FACT Sheet: Offshore Tax Haven Abuse by the Numbers

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FACT Sheet

Offshore Tax Haven Abuse by the Numbers

Up to $180 billion: The amount that the U.S. loses in tax revenue to offshore tax haven abuse each year.

  • $111 billion: Lost U.S. revenue from profit shifting by multinational corporations annually.i
  • $40-70 billion: Lost U.S. revenue to tax evasion by wealthy individuals annually.ii

$2.5 trillion: The amount of untaxed profits held offshore by the largest 500 U.S. companies.iii

$718 billion: The U.S. taxes owed by these companies on the $2.4 trillion stashed offshore.iv

$7.6 trillion: The lower-end estimate for the hidden wealth stashed in offshore tax havens—equivalent to 8% of the global financial assets of households.v

$1.1 trillion: Amount of illicit financial outflows (enabled by tax haven secrecy) from developing and emerging economies in just 2013.vi

$7.8 trillion: The amount of illicit outflows from developing and emerging economies over the decade from 2004–2013.vii

367: Number of Fortune 500 companies that use offshore tax havens—including the big banks taxpayers bailed out in 2008.viii

2,342: Offshore subsidiaries in tax havens for Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan-Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley combined.ix

18,857: Registered businesses at one address in the Cayman Islands.x

285,000: Companies housed at 1209 N. Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware.xi

85%: Fortune 500 companies reported having at least one subsidiary in Delaware in 2014. In total, these companies reported more than 19,000 Delaware subsidiaries.xii

4.7%: Next highest percentage of subsidiaries incorporated in any other state.xiii

30%: Corporate share of the U.S.’s tax receipts in the mid-1950s.xiv

6.6%: Corporate share of the nation’s tax receipts in 2009.xv

$675 billion – Amount of money Sub-Saharan Africa lost to trade mispricing and other illicit financial flows from 2004–2013.xvi

6.1% – Percent of GDP that Sub-Saharan Africa loses in illicit outflows each year—higher than any other region in the world.xvii

  1. Clausing, Kimberly A., The Effect of Profit Shifting on the Corporate Tax Base in the United States and Beyond (November 7, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2685442).
  2. Guttentag, Joseph, and Reuven Avi-Yonah, “Closing the International Tax Gap,” in Max B. Sawicky, ed., Bridging the Tax Gap: Addressing the Crisis in Federal Tax Administration (2006), (Available at http://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1069&context=book_chapters).
  3. Phillips, Richard, Matt Gardner, Kayla Kitson, Alexandria Robins, and Michelle Surka. “Offshore Shell Games 2016: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies.” Washington, DC: Citizens for Tax Justice, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund, October 2016 (accessible at http://ctj.org/pdf/offshoreshellgames2016.pdf).
  4. Ibid.
  5. Zucman, Gabriel. “The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens”. Chicago, IL: University Of Chicago Press, September 22, 2015 (accessible at  http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo20159822.html).
  6. Kar, Dev, and Joseph Spanjers. “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013.” Washington, DC: Global Financial Integrity. December 8, 2015 (accessible at http://www.gfintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IFF-Update_2015-Final-1.pdf).
  7. Id.
  8. Phillips, Gardner, Kitson, Robins, and Surka.
  9. Id.
  10. Government Accountability Office. “International Taxation: Large U.S. Corporations and Federal Contractors with Subsidiaries In Jurisdictions Listed as Tax Havens or Financial Secrecy Jurisdictions.” Washington, DC: December 2008 (accessible at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d08778high.pdf).
  11. Phillips, Richard. “Delaware: An Onshore Tax Haven.” Washington, DC: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, December 2015 (accessible at http://itep.org/itep_reports/2015/12/delaware-an-onshore-tax-haven.php).
  12. Id.
  13. Id.
  14. Kocieniewski, David. “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” New York Times. 24 March 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=3
  15. Id.
  16. Kar and Spanjers.
  17. Id.

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