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 | 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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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Following the money 2012

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

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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 | Budget, Tax

Off-Shore Tax Havens Cost California Taxpayers $440 a Year

Major corporations and some individuals avoid a total of as much as $100 billion a year in federal taxes by “off-shoring” the profits they make here in the U.S. or by setting up sham headquarters in tax haven countries. As a result, California taxpayers are left footing the bill.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

California Earns “D+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

California gets a “D+” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the second annual report of its kind by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (CALPIRG). 

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

Advocates Call on Congress to Cut Wasteful Subsidies, Not Public Priorities

Instead of dealing with wasteful subsidies and tax loopholes for special interests, the House passed a spending resolution that makes deep cuts to important public priorities.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

Governor Brown Must Resist Short-Term Budget Temptations

Selling off state property to ease California’s budget pain will be a tempting option for Governor Brown, but would likely worsen long-term budget problems. 

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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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