Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

PERVASIVE TAX AVOIDANCE — Across the country, some of the nation’s most prosperous companies — including GE, Google and Goldman Sachs — have avoided paying the taxes they owe, costing taxpayers $150 billion last year.

LOOPHOLES COST CALIFORNIANS $21.6 BILLION LAST YEAR

No company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. And, yet, establishing shell companies in offshore havens for the purpose of tax avoidance is becoming more the rule than the exception for at least 83 of the nation's top 100 publicly traded companies. GE, Google, Goldman Sachs and dozens of others have created hundreds of phantom entities with nothing more than a clever tax attorney and P.O. box.

The most recent academic studies estimate that as a country we lose $150 billion a year in tax revenue due to offshore tax havens. That's money that is shouldered by average taxpayers, either through cuts to public services, additional taxes today or additional debt to be paid by the next generation.

It’s not illegal, but it’s not right.

The result? The average taxpayer paid $1,026 more this year to cover the billions that GE and others that use offshore tax havens skipped out on. And small businesses and companies that don’t use these schemes have to struggle to compete with those that do. 

Meanwhile, state legislatures and Congress are considering deep cuts for essential public programs — from education, to health care, to clean air and drinking water. They’re asking us to tighten our belts and make sacrifices, while giving the tax haven crew a free ride. We are pushing for common-sense changes that simply say that if corporations are based here and generate profits here, then they should, like all of us who earn income here, pay the taxes they owe.

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

Last week’s other big bank settlement also shifts burden to taxpayers

Goldman Sachs will be able to take a $420 million tax write off on the bank's FHFA settlement for its mortgage misdeeds. A similar settlement paid in 2010 to the SEC specifically prohibited such tax deductions.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

Bank of America settlement loophole creates at least $4 billion burden for taxpayers

 The Justice Department allows Bank of America to write off most of its legal settlement for mortgage abuses as a tax deduction, shifting at least $4 billion back onto taxpayers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Study: 70% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2013

SACRAMENTO – Tax loopholes encouraged more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies – HP, Google, and Apple here in California – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2013, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by CALPIRG Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 62 percent of the total, or $1.2 trillion.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens

New report finds that corporate abuse of offshore tax havens is costing Californians billions of dollars, and individual taxpayers and smal business owners are the ones who end up footing th ebill

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

California Could Save $246 Million With Simple, Proven Method to Curb Offshore Tax Dodging, New Study Finds

Sacramento, January 30th – California taxpayers could save $246 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging, according to a new report released today by CALPIRG. The reform, which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon, would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

Last week’s other big bank settlement also shifts burden to taxpayers

Goldman Sachs will be able to take a $420 million tax write off on the bank's FHFA settlement for its mortgage misdeeds. A similar settlement paid in 2010 to the SEC specifically prohibited such tax deductions.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

Bank of America settlement loophole creates at least $4 billion burden for taxpayers

 The Justice Department allows Bank of America to write off most of its legal settlement for mortgage abuses as a tax deduction, shifting at least $4 billion back onto taxpayers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Study: 70% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2013

SACRAMENTO – Tax loopholes encouraged more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies – HP, Google, and Apple here in California – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2013, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by CALPIRG Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 62 percent of the total, or $1.2 trillion.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

California Could Save $246 Million With Simple, Proven Method to Curb Offshore Tax Dodging, New Study Finds

Sacramento, January 30th – California taxpayers could save $246 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging, according to a new report released today by CALPIRG. The reform, which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon, would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Tax

New Study: 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 Companies Hold $1.2 Trillion Offshore, Untaxed by U.S.

“These companies benefit from America’s infrastructure, educated workforce, security, and access to the largest consumer market in the world. They should not be able to use loopholes to get out of paying for it,” added Austin Price, Field Director with CALPIRG.

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Report | CALPIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens

New report finds that corporate abuse of offshore tax havens is costing Californians billions of dollars, and individual taxpayers and smal business owners are the ones who end up footing th ebill

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Tax

Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole

Every year, corporations use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars. But they use tax havens to escape supporting these public structures and benefits.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Tax

Offshore Shell Games

This study reveals that tax haven use is ubiquitous among the largest 100 publicly traded companies as measured by revenue. 

82 of the top 100 publicly traded U.S. companies operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions, as of 2012. 

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens

When U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government, it is an abuse of our tax system. Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets, infrastructure, educated workforce, and security, but they pay next to nothing for these benefits. Ultimately, taxpayers must pick up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increased national debt. 

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food, Tax

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients.

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Blog Post | Tax

Tax Credits For Oil Spills

From guest blogger Chris Jones: My brother, Gordon Jones, was one of the eleven hard-working men killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon deepwater oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. Unlike BP, I believe my brother was more than a number or tax credit.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Tax

FTC Supports Do Not Track, Meekly

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released today a new report calling on Internet companies to put in place a "Do Not Track" system that would give consumers more control over their personal data online by the end of the year . The FTC also called on Congress to pass privacy legislation that would allow consumers to see how their online data is collected, used and sold, and give consumers the ability to stop such practices. 
 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Tax

CFPB launches new consumer Q&A resource page | Jon Fox

The CFPB launches a new interactive online tool that helps consumers find answers to their basic financial questions.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Tax

Paying Taxes, Safe and Sound | Jon Fox

With less than a month left to “Tax Day”, that special time of year when taxes are due, CALPIRG releases a new Questions & Answer guide to paying taxes.

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PRIORITY ACTION

Some of the nation’s best-known companies — including GE, Google and Goldman Sachs — have avoided paying the taxes they owe, costing us $100 billion last year.

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