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Most Americans paid their taxes yesterday. We trust that most paid them honestly – that they did not, for example, hide millions of dollars in tax shelters or reincorporate themselves in an offshore tax haven.
Unfortunately, while most citizens are paying their fair share, corporations are not. As countless articles and analyses have detailed (see, for example Business Week’s recent special report, “The Corporate Tax Game” http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_13/b3826058.htm ), big corporations are using increasingly complicated schemes to avoid paying taxes, dedicating armies of lawyers and accountants to puncture every loophole in the tax code and hiring lobbyists to write new ones.
Perhaps the most egregious tax dodge is the growing number of U.S. corporations who have reincorporated in offshore tax havens, a paper transaction that can potentially save hundreds of millions worth of taxes. (See http://www.citizenworks.org/corp/tax/taxdodgerslist.php for a list). Large corporations have also exponentially increased their use of offshore tax haven subsidiaries in recent years, as Citizen Works has documented (see http://www.citizenworks.org/corp/tax/top25.php )
As a result of this and other forms of tax avoidance, last year corporations paid 10.5 percent of taxes collected by the IRS, compared to 16.4 percent in 1973, according to the New York Times. In 1940, corporations paid roughly half of all taxes. Though officially taxed at 35%, corporations actually pay only about 20% of their income in taxes.
What this means is that more and more of the tax burden is falling on the shoulders of individual taxpayers. And yet, less money is going to pay for the social services that likely benefit them most, such as education, healthcare, environmental protection, and other programs that always seem to be the first to fall. In Oregon, for example, budget cutbacks have forced the state to lay off teachers and shorten the school year. Such are the indirect consequences of corporate tax avoidance.
Meanwhile, many of same companies that are incorporated offshore
continue to receive multi-million dollar government contracts. Bermuda-based
Accenture, for example, has a five-year deal to redesign the IRS website.
We encourage you to do something to fight back.
1. GET EDUCATED: Citizen Works has prepared a briefing paper on corporate tax avoidance, “Sacrifice is for Suckers” available at: http://www.citizenworks.org/corp/tax/taxbreif.php
2. CALL OR WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: The best legislation that addresses this problem is the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act (HR 737 in the House/ S 384 in the Senate), which would close the loophole that allows U.S. companies to reincorporate in offshore tax havens and save tens of millions a year in taxes.
To contact your senators - http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm
To contact your representative - http://www.house.gov/writerep
Moveon.org is coordinating a letter-writing campaign on this issue. See http://www.moveon.org/news/1292.html for more information.
Working for Change also has a letter-writing campaign. See http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?ItemId=14796
Also check out the Bermuda project at http://www.thebermudaproject.com
3. EDUCATE OTHERS: Citizen Works’ has prepared a fact sheet on Corporate Tax Traitors. To download the fact sheet, visit: http://www.citizenworks.org/corp/tax/tax_dodger_fact_sheet.pdf
Keep up the good work,
Your friends at Citizen Works
For more information about Citizen Works, please visit http://www.citizenworks.org .
For any questions regarding this list, please email email@example.com.