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Wells Fargo received most tax breaks since 2008, report says

Wells Fargo & Co. tops the list of companies receiving the largest tax breaks since 2008, according to a joint study from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Wells Fargo is one of 30 companies that paid less than nothing in federal corporate income taxes since 2008, according to the report. The company posted over $49 billion in profits in that period but had an effective tax rate of -1.4 percent, meaning it made more after taxes than before.

The report found that amounts to $18 billion in tax subsidies over the last three years, with the company paying -$681 million in taxes.

Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, has its main office in Sioux Falls, S.D., and runs major operations in Des Moines, West Des Moines and Davenport.

The study looked at federal income taxes paid by 280 of America’s largest and most profitable corporations in 2008, 2009 and 2010. All of the companies are on Fortune Magazine’s annual list of America’s 500 largest corporations.

It found the companies reported profits of $1.4 trillion over that period, and should have paid $473 billion in income taxes, based on the 35 percent corporate tax rate. But tax subsidies over that time totaled $222.7 billion.

Of the 280 companies, 71 paid a tax rate near 35 percent; 67 paid rates less than 10 percent; and 30 paid rates less than 0 percent, in some cases actually receiving checks from the government.

A report issued last week found Wells Fargo & Co. is one of the top 10 transparent and accountable companies in the S&P 100 when it comes to political spending. It and other companies were ranked based on 29 different indicators to gauge disclosure, policies, compliance and oversight.

On Saturday it will be one of two national banks targeted by members of the Occupy Iowa movement in Des Moines as part of “National Bank Transfer Day.” The initiative aims to convince Americans to move their money from the larger banks and into “more responsible, community-driven financial institutions.” The individuals plan to demonstrate at the Ingersoll Avenue Wells Fargo and Bank of America locations.

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