The GM Logo

Despite massive profits, GM pays zero federal income tax

GM avoided paying any federal tax in 2011, despite earning $7.6 billion in profits.

In news that will anger most people opposed to government bailouts of corporations, it was reported on Friday that General Motors paid no federal income tax for 2011. GM has earned more than $13 billion in profits since 2009, when it received a massive $49.5 billion bailout. In fact, GM recorded an impressive $7.6 billion in profits last year, up nearly $3 billion from the previous year.

"We did not pay federal income tax last year," said GM spokesman Jim Cain. The Detroit News, who broke the news on Friday, also quoted Cain as claiming GM would not have to pay federal taxes “for many more years.”

GM’s indefinite tax holiday is the result of the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. GM reported $18 billion in losses when it originally filed for bankruptcy, a figure that it can now use to cancel out post-2009 profits. Detroit News indicates that GM was granted permission by the U.S. Treasury Department to offset its profits with previous debt. In effect, the Detroit-based automaker would have to post a $1 billion profit for 18 straight quarters before having to pay the federal government a single cent in taxes. Despite not having to pay any federal tax, GM argues that pays a worldwide tax rate of 13 percent, as well as a “significant” amount in state tax.


Share on Facebook submit to reddit Share on Google+

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.


One of the only organizations I have less pity for than GM is the IRS.
I'm early retired, mostly on a fixed income with $5k medical deductible, and I had to pay $2300 this year. Something wrong with that scenario. Where's my 18 quarters of tax exclusions?