Like most individuals, large companies like Tyson Foods pay income taxes; however, I suspect most people don’t know how much or how they’re calculated.

Because the accounting and tax rules are different, the tax expense reported to Wall Street doesn’t equal the actual taxes we pay. For example, for 2018 we reported a negative tax rate and negative tax expense. However, Tyson Foods actually paid more than $520 million in income taxes to the U.S. government on our 2018 earnings.

While the new tax law lowered the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%, Tyson Foods still paid a significant amount even though it was less than the $700 million we paid on our 2017 earnings.

We recognized there was an opportunity to share those savings. As a result, in February 2018, we PROVIDED A BONUS to more than 100,000 front-line and hourly employees for a total of $109 million.

We pay federal income taxes because it’s our duty as an American company. We believe in the tax system and pay at the rate required by the U.S. government. The taxes Tyson Foods pays and you pay as an individual help cover the cost of national infrastructure, defense, social security and plenty of other government programs that we all benefit from.

The $520 million figure mentioned above doesn’t include all of the other taxes we pay to the federal, state and local governments. Including all other taxes, the total amount that we paid in 2018 was over $1 billion.

No one likes to pay taxes, but it’s important for all to realize the importance of the tax system and for more people to understand that most large American businesses like ours pay a significant amount, even if it’s not publicized.

Published April 30, 2019.

Senior Vice President of Tax at