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How Are America’s Top Companies Taxed?

Today, American households fork over anywhere from 10% to 35% of their annual income to Uncle Sam — not to mention the state and local governments’ cut on top. After all, nothing is certain, but death and taxes, right? Well, not quite, it turns out, if you’re a large corporation. Many of America’s 25 largest companies pay less – much less – in taxes than the average American. How so? Unlike most Americans, large companies can operate losing businesses in the U.S. – and profitable ones abroad, where tax rates are lower. That’s how a company like General Electric has managed to owe a negative $1.1 billion in income tax in 2009 ( that’s quite a refund), despite its $10.3 billion pretax income and $157 billion in sales. Some banks made out quite well last year, too: Bank of America did not pay a dime in taxes on its $4.4 billion income, thanks to a slew of deductions and provisions for credit losses; neither did Citigroup. Our latest infographic gives you a summary of the taxes paid by America’s top 25 companies, as reported by Forbes.

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