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Explore the data
How they did it
Deferred taxes
Taxes that are not paid in the current year, but may or may not come due in future years.
Accelerated Depreciation
The tax laws generally allow companies to write off their capital investments faster than the assets actually wear out. This "accelerated depreciation" is technically a tax deferral, but so long as a company continues to invest, the tax deferral tends to be indefinite.
Domestic Production Activities Deduction
Tax break for domestic manufacturing income. "Domestic Production" is often defined broadly. Current beneficiaries of the tax break include mining and oil, coffee roasting, and even Hollywood film production.
Research and Experimentation Tax Credit
Tax break that encourages businesses in the U.S. to increase investment in research activities.
Stock Options
Most big corporations give their executives (and sometimes other employees) options to buy the company's stock at a favorable price in the future. When those options are exercised, companies can take a tax deduction for the difference between what the employees pay for the stock and what it's worth.
The story.

The federal corporate income tax rate in the United States is supposedly 35%, but the truth is that corporations rarely pay that amount. Many large companies pay well below this rate using loopholes and tax breaks, often the result of aggressive corporate lobbying and campaign support. Republican leaders in Washington are currently discussing massive corporate tax cuts. They claim that reducing taxes will make the US more competitive with foreign nations. They also claim that companies will take their extra profits and reinvestment in the American workforce.

This project visualizes the data behind these claims.

The inspiration.

Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote a New York Times article in late August about how companies exploit tax breaks and loopholes to pay surprisingly low federal tax rates. This sparked our interest.

The data.

We use data from several different sources.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) produced a report in March 2017 that documents 258 Fortune 500 corporations and their use of tax loopholes and special breaks over the past eight years. The 258 companies were selected on the basis that they were "consistently profitable over the eight-year period from 2008 to 2015." By focusing only on consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies, ITEP's report provides a clear picture of the effective tax rates that "our nation's biggest and most profitable companies" pay.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) looked at a subset of the 258 companies explored in the ITEP report. In their August 2017 report, IPS focuses on 92 corporations that paid less than 20 percent of their earnings in federal corporate income tax. They investigated the claim that lower corporate tax rates would encourage companies to create more jobs by looking at companies that already benefitted from the tax rates that Republicans want to implement. IPS found that many of these "have not become powerful engines of economic growth." Many companies have slashed their employee numbers while increasing the compensation of their CEOs.

For the comparisons in our Explore the Data section, we pulled data from a variety of sources:

Half of the 2016 US Deficit Wall Street Journal
Hours of labor at minimum wage National Conference of State Legislatures
Economic loss of Hurricane Katrina Newsweek
Salaries of 50,000 teachers for 10 years Time
2016 GDP of Haiti CIA World Factbook
1997 Titanic film budget IMDB
The cost of building the Eiffel Tower (adjusted for 2015 inflation) Mashable
10 million MacBook Pros Apple
4 years of tuition at Harvard for 100 students Harvard University
Average Cost of a 30 Second Ad Spot During Super Bowl Sports Illustrated
Median Home Price U.S. Census Bureau

We used external sources for the images of Donald Trump and Randall Stephenson

The people.

People tend to think that data is something new. That it is a new invention, meant to propel humankind forwards into the future. But the truth is that data has always existed. Little hints and clues in nature, guiding us to newer and greater heights. Farmers looking at weather patterns to predict the next rainfall. Sailors using the stars to guide their ships to safe haven. Everything is a pattern, waiting to be deciphered.

Pedal is a data visualization firm that helps companies and organizations find these patterns in their data and visualize them through beautiful interactive visualizations.

The world runs on numbers. We help you keep up.