April 16, 2019

Report: Dominion, PFG, Gannett paid no federal income taxes in 2018

Michael O’Connor | [email protected]

Some of Virginia’s biggest companies did not pay any federal income tax this year, according to a new report from a nonpartisan think tank.

Dominion Energy, Performance Food Group and Gannett paid no federal income tax for 2018 U.S. income, a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy is a nonpartisan nonprofit tax policy organization based in Washington, D.C., according to its website. The organization examined financial filings from 560 of the nation’s largest publicly-traded companies, according to The Center for Public Integrity, which first reported the story with NBC News. At least 60 of those companies didn’t owe federal income taxes for 2018 income.

The report looks at the impact of corporate tax changes under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The report includes each company’s effective tax rate, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities defines as the share of income a taxpayer pays in taxes.

Richmond-based Dominion reported $3.021 billion in U.S. income and received a $45 million rebate, the report shows. The power and energy company’s effective tax rate was calculated to be -1%.

According to the report, Dominion used a legal tax break called accelerated depreciation. Accelerated depreciation allows companies to write off the cost of their capital investments faster than the investments wear out.

Dominion also claimed $21 million in alternative energy tax subsidies and another $59 million of investment tax credits, the report said.

Asked about the report, Dominion spokesman Rayhan Daudani said in an email that Dominion paid about $700 million in state and local taxes last year. He added that Dominion placed $9 billion of capital investment into service last year and is passing along its savings from federal tax reform to customers by cutting rates by $180 million .

“Tax incentives, such as the investment tax credit for solar, help us reduce our costs to customers while funding projects and programs that create jobs, support the local economy, and reduce carbon emissions,” Daudani said. “We have a strong compliance culture and are committed to following the letter and spirit of the tax laws and the public policy goals they support.”

Goochland County-based Performance Food Group had $192 million in U.S. income in 2018 and got a rebate of $9 million, according to the report. The food and beverage distributor had an effective tax rate of -4%.

The report said that Performance Food Group used stock options to reduce its income tax by $20 million.

McLean-based Gannett had $7 million in U.S. income in 2018 and received an $11 million rebate, according to the report. The report tallied the media company’s effective tax rate at -164%.

Performance Food Group and Gannett did not respond to requests for comment.