How Taxpayers Subsidize America’s Biggest Employer and Richest Family

Search form

How Taxpayers Subsidize America’s Biggest Employer and Richest Family

How Taxpayers Subsidize America’s Biggest Employer and Richest Family
Tue, 4/15/2014 - by Americans For Tax Fairness
This article originally appeared on Americans For Tax Fairness

On tax day, when millions of American taxpayers and small businesses pay their fair share to support critical public services and the economy, they will also get stuck with a multi-billion dollar tax bill to cover the massive subsidies and tax breaks that benefit the country’s largest employer and richest family.

Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.4 million employees. The company, which is number one on the Fortune 500 in 2013 and number two on the Global 500, had $16 billion in profits last year on revenues of $473 billion.

The Walton family, which owns more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, reaps billions in annual dividends from the company. The six Walton heirs are the wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $148.8 billion. Collectively, these six Waltons have more wealth than 49 million American families combined.

This report finds that the American public is providing enormous tax breaks and tax subsidies to Walmart and the Walton family, further boosting corporate profits and the family’s already massive wealth at everyone else’s expense. Specifically, our analysis shows that:

Walmart and the Walton family receive tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies estimated at more than $7.8 billion a year – that is enough money to hire 105,000 new public school teachers.

The annual subsidies and tax breaks to Walmart and the Waltons include the following:

Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion annually in mostly federal taxpayer subsidies. The reason: Walmart pays its employees so little that many of them rely on food stamps, health care and other taxpayer-funded programs.

Walmart avoids an estimated $1 billion in federal taxes each year. The reason: Walmart uses tax breaks and loopholes, including a strategy known as accelerated depreciation that allows it to write off capital investments considerably faster than the assets actually wear out.

The Waltons avoid an estimated $607 million in federal taxes on their Walmart dividends. The reason: income from investments is taxed at a much lower tax rate than income from salaries and wages.

In addition to the $7.8 billion in annual subsidies and tax breaks, the Walton family is avoiding an estimated $3 billion in taxes by using specialized trusts to dodge estate taxes – and this number could increase by tens of billions of dollars.

Walmart also benefits significantly from taxpayer-funded public assistance programs that pump up the retailer’s sales. For example, Walmart had an estimated $13.5 billion in food stamp sales last year.

Polls show that Americans want a tax system that requires large corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share. This report shows that our current system is anything but fair – rather it provides special treatment to America’s biggest corporations and richest families leaving individual taxpayers and small businesses to pick up the tab.

Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, and the Walton family, which owns a majority of Walmart shares, benefit from an estimated $7.8 billion in annual tax breaks, loopholes, and subsidies. The largest share of this windfall – an estimated $6.2 billion in Walmart on Tax Day subsidies to Walmart – comes in the form of public assistance provided by taxpayers to low-wage Walmart employees.

At the same time, Walmart profited from an estimated $13.5 billion in sales last year to shoppers using SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Meanwhile, the Waltons get more than $600 million annually in savings from the preferential tax rate on their Walmart dividends. And the Waltons are also using special tax trusts to avoid an estimated $3 billion in estate taxes – an amount that could grow by tens of billions of dollars in years to come if the family creates more of these trusts. If, instead of dodging their taxes Walmart and the Waltons paid their fair share, the increased revenues could be used to fund vital public services and reduce the deficit.

Go here to view the full report.

Originally published by Americans For Tax Fairness

Article Tabs

It seems the people of the world are factually correct when they label the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world.

In a new study released last week, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty tracked laws in 187 cities over the past five years and found an uptick in nearly every type of anti-homeless ordinance.

After winning 1.2 million votes, Spain's newest political party wants to raise minimum wages, abolish tax havens, nationalize banks rescued with public funds and establish a guaranteed minimum income.

Labeled a “hate group” by progressive social and political organizations, the Alliance has amassed a substantial track record marginalizing LGBT equality efforts and attacking women’s reproductive rights.

The Premier of the Province, Kathleen Wynn, is being given another chance to respond to growing calls from the Indigenous community to protect their Territorial Rights.

In the 80s and 90s they called them "IMF Riots" – but what the biggest international investment organizations and consultants now see happening looks a whole lot bigger.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist interviewed Harvard professor and MayDay SuperPAC founder Lessig Lawrence about his plans to break the hold of big money on American elections.

Posted 6 days 16 hours ago

A New York shell fisherman is fighting back against retribution for speaking out against environmental violations.

Posted 6 days 15 hours ago

Part 3: Chris Hedges interviewed Harvard professor and MayDay SuperPAC founder Lawrence Lessig about his plans to break the hold of big money on American elections.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

Patient details were shared with organizations including private health insurance companies, many based in the United States.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

With unions facing a not-so-gradual decline toward irrelevance, leaders are having “a come-to-Jesus moment.”

Under The Blue Tarp

about the Under the Blue Tarp project, including the protestors' reasons for Occupying

The near total collapse of our judicial system, wrecked in the name of national security and “the war on terror,” is encapsulated in the saga of this courageous attorney.

Reclaim the Airwaves

Over the past 15 years, while our country (and the world) was sailing off a cliff, commercial radio’s Top 100 didn’t include a single anthem from the front lines of social change. But this generation’s Dylans and Marleys are out there - they’ve just been being silenced by an industry that places profit before responsibility.

For Our Corporate Masters, First Greece, Then Us

If the corporate masters with their austerity regime are successful, Greece will be run by transnational CEOs via the European Union. The country's collapse and the privatization of its commons will be Globalism's first takedown. Soon, it will happen to us.

Sign Up