A new report from Americans for Tax Fairness shows that taxpayers in the United States subsidize Walmart and the Walton family, who owns the majority of Walmart stock and is the richest family in the country, by at least $7.8 billion annually. The report, Walmart on Tax Day: How Taxpayers Subsidize America's Biggest Employer and Richest Family, was released in conjunction with tax day, when millions of Americans and small businesses do their civic duty and pay their fair share to support the economy and services critical to many Americans. At the same time, the report shows, taxpayers help pad Walmart and the Walton family's profits.
The report makes it very clear that not only do Walmart and the Waltons not need these subsidies, but that the company could more than afford to raise salaries and improve benefits for their workers, more than half of whom made less than $25,000 last year.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.4 million employees. The company, which is number one on the Fortune 500 in 2013 and number two on the Global 500, had $16 billion in profits last year on revenues of $473 billion. The Walton family, who owns more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, reaps billions in annual dividends from the company. The six Walton heirs are the wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $148.8 billion. Collectively, these six Waltons have more wealth than 49 million American families combined.
The tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies that Walmart gets, more than $7.8 billion every year, are enough to hire 105,000 new public school teachers, notes Americans for Tax Fairness. An estimated $6.2 billion of that money comes from food stamps, health care and other taxpayer-funded programs that Walmart employees are eligible for because their salaries are so low. Another $1 billion is derived from tax breaks and loopholes Walmart uses to avoid paying its full tax burden. The Walton family avoided paying an estimated $607 million because much of their compensation is derived from dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate than salaries. Other tax avoidance methods Walmart engages in comes from economic development subsidies from state and local governments.
Furthermore, the report estimates that the Walton family avoids paying another $3 billion in taxes by dodging estate taxes. Taxpayer funds further benefit the company from customers who don't work for the corporation but spend food stamp money there, with an estimate of $13.5 billion in sales last year.
Read the full report.
Those who feel that Walmart and the Walton family owe America can sign a petition sponsored by the Americans for Tax Fairness, Making Change at Walmart and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).