Nick Shaxson ■ New study: U.S. Fortune 500 cos have $2.1 trillion offshore


From Citizens for Tax justice, via email:

“Today Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund released, “Offshore Shell Games,” a new study which found that nearly three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies maintained at least one tax haven subsidiary in 2014, with just 30 companies accounting for 62 percent of earnings stashed offshore.

All told, Fortune 500 companies collectively maintain 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries and hold $2.1 trillion offshore, avoiding up to $620 billion in U.S. taxes.

The new CTJ/PIRG study examines which companies operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions, the amount they have booked offshore, and the federal taxes they would owe if they paid the full federal corporate tax rate on their profits.

While most very large companies book some profits offshore, a smaller subset–particularly those in the high tech, pharmaceutical and financial industries–are most aggressive about using tax havens to avoid taxes. This rampant tax avoidance cost about $90 billion every year in lost federal tax revenue.

Read the full study and learn about the most egregious offenders here.”

There is a big fight going on in the U.S. with lobbyists seeking to get the U.S. government to agree another sweetheart deal: a tax amnesty that would likely allow U.S. corporations to “bring home” the money booked offshore — which on past experience would do little or nothing to promote investment or jobs, and everything to pump up executive stock options. They are also pushing for a ‘territorial’ tax system that would be disastrous for U.S. tax revenues and for countries around the world.

Americans for Tax Fairness explain:

“It’s time for big corporations to pay the $600 BILLION in taxes they owe America.

Imagine what we can do with $600 BILLION – create good-paying jobs, improve schools, make college affordable, rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, research new medical cures and more.

Tax-dodgers should not get a sweetheart tax deal.

  • Congress is considering whether to make tax-dodging corporations pay taxes on $2.1 TRILLION in offshore profits to fund highway construction. But some members of Congress want to give them a sweetheart tax deal to do it.

  • Rather than pay the normal corporate tax rate of 35%, they might pay just 14% – or LESS! That’s a lower tax rate than many middle-class families pay.

  • Apple would get a tax break of $52 BILLION. Microsoft would save $30 BILLION and Citigroup $12 BILLION. [Source: Citizens for Tax Justice].

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