Though on the books, the corporate tax rate in the United States is the third highest rate in the world, the reality is that many large corporations use offshore tax havens and other schemes to dodge paying their fair share – sometimes paying nothing at all.

It’s an abuse of the tax code that needs to stop, and that’s what Senator Bernie Sanders intends to do with a bill he is sponsoring called the “Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act.”

Sanders’ bill would hit corporations where they hurt, imposing large taxes and penalties on corporations’ offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. But though Sanders is intending to target these offshore accounts, he is only planning to tax them the corporate fair share – 35 percent.

On the law books, it is required that corporations pay a 35 percent corporate tax – a sizable sum. Unfortunately, the reality is that over the last several years, on average, corporations are paying closer to 14 percent – less than half of what the law requires. And when corporations don’t pay their fair share, it’s small businesses and middle-class families that are left picking up the tab.

The state of corporate welfare in this country is out of control, and as the Senator noted, studies have shown that more than 100 large corporations in America avoided paying any corporate taxes at all at least once in the last decade. Worse still is that some were able to pay “less than zero” because of federal rebates.

How is it that our nation and its citizens can give so much to major corporations, and the corporations give nothing back? Until businesses begin to pay their fair share, we cannot expect to have anywhere close to an even playing field in America – we’re not asking for corporations to give everything, just what the law has told them they owe.

Richard Eskow is host and managing editor of The Zero Hour, a weekly radio program produced by We Act Radio. He was the senior writer and editor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Richard has written for a number of print and online publications, was a founding contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a longtime activist. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future.