Conservatives consistently make the claim that tax rates in the US are among the highest in the world. As evidence, they point to the top tax bracket, or “corporate tax rate”, into which high earning businesses fall.
As discussed here, only 3% of businesses fall into the top two tax brackets. This does include most large American corporations. But even among this group, there is a big difference between corporate tax rates and effective taxes paid.
A 2011 study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service showed that, while the statutory corporate tax rate in the US is higher than the average among other countries, the effective US corporate tax rate (the rate corporations actually pay) of 27.1% is below the average among the top 15 industrialized nations. The table below shows the statutory vs. actual tax rates of the U.S. compared to other countries.
The same study found that even dramatic cuts in the corporate tax rate would result in small increases in economic activity, but would result in massive decreases in tax revenue that would have to be offset by greater deficits or large reductions in spending.