To be honest, can we even trust Exxon and their accounting methods/practices? I don't. But I am not defending them, just trying to get to the real facts that are available. And even though we can obtain a lot of information, to truly understand them takes a lot of research and time. So when I read something or hear it on TV or radio, I don't trust anyone's opinion. Well, not entirely correct... I trust my wife's.
Exxon's 2011 global EBT (earnings before taxes) was $52 BIL. That 25% of your US only guess. When looking at a business, sales dollars mean little, we need to really look at their earning before interest and taxes. We look at all the stuff in between sales and EBIT to analyze how well they are managing their operation.
They really are a global company, so they look at the total tax liability. The majority of their sales are not in the US, neither are their refineries (36 refineries in 21 countries) or most everything they do. Our problem is that we see them as a US only company, which they are not.
I am not going to go look for the US/Global breakdown, because I really don't like them and don't want to waste any more time on them. From what I remember reading, US income runs around 20% - 40% depending upon the channel.
They are going to maneuver things around to minimize their global tax liability, and they will stay within the law... meaning they will move income to other countries if it is in their best interest. It is business, not patriotism. And their are some countries that have even higher tax rates than us, so those countries will get even less.
Do they help manipulate the tax laws whenever possible? Probably. Is the US government favorable to them... still a lot of fallout over the Exxon Valdez disaster, and politicians don't want their name tied to them. They are still paying for that; last year Exxon spent $140 million in interest alone on the punitive damages award.
But look at the bright side... 40%-45% is a pretty healthy income tax bracket. So if we don't get all the money, some other country will. Brother Love... other people will benefit. We shouldn't be so greedy, lets be our brother's keeper and let the other countries keep the umpteen billions of dollars they pay in taxes. That is what everyone wants, right?