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.

LOOPHOLES COST Bay Staters $2.9 BILLION

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.

Issue updates

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Getting Our Money's Worth?

The people of Massachusetts deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent, including on tax subsidies for businesses. Full transparency allows citizens to hold lawmakers, government contractors, and recipients of public subsidies accountable. It also promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence in government.

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Blog Post | Budget, Tax

New Legislation to Close Off Shore Tax Haven Loopholes - Will Save Taxpayers $200 Million | Deirdre Cummings

New bill filed in Washington to close off shore tax haven loopholes. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a $1.6 Billion Hole in Massachusetts Budget

With Massachusetts in the midst of a budget crisis, MASSPIRG, joined by business leaders and elected officials, released a new study revealing that Massachusetts lost $1.6 billion due to offshore tax dodging in 2012. Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations, including Wells Fargo, Citigroup, McDonalds, Target, Costco, Exxon Mobil, Intel, and Coca-Cola, and Sears  use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

The Hidden Costs of Offshore Tax Havens

When U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government, it is an abuse of our tax system. Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets, infrastructure, educated workforce, and security, but they pay next to nothing for these benefits. Ultimately, taxpayers must pick up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increased national debt. Massachusetts alone lost $1.66 billion in 2012.

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Media Hit | Budget, Tax

Bill aims to woo Broadway-bound shows

Deirdre Cummings, the legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, does not want any new tax credits until there is a proper study done to determine the value of existing credits.

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Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Food, Tax

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to MASSPIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. “This is ridiculous,”  said MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, Deirdre Cummings. “First, we are giving taxpayer subsidies to mature, profitable industries while struggling with how to reduce the nation’s record level of debt.  That is bad enough, but in addition, the billions of taxpayer supported subsides are then used to subside junk food—even as our childhood obesity rates are going through the roof. With the Farm Bill about to be reauthorized, it’s time to end this waste.”

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Recipients of Corporate Tax Breaks Revealed

MASSPIRG praised today’s release by the Department of Revenue detailed information about  who receives some $170 million in certain corporate tax breaks. 

“This is great news,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG, “any investment of public dollars in private enterprises must be held to the highest level of transparency and accountability. The legislature and the Administration should be commended for their leadership in making government spending more transparent and accountable.”

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Media Hit | Tax

Bay State lags in business subsidy successes

Watchdogs say the Bay State’s tax credit program lacks oversight. State subsidies have come under scrutiny in the wake of last year’s failure of Evergreen Solar. Rhode Island taxpayers are on the hook for 38 Studios, which defaulted on a $1.125 million loan payment earlier this month after the firm was lured away from Massachusetts last year by $75 million in loans. Deirdre Cummings of MassPIRG said Massachusetts doesn’t consistently track whether subsidized companies create jobs they promised to when they received multimillion-dollar tax credits. “These are taxpayer dollars. We have to be able to show it was a worthwhile investment, and there is absolutely no way to know,” she said.

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Media Hit | Tax

Liberty Mutual critics decry executive’s pay package

The revelation that Liberty Mutual paid chairman Edmund F. “Ted’’ Kelly about $200 million during the past four years has angered some customers and watchdog groups. MASSPIRG's Deirdre Cummings provides her insight.

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Media Hit | Budget, Tax

Taunton Daily Gazette - The real cost of off- shore tax havens

Many Americans would be shocked to hear about an invisible tax burden put on them this year by some of the largest, most profitable corporations that use offshore tax havens to avoid paying their full tax bill. This tax dodging costs taxpayers an estimated $100 billion every single year.

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Report | Budget, Tax

Transparency.GOV 2.0

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

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Report | Budget, Tax

MASSPIRG's 5 Point Plan for Fair Tax and Budget Policy

Public money should be spent for the most effective pursuit of clear public benefits or to encourage beneficial behaviors undervalued by the market. Taxes should be fair, reliable, transparent, and guided by policy goals rather than political deals. Budgeting should similarly be open, accountable, and follow long-term planning.

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2006 Congressional Score Card

The 2006 Scorecard looks at the most important public interest votes taken between February 9, 2005 and February 1, 2006 in the U.S. Congress. These votes determined the direction of federal policy on critical issues ranging from environmental preservation to health care to consumer protections.

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News Release | US PIRG

Below is a statement from U.S. PIRG Program Advocate Michelle Surka on the proposed House tax bill's impacts on our debt:

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, introduced this morning in the House, is an exercise in fiscal recklessness, exploding the budget deficit while failing to close the biggest tax loopholes and relying on gimmicks to obscure the impact on the national debt. Rather than make prudent trade-offs to achieve the President's promised tax cuts, this bill twists itself into knots attempting to distract from the bottom line: it will add trillions to our deficit."

News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

Small business in Massachusetts would have to shoulder an extra $5,845 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the abuse of offshore tax havens by multinational corporations, according to a new report by MASSPIRG Education Fund. 

Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

As a new administration takes office and the possibility of tax reform again enters the national conversation, the report highlights how it’s small domestic businesses and ordinary Americans that have to shoulder the burden of multinational tax avoidance.

News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

List of Fortune 500 companies using off shore tax havens to dodge taxes. 

Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

New report shows which Fortune 500 companies stashed over $2 trillion in profits to avoid paying more than 200 billion in taxes.

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