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

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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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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Media Hit | Budget, Tax

Can't see much in the cloud

Good government is transparent government. Unless the people know what's going on with the numbers, “their” government isn't properly serving them.

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Media Hit | Tax

Gov. Jerry Brown faulted for taking down transparency website

Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to take down a "transparency" website helped earn California a D-minus grade on public reporting of spending from a group advocating for open government.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Food, Tax

Unlikely Allies Recommend $1 Trillion in Savings to Super Committee

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released today by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

New Safeguards For Public Library Privatization Pass Senate

Legislation that will help ensure proposals to privatize public libraries are a good deal for the public passed the state senate today.  

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Tax

Balanced Budget Can’t Include Building Sale

A budget that includes selling off public buildings to lease back to ourselves for more money than the sale generates isn’t a balanced budget.

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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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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax, Transportation

Road Privatization

Privatization of toll roads is a growing trend. During 2007, sixteen states had some privatized road project formally proposed or underway. In the last two years Indiana and Chicago signed multi-billiondollar private concession deals for public roads for 75 years and 99 years respectively. As a result of these deals, toll rates on these roads will increase steadily and revenues will be paid to private company shareholders rather than to the public budget.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Sunshine for California

Corporate tax avoidance leaves taxpaying households to pick up the tab for funding highways, schools, and other public structures. Much of the indirect costs of aggressive tax avoidance are also borne by investors who are unaware of these risky schemes. And everybody suffers when corporate profitability is determined by opportunities for tax evasion rather than efficiency or innovation.

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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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