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How does a company like Ford, which did $139.4 billion in business last year, qualify for a tax refund?

In an effort to highlight the inequities of the corporate tax code, the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies did a study and found that seven of the 30 biggest corporations in the country paid less in taxes than they did to their top executives.

Ford’s Alan Mulally, for example, took home $23.2 million in the same year that his company got a refund of $19 million from Uncle Sam.

The worst example of this trend, according to The Guardian, was Citigroup:

Michael Corbat, Citigroup’s CEO had a compensation package that totaled $17.6m.

At the same time, Citigroup qualified for a $260m tax refund from the IRS, thanks to a special waiver that enabled it to capture the full tax benefits of buying unprofitable businesses. This could be a tax gift that keeps on giving, as the bank has been on a tear to keep earning more to take full advantage of the provision.

The rift between tax burden and executive pay for big companies is “getting worse”, says Scott Klinger, director of revenue and spending policies at the Center for Effective Government.

This is a story worth remembering when politicians tell us we need to adjust the tax burden so wealthy individuals and corporations can create jobs. Corporate wealth and individual wealth work in concert. Meanwhile, 90 percent of Americans now control a mere 23 percent of the nation’s riches. That said, if you have $100 million lying around, you can buy a jet that will let you take a shower over the Atlantic Ocean, so that’s kind of cool.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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