share of income paid in taxes by percentage points between and .

Tax burden for the Dow 30 drops

Most of the 30 companies listed on the country’s most famous stock index, the Dow Jones industrial average, have seen a dramatically smaller percentage of their profits go to U.S. coffers over the past 40 years. Read related story.

Search

See how taxes changed for each of the 30 companies tracked by the Dow Jones industrial average:

A Washington Post analysis of data compiled by Capital IQ found that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, companies in the current Dow 30 routinely cited U.S. federal tax expenses that were up to half of their worldwide profits. Now, most are reporting less than half that amount.

The reason? The slow but steady transformation of the American multinational after years of globalization. Companies now enjoy an unprecedented ability to move their capital around the world, and the corporate tax code has not kept up with the changes.

Across industries, virtually every major U.S. firm has seen the rate of its tax contributions plummet, at least according to publicly available financial statements.

Procter & Gamble, the consumer products giant, reported a U.S. federal tax expense that was 40 percent of its total profits in 1969; that figure was down to 14 percent in 2011.

The maker of Otis elevators and Black Hawk helicopters,
United Technologies, reported a tax expense in 1969 that was 47 percent of profits. In 2012, that figure was 5.8 percent.

Walt Disney cited a tax figure that was 40 percent of its profits in 1969; in 2012, it had dropped by nearly half to 21 percent.

Exceptions are energy firms, such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, and banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, which did not show a noticeable downward trend in their numbers.

How did we get these numbers?

Companies list a “current taxes” number in their public filings that is essentially an accountant’s estimate rather than the exact amount paid to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Post’s analysis divided the tax figure by a company's worldwide profits to get a sense for the relationship between a company’s taxes and its income.

NOTES: Two companies, Pfizer and Hewlett-Packard, showed negative ratios between federal taxes and profits for 2012. Pfizer's tax burden was negative due to tax credits. Hewlett-Packard had a positive tax bill but negative income. Verizon's pre-2000 numbers are from Bell Atlantic, which is what the firm was called until it acquired phone company GTE in 2000 and officially renamed itself Verizon. Although Travelers' rate from 2012 was lower than in 1995, there was no discernible downward trend over the entire time period, similar to other financial firms on the list.

SOURCES: Capital IQ, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Washington Post analysis.

Related stories