FPL Group (FPL), owner of Florida Power & Light, understands the value of alternative energy. By setting up everything from 1,500 acres of solar electric systems in California to wind farms across the U.S., the Juno Beach (Fla.) utility has avoided the need to build 12 new power plants. And those investments create another green benefit: tax breaks. Over the past four years, FPL has paid just $88 million in taxes on earnings of nearly $7 billion. FPL spokeswoman Jackie Anderson says the company is merely taking advantage of incentives to develop renewable resources.
No one likes to pay taxes. FPL paid more than $500,000 to Washington lobbyists last year to keep its tax breaks coming. That strategy seems to work, and corporate tax receipts have been on a steady decline—a trend that could change in the coming months. President Barack Obama's current budget contemplates ending the deferral of income tax on foreign corporate earnings, as well as other tax breaks. At the moment, most companies pay less than the official tax rate of 35%. A study published last summer by the General Accounting Office found that from 1998 to 2005, 55% of large U.S. companies had at least one year of paying no taxes at all.Read More