Boeing’s tax burden is deferred

How much did you pay in federal income tax last year?

If it was more than zero, you paid more than the Boeing Co., which didn’t pay any federal taxes, despite reporting more than $5.9 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits last year, according to the company’s Form 10-K, which it recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Boeing actually claimed $82 million in federal tax credits. That gave the company an effective tax rate of –1.4 percent, according to the Center for Effective Government, a left-leaning think tank.

In the same year, Boeing only reported paying $11 million in state tax, an effective rate of 0.2 percent.

Late last year, Washington made sure Boeing will pay little if any state tax when lawmakers extended breaks worth an estimated $8.7 billion through 2040.

Boeing sees its effective tax rate differently.

“Our effective income tax rates were 26.4 percent, 34.0 percent and 25.6 percent for the years ended Dec. 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively,” the company states in Form 10-K.

The difference is Boeing is including in those percentages deferred taxes that it doesn’t pay this year.

But as the Center for Effective Government notes, “Deferred taxes do not pay the government’s bills. If Boeing delivered an aircraft to the federal government and the Defense Department told Boeing that it was deferring payment years into the future, Boeing would not have much of a business.”

Boeing may have to pay deferred taxes in the future, and when it does, they’ll show up in its current taxes entry.

According to the Center for Effective Government, “Over the last six years, Boeing has reported $26.4 billion in pre-tax profits to its shareholders, while claiming a total of $105 million in refunds from the IRS, an effective tax rate of –0.4 percent.”

During the last fiscal year, the company collected $20 billion in sales to the federal government, making it the second-largest federal contractor.

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