Verizon to Sanders: Do the Tax Math

Says any suggestion it doesn't pay fair share of taxes is false
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Verizon says Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to get his facts straight when it comes to the company's tax liability.

That came in the telco's response to a Sanders speech this week in which the Democratic presidential candidate said, "Over the years Verizon has made billions of dollars in profit, but in a given year has not paid a nickel in taxes."

Verizon has a particularly vested interest in getting out its side of the tax story given the strike that was threatened, and now called, against the company by CWA-IBEW wireline workers on the East Coast, including New York, whose all-important presidential primary is next week and where that strike could be a focal point for politicians looking to hammer the company.

The company reposted a statement from Mark Mullett, VP, federal government relations, back in February pointing out that the company, in the given period of 2014-2015 had in fact paid $15.6 billion in taxes.

"Let’s set the record straight: Verizon complies with all tax laws and pays the taxes it owes under the law," Mullett said. "In 2015, that amounted to $8.445 billion. That’s $5.293 billion in income taxes (net amount of any refunds the company received); $1.284 billion in employment taxes related to its 177,700 employees; and $1.868 billion in property and other taxes. Verizon is one of the largest taxpayers and investors in America (both in terms of people and capital). Any claim that the company has avoided paying its fair share of taxes is demonstrably false."

In an online post Wednesday (April 13), Sanders said many profitable companies pay zero taxes, and cited a just-released Government Accountability Office report.

But the report -- which looked at 2012 -- also found that the majority of large corporations (which it defined as having at last $10 million in assets) do pay taxes, and of the ones in that category that were profitable, only 19.5% paid no taxes, and that reasons for that could include the use of deductions for losses that had been carried forward from prior years' tax incentives.

The federal corporate tax liability for all corporations that did pay taxes was more than a quarter trillion dollars ($267.5 billion).