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

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.

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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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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Regulators Disallow Tax Deduction for JPMorgan’s $1.7 Billion Settlement, Saving Taxpayers Close to $600 Million

In a win for taxpayers, the $2 billion settlement with JPMorgan for its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme will NOT be tax deductible, saving taxpayers as much as $595 million.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

No Madoff Write-off For JPMorgan

Americans don’t deduct their parking tickets or library fines from their taxes. Corporations like JPMorgan shouldn’t be able to deduct their settlements for wrongdoing either.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Record-breaking JPMorgan Settlement Contains Protections for Taxpayers

The Department of Justice Specifically Disallows Tax Deductibility of JPMorgan’s $2 Billion Fine, Allows Deduction for Remainder of Settlement.

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Report | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Jobs and TIF

Illinois PIRG’s report “Jobs and TIF: An Analysis of Job Creation and Tax Increment Financing” analyzes the records of 21 TIF-funded projects from the last decade with the biggest number of promised jobs – each project examined was required to create at least 200 jobs. The report checked to see whether the city is making sure developers are living up to their promises. 

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Report | Illinois PIRG | Budget

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 | Illinois PIRG | Budget

Loopholes for Sale

Loopholes for Sale pursues the intersection of corporate campaign contributions to members of Congress and the absence of Congressional action to close corporate tax loopholes and raise additional revenue from corporate taxes.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2012

This report is Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Cleaning Up Tax Increment Financing

 

Every year, $500 million worth of property tax revenue collected in Chicago flows into funding pools shielded from public scrutiny and democratic control—the bank accounts of the city’s Tax-Increment Financing (TIF) districts.  That money—10 percent of Chicago’s annual property tax revenue—is intended to promote development in struggling areas of the city, but the fashion in which it has been handled in the past—without full transparency, democratic oversight, or accountability for the recipients of funds—has opened the door to misuse of public money.

 

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Blog Post | Tax

Will Rahm's TIF reforms go far enough? | Celeste Meiffren

Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he will be immediately implementing some of the reforms proposed by his Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel five months ago. All of the proposed reforms are necessary to fix TIF and need to become law before more of our tax dollars are wasted.

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Blog Post | Tax

Case Study: Republic Windows and Doors | Celeste Meiffren

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense offers a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This week we will look at the Republic Windows and Doors project within the Goose Island TIF District.

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Blog Post | Tax

Case Study: The Central Loop TIF District | Celeste Meiffren

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense will offer a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This series will start with the most famous TIF district-- the Central Loop.

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Blog Post | Tax

Recommended Resolutions for Rahm in 2012 | Celeste Meiffren

Here are some recommendations for what Rahm’s New Year’s Resolutions ought to be so City Hall gets the reform that it needs.

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Blog Post | Tax

Not a cause for celebration | Celeste Meiffren

Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his budget with a pledge to end the smoke and mirrors, and as it passed unanimously, aldermen celebrated a 'new day' for the City. But despite some improvement to end past gimmicks, the budget still includes misleading accounting tricks that hide a tax increase from public scrutiny.

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