One of the solutions Jubilee USA is pushing to avoid falling off the "fiscal cliff" is to ask corporations to pay their fair share of taxes - instead of hiding hundreds of billions of dollars just offshore. If the money hidden in tax havens is taxed fairly we can strengthen international development, education and healthcare. When we challenge corporations dodging taxes here, we are sending a message around the globe to confront the kind of corporate behavior that steals resources from the world's poorest countries.
Corporate tax havens are an important part of the tool box of the 2%. Offshore tax dodging costs the U.S. government an estimated $150 billion in tax revenue annually. The first step to avoiding the “fiscal cliff” is closing offshore tax loopholes that allow many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals to avoid taxes by using accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. At least 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the U.S. make use of tax havens, including Wal-Mart, Coca Cola and Pfizer. When these corporations skip out on their taxes, U.S. citizens are left to pick up the tab. Reclaiming the $150 billion lost to offshore tax loopholes would more than cover the $109 billion in automatic spending cuts that will take effect in 2013 if Congress fails to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
Americans deserve a tax code without loopholes that allow the wealthiest to avoid their tax burden at the expense of ordinary taxpayers. The billions of dollars invested in offshore tax havens should be invested to confront global poverty, to build our schools and help create jobs. Not only would this closure of loopholes benefit the U.S., but it would also benefit the world’s poorest and most vulnerable by sending a message that this type of corporate behavior is unacceptable. More than half of all banking assets and a third of multinational company investments are routed through tax havens. It is estimated that for every $10 a country receives in development aid, $15 exits the country as a result of tax dodging.** Corporations are operating in developing countries and robbing resources by using offshore tax havens to hide their money instead of paying their taxes – curbing this behavior at home sends a message that it should not be tolerated around the world.
*Americans for Tax Fairness, "New Poll Shows Tax Fairness Was Important Consideration for 2/3 of Voters," November 16, 2012.
**Christian Aid, "Trace the Tax Campaign."
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