Corporate Tax Cheats

This really needs to stop:

A majority of America’s largest publicly traded companies and the U.S. government’s largest federal contractors — including some receiving millions in federal bailout money — use multiple subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to conduct business and avoid paying U.S. taxes, a new report finds.

The new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released today by Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), lists Citigroup and Morgan Stanley as having set up hundreds of tax haven subsidiaries, along with American International Group and Bank of America. Also in the tax-haven list are well-known companies and such federal contractors as American Express, Pepsi and Caterpillar.

GAO, searching publicly available data filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, determined that 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded corporations and 63 of the 100 largest federal contractors maintain subsidiaries in countries generally considered havens for avoiding taxes.

[Emphasis mine]

It’s ridiculous that companies who receive billions of taxpayer dollars–either through bailouts or federal contracts–have offshore tax shelters they use to avoid paying what they owe.

Paying your taxes is a cost of doing business, and no company should enjoy the benefits of being an American company–like receiving bailouts or contracts–if they don’t pay their taxes.  The American people are cheated out of billions of dollars a year because these companies are constantly finding ways to get around existing laws.

Our accountability-free corporate culture needs to end.  I would support anyone who proposed making it a rule that either you pay your taxes or you don’t get any more handouts.