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Brian Imus,
Illinois PIRG

Off-Shore Tax Havens Cost Illinois Taxpayers $490 a Year

Loopholes Allow Many Corporations to Pay Less Than Individuals and Households
For Immediate Release

Chicago– Major corporations and some individuals avoid a total of as much as $100 billion a year in federal taxes by “off-shoring” the profits they make here in the U.S. or by setting up sham headquarters in tax haven countries. As a result, Illinois taxpayers are left footing the bill.

According to Tax Shell Game, a new Illinois Public Interest Research Group report, the use of offshore tax havens results in $434 in additional tax burden for taxpayers around the country.  Here in Illinois, it’s $490 per taxpayer.

“Main street businesses and ordinary taxpayers without access to an army of accountants to devise elaborate tax avoidance schemes are forced to pick up the tab every year. We’ve already paid to bail out the banks and other big corporations – is it fair to ask us to pay their taxes as well?” said Brian Imus, state Director with Illinois PIRG.

In the weeks and months leading up to Tax Day, Congress debated the national debt, rising deficits, and across the board cuts to a range of public priorities such as food safety inspectors, Pell grants and clean air and water programs.  Illinois PIRG today called on Congress to address the deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, rather than cutting public priorities.

Due in part to complex tax avoidance schemes, nearly two-thirds of corporations doing business in the U.S. pay no income taxes at all, according to a 2008 report from the Government Accountability Office. Companies that received taxpayer-funded bailout money or receive lucrative government contracts and use tax havens include American Express, A.I.G, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and Pfizer.

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