Senate Budget Debate Shows Bipartisan Support for Closing Offshore Tax Loopholes

Statement of U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Dan Smith on the passage of the Senate Budget


“A bipartisan group of senators agree that closing offshore tax loopholes, which allow large profitable companies to dodge billions in taxes, needs to be part of the budget. We applaud Sens. Levin (D-MI), McCain (R-AZ), and Whitehouse (D-RI) for proposing an amendment to the budget resolution that gives budget writers the authority to ‘end offshore tax abuses used by large corporations.’ Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Sanders (D-VT) each offered similar amendments.

“These amendments demonstrate strong bipartisan support for closing loopholes that let companies avoid taxes by shifting their profits to tax havens. While these stronger measures were on the table, the Senate ultimately passed a weaker amendment by voice vote that gives budget writers the option of clamping down on offshore tax haven abuse as part of broader tax reform. 

“Now it’s time for Congress to follow through with tough measures that crack down on the rampant offshore tax dodging that costs us an estimated $150 billion a year in lost revenue. Large profitable companies with high priced lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to use accounting gimmicks to book profits to shell companies in tax havens, where they pay no taxes. That $150 billion burden is borne by everyday taxpayers and small business owners who must pick up the tab in the form of cuts to public programs, higher taxes or more debt. 

“Congress should start by passing Sen. Levin’s CUT Loopholes Act, which would close the most egregious offshore tax loopholes. Money that’s been stashed in P.O. box shell companies in the Cayman Islands could have been used to fund public priorities or cut the deficit.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.