LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas/AP) – According to a study put out by the Institute for Policy Studies last week, 26 big companies paid more to their CEOs then they paid the federal government in taxes.
The study found that the CEOs were paid on average about $20 million, while the companies surveyed paid little taxes on their profits.
On average, the 26 companies generated a net income of more than $1 billion in the U.S., the study said.
The study blasted tax rules allowing unlimited deductions for the CEO’s “performance-based” pay, like many stock options. It said the five biggest performance payers among the 26 companies took $232 million of these deductions last year.
One of the CEOs criticized in the survey was James McNerney Jr. of Boeing. It said he got paid over $18 million last year while Boeing received a tax refund of over $600 million.
Another CEO criticized was Vikram Pandit of Citigroup. The study found he took home $15 million while the company received $144 million in tax benefits.
The study was an attack on corporate tax code, claiming that deductions and credits are allowed on executives so they can cut their tax bills while the government gets less money.
“Our nation’s tax code has become a powerful enabler of bloated CEO pay,” the study stated.
Some companies are arguing the findings.
Charles Bickers, a spokesman from Boeing, says that its federal tax bill was a deferred tax, not a credit.
“Boening supports a simpler, more competitive tax code,” Bickers told The Associated Press. “At the same time, we have put the R&D tax credit to exactly the use it was designed – creating U.S. jobs in a high-value, advanced technology industry.”
A Citigroup spokeswoman told the AP that the company lost money in previous years and used those losses to offset taxes on its profits last year.
The study also said that AT&T used accelerated depreciation to save over $5 billion on its taxes while paying its CEO Randall Stephenson almost $19 million.
Sarah Lubman, an AT&T spokeswoman, said the deductions encouraged the company to make $20 billion in investments last year. She also said that the deductions won’t be available to take in future years, which should increase taxes.
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