‘Financial Exposure’ Showcases Tax Misconduct by Powerful Individuals and Corporations

By Peter Della-Rocca

The story of tireless congressional staff uncovering brazen misdeeds by powerful individuals and corporations in Elise J. Bean’s Financial Exposure has an anchoring quality in the context of rampant scandal that has come to characterize today’s politics. Bean’s account reiterates the point that tax avoidance and tax evasion were endemic to our financial system long before allegations against a sitting president brought them to the forefront of the public consciousness.

While the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) is an investigative body rather than a policymaking one, the inquiries into abusive tax shelterssecretive banking practices, and corporate tax avoidance that Bean describes illustrate some of the central policy problems plaguing the American tax system.


Revealing Big Pharma’s tax dodging: The story behind the numbers

By Robbie Silverman

Critics may argue the data we base our calculations on is incomplete, the methodology with which we calculate tax loss figures simplistic. And they are right.

Our tax loss estimates are rough because corporate secrecy limited our access to data. We analyzed information for only a small subset of the dozens of countries in which pharma corporations operate, and only a subset of their subsidiaries in those countries. The data we found is just the tip of the iceberg, especially for developing countries.


New Study Confirms Offshore Earnings are Flowing into Stock Buybacks, Not Jobs and Investments

By Richard Phillips

For years, corporations stockpiled profits offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes, with the sum growing to $2.6 trillion by 2017. Corporate apologists suggested that this cache was necessary because the corporate tax rate was too high, and they asserted that if the United States lowered its tax rate, corporations would repatriate those profits, pay taxes, invest in workers and we’d all win.

In 2016, then candidate Trump claimed there is as much as $5 trillion overseas and a tax break on those earnings would cause “all of this money to come back into our country” and “turn America into a magnet for new jobs.”

Based on previous experience with a repatriation holiday in 2004, critics argued that another repatriation tax break would be a major windfall to corporations that would enrich shareholders and accomplish little else.

In the end, corporations and their allies got their way.


Sven Giegold: Global tax cooperation remains crucial

Giegold is a member of a parliamentary delegation which has just concluded a fact finding trip to Washington on what the US is doing to combat financial crime.

The delegation from the economic and monetary affairs committee was in Washington and New York to meet representatives from the US Treasury, the Institute of International Bankers (IIB) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB).


ITEP Report: Understanding and Fixing the New International Corporate Tax System

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) radically changed the international tax system. It slashed taxes on corporate income, both domestic and foreign. It encouraged U.S. multinational corporations to shift jobs, profits, and tangible property abroad, and keep intangibles home. This report describes the new international tax system—and its many gaps—and also provides a road map for how to fix these gaps and surveys recent legislative approaches.


Just the FACTs: July 18, 2018

After 2 years of bipartisan negotiations, without warning or fanfare, the leadership of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee stripped beneficial ownership provisions out of a bipartisan anti-money laundering bill and planned a Committee vote.

A decision was made to drop beneficial ownership because it was thought to be controversial and a stripped down bill would “pass easily.” However, as FACT’s executive director describes in this op-ed in the American Banker, that was simply not the case.


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.


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.