News Archives » tax havens
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a staff paper noting that corporate tax avoidance negatively impacts all economies, but hurts developing countries the most. The IMF’s release comes as the G20, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and United Nations bodies seek vehicles to diminish corporate tax avoidance.
“The developing world loses more in corporate tax avoidance than it receives in aid from developed countries,” stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty group, Jubilee USA Network. “The paper shows that when multinational corporations shift their profits to another country to pay less taxes, we see higher levels of global inequality.”
The IMF paper is entitled “Spillovers in International Corporate Taxation.” “Spillovers” are the impact of one country’s policies on another country. By shifting profits to countries with low tax-rates (often so-called “tax havens”), corporations avoid paying their taxes in the countries where they make those profits. The paper notes that this is a particularly large problem in developing countries, which need corporate taxation to fund social services. The paper argues that “many developing countries…need to be better protected against the avoidance of tax on capital gains on natural resources.”
“These ‘spillovers’ are more like a flood,” noted LeCompte. “For every $1 poor countries are receiving in official aid, nearly $10 is leaving through corruption and tax avoidance.”
Thanks to Jubilee USA for this information.
Shareholder Proposal Succeeds in Bringing Google to the Table to Talk about Corporate Taxes May 23rd, 2014
The Oblates supported a shareholder proposal filed by Domini Social Investments with Internet giant, Google, seeking a responsible code of conduct on global tax strategies. Google has agreed to sit down with the investor group and discuss this issue, which is an important element in the conversation around the role of government and the revenue sources available to it to meet its responsibilities.
Adam Kanzer, Managing Director and General Counsel at Domini, wrote an Op Ed to explain the thinking behind the investor position that corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes. In it, he dispels a few myths about US corporate taxes, and argues that a deeper analysis shows that “Corporate tax minimization strategies present serious threats to long-term wealth creation and might pose greater risks than corporate taxation itself.”
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Faith-based and Socially Responsible Shareholders Call on Google to Pay Fair Share of Taxes April 8th, 2014
The Missionary Oblates co-filed with ethical investor Domini Social Equity fund, in a shareholder resolution calling on the multinational firm Google to pay its fair share of US taxes. NEI Investments LP, Robert Burnett, and Investor Voice, SPC joined as co-filers. Google recommended a vote against the shareholder proposal, which argues that “Google’s tax practices have come under scrutiny in the United Kingdom and France, leading to regulatory pressures and reputational damage.” The shareholder proposal cited as one of its arguments for the proposal, a Bloomberg article headed “Google cuts billions off its tax bill each year by sending profits through Ireland to a mailbox in Bermuda.”
The proposal stated, “Although most Google engineers are US-based, where much of product development takes place, Google’s intellectual property is held in Bermuda, which does not levy corporate taxes.” It went on to state: ‘Tax haven’ jurisdictions are characterized by low tax rates, financial secrecy and light regulation. Tax havens facilitate financial opacity and illegal activities including tax evasion and money laundering.”
The proposal has received coverage in The Sunday Times in London and the Independent.ie an Irish news source. Although it is not expected to pass, the proposal will once again attract attention to Google’s low tax outlay against multibillion revenues.
Tax avoidance to be on agenda of 17-18 June G8 Summit June 12th, 2013
Senior Catholic bishops from all of the G8 countries urged G8 Ministers to tackle tax avoidance, saying that “paying a fair share of taxes” is a “moral obligation”. Cardinal Brady, the head of Ireland’s Catholic church organized a letter to the G8, urging leaders to make good on their pledge to tackle aggressive tax avoidance at a summit later this month.
Last month, US senators described Ireland as a “tax haven”, accusing it of facilitating a multibillion-dollar tax avoidance structure for Apple. Tax Justice campaigners have argued that Ireland’s ultra-low corporation tax rate of 12.5%, combined with a series of additional tax incentives, is having a corrosive impact on tax coffers elsewhere, particularly poorer nations.
“In terms of tackling hunger, nothing is more crucial…than tax justice”, says Oliver De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
The Tanzania Energy and Minerals Minister says multinationals’ tax evasion and avoidance by companies and others is “crippling development and negatively affecting government budgets to cover…health, education and food production.” Many multinational companies operating in Tanzania are alleged to have accounts in British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and several other places under Britain to avoid paying taxes.
The Oblates belong to a coalition of non-governmental and faith groups – Tax Justice Network – that is campaigning for a more just international tax system.
This legislation addresses a systemic cause of poverty – the fact that many multinational corporations don’t pay taxes to the developing governments that need the revenue most. Between 2000 and 2008, 6.5 trillion dollars left the developing world completely untaxed. If this money had been taxed modestly, we wouldn’t be facing a global debt crisis and there would be better access to food in the poorest countries. A key way this legislation curbs tax dodging is by requiring country-by-country reporting of corporate payments to governments.
This is good legislation that also has positive impacts for us in the United States, curbs corruption globally and gives us the information we need to start addressing global corporate tax avoidance.
Photo: The building is a well-known tax haven called the Ugland House in the Cayman Islands that houses 18,857 registered businesses.
Thanks to Jubilee USA for the information in this Action Alert!
Jubilee USA Meets with White House Staff January 3rd, 2013
On December 20th, the leadership of the Jubilee USA Network met with Gayle Smith, Senior Director at the National Security Council and Special Assistant to President Obama on issues related to debt forgiveness, Vulture funds, tax havens, responsible lending and borrowing, and international financial institution reform. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI attended the meeting on behalf of the Oblates, who are members of Jubilee USA. Learn more…