​How taxpayers subsidized Walmart execs' pay

June 4, 2014 | | CBS Moneywatch |

While many of Walmart's workers rely on food stamps and other government aid to make ends meet, its top eight executives are living better, thanks in part to $298 million in tax-deductible "performance pay" during the past six years.

That's according to a new report from the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which found that Walmart lowered its federal tax bills by $104 millionbecause of the "performance pay" loophole. Of course, Walmart isn't alone in benefiting from that loophole, which was created in 1993 as a way to allow corporations to take tax deductions for "performance-based pay."

The findings come just days before Walmart's annual shareholder meeting, scheduled for Friday, which will be the scene of protests about low wages.

Given that Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. and has come under fire for its wages, which force many employees onto public assistance, its executive pay practices have come into question. Aside from the taxpayer-subsidized performance pay, taxpayers are estimated to spend $7.8 billion a year subsidizing the retailerand the Walton family, according to an April report from Americans for Tax Fairness.