Groups Blast Corporate Tax Breaks for Boosting C-Suite Pay Packages

August 25, 2008 ( - A new report by Washington, D.C. research groups said chief executives of companies in the S&P 500 averaged $10.5 million in compensation in 2007.

A news release about the report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and United for a Fair Economy (UFE) said similarly investment fund managers’ compensation averaged $588 million.

In the report, the groups also charged that large corporations have taken more than $20 billion in tax breaks and what the group alleged were “accounting loopholes” to help fund companies’ executive compensation packages.

Those tax breaks include, according to the report:

  • Preferential capital gains treatment of carried interest ($2.6 billion)
  • Unlimited deferred pay ($80.6 million)
  • Offshore deferred compensation ($2.1 billion)
  • Unlimited deductibility of executive compensation ($5.2 billion)
  • Stock option accounting double standard ($10 billion)

"But this figure, we believe, understates the true extent of the current taxpayer subsidy for executive excess," the group asserted. "We have included in our executive pay subsidy calculations only those loopholes that speak directly to executive pay."

The groups contended that the difference between CEO and worker pay appears likely to grow even wider, since industries projected to show the largest employment growth over the next decade sport pay have much greater differences between executive and worker pay than industries that are losing the most jobs.

The full report is available here .