New research highlights $84 billion tax giveaway to Big Oil

Biden plan to reverse overlooked provision of Trump’s 2017 tax bill could pay for renewable infrastructure

WASHINGTON — New research by Friends of the Earth reveals that as soon as Biden came into office, oil giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips began lobbying to protect a Trump-era tax provision worth $84 billion dollars. The overlooked piece of Trump’s 2017 tax bill is now under consideration for reversal in Biden’s recent budget proposal. 

“One of the biggest presents Trump ever sent to the oil industry was hidden on page 157 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth. “We can stop this insane corporate welfare and use it to pay for a renewable energy future.” 

The GOP’s 2017 tax bill established a minimum tax on the foreign profits of US companies. Called GILTI, for Global Intangible Low-Tax Income, the new system created a major new giveaway for Big Oil: it specifically exempted Foreign Oil and Gas Extraction Income from taxation. Under this loophole, oil and gas companies can bring home profits from international oil and gas drilling without paying any US taxes on them. 

Biden’s budget proposed closing this loophole as one source of revenue for the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. The move would cost a handful of major oil companies $84.7 billion in taxes over the next decade, according to an estimate for the US Department of Treasury. This is separate from an additional $35 billion in fossil fuel tax breaks also proposed for repeal, including century old tax breaks like the percentage depletion allowance and the deduction for intangible drilling costs.  

Friends of the Earth research found that in their Q1 lobbying disclosures, Chevron and Conoco reported lobbying in both the House and Senate to influence the survival of the GILTI exemption in particular.  

Communications contact: Kaela Bamberger, 202-222-0703, [email protected]

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