WASHINGTON – The South Carolina Small Business Chamber and the American Sustainable Business Council signed onto a letter released yesterday by the Americans for Tax Fairness and the Financial Accountability & Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition that included 538 organizations calling on Members of the U.S. Senate to support the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1533).
The legislation, introduced by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would close tax loopholes that encourage U.S. corporations to move jobs, profits and operations offshore and avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Some tax loopholes allow corporations to use complex accounting schemes to make it appear that profits earned in the United States are actually generated in other countries, often a tax haven with little or no tax on profits. This enables those corporations to substantially lower the amount of U.S. income taxes they pay. By closing some of these loopholes, the Levin bill would raise $220 billion over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. This could stop some or all of the impending next round of automatic spending cuts under the budget sequester, which are projected to cost 800,000 jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The 538 letter signers represent tens of millions of Americans, many of whom are still feeling the effects of the “Great Recession” while multinational corporations book record profits. The list of signers includes some of the largest public and private sector unions, as well as many of the most well-known non-profits in America working for the public good.
“As Washington begins a new budget debate, lawmakers should replace the next round of budget cuts with new revenue raised by closing offshore tax loopholes,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager of Americans for Tax Fairness, which co-led the effort to secure letter signers. “Too many Members of Congress express support for the idea of closing tax loopholes, but never say how they would do it. The answer is to support the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.”
“When corporations use tax havens to dodge the taxes they owe, the rest of us pick up the tab, either through higher taxes, cuts to important programs, or a bigger deficit,” said Dan Smith, Tax and Budget Advocate for U.S. PIRG, which is a member of the FACT coalition, which co-led the letter-signing effort. “Some budget decisions are tough, but closing the offshore tax loopholes that let large companies shift their tax burden to the rest of us is a no-brainer. Congress should pass this legislation to level the playing field for small businesses and restore fairness to our tax system.”
Among other things, the letter explains that this legislation would close or tighten tax loopholes that have been used by some of the most profitable multinational corporations – Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Nike – to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.