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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, taxpayers in Arizona and across the nation are left footing the bill.
According to Tax Shell Game: How Much Did Offshore Tax Havens Cost You in 2010?, a new report from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, the use of offshore tax havens results in $290 in additional tax burden for the average taxpayer in Arizona.
“Reports of giant corporations which make billions in profits, paying little to nothing in income taxes in 2010, show us that the time for reform is now,” explained Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Individuals and households should not pay more in taxes than some of the largest multinational corporations.”
In the weeks and months leading up to Tax Day, Congress debated the national debt, rising deficits, and across the board cuts to a range of public priorities such as food safety inspectors, Pell grants and clean air and water programs. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund today called on Congress to address the deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, rather than cutting public priorities.
Due in part to complex tax avoidance schemes, nearly two-thirds of corporations doing business in the U.S. pay no income taxes at all, according to a 2008 report from the Government Accountability Office. Companies that received taxpayer-funded bailout money or receive lucrative government contracts and use tax havens include American Express, A.I.G, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and Pfizer.
“Main street businesses and ordinary taxpayers without access to an army of accountants to devise elaborate tax avoidance schemes are forced to pick up the tab every year. We’ve already paid to bail out the banks and other big corporations – is it fair to ask us to pay their taxes as well?” Unrein added.
To read Tax Shell Game, click here.
To learn more about the companies who lobby against reforms, read U.S. PIRG's report, Who Slows the Pace of Tax Reform.
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