US corporations dodge $150bn in annual taxes: Anti-poverty group

An anti-poverty network says large US corporations avoid USD 150 billion per year through tax loopholes, urging the federal government to find savings by closing offshore tax havens.

“If corporations paid the USD 150 billion in taxes that they avoid per year through offshore tax loopholes, it would more than cover the USD 109 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to begin on January 1, 2013,” the Jubilee USA Network said in a Thursday release.

The network also said that at least 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the US make use of tax havens.

“These loopholes allow many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals to avoid taxes by using accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes,” it said.

According to the network, large corporations route half of all banking assets and a third of multinational company investments through the existing tax havens.

“It is estimated that for every USD 10 a country receives in development aid, USD 15 exits the country as a result of tax dodging,” it said. “Corporations are operating in developing countries and robbing resources by using offshore tax havens to hide their money instead of paying their taxes – curbing this behavior at home sends a message that it should not be tolerated around the world.”

Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde warned on December 7 that the looming “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and budget cuts in the US will endanger American and global economic recovery.

However, President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders from the rival Republican Party remain at odds over ways to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

While Obama has insisted on a tax increase for wealthy Americans, Republican lawmakers, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, have objected, urging bigger government spending cuts instead.

The last meeting between Obama and Boehner, held on December 13, ended without any sign of a breakthrough.

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