We retired Tax Justice Blog in April 2017. For new content on issues related to tax justice, go to www.justtaxesblog.org
The release of the corporate tax avoidance study by CTJ and ITEP last week marked a turning point in the debate over the budget deficit and tax reform. Until now, members of Congress and the Obama administration could ignore the 67-73 percent of Americans who think that large corporations pay too little in taxes.
Among other things, our report, Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010 showed that thirty large, profitable companies paid nothing in federal taxes over the last three years, and that seventy-eight had tax rates below zero in at least one of the last three years. We showed that the financial industry is making off with the biggest share of all tax subsidies, that defense contractors pay some of the lowest rates and that these major American companies end up paying about half the official tax rate because of all the loopholes in the tax code.
Indifferent to public opinion and the facts, however, too many lawmakers are caving into corporate lobbyists’ demands to actually cut corporate taxes. President Barack Obama and members of Congress in both parties are considering “revenue-neutral” reform of the corporate income tax. This would close corporate tax loopholes, but it would put the revenue back in corporations’ pockets by reducing the statutory tax rate.
CTJ has responded with a campaign to educate lawmakers about how they can raise revenue from corporations and reject so-called “reforms” that make it easier for corporations to shift investments offshore and avoid taxes. In May, we led 250 organizations in demanding “revenue-positive” corporate tax reform. Large labor unions, including AFL-CIO affiliates and the SEIU, joined public interest organizations in opposing a “territorial” tax system, a “repatriation” amnesty as well as any corporate tax reform that fails to raise significant revenue.
The CTJ-ITEP corporate tax study makes it increasingly difficult for politicians to say with a straight face that fiscal responsibility requires cuts in health care, education, nutrition, environmental protection and other public investments while they do nothing to raise more revenue from profitable corporations.
The following are the stories of some of the most shocking tax dodgers we identify in our report.