U.S. Corporate Tax Avoidance - Oxfam Report

GlobalPost

April 14, 2016 · 3:00 PM EDT

As Americans rush to finalize tax returns, multinational corporations that benefit from trillions in taxpayer-funded support are dodging billions in taxes,” Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America, said in a statement. “The vast sums large companies stash in tax havens should be fighting poverty and rebuilding America’s infrastructure, not hidden offshore in Panama, the Bahamas, or the Cayman Islands.”

The report scrutinized publicly available tax and revenue data for the 50 largest US companies. Together, Oxfam found, those companies are holding $1.4 trillion in offshore tax havens, funneled through about 1,600 disclosed subsidiaries.

The companies with the most money held overseas are: Apple ($181 billion), General Electric ($119 billion), and Microsoft ($108 billion). Pfizer, IBM, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Exxon Mobil, Alphabet (Google) and Procter & Gamble round out the rest of the top 10.

The $1.4 trillion is just the beginning of the story, though.

Oxfam estimates that corporate tax avoidance costs the US about $100 billion in tax revenue every year. Each American taxpayer would have to pay an additional $760 per year to cover that cost. These companies aren’t just shielding tax revenue from the government — they’re taking money from the government (and taxpayers) in the form of federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts. Between 2008 and 2014, for every $27 of these funds received, the companies paid $1 in federal taxes.

None of this is illegal under current tax laws. But it could be, if US lawmakers decide that current regulations disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans and corporations at the expense of everyone else.

Oxfam’s report comes a day after the US Government Accountability Office released its findings that between 2006 and 2012, at least two-thirds of active US corporations paid zero federal income tax. Among “large corporations” (defined as companies with at least $10 million in assets), only 19.5 percent paid federal income taxes in 2012.

“There is something profoundly wrong in America when one out of five profitable corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes,” US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said of the GAO report. “Large corporations cannot continue to get more tax breaks when children in America go hungry. We need real tax reform to ensure that the most profitable corporations in America pay their fair share in taxes."

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By: doormat (853.64)

Tags: Corporate tax, Oxfam, loopholes, offshore, money, stashed, Sanders, Trump

Location: United States