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 | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food, Tax

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Tax subsidies for commodity crops are paying for junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average California Taxpayers $423 a Year, Each California Small Business $2,010

With tax day approaching, a new study released by CALPIRG found that the average California taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra $423 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens. The report additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in California would have to foot a bill of over $2,010 on average.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Picking up the tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by transferring their earnings to tax haven countries with minimal or no taxes. These tax haven users benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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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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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

California Receives a “D minus” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

California received a “D minus” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the third annual report of its kind by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (CALPIRG Education Fund). 

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News Release | CALPIRG | Tax

Amendment Passes to Crack Down on Offshore Tax Cheats

This amendment would give law enforcement officials important tools to stop foreign financial institutions in places like the Cayman Islands from aiding U.S. tax cheats, raising $900 million for public priorities like transportatio and deficit reduction.

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News Release | U.S.PIRG | Tax

WILL BP’S MISDEEDS BE FURTHER SUBSIDIZED BY TAXPAYERS?

U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Senior Analyst on Tax and Budget Policy explains the hidden tax subsidy likely to be in a B.P. settlement unless it’s prohibited.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Thirty Companies Spent More on Lobbying Than on Federal Income Taxes

With the second anniversary approaching of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case – which opened the floodgates to corporate spending on elections – CALPIRG Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice reveal 30 corporations that spent more to lobby Congress than they did in taxes.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Tax

Report Shows Corporations Paying Few State Taxes

A comprehensive new study profiles the 265 consistently profitable Fortune 500 corporations and finds that 68 companies paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the last three years and 20 of these corporations averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-2010 period.

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Report | CALPIRG | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayer Union and U.S. PIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction of over $1 Trillion.

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Report | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

Tax Shell Game

The United States loses approximately $100 billion in tax revenues every year due to corporations and individuals sending their money to offshore tax havens.

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Report | CALPIRG | Budget, Democracy, Tax

Following the Money 2011:

This report is U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s second annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The past year has seen continued progress, with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to spending information and engagement with government. 

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Report | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

Following the Money

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Spending transparency checks corruption, bolsters public confidence in government, and promotes fiscal responsibility.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax, Transportation

The Right Track

America’s highways and airports are increasingly congested. Our nation’s transportation system remains dependent on oil. And our existing transportation infrastructure is inadequate to the demands of the 21st century.

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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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