It’s a happy Easter for Duke Energy: the company paid no corporate taxes on the $7.9 billion it made in profit over the last three years, according to a study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Corporate Policy. In fact, it had the highest net income during the period of any of the zero-tax paying companies and it joins more than 50 of the other largest U.S. companies, including FedEx and Nike, in paying zero or less than zero in income tax. 

This appears to be thanks to the sweeping tax law the Republican-led Congress passed in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, under President Donald Trump which preserved long-standing tax breaks and reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. But dozens of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies have found loopholes in the nation’s tax laws that have enabled them to shrink their tax bills further, down to zero in many cases, via legal deductions and exemptions

From the ITCP report: 

“The tax-avoiding companies represent various industries and collectively enjoyed almost $40.5 billion in U.S. pretax income in 2020, according to their annual financial reports. The statutory federal tax rate for corporate profits is 21 percent. The 55 corporations would have paid a collective total of $8.5 billion for the year had they paid that rate on their 2020 income. Instead, they received $3.5 billion in tax rebates.

Their total corporate tax breaks for 2020, including $8.5 billion in tax avoidance and $3.5 billion in rebates, comes to $12 billion.”

Duke Energy received millions of dollars in tax rebates, with an effective three-year tax rate of -15.5 percent. As the analysis states, tax breaks for renewable energy are part of the tax avoidance scheme for several companies, including Duke Energy, Qurate Retail, Xcel Energy, and DTE.

With all that extra cash Duke Energy has on hand, maybe it’s time to cough up the $3 billion it’s passing along to ratepayers for coal ash cleanup. 

Read the full report here. Read a New York Times story on the report, with quotes from a Duke Energy spokesperson, here. 

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