As the Century Foundation noted in this chart, the corporate income tax, as a share of total government revenue, used to track reasonably well with corporate profits. But in the last decade, the two have become decoupled:
As the Century Foundation’s Benjamin Landy explained, “In 1952, the corporate income tax accounted for about one third of of all federal tax revenue. But, over the years, U.S. multinationals have devised increasingly complex tax avoidance schemes, far beyond the ability of the IRS to credibly monitor or enforce. Although the corporate tax rate was also lowered significantly in 1986, tax avoidance is one of primary reasons why corporate taxes supply less than 9 percent of federal revenues today.”
Between 2008 and 2011, dozens of multinational corporations paid no corporate income tax at all, despite making billions in profits. In 2011, the effective tax rate paid by American corporations fell to 12.1 percent, a forty-year low.