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General Electric Pays Shocking Corporate Tax Rate of 3.6% While Wal-Mart Pays 33.6%

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What was your effective tax rate in 2010? It's highly unlikely it was 3.6 percent, says Christopher Bergin of "The truth is multinational corporations have ways to transfer profits (and jobs) oversees that the rest of us, including domestic corporations, don’t have," Bergin writes. "For example, they can use (and maybe abuse) the transfer pricing rules and shift a good deal of their tax responsibilities onto the rest of us."

It's not a matter of the rate itself, it's the huge discrepancies between corporations. While GE's (GE) effective corporate tax rate when averaged over the past three years is a paltry 3.6 percent, companies such as Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) paid an effective tax rate well into the 30-percent range. The table below, researched by Tax Analysts’ Marty Sullivan shows the wide range in effective tax rates.

Speaking of General Electric, President Obama on Friday appointed GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the new Council on Jobs and Competiveness. Here is a preview of tonight's State of the Union address.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.