All around the country, right-wing legislators are asking Main Street Americans to pay for budget deficits resulting mainly from a recession caused by Wall Street by attacking collective bargaining, and cutting necessary services and investments like college tuition aid and health care for the poor.
Yet at the same time, some of the country’s biggest corporations are getting away without being asked to pay anything at all. In 2009, mega corporations like Boeing and General Electric managed to avoid paying a penny in federal taxes — while also netting enormous benefits in tax benefits and subsidies.
Now, with many companies releasing their financial reports for 2010, it appears that Bank of America — the nation’s largest bank — has gone a second year in a row paying absolutely no federal corporate income taxes. In fact, not only did the company use its losses to avoid paying taxes last year, but it actually reported a tax benefit of almost a billion dollars:
After another money-losing year, Bank of America Corp. got the upper hand with Uncle Sam in 2010.
The Charlotte-based bank had no federal income tax expense for a second straight year and actually reported a tax “benefit” of nearly $1 billion. Also, the bank’s billions in accumulated losses could reduce its taxes in future years, a tax expert said.
“Bank of America takes its role as a corporate citizen very seriously, and pays taxes in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,” bank spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said.
“If you go out and try to make money and you don’t do it, why should the government pay you for your losses?” asked Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice when Bank of America used a similar provision in the tax code to dodge taxes in 2009. Additionally, in one state alone, Connecticut, Bank of America’s state income tax tax dodging cost the state a whopping $500 million.
Over the weekend, the UK-inspired movement US Uncut held demonstrations at Bank of America branches all over the country to protest the bank’s egregious tax dodging. In Washington, D.C., US Uncut protests shut down a major Bank of America branch in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Watch it:
In a press release from last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) laid out ten corporate tax dodgers who aren’t paying their fair share and called for shared sacrifice. “We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed,” said Sanders in a press release addressing tax fairness. “But it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We’ve got to talk about shared sacrifice.”