Report Provides State-by-State Estimates of Revenue Losses
WASHINGTON — Walmart and the Waltons—America’s largest employer and richest family—received tax breaks and subsidies worth an estimated $7.8 billion in 2013, according to a report released today by Americans for Tax Fairness. Released for Tax Day, when millions of American taxpayers and small businesses pay their fair share to support critical public services and the economy, the report shows Walmart and the Waltons have their own set of rules to game the system and get taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Walmart, which was number one on the Fortune 500 in 2013, had $16 billion in profits last year on revenues of $473 billion. The Walton family, which own more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, reaps billions in annual dividends from the company. The six Walmart heirs have a net worth of $148.8 billion—more wealth than 49 million American families combined.
The report shows that $7.8 billion is enough to hire 105,000 new public school teachers if Walmart paid its fair share of taxes and didn’t call on taxpayers to subsidize its low wages.
The report identifies the annual subsidies and tax breaks to Walmart and the Waltons, which include the following:
- Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion annually in mostly federal taxpayer subsidies. Walmart pays its employees so little that many of them rely on food stamps, Medicaid and other taxpayer-funded programs.
- Walmart avoids an estimated $1 billion in federal taxes each year. It uses tax breaks, 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 avoided an estimated $607 million in federal taxes on their Walmart dividends which are taxed at a much lower rate than income from salaries and wages.
The report also includes state-by-state data on the cost of the tax breaks used by Walmart and the Walton family. In addition, it estimates Walmart revenue generated from sales of groceries to SNAP (food stamp) recipients in each state.
“This report shows that Americans pay a lot more than they think at Walmart,” said Frank Clemente, Executive Director at Americans for Tax Fairness. “The real cost of shopping at Walmart is much higher than what shows up on your cash register slip. Walmart’s exploitation of large taxpayer subsidies and tax loopholes means higher taxes for everyone else and less money to invest in schools and communities.”
“The most troubling findings in this report are how much Walmart rakes in selling its groceries to food stamps beneficiaries, while it fleeces taxpayers who are subsidizing the low wages and poor benefits Walmart pays its employees,” said Clemente. The report found that Walmart had 18 percent of food stamps sales last year, which were worth $13.5 billion, while its employees received $6.2 billion in taxpayer assistance from food stamps, Medicaid and other income- support programs.
“Major companies and leaders like Walmart and the Waltons are taking advantage of the tax system and leaving taxpayers to foot the bill,” said Clemente. “It’s time they paid their fair share like the rest of us do.”
The report is available at http://americansfortaxfairness.org/walmart-on-tax-day