A study released on Thursday blasted AT&T Inc., among other big-name companies, for paying their CEOs more money in 2011 than they paid in federal taxes.
The liberal-leaning Institute for Policy Studies found that AT&T, Boeing and Citigroup, and 23 other businesses, paid their CEOs an average of $20.4 million last year while paying little or no federal tax on hefty profits, The Associated Press reported.
The think tank said AT&T used accelerated depreciation on investments a method that lets a company take deductions for purchases in one year rather than over several years to save more than $5 billion on its 2011 tax bill. Meantime, the telecom provider paid CEO Randall Stephenson $18.7 million.
An AT&T spokeswoman told the AP the deductions encouraged AT&T to make $20 billion in investments last year. She also pointed out that the deductions won’t be available to AT&T for future years.
Other tax techniques companies such as Boeing and Citigroup used included unlimited deductions for CEO "performance-based" pay (think stock options), getting cash back or receiving credits against future tax, the Institute for Policy Studies found.
"Our nation’s tax code has become a powerful enabler of bloated CEO pay," the study said.