These 91 companies paid no federal taxes in 2018

Key Points
  • Nearly 100 companies in the Fortune 500 had an effective federal tax rate of 0% or less in 2018, according to a new report.
  • The report looks at the first year since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect.
  • The list of companies covers a wide range of industries and includes some of the biggest companies in the United States.
President Donald J. Trump signs the Tax Cut and Reform Bill in the Oval Office at The White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2017. President-elect Joe Biden ran on a platform of repealing some of those cuts and raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, but the post-election political reality may make that difficult.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 100 Fortune 500 companies effectively paid no federal taxes in 2018, according to a new report.

The study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank, covers the first year following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act championed by President Donald Trump, which was signed into law in December 2017.

The report covers 379 companies from the Fortune list that were profitable in 2018 and finds that 91 paid an effective federal tax rate of 0% or less. Those companies come from a wide range of industries and include the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Chevron.

The new tax law lowered the statutory corporate tax rate to 21%, but the companies in the report paid an average rate of 11.3%. Fifty-seven companies paid effective rates above 21%. The report was first covered by The Washington Post.

The lower average rate means that the federal government brought in about $74 billion less in corporate taxes than if all the companies had paid the statutory rate, according to the report.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Brexit, billionaires and breaking up big companies
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Brexit, billionaires and breaking up big companies

The institute advocates for changes to the tax code that would increase corporate taxes, including repealing changes related to how companies account for capital expenditures and creating an alternative minimum tax for corporations. It calculated the effective tax rate by comparing the amount paid in taxes to the pretax profits.

To be fair to these companies, these are the "effective" rates and were calculated using publicly available filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The tax expenses reflected in those documents do not necessarily match those in the private tax filings, and the analysis does not include state and local taxes.

Amazon has come under fire for its effective tax rate previously, including from some prominent contenders for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.

"Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years," a company spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC earlier this year.

The following companies had effective rates of 0% or less, according to the report:

  • Phillips-Van Heusen
  • Gannett
  • INTL FCStone
  • Murphy Oil
  • AECOM Technology
  • International Business Machines
  • CenturyLink
  • DowDuPont
  • Activision Blizzard
  • Avis Budget Group
  • Celanese
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Deere
  • First Data
  • Duke Energy
  • Pitney Bowes
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
  • WEC Energy Group
  • Levi Strauss
  • Brighthouse Financial
  • Aramark
  • Whirlpool
  • Prudential Financial
  • Trinity Industries
  • Ryder System
  • United States Steel
  • Eli Lilly
  • CMS Energy
  • Tapestry
  • EOG Resources
  • Beacon Roofing Supply
  • SPX
  • Realogy
  • Public Service Enterprise Group
  • Rockwell Collins
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber
  • MDU Resources
  • FedEx
  • Williams
  • SpartanNash
  • Chevron
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Edison International
  • Penske Automotive Group
  • Principal Financial
  • PulteGroup
  • Air Products & Chemicals
  • Honeywell International
  • Netflix
  • General Motors
  • Tenet Healthcare
  • Xcel Energy
  • Halliburton
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Atmos Energy
  • Molson Coors
  • Nvidia
  • PPL
  • American Electric Power
  • Starbucks
  • Dominion Resources
  • Mohawk Industries
  • DTE Energy
  • Amazon
  • Andersons
  • Kinder Morgan
  • Owens Corning
  • Devon Energy
  • DXC Technology
  • FirstEnergy
  • Ameren
  • Hartford Financial Services
  • Alaska Air Group
  • Darden Restaurants
  • Ally Financial
  • Sanmina-SCI
  • Builders FirstSource
  • McKesson
  • Occidental Petroleum
  • UGI
  • Westrock
  • AK Steel Holding
  • ABM Industries
  • Cliffs Natural Resources
  • AMR
  • Chesapeake Energy
  • HD Supply
  • Navistar International
  • Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Visteon
Billionaire Ray Dalio has two pieces of advice for the average investor
Billionaire Ray Dalio has two pieces of advice for the average investor