Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

Across the country, some of the nation’s most prosperous people and companies — including GE, Google and Goldman Sachs — have avoided paying the taxes they owe, costing taxpayers $150 billion just last year.

TAX HAVENS COST US $150 BILLION A YEAR

No company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. And, yet, with atleast 83 of the nation's top 100 publicly traded companies establishing shell companies in offshore havens to avoid taxes, this is becoming more the rule than the exception. 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. 

Most recent academic studies estimate that about $150 billion in tax revenue is lost every year to offshore tax havensThe result? Cuts to public services, additional taxes today or additional debt to be paid by the next generation. 

It’s not illegal, but it’s not right.

Meanwhile . . . the average taxpayer paid $1,026 more to cover the billions that GE and others skipped out on last year, companies that don’t use these schemes keep struggling to compete with those that do, and state legislatures and Congress are considering deep cuts for essential public programs — from education, to health care, to clean air and drinking water.

We're being asked to tighten our belts and make sacrifices while giving the tax haven crew a free ride. Illinois PIRG is pushing for commonsense changes that simply say that if corporations are based here and generate profits here, then they should, like all of us who earn income here, pay the taxes they owe.

Issue updates

Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Picking Up the Tab 2015

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their federal and state income tax liabilities by billions of dollars. While tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – they continue to avoid paying for these benefits.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Illinois Receives "A-" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Illinois received an “A-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the sixth annual report of its kind by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Illinois' grade improved since last year, jumping from a B+ to this year's A-.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2015

Every year, state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible. 

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Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Kill the Illiana Expressway boondoggle

The well-documented decline in driving in Illinois and across the country does mean less state and federal gas-tax revenue, but does not necessitate any less support for maintaining our current transportation infrastructure, as referenced in the Tribune editorial on Sept. 8.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

New Bill: No Federal Contracts for Companies that Renounce American Corporate Citizenship to Dodge Taxes

Statement of Illinois PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Dan Smith on the introduction of the No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin and Carl Levin in the Senate, and Reps. DeLauro and Doggett in the House.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

New Bill: No Federal Contracts for Companies that Renounce American Corporate Citizenship to Dodge Taxes

Statement of Illinois PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Dan Smith on the introduction of the No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin and Carl Levin in the Senate, and Reps. DeLauro and Doggett in the House.

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Media Hit | Tax

Guest Column: Walgreens: Europe’s neighborhood drugstore?

Recent reports indicate that Walgreens, our neighborhood drugstore that’s been proudly based in Illinois for 113 years, may be changing its address to Europe to avoid paying its fair share of taxes.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Study: 70% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2013

Tax loopholes encouraged more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including Abbot Labs and Caterpillar – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2013, according to the report “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by Illinois PIRG Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 62 percent of the total, or $1.2 trillion.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Taxpayers Win, as Justice Department Blocks Credit Suisse Tax Write Off

On Tuesday, the Justice Department acted in the best interests of taxpayers by blocking Credit Suisse from writing off their $2.6 billion settlement for aiding tax evasion. The unpublicized stipulation will likely save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by preventing the bank from treating the payment as an ordinary business cost on its taxes.

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Media Hit | Tax

Close corporate tax loopholes

"Many U.S.-based multinationals, which do their business here in the U.S. using our infrastructure and educated workforce, can make profitsearned here appear on the books in offshore tax havens. This tax haven abuse costs us $90 billion each year."

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Report | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab 2014

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits.

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2014

This report, Illinois 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. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information.

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Report | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Closing The Billion Dollar Loophole

New report tells how some states have found a simple reform to reclaim significant revenue lost to offshore tax havens. Includes estimates of how much each state loses in state revenue to offshore tax haven abuse and how much each state would gain by closing the "water's edge" loophole.

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Report | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Picking Up The Tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms and individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes. They 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 | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2013

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, grants, and other forms of spending. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent.

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Pages

Blog Post | Tax

$50 million parking ticket | Celeste Meiffren

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has sent another bill to the city, totaling $22 million. To date, the parking meter company has sought reimbursement of almost $50 million for lost revenue due to street closures and disabled parking, saddling Chicago taxpayers with even more debt.

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Blog Post | Food, Tax

Farm bill could sow seeds for obesity | Celeste Meiffren

When Congress turns to reauthorizing the federal Farm Bill this summer, you might think that only farmers should care. But in reality, the decisions they make impact all of us, because there’s a real risk Congress will maintain a broken status quo that lavishes taxpayer dollars on the junk food ingredients that are helping to fuel the obesity epidemic.

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Blog Post | Tax

Can we trust the Infrastructure Trust? | Celeste Meiffren

The City Council is set to vote on the creation of the Infrastructure Trust at the City Council meeting on April 18, 2012. But right now, the ordinance that creates the Trust lacks basic public protections.

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Blog Post | Budget

Budget Address: Close Corporate Tax Loopholes | Celeste Meiffren

In his budget address today, Governor Pat Quinn called for closing corporate tax loopholes, saying ‘For too long, we’ve had a revenue code that looks like Swiss cheese, with plenty of loopholes for the powerful." With tough budget decisions facing the State, closing tax loopholes that serve no public purpose, is the right thing to do...

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Blog Post | Tax

"PIRG Releases report on TIF in Chicago" | Celeste Meiffren

Our friends at Good Jobs First, the national leader in research on the impact of economic subsidies, blogged about our new report on tax increment financing (TIF) in Chicago...

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