Despite having received trillions of dollars in taxpayer support and government bailouts, the top 50 U.S. companies have allegedly stored more than $1.4 trillion in tax havens, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.
While these companies paid $1 trillion in taxes between the year 2008 and 2014, they also received $11.2 trillion in federal bailouts, loan guarantees, and loans.
“For every $1 spent on lobbying, these 50 companies collectively received $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts,” said Oxfam.
The Guardian reports specifically which companies have taken the most advantage of the system, including Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, and General Electric:
"Technology giant Apple, the world’s second biggest company, topped Oxfam’s league table, with some $181bn held offshore in three subsidiaries.
"Boston-based conglomerate General Electric, which Oxfam said has received $28bn in taxpayer backing, was second with $119bn stored in 118 tax haven subsidiaries.
"Computing firm Microsoft was third with $108bn, in a top 10 that also included pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, Google’s parent company Alphabet and Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company not owned by an oil-producing state."
Oxfam also reports that the amount of money found in these tax havens is more than the output of Russia, Spain, and South Korea.
Wondering how much the tax avoidance is costing the U.S.? According to the charity, it has cost the U.S. about $111 billion a year, while simultaneously draining $100 billion from the poorest countries—two things that effectively fuel the global wealth divide.
“Tax dodging practiced by corporations and enabled by federal policymakers contributes to dangerous inequality that is undermining our social fabric and hindering economic growth,” the report said.
Oxfam is calling on the U.S. government to pass the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, a bill that closes a number of offshore tax loopholes, eliminates many tax incentives for U.S. companies to move jobs and operations offshore, and even modifies rules on corporate inversions for businesses dodging U.S. taxes.
This report, prompted by the leak of the Panama Papers, shows the “massive systematic abuse” of the global tax system—something that Sen. Bernie Sanders predicted years ago. Kind of makes you wonder what else he is right about, doesn’t it?
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