B. The SBT Tax Burden Ratios

The data in Table Three show the SBT burden as a fraction of the Adjusted Tax Base for each industry category. This varies considerably, from 0.0140 (1.4%) for Agriculture to 0.0335 (3.35%) for Finance, Real Estate, and Insurance.

The average of all businesses (size-weighted average of the categories) was 0.0180 (1.8%). [34]

The relatively high tax burden ratio of the Financial industry occurred partially because large numbers of Financial companies were losing money during the sample period. When a substantial portion of firms have negative tax bases, the aggregate tax burden ration for the industry can exceed the statutory rate of 2.35%. [35]

As the previous discussion of the aggregation and limited-sample-period problems of the data revealed, the results for this period cannot be generalized across the entire economic cycle, nor for all business types within each category.

Relative Tax Burdens
The SBT burden as a percentage of the Adjusted Tax Base varied considerably across industries during the sample period, ranging from 1.4% for Agriculture to 3.35% for Finance, Real Estate, and Insurance. The average tax burden ratio for all firms was 1.8%.

The results from this study are similar to those found in the 1981 DMB study:

The effective rates of the SBT as a percent of value-added, range from less than 1.4% for transportation, general merchandise and food retailers, to more than 2.2% for finance, insurance and real estate, crude petroleum and natural gas, food and kindred products, chemical and allied products, petroleum refining, electrical machinery, utilities and hotel and lodging.

The average effective tax rate for all sectors is 1.93 percent. [36]

This result, based on correct methodology and 1977-78 data, is in line with the results in this study based on 1980-81 data.

The data in this study reveal a much larger variation in tax burdens, and an overall higher tax burden ratio, than had been claimed in the 19$5 Treasury study. Table Five compares the tax burden ratios calculated by the Treasury, and those calculated in this study. As discussed in the previous sections on Methodology, the difference lies in the treatment of capital expenditures. The Treasury analysis ignores capital investments, thereby inflating the tax base and biasing downward their ratios. This analysis properly deducts capital expenditures to arrive at the tax base, as required by the design of the SBT.

When data for an entire economic cycle are available, the tax burden ratios should be calculated for each industry after properly accounting for capital expenditures. Only then will a conclusive answer be found to the question of relative tax burdens.

Comparison with Treasury Results
The tax burden ratios are higher and more varied than those reported in the Treasury study. To conclusively determine relative tax burdens, data from one complete economic cycle must be analyzed, using the proper methodology.