Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

PERVASIVE TAX AVOIDANCE—Across the country, some of the nation’s best-known companies — including GE, Google and Goldman Sachs — have avoided paying the taxes they owe, costing Arizonans $2.2 billion last year.

LOOPHOLES COST ARIZONANS $2.2 BILLION

No company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. And, yet, establishing shell companies in offshore havens for the purpose of tax avoidance is becoming more the rule than the exception for at least 83 of the nation's top 100 publicly traded companies. GE, Google, Goldman Sachs and dozens of others have created hundreds of phantom entities with nothing more than a clever tax attorney and P.O. box.

The official estimate of how much Americans lose in tax revenue is $150 billion per year. That's money that is shouldered by average taxpayers, either through additional taxes today or additional debt to be paid by the next generation.

It’s not illegal, but it’s not right.

The result? The average taxpayer paid $803 more this year to cover the $150 billion that G.E. and others that use offshore tax havens skipped out on. And small businesses and companies that don’t use these schemes have to struggle to compete with those that do.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Legislature and Congress are considering deep cuts for essential public programs — from education, to health care, to clean air and drinking water. They’re asking us to tighten our belts and make sacrifices, while giving the tax haven crew a free ride.

We are pushing for commonsense changes that simply say if corporations are based here and generate profits here, then they should, like all of us who earn income in here, pay the taxes they owe.

Issue updates

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2014

This report, Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. But many states, including Arizona, have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

New Report: Arizona Receives a ‘B’ in Annual Report on Government Spending Transparency

 

According to a new report, Arizona performs well when it comes to government spending transparency, but has room for improvement. Arizona received a ‘B’ in the fifth annual Arizona PIRG Education Fund spending transparency report, Following the Money 2014: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.

 

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Bipartisan Legislation would make Arizona’s Economic Development Subsidies More Transparent

The State of Arizona spent nearly $100M of taxpayer money on corporate tax credits intended to stimulate economic development in 2011, but the public received no information about the results of these programs or which companies received the tax credits. A new bill, House Bill 2586, would require disclosure of the recipients of these tax credits, and it has bi-partisan support from a number of lawmakers and Arizona PIRG.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Arizona PIRG Applauds Sen. McCain for Co-Sponsoring Bill Barring Tax Write-Offs for Corporate Wrongdoing

Arizona PIRG statement on Sen. McCain’s decision to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that would prevent corporations from reaping massive tax windfalls from the payments made to settle allegations of wrongdoing. This comes on the heels of the Department of Justice announcement that the majority of JPMorgan’s expected $13 billion mortgage abuse settlement could be tax deductible.

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Media Hit | Tax

The Center for Public Integrity: State pro-business organizations are publicly funded, but privately controlled

Serena Unrein, the public interest advocate at Arizona PIRG, said there’s been no evidence of malfeasance at the Arizona Commerce Authority, but that without full transparency, it’s impossible to know for sure.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Arizona PIRG Applauds Sen. McCain for Co-Sponsoring Bill Barring Tax Write-Offs for Corporate Wrongdoing

Arizona PIRG statement on Sen. McCain’s decision to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that would prevent corporations from reaping massive tax windfalls from the payments made to settle allegations of wrongdoing. This comes on the heels of the Department of Justice announcement that the majority of JPMorgan’s expected $13 billion mortgage abuse settlement could be tax deductible.

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Media Hit | Tax

The Center for Public Integrity: State pro-business organizations are publicly funded, but privately controlled

Serena Unrein, the public interest advocate at Arizona PIRG, said there’s been no evidence of malfeasance at the Arizona Commerce Authority, but that without full transparency, it’s impossible to know for sure.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to a new report from Arizona PIRG, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Senate Farm Bill Would Continue Giant Giveaways to Big Agribusiness

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for Arizona PIRG, on the Farm Bill being voted on by the U.S. Senate.

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Media Hit | Tax

Letter to the Editor: Congress needs to close tax loopholes

This week Arizona’s own Senator John McCain took Apple to task for its elaborate schemes to avoid taxes, including funneling $30 billion through a phantom Irish subsidiary with no employees.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

Corporations accused of wrongdoing commonly settle legal disputes with government regulators out of court. Doing so allows both the company and the government to avoid going to trial and the agency gets to appear as if it is teaching the company a lesson for its misdeeds. However, very often the corporations deduct the costs of the settlement on their taxes as an ordinary business expense, shifting a significant portion of the burden onto ordinary taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Report | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Picking up the Tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by transferring their earnings to tax haven countries with minimal or no taxes. These tax haven users benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Food, Tax

Apples to Twinkies

America is facing an obesity epidemic – one that’s hitting children especially hard. The rise in childhood obesity has many causes, but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily sweetened junk food.  And shockingly, American taxpayers are spending billions to subsidize junk food ingredients, making the problem worse.

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Report | Arizona PIRG | Budget, Tax

Toward Common Ground for the Supercommittee

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) have joined together to propose to the Supercommittee and to Congress as a whole a list of more than 50 recommendations to reform our future spending commitments. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers more than $1 trillion over the coming decade.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Tax Shell Game 2011

Tax havens are countries with minimal or no taxes, to which U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals transfer their earnings to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Users of tax havens benefit from access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security, but pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system. Abuse of tax havens inflicts a price on other American taxpayers, who must pay higher taxes—now or in the future—to cover the government’s revenue shortfall, or must deal with cuts in government services.

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Priority Action

The CUT Loopholes Act would put an end to the price and profit shifting that allows publicly traded companies to engage in pervasive tax avoidance.

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