Off-Shore Tax Havens Cost Wisconsin Taxpayers Over $370 a Year

Media Contacts

Loopholes Allow Many Corporations to Pay Less Than Individuals and Households

WISPIRG Foundation

Madison, April 18 – Major corporations and some individuals avoid a total of as much as $100 billion a year in federal taxes by “off-shoring” the profits they make here in the U.S. or by setting up sham headquarters in tax haven countries. As a result, Wisconsin taxpayers are left footing the bill.

According to “Tax Shell Games: How Much Did Offshore Tax Havens Cost You in 2010?” a new Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) report, the use of offshore tax havens results in $434 in additional tax burden for taxpayers around the country.  Here in Wisconsin, it’s $372 per taxpayer.

“It is unacceptable that many individuals and households pay more in taxes than some of the largest multinational corporations.  Reports of giant corporations which make billions in profits, like G.E., paying little to nothing in income taxes in 2010 show us that the time for reform is now.” Explained WISPIRG program associate Kyle Bailey.

In the weeks and months leading up to Tax Day, Congress debated the national debt, rising deficits, and across the board cuts to a range of public priorities such as food safety inspectors, Pell grants and clean air and water programs. WISPIRG today called on Congress to address the deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, rather than cutting public priorities. “At a time when we should be focused on creating jobs at home, Republicans’ focus is offshore – in American companies sheltering profits and shipping jobs overseas.  WISPIRG’S report sheds light on the loopholes we must close if we are to compete and win in a global economy,” said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in response to WISPIRG’s report.

Nearly two-thirds of corporations doing business in the U.S. pay no income taxes at all. Companies that received taxpayer-funded bailout money or receive lucrative government contracts and use tax havens include American Express, A.I.G, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and Pfizer.

“Main street businesses and ordinary taxpayers without access to an army of accountants to devise elaborate tax avoidance schemes are forced to pick up the tab every year.  We’ve already paid to bail out the banks and other big corporations – is it fair to ask us to pay their taxes as well?” Bailey added.