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Top 50 U.S. companies stashed $1.6 trillion offshore

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Staff Writer | April 12, 2017
Oxfam America says the 50 biggest U.S. companies, including global brands such as Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, GE, Chevron, Walmart and Apple have stashed $1.60 trillion in offshore tax havens.
Offshore money
Doing business   An opaque and secretive network
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In a new report, based on corporate financial, lobbying, and investor disclosures released ahead of Tax Day, Oxfam revealed that the 50 largest U.S. companies relied on an opaque and secretive network of at least 1,751 subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Oxfam also warned that reforms proposed by President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders will only further rig the rules in favor of the rich and powerful, deepen the inequality crisis, and harm poor families in the US and in developing countries worldwide.

"Every year rigged tax rules cost Americans approximately $135 billion in corporate tax dodging and sap an estimated $100 billion from poor countries - revenue that should go towards building schools, bridges and hospitals," said Robbie Silverman, senior advisor for Oxfam America and one of the authors of the report.

The report reveals that the US companies have deepened their use of tax havens and boosted their investments in building political influence to push for even greater tax breaks than they already enjoy.

Even as these 50 companies earned over $4.20 trillion in profits globally, they used offshore tax havens to lower their effective overall tax rate to just 25.9%.

Oxfam estimates that for every $1.00 these companies spent lobbying on tax issues, they received an estimated $1,200 in tax breaks.

The report does not accuse any of the companies of acting illegally, but demonstrates how the current tax system permits companies to dodge hundreds of billions of dollars of tax within the bounds of the law.

Oxfam estimates that the top 50 U.S. companies would stand to gain between $312 and 327 billion from the repatriation holidays proposed by President Trump and the House GOP.

Just four companies - Apple, Pfizer, Microsoft and General Electric - together could potentially pocket as much as $132 billion in new tax breaks from this single policy change.

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