Tax

Do the B Team’s Tax Principles Raise or Lower the Bar? A Debate with TJN

By Adam Kanzer

On February 1, the B Team published “A New Bar for Responsible Tax: The B Team Responsible Tax Principles,” with the endorsement of nine corporations (Allianz, BHP, Maersk, Natura, Repsol, Safaricom, Shell, Unilever and Vodafone). I was privileged to serve as a member of the Company Working Group that oversaw the development of the Principles over the course of 2017, representing an investor perspective.

After several years of engagement with a variety of corporations on these issues on behalf of Domini Impact Investments, I am optimistic that the B Team’s work establishes a promising platform for meaningful dialogue with corporations about their tax practices. The Principles are not perfect, but I believe they represent an important step forward.

I was therefore very disappointed to see TJN’s critique of the Principles, The B-Team: Lowering the bar for tax transparency? I reached out to Alex Cobham, Chief Executive of Tax Justice Network, and both of us felt that our exchange would be worth sharing, as other organizations evaluate the B Team principles for themselves.

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New Legislation Would Close Significant Offshore Loopholes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

By Richard Phillips

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was a historic opportunity to reform the international tax code and finally put an end to the rampant shell games played by U.S. companies to avoid taxes. Unfortunately, the TCJA will likely increase offshore tax avoidance and increase the incentives for companies to move jobs and operations offshore. As a new ITEP report explains, TCJA creates many new breaks and loopholes for offshore corporate profits, and while several different bills have been introduced to close them, no one bill addresses all of them.

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Facebook Facing Shareholder Scrutiny for its Offshore Tax Avoidance

By Richard Phillips

In recent months, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hauled before lawmakers in the United States and the European Union to respond to criticism of the company’s privacy policies and sharing of user data. Now the company’s dodgy tax practices are facing increased scrutiny from an even more important source: some of its own shareholders. In advance of its annual shareholders meeting on May 31, Facebook was confronted with a shareholder resolution (Proposal 8 on pg. 59) asking it to endorse a set of principles to guide its tax policy and to ensure that such principles consider the impact of its tax strategies on local economies and public services. The resolution is a signal from a group of concerned shareholders that Facebook’s tax avoidance hurts its reputation, the communities in which it operates, and creates financial risks to the company’s shareholders.

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More than 50 Organizations Urge Congress to End the Tax Preference for Shifting Jobs and Profits Offshore

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, more than 50 national organizations sent a letter urging members of Congress to co-sponsor the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, which would overhaul the new international tax system put in place by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure that multinational corporations are no longer allowed to pay a lower tax rate on their offshore profits than they pay on their domestic profits.

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There Is No Evidence That the New Tax Law Is Growing Our Economy or Creating Jobs

By Steve Wamhoff

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Proponents of the law used the occasion to tout its alleged economic benefits and argued that its temporary provisions should be made permanent. The title of the hearing was “Growing Our Economy and Creating Jobs,” but there is little evidence that the law does either of these things.

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New UK Law May Shut Down the Biggest Tax Havens — Aside from the U.S.

By Steve Wamhoff

The United Kingdom’s parliament has enacted a new law requiring its overseas territories — which include notorious tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands — to start disclosing by 2020 the owners of corporations they register.

This could shut down a huge amount of offshore tax evasion and other financial crimes because individuals from anywhere in the world, including the United States. have long been able to set up secret corporations in these tax havens to stash their money.

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Just the FACTs: April 19, 2018

In January, we were optimistic that this would be the year anonymous companies would end.  Since then, the momentum for disclosure has only grown. Legal scholars and international affairs experts have recently called for action, a recent poll showed overwhelming support from small businesses, and a report from Fair Share reminded us that anonymous companies are continuing to fuel the opioid epidemic.  Between these and a recent investigation by Reuters that found Russians are using a web of anonymous companies to skirt U.S. sanctions and boost the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and the Hezbollah militia, the arguments for secrecy are becoming more and more invalid.

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A Taxing Headache from Congress

By Gary Kalman

Just in time for tax day, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is out with a new analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It is one of the many reminders that, as we file this year, we are already thinking about next year, thanks to the recent rewrite of the nation’s tax laws.

The CBO weighed in with estimates that are worth a serious review. They looked at, among other provisions, the international corporate tax changes and attempted to answer these questions: Will the new rules stop corporations from using accounting gimmicks to shift profits offshore? Will the law stop the gaming?

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