7 Companies that Paid their CEOs More Than They Paid in Taxes

Thursday, November 20, 2014
James McNerney, Jr. (photo: M. Spencer Green, AP)

Seven of the largest corporations in America have the dubious distinction of spending more money on their CEO salaries than on taxes to the U.S. government.


The seven are Boeing, Ford, Chevron, Citigroup, Verizon, J.P. Morgan, and General Motors, according to the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government.


While some would argue the salaries of the chief executives were too high, the point of the Institute’s report (pdf) is the many tax credits, loopholes and deductions that allow businesses to reduce their tax bill and in some cases, get money back from the federal government.


Only one of the companies paid any taxes at all. Chevron’s John Watson was paid $20.2 million while the company paid $15 million in taxes.


Boeing had the highest CEO salary of the seven, with $23.3 million going to top man James McNerney Jr. Meanwhile, the aircraft manufacturer and major government contractor enjoyed an $82 million refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


In the financial world, Citigroup’s Michael Corbat collected $17.6 million, while his company got $260 million back from the IRS. J.P. Morgan Chase paid Jamie Dimon $11.8 million, but got a whopping $1.3 billion back from the IRS.


Verizon’s Lowell McAdam earned $15.8 million and the company a $197 million refund.


While CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally was paid $23.2 million and received a $19 million refund.


General Motors’ Daniel Akerson made only $9.1 million when he was the company’s CEO. The carmaker received $34 million in refunds.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fleecing Uncle Sam (Center for Effective Government)

These Companies Paid Their CEOs More Than They Pay in Taxes (by Sarah Anderson, AlterNet)

Most Americans Clueless about Gap between CEO Pay and Employee Pay (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

25 Major Companies Paid More to CEOs than They Did in Taxes (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)



anonamouse 9 years ago
Is that a whiff of moral approbrium I smell? Personally, I don't find it so awful, all this corporate "tax avoidance." Even if enterprise profits were completely "untaxed" --- enterprise would still be taxed plenty, taxed at every step, and then taxed again as income at the personal level of workers, management and shareholders (who are effectively taxed twice). I would gladly consent to end all taxation of business income in exchange for ending the legal charade of "corporate personhood," with its free speech rights, campaign funding rights, libel protections, etc. I'd consider that a win-win situation. Only 10 percent of federal revenues come from corporate income taxes, but nearly 100 percent of bad policy is the result of distortions in the legislative process caused by special interest lobbying, most of which is corporately funded. I'd gladly trade off the relative pittance extracted from Big Business for a less corrupted regulatory regime.

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