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U.S. Companies Paid Very Little in Taxes

Many of the most profitable U.S. corporations paid little or no federal income tax from 2008 to 2012, according to a five-year study issued on Tuesday by a left-leaning tax activist group.

Citizens for Tax Justice looked at 288 profitable Fortune 500 companies and said that 26 of them - including Boeing Co , General Electric Co and Verizon Communications Inc - paid no federal income tax in the five-year period.

The group also said that 111 of the 288 companies paid no federal income tax in at least one of the five years measured.

Some of the companies singled out took exception to the findings. GE spokesman Seth Martin said: "For each year cited by Citizens for Tax Justice, GE paid income taxes in the U.S., as well as billions in other state, local and federal taxes in the U.S."

A key player in Washington's tax debate, Citizens for Tax Justice regularly issues studies making similar findings about corporate taxes. U.S. lawmakers often cite them in criticizing the tax code as too complex and riddled with loopholes.

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said the aerospace manufacturer's tax bills are largely deferred until it starts generating revenue from airplane sales. "We play by the rules. We pay our taxes," he said, adding Boeing's total effective tax rate for 2013 was 26.4 percent.

Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni said the telecommunications group complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes. He said Verizon paid more than $2.9 billion in income taxes from 2008 to 2012.