Which Bay Area Tech Companies Pay No Corporate Taxes?
The spectacular wealth of Bay Area tech firms is driving up the cost of everything from your rent to a loaf of bread. But many of these companies are paying nothing whatsoever in federal taxes, racking up billions in profits while homelessness runs rampant, our infrastructure is crumbling, and income inequality actively destroys whatever is left of the American dream.
Thanks to the Trump tax cut that went into effect in 2017, corporate tax avoidance is at a staggering all-time high. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy did a lengthy analysis of which U.S. corporations pay no taxes, and found that 60 companies were able to avoid their 21% statutory corporate tax rate and pay not even a damned dime. A few of these companies are based right here in the Bay Area, so let’s take a look at which local tech firms are making hundreds of millions, or even billions, and not paying a cent in federal income taxes.
Netflix uses the same strategy as Salesforce to pay no federal income taxes. They’re able to write off their stock options, and in doing so, paid zilch in taxes on $856 million in 2018 revenue.
San Ramon-based Chevron is not really a tech company, as you know from the many, many times their Richmond refinery has gone up in flames. Fucking up their own equiment allows Chevron to use a tactic called accelerated depreciation that allowed them to pay no 2018 income taxes on $4.5 billion in income that year.
Amazon is based in Seattle, of course, not the Bay Area. But Amazon does have a San Francisco office, which they expanded last year, so their zero taxes paid on $10 billion in 2018 reported income puts them on this tax-dodging wall of shame.
The tax system has long been stacked against working people and in favor of enormously profitable corporations. The Trump tax cuts were a corporate welfare handout that made this even more extreme, and many tech companies are delighted to take advantage. San Francisco itself may be crumbling, but Silicon Valley millionaires are finding new tax loopholes every day.