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U.S. Senate Bill Introduced to Crack Down on Offshore Tax Abuse

February 7, 2012

Global Financial Integrity

Legislation Would Require Country-by-Country Reporting of Sales, Profits, Employees and Tax Payments by Multinationals

Global Financial Integrity

WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) today applauded the introduction of a bill, which would close several major tax loopholes and curtail abusive tax haven secrecy.

The Cut Unjustified Tax (CUT) Loopholes Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), contains several provisions to permanently close offshore tax loopholes, raise revenue, and increase transparency and accountability for multinational enterprises.

“Enactment of the CUT Loopholes Act would be a huge step forward,” said Raymond Baker, director of GFI. “It would scrap several egregious offshore tax loopholes—eliminating incentives to send money and jobs overseas, help level the playing field between small businesses and multinational corporations, increase information and transparency for corporate investors, and strengthen law enforcement and tax collection abilities.”

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Office of Management and Budget, the CUT Loopholes Act would reduce the deficit by at least $155 billion over the next decade with $130 billion of that reduction being attributable to the bill’s offshore tax provisions.

Significant provisions of the legislation would:

  • Stop companies run from the United States from claiming foreign status and dodging U.S. taxes on their foreign income (§103) by treating foreign corporations that are publicly traded or have gross assets of $50 million or more and whose management and control occur primarily in the United States as U.S. domestic corporations for income tax purposes.
  • Require annual country-by-country reporting (§111) by SEC-registered corporations on employees, sales, financing, tax obligations, and tax payments.
  • Strengthen John Doe summons (§115) by streamlining the process used by the IRS to issue summons to a class of persons, such as the clients of an offshore bank, accounting firm, or law firm, while strengthening court oversight.
  • Strengthen penalties (§§121-122) on tax shelter promoters and those who aid and abet tax evasion by increasing the maximum fine to 150% of any ill-gotten gains.

GFI was particularly pleased to note the section on country-by-country reporting.

“The country-by-country reporting provision adds a layer of pro-investment, best practices accountability to this bill,” said Mr. Baker. “For investors, the more information available about a company’s business practices and balance sheets, the better. This reporting requirement would also help anti-corruption and economic development efforts in developing countries by creating more transparency with respect to whether a multinational is contributing to the tax base of the developing countries in which it operates, or whether it is engaging clever accounting tricks to move that money to tax havens.”

A full summary of the legislation can be found here.

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Notes to Editors:

  1. Click here to read Sen. Levin’s and Sen. Conrad’s press release on the legislation
  2. Click here to read a full summary of the legislation.
  3. Click here for more information on country-by-country reporting.
  4. Click here to read the Financial Accountability & Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition’s statement on the legislation.

Contact:

Clark Gascoigne
+1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
cgascoigne@gfintegrity.org

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system.

For additional information please visit www.gfintegrity.org.

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