CTJ: U.S. Fortune 500 companies likely escaping $550bn in tax

   0   0 Blog, Country by Country, Taxing corporations

CTJFrom Citizens for Tax Justice:

“American Fortune 500 corporations are likely saving about $550 billion by holding nearly $2 trillion of “permanently reinvested” profits offshore. Twenty-eight of these corporations reveal that they have paid an income tax rate of 10 percent or less to the governments of the countries where these profits are officially held, indicating that most of these profits are likely in offshore tax havens.”

They add, of course, that

“It is almost always the case that profits reported by corporations to the IRS as earned in tax havens were actually earned in the United States or another country with a tax system similar to ours. . . .  The countries that have no corporate income tax or a very low corporate tax — countries like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas — provide very little in the way of real business opportunities for American corporations like U.S. Steel, Safeway, and Microsoft. But large Americans corporations use accounting gimmicks (most of which are, unfortunately, allowed under current law) to make profits appear to be earned in tax haven countries.”

We are heading, if we are not careful, for a world scourged by the banality of offshore. This is a scandal, yet despite a drumbeat of news about it, even the smallest reforms face enormous resistance. CTJ concludes:

“Lawmakers should resist calls for tax changes, such as repatriation holidays or a territorial tax system, that would reward U.S. companies for shifting their profits to tax havens. If the Securities and Exchange Commission required more complete disclosure about multinationals’ offshore profits, it would become obvious that Congress should end deferral, thereby eliminating the incentive for multinationals to shift their profits offshore once and for all.”


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