Of last year’s 100 highest-paid U.S. corporate chief executives, 25 took home more in CEO pay than their company paid in 2010 federal corporate income taxes, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).
As IPS puts it:
Corporations don’t dodge taxes, the people who run corporations do. And these CEOs are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax dodging they have their corporations do.
“Executive Excess 2011: The Massive CEO Rewards for Tax Dodging“ shows the 25 tax-dodging CEOs the IPS report spotlights averaged $16.7 million in pay last year, well above the $10.8 million Standard & Poor’s 500 CEO average. Most of their companies registered substantial profits. Yet these same companies actually came out ahead at tax time. They collected, on average, $413 million in refunds from the IRS.
At Verizon, where CEO compensation totaled $18.1 million, the corporation got a federal $705 million federal income tax refund.
In addition to handing their CEOs big dollars, 20 of the 25 corporations in the study spent more on lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes.
Eighteen gave more to the political campaigns of their favorite candidates than they paid to the IRS in taxes.
Verizon was given a tax refund despite earning $11.9 billion in pre-tax U.S. profits—the highest among the 25 firms highlighted in this report.
Also, according to the report, S&P 500 CEOs last year collected $10.8 million in average compensation, a 27.8 percent increase over 2009. The gap between CEO and average U.S. worker pay rose from 263-to-1 in 2009 to 325-to-1 last year.
Eighteen of the 25 firms operate subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, for a combined total of 556 tax haven subsidiaries. Of the seven companies that reported losses in U.S. pre-tax income, five have a combined total of 267 tax haven subsidiaries and a sixth, Nabors Industries, is headquartered in Bermuda.