Duke Energy not required to pay federal income taxes for past 5 years

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A new report from Citizens for Tax Justice in Washington D.C. says big-profit companies are using "loopholes and tax breaks" to avoid paying a single penny in federal income taxes.

The report includes Duke Energy on a list of 26 Fortune 500 companies that have not paid any federal income taxes in five years.

"Duke Energy had a tax rate of a negative 3.5 percent which means they actually got refunds back from the IRS," pointed out Rebecca Wilkins with Citizens for Tax Justice.

Duke Energy has made more than $9 billion in profits since 2008, according to the report.

It also showed research for 288 companies that were profitable for the last five years. On average they paid 19.4 percent in federal income tax.

Statutes require corporations to pay 35 percent of their profit in taxes each year.

"You hear corporate lobbyists complain the U.S. has the highest tax rate in the world, and that we can't be competitive with companies located in other countries," added Wilkins. "That's just not true. We may have a high statutory rate, but the effective rate companies are actually paying is much, much less."

Duke Energy Spokesperson Tom Williams told FOX8 the reason the company hasn't had to pay income taxes dates back to 2009 and the federal stimulus package.

"When companies like Duke Energy spend money on big construction projects or big capital projects, we're able to expense the cost of that project," Williams explained. "This is the way the system was set up, to stimulate job growth. It's worked. Let's not forget these federal taxes will be paid, just paid over a longer period."

Williams said Duke Energy employed thousands of people for those projects over the last five years and the company took advantage of the legal, available tax breaks while doing so.

He also emphasized that Duke Energy is one of the biggest taxpayers locally and statewide.

"Companies like to continue their construction projects. We did not scale back during recession. We actually accelerated these projects, created more jobs than would be otherwise created. It was well within the law. It was the way the law was set up to begin with. If they have a problem with that, they can bring it up with the people who passed the law, members of Congress."

Wilkins said they are doing just that.

She added simply, "If you paid any federal income tax last year, you paid more than Duke Energy did. I think that includes a lot of us. I think we should be upset about it."


  • observer10

    Duke Power does not write the tax laws. Who doesn’t take every tax advantage available? If they didn’t, they would be neglecting their customers and stockholders.


        if your a tax payer, they do and if they got that kind of a break then they need to go and clean up their mess from the dan river spill. they are killing everything living in the river, including people.

    • sinnerfrank

      OK No 10 When you pay to have the tax code written to your benefit,that’s what working people have a problem with,I would like to have 30 to 40 yrs to pay my taxes as Duke does !!

    • chucky1992

      True but many companies, probably including Duke Energy, donate money to campaigns to have people elected who pass the laws to allow those deductions. It is legalized bribery and corporate welfare.

  • Micalli Brewer

    No they didn’t pay taxes because their lobbyist and lawyers and their political contributions to the Congress who made the laws and loophole and tax breaks ! But yet raising minimum wage is gonna put these big companies out of business ! We are becoming a country like third worldcountries Its the have and yall the have nots ! So get over it or you’ll loose your 7.25 job !

    • sinnerfrank

      We consumers have to help pay for the purchase of Progress and the clean up that will happen from all the Ash sites !!

  • Duh huh

    Duke Energy plays by the rules the government made. Notice they say the last “5” years. This is because the government & EPA have forced them to pay out millions for cleaner air projects. Sort of like all you people that have kids you can’t pay for, you get money back from the government (essentially you don’t pay taxes either). Lastly all of Dukes employees pay their fair share of taxes.

  • sinnerfrank

    This is America !! Duke Energy paid good money to have these loopholes in place they are just seeing a return on the investment,now Odummer is pushing for another stimulus which means more breaks for the corporations, you get what you pay for in America !! So it is just more of the same !!

  • fare tax

    If you watch any financial news you will here these financial pundits always railing that the U. S. tax corporate tax rate at 35 % is highest in world. It’s the effective tax rate after all the loop holes , tax credits, expense deduction that the politicians and lobbyists slip into the tax code that allow this no tax situation to happen. No corporation, except some S corporations that cannot afford to hire lobbyists and tax attorneys that pay higher rates. The big boys like General Electric and the like get off very lite in the taxation department.

  • chucky1992

    This just really pisses me off. If every person and company paid their share of taxes, we’d all have to pay less and probably wouldn’t have a deficit like we do. I wish they would just do a flat tax for all people and companies. Collecting taxes would cost less, filing taxes would be much easier and most tax payers would have more disposable income to spend. People can say what they want but when Duke Power is not paying taxes for even one year, no matter what the reason, others are bearing the costs of operating the government. The money comes from somewhere. Duke Power is just one company. Imagine how much more money the government would have if they all paid their share. They might not have to cut unemployment, the size of the military or funding for the V.A.

  • not2happy

    This is really upsetting to me. My 24 year old, single son, paid over $5000 last year in federal taxes…. it’s disgusting that these companies can make profits of $9 billion or so and pay no taxes.

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