Nike Has Paid No Federal Income Taxes for the Past Three Years

In November, the company notified state officials it was laying off 700 employees at its world headquarters in Beaverton.

The Seb Coe building contains a Stumptown Coffee Roasters location, just for Nike employees and visitors. (Sam Gehrke)

Nike hasn't paid a cent in federal income taxes for three years.

And the Beaverton sportswear giant—which regularly spars with cultural conservatives—can largely thank former President Donald Trump for its good fortune.

That’s the finding of a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which reports that Nike—a company that generated $4.1 billion of taxable revenue in the past three years—hugely benefited from a tax bill championed by President Trump.

The study named 55 major corporations that didn't pay taxes last year, including gas and oil companies, software companies and food companies. Nike and the shipping company FedEx are the two biggest names on the list, as The New York Times reported Friday morning.

The report was released as President Joe Biden discusses a corporate tax overhaul that would fund his infrastructure and green energy plan. Biden's plan would eliminate tax breaks that result in some companies paying an effective tax rate of zero.

Nike used several major deductions and write-offs that the 2017 tax bill allowed in its corporate framework, resulting in a tax rebate for the company of $109 million on pretax income of $2.8 billion.

One of those write-offs was a federal research and experimentation credit that allows companies to write off money funneled toward research initiatives and projects.

In November, the company notified state officials it was laying off 700 employees at its world headquarters in Beaverton.

Nike representatives did not respond to a request for comment from WW on the report.

Along with opening Nike's books, the report highlights a paradox: Oregon's flagship company gains social capital from championing progressive values and equity (and outraging the right wing), but it quietly benefits from the economic policies of Republicans.

Of course, Nike knows when the culture war has gone too far: It’s suing a New York art collective that helped design modified Nike Air Max 97s for the rapper Lil Nas X  that are adorned with “666” and injected with traces of human blood.

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