Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

PERVASIVE TAX AVOIDANCE — Across the country, some of the nation’s best-known companies—including GE, Google and Goldman Sachs—have avoided paying the taxes they owe, costing taxpayers $150 billion last year.

LOOPHOLES COST $150 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 a P.O. box.

The official estimate of how much Americans lose in tax revenue is $150 billion per year. 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 Colorado taxpayer paid $1,183 more this year to cover the $150 billion that GE and others that use offshore tax havens skipped out on. And small businesses and companies that don’t use these schemes have to struggle to compete with those that do. 

Meanwhile, the Colorado Legislature and Congress are considering deep cuts for essential public programs — from education, to health care, to clean air and food safety. They’re asking us to tighten our belts and make sacrifices, while giving the tax haven crew a free ride. We are pushing for commonsense changes that require corporations that are based here and generate profits here to pay the taxes they owe.

Issue updates

News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Government Agencies Allow Corporations to Write Off Billions in Federal Settlement Payments

A new study by Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) Foundation analyzes which federal agencies allow companies to write off out-of-court settlements as tax deductions and which agencies are transparent about these deals. The study found that five of the largest government agencies that sign settlement agreements with corporations rarely specify the tax status of the resulting payments. Billions of dollars are allowed to be written off as cost of doing business tax deductions. Additionally, the report found that major government agencies do not consistently disclose the details of corporate settlement agreements.

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Settling for a Lack of Accountability?

When large companies harm the public through fraud, financial scams, chemical spills, dangerous products or other misdeeds, they almost never just pay a fine or penalty, as ordinary people would. Instead, these companies negotiate out-of-court settlements that resolve the charges in return for stipulated payments or promised remedies. These agreements, made on behalf of the American people, are not subject to any transparency standards and companies often write them off as tax deductions claimed as necessary and ordinary costs of doing business.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice | Tax

Study: 72% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2014

 

Denver, October 6 – Tax loopholes encouraged more than 72 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including Western Union, Level Three Communications, and Arrow Electronics here in Colorado – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2014, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 65 percent of the total, or $1.35 trillion.

 

 

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice | Tax

OFFSHORE SHELL GAMES 2015

U.S.-based multinational corporations are allowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individuals when it comes to the tax code. Rather than paying their full share, many multinational corporations use accounting tricks to pretend for tax purposes that a substantial portion of their profits are generated in offshore tax havens, countries with minimal or no taxes where a company’s presence may be as little as a mailbox. Multinational corporations’ use of tax havens allows them to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Key Committee Approves Bill to Close Offshore Tax Haven Loophole

The Colorado House Finance Committee approved a bill that would close a tax loophole that allows large multinational corporations to avoid paying their share in taxes. The bill, HB15-1346, sponsored by State Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote, would close the so-called “water’s edge loophole” that some companies use to dodge their Colorado tax bill leaving average Colorado families and small businesses to pick up the tab.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Government Agencies Allow Corporations to Write Off Billions in Federal Settlement Payments

A new study by Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) Foundation analyzes which federal agencies allow companies to write off out-of-court settlements as tax deductions and which agencies are transparent about these deals. The study found that five of the largest government agencies that sign settlement agreements with corporations rarely specify the tax status of the resulting payments. Billions of dollars are allowed to be written off as cost of doing business tax deductions. Additionally, the report found that major government agencies do not consistently disclose the details of corporate settlement agreements.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice | Tax

Study: 72% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2014

 

Denver, October 6 – Tax loopholes encouraged more than 72 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including Western Union, Level Three Communications, and Arrow Electronics here in Colorado – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2014, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 65 percent of the total, or $1.35 trillion.

 

 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Key Committee Approves Bill to Close Offshore Tax Haven Loophole

The Colorado House Finance Committee approved a bill that would close a tax loophole that allows large multinational corporations to avoid paying their share in taxes. The bill, HB15-1346, sponsored by State Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote, would close the so-called “water’s edge loophole” that some companies use to dodge their Colorado tax bill leaving average Colorado families and small businesses to pick up the tab.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Colorado Small Businesses Foot $3,165 Bill from Offshore Tax Dodging

As Tax Day approaches, the CoPIRG Foundation released a new study highlighting that small businesses end up picking up the tab for offshore tax loopholes used by many large multinational corporations. The study revealed that the average Colorado small business owner would have to pay an extra $3,165 in taxes to make up for the money lost in 2014 due to offshore tax haven abuse by large multinational corporations. State Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote and other advocates joined CoPIRG to highlight a new bill that aims to close a loophole in Colorado that costs the state millions.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Colorado Taxpayer $1,361

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. CoPIRG  released a new study which revealed that the average Colorado taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,361 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

> Keep Reading

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Settling for a Lack of Accountability?

When large companies harm the public through fraud, financial scams, chemical spills, dangerous products or other misdeeds, they almost never just pay a fine or penalty, as ordinary people would. Instead, these companies negotiate out-of-court settlements that resolve the charges in return for stipulated payments or promised remedies. These agreements, made on behalf of the American people, are not subject to any transparency standards and companies often write them off as tax deductions claimed as necessary and ordinary costs of doing business.

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice | Tax

OFFSHORE SHELL GAMES 2015

U.S.-based multinational corporations are allowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individuals when it comes to the tax code. Rather than paying their full share, many multinational corporations use accounting tricks to pretend for tax purposes that a substantial portion of their profits are generated in offshore tax havens, countries with minimal or no taxes where a company’s presence may be as little as a mailbox. Multinational corporations’ use of tax havens allows them to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year.

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab 2014

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. This report looks at the cost of this abuse to taxpayers and small businesses.

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2014

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are well spent.

> Keep Reading
Report | CoPIRG | Tax

FACTSHEET: Closing the $15 million loophole

Colorado taxpayers could recover $15 million a year from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging.

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