Tag Archives: tax havens

US Surpasses Cayman Islands to Become Second Largest Tax Haven on Earth

“This is not a ranking in which the U.S. wants to be number one or even number two. We have one of the strongest economies and one of the most secret. It’s a perfect recipe for attracting the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-30-2018

The U.S. holds 22 percent of global offshore services, up from 14 percent in 2015. (Image: Offshore Shell Games)

Proving its role in the global race to the bottom on tax avoidance and  contributing to a multitude of abuses around the world, the United States is now second-largest tax haven on the planet, according to an updated international index.

The Tax Justice Network found that the U.S. has surpassed the Cayman Islands as the number-two place where corporations can easily stash their money to avoid tax liabilities. Switzerland retained its top place on the list. Continue reading

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Stiffing US Taxpayers on ‘Grand Scale,’ Fortune 500 Holding $2.6 Trillion Offshore

“As Congress considers proposals to institute a near zero percent tax rate on profits booked offshore by multinational corporations, the findings in this report should give policymakers pause.”

Written by Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-17-2017.

“Congress created the loopholes in our tax code that allow offshore tax avoidance and force ordinary Americans to make up the difference,” the new study observes. (Photo: Michael Fleshman/Flickr/cc)

As President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress intensify their push for massive corporate tax cuts that critics have said would encourage businesses to offshore profits and jobs, a new report published Tuesday by U.S. PIRG and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that 73 percent of companies on the Fortune 500 list are already taking advantage of overseas tax havens—costing the United States $752 billion in federal tax revenue last year alone.

The new study discovered that, in total, America’s most profitable corporations in 2016 had $2.6 trillion stashed overseas in over 9,000 subsidiaries in various locations, including notorious tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Clark Gascoigne, deputy director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, cautioned in a statement on Tuesday that the Trump-GOP tax proposals would, if passed, make this bad situation even worse.

“As Congress considers proposals to institute a near zero percent tax rate on profits booked offshore by multinational corporations, the findings in this report should give policymakers pause,” Gascoigne said. “The study shows that today’s flawed tax system allows for gaming on a grand scale.”

The PIRG-ITEP analysis makes clear that corporate tax avoidance is both an unnecessary problem—”Congress created the loopholes in our tax code that allow offshore tax avoidance and force ordinary Americans to make up the difference”—and a pervasive one.

At least 366 of the 500 companies on Fortune’s list “operate one or more subsidiaries in tax haven countries.” Furthermore, “30 companies with the most money officially booked offshore for tax purposes collectively operate 2,213 tax haven subsidiaries.”

But the report also highlights the fact that there are several “particularly egregious examples”:

  • Apple, which “holds at least $246 billion offshore, a sum greater than any other company’s offshore cash pile,” would owe $76.7 billion in U.S. taxes if this profit was not overseas;
  • Citigroup, which stashes $47 billion overseas, would owe $13.1 billion in U.S taxes; and
  • Nike, which holds $12.2 billion offshore, would owe $4.1 billion in U.S. taxes.

Richard Phillips, a senior policy analyst at ITEP, argued that in the face of these numbers, Congress should be looking to close loopholes that allow businesses to offshore profits on an enormous scale, not open them even further, as Trump and the GOP have proposed.

“Lawmakers shouldn’t be discussing how to sweeten the pot and give corporations a huge tax break that amounts to a huge financial reward for engaging in bad corporate behavior,” Phillips said.

The PIRG-ITEP analysis outlined several steps that could be undertaken by lawmakers in the place of their attempts to slash taxes, gut the safety net, and further incentivize offshoring.

“To end tax haven abuse, Congress should end incentives for companies to shift profits offshore, close the most egregious offshore loopholes, strengthen tax enforcement, and increase transparency,” the study concluded.

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US Congress to Corporations: Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

The ‘good things’ in the budget bill and tax cut package ‘come at far too high a price.’

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-15.

"Congressional Republicans have instead straitjacketed spending and sabotaged government functions," writes Isaiah Poole. (Photo: IIP Photo Archive/flickr/cc)

“Congressional Republicans have instead straitjacketed spending and sabotaged government functions,” writes Isaiah Poole. (Photo: IIP Photo Archive/flickr/cc)

Along with a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep government funded through September, the U.S. Congress is on the verge of passing a Republican-backed, $629 billion package of tax cuts that one group calls “a lobbyist-wrapped Christmas present for our nation’s biggest corporations.”

The package of bills unveiled Wednesday is facing criticism for its lifting of the long-standing oil export ban, as well as its inclusion of a controversial cybersecurity measure that watchdogs say will quietly expand mass surveillance. The budget bill also repeals a law requiring Country Of Origin Labels (COOL) on meats—a move Food & Water Watch decries as “a holiday gift to the meatpacking industry from Congress.”

To be sure, the package also includes tax incentives for wind and solar energy and permanent extensions for the enhanced child tax credit and earned income tax credit, which will help working families. Continue reading

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