Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

PERVASIVE TAX AVOIDANCE— Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings presents the MASSPIRG Education Fund's Picking up the Tab 2015 report with Representative Josh Cutler (Duxbury) and Senator Mark Montigny (New Bedford), chief sponsors of a bill that would help close these corporate tax loopholes that cost Bay Staters $2.9 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 official estimate of how much Americans lose in tax revenue last year is $110 billion. That's money that is shouldered by average taxpayers, either through 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 Massachusetts small business would need to pay $4,031 to make up for the $110 billion that G.E. and others using offshore tax havens skipped out on - making it difficult for them, and larger companies that don’t use these schemes, to compete with those that do.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Legislature 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.

A better solution? Require companies to treat profits made in Massachusetts and funneled to known tax havens like the Cayman Islands as domestic taxable income. MASSPIRG is working hard to pass a state bill, An Act closing a corporate tax haven loophole, sponsored by Representative Josh Culter (Duxbury) and Senator Mark Montgny (New Bedford) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 54 legislators, that would do just that -- saving Massachusetts taxpayers $79 million a year.

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