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

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."

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Poll: Public Wants Federal Agencies to Disclose and Restrict Corporate Tax Write Offs for Out-of-Court Settlements

A new poll released today confirms what has long been apparent: The public overwhelmingly disapproves of corporations taking tax write offs for out-of-court settlements for wrongdoing, and has a strong preference for federal agencies to be both more transparent and more restrictive of tax deductions for future settlements. Substantial majorities across party lines would support reforms and greater transparency.

> Keep Reading
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
News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Taxpayer $1,396 a Year, Illinois Small Business $4,588

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. Illinois PIRG released a new study today entitled, “Picking up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens” which revealed that the average Illinois taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,396 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Tax

CFPB Gets Results for Consumers...And Taxpayers, Too | Ed Mierzwinski

The CFPB's latest enforcement action against Bank of America resulted in $727 million of consumer refunds for unfair credit card practices. But taxpayers also benefited, since CFPB told BofA it could not take a tax writeoff on the $25 million civil penalty fine it also was required to pay.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Poll: Public Wants Federal Agencies to Disclose and Restrict Corporate Tax Write Offs for Out-of-Court Settlements

A new poll released today confirms what has long been apparent: The public overwhelmingly disapproves of corporations taking tax write offs for out-of-court settlements for wrongdoing, and has a strong preference for federal agencies to be both more transparent and more restrictive of tax deductions for future settlements. Substantial majorities across party lines would support reforms and greater transparency.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Taxpayer $1,396 a Year, Illinois Small Business $4,588

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. Illinois PIRG released a new study today entitled, “Picking up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens” which revealed that the average Illinois taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,396 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget

New Report: Illinois Receives a “B+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Illinois received a B+ when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Victory for Taxpayers and Consumers as Justice Dept. Denies Toyota $1.2 Billion Write-Off in Criminal Probe Settlement

Today, the Justice Department acted in the best interests of taxpayers and consumers, by denying Toyota a hidden $420 million tax benefit on its settlement for misleading consumers about dangerous car malfunctions. One line of text in the settlement made the difference: “Toyota agrees that it will not file a claim, assert, or apply for a tax deduction or tax credit.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Illinois could save $108 million with simple, proven method to curb offshore tax dodging, new study finds

A simple reform, which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon, would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund & Frontier Group | Budget, Tax

The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens

When U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government, it is an abuse of our tax system. Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets, infrastructure, educated workforce, and security, but they pay next to nothing for these benefits. Ultimately, taxpayers must pick up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increased national debt.

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

BP’s recent $4.5 billion legal settlement with the Justice Department for its misdeeds in the Gulf oil spill was historic for being the largest ever criminal settlement. But it was historic for another reason as well—none of it is allowed to be tax deductible. Unfortunately, too many settlements for wrongdoing end up as tax deductions.

 

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG | Budget

What America Could Do With $150 Billion Lost to Tax Havens

Tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year. Illinois PIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic initiatives for which the $150 billion could have paid and also by demonstrating the impact of this amount on the fiscal cliff.

> Keep Reading

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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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...

> Keep Reading
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...

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed

PRIORITY ACTION

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

Support Us

Your donation supports Illinois PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.