effective tax rate was 2.2 percent.

Other Findings:

  • Fully half of the companies in our sample (195 out of 379) paid effective tax rates that were less than half the new statutory rate.
  • The sectors with the lowest effective corporate tax rates in 2018 were industrial machinery (-0.6%), utilities, gas and electric (-0.5 percent), motor vehicles & parts (1.5%), oil, gas & pipelines (3.6%), chemicals (4.4%), transportation (8.0%), engineering and construction (8.0%), miscellaneous services (8.3%), publishing and printing (9.8%), and financial (10.2%). Each of these industries paid, as a group, less than half the statutory 21 percent tax rate on their 2018 U.S. income.
  • The tax breaks identified in this report are highly concentrated among a few very large corporations. Just 25 companies claimed $37.1 billion in tax breaks in 2018. That’s almost exactly half the $73.9 billion in tax subsidies claimed by all 379 companies in our study.
  • Just five companies—Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Amazon, and Verizon—collectively enjoyed more than $16 billion in tax breaks in 2018.
  • The 11.3 percent average effective tax rate paid by profitable corporations is the lowest average effective rate identified by ITEP since it began publishing these studies in 1984.

Narrative is everything. It is essential that we are clear that Trump’s tax cut, for the wealthy and the corporations, is nothing but a tax increase with interest for the rest of us.

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