US corporations hide trillions in tax havens

Poor countries are losing an estimated $100 billion a year in lost revenue from corporate tax dodgers.

Wal-Mart, Apple, Walt Disney, Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola are just a few of the US corporate giants who have more than a trillion dollars hidden in offshore tax havens, according to a report released on April 14 by Oxfam.

The report, titled Broken at the Top, reveals the 50 biggest US companies' dodgy tax practices, which includes owning more than 1600 subsidiaries in tax havens which have helped them stash US$1.3 trillion between 2008 and 2014.

According to Oxfam, “This is more than the entire GDP of countries such as Spain, Mexico or Australia.”

The report also shows that together these companies earned nearly $4 trillion in profits. They received an extra $11 trillion in financial support from the US government in the form of tax breaks, loans, and bailouts during the same period. The companies collectively received $27 in government support for every $1 they paid in federal taxes.

This tax avoidance is indicative of a larger problem. Corporations are not only dodging tax responsibilities at home, but also in places where they operate abroad, including underdeveloped countries, leaving “devastating consequences,” says the report.

Oxfam's senior tax advisor Robbie Silverman said: “The same tricks and tools used by multinational companies to dodge tax in the US are being used to cheat countries across the world out of their fair share of tax revenues, with devastating consequences.”

According to the report, poor countries are losing an estimated $100 billion a year in lost revenue from corporate tax dodgers. This is enough money “to provide safe water and sanitation to more than 2.2 billion people,” said Silverman. It also prevents crucial investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other forms of poverty reduction.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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