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Making Change at Walmart has analyzed the past 16 years of corporate dividend tax cuts through two Walton family entities— Walton Enterprises LP/LLC and the Walton Family Holdings Trust – to determine the total and daily amount of tax savings the Walton family receives just from those two corporate entities.

Findings:

The analysis has found that through two entities, the Walton Enterprises LP/LLC and the Walton Family Holdings Trust, the Walton family has received an estimated total of $6,510,847,623, or $1,114,871 a day, in corporate dividend tax breaks for the past 16 years, since the Bush administration’s “Jobs Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,” just based on their Walmart share holdings.

Methodology:

In order to estimate the total value in dollars of the reduction in dividend taxes incurred by the Walton family (majority owners of Walmart, Inc.) we used the following approach:

1. Value of total dividend income: First we estimated the total value of dividend income received by the Walton family during the 16-year period from 2003 through 2018[1].

To do this, we first calculated the total number of Walmart shares held by the Walton family in each of the years from 2003 to 2018. For simplicity we arrived at this amount by adding the total shares held by Walton Enterprises, LLC, with the shares of the Walton Family Holdings Trust, as reported in the SEC filings for each year. We did not include the additional unduplicated Walmart share holdings of the Walton family (such as Jim C. Walton; Alice Walton; S. Robson Walton; Greg Penner; and Steuart Walton) as those amounts are relatively small by comparison and harder to consistently identify from year to year. Therefore, our estimate of the number of Walmart shares held by the Walton family is a relatively conservative one.

2. Tax rate: Next, we sought to calculate the appropriate tax rate to apply to the Walton family in two distinct scenarios, one in which the dividend tax rates had remained at 39.6% (the rate immediately prior to the Bush cuts) throughout the 16 year period, and another in which the Bush dividend tax cuts were implemented exactly as they were in 2003 and in which dividends were taxed at the rate of 15% during the period 2003 through 2012, and the rate of 23.8% for the period 2013 through 2018 (these were the top Qualified Dividend tax rates during these periods).

Top Dividend Tax Rates:


3. Total tax cut value: Lastly, we applied the tax rate in both scenarios for each year to the estimated dividend income in that year and then subtracted the taxes under scenario 2 from the taxes under scenario 1 in order to estimate a total value of the tax cut in each year, which we then summed to calculate the estimated total value of the Bush dividend tax cut to the Walton family: $6,510,847,623.

Data:

For the full data set analyzed, download this: Walmart Inc NYSE WMT Financials Income Statement Dividends paid Sept 12

                                                                                                                             

 

             

 

 

 


[1] Note that we did not attempt to estimate the value of reduced taxes on other income received by the Walton family, including other dividend income from non-Walmart shares that Walton family members likely own.