Offshore Shell Games 2016 The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies

By Richard Phillips, Citizens for Tax Justice; Matt Gardner, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Kayla Kitson, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Alexandria Robins, U.S. PIRG Education Fund; and Michelle Surka, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

U.S.-based multinational corporations are al­lowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individu­als when it comes to paying taxes. Corporate lobbyists and their congressional allies have riddled the U.S. tax code with loopholes and exceptions that enable tax attorneys and corpo­rate accountants to book U.S. earned profits to subsidiaries located in offshore tax haven coun­tries with minimal or no taxes. The most trans­parent and galling aspect of this is that often, a company’s operational presence in a tax haven may be nothing more than a mailbox. Overall, multinational corporations use tax havens to avoid an estimated $100 billion in federal in­come taxes each year.

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