In each year from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income tax liability. Among large corporations (generally those with at least $10 million in assets) less than half—42.3 percent—paid no federal income tax in 2012. Of those large corporations whose financial statements reported a profit, 19.5 percent paid no federal income tax that year.
Corporations that did have a federal corporate income tax liability for tax year 2012 owed $267.5 billion.
Currently, the top statutory corporate income tax rate is 35 percent. GAO’s 2013 report on corporate ETRs found that in tax year 2010, whether for all large corporate filers or only profitable ones, the average ETRs were significantly below the statutory rate. To provide an update, GAO was asked to assess the extent to which U.S. corporations pay federal income tax and the percentage that had no federal income tax liability. Report.