Tax Havens

What is a tax haven?

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) describes tax havens as places with no or nominal taxes and little if any reporting requirements.

Why are tax havens harmful?

At a time when countries around the world face severe budget crises, economies continue to bleed massive amounts of revenue due to secrecy in the system and the inability of government’s to collect taxes from the corporations and individuals that benefit from calling the U.S. home.  Anonymous corporations and bank secrecy both here in the U.S. and abroad make it easy for criminals, terrorists and world leaders to hide their money and hard for law enforcement to do their jobs. The issues of losing the revenue and the lack of transparency and accountability here and abroad effects the interests across the political spectrum – from fiscal responsibility to human rights; from job security to national security. The resource drain leads to unnecessary cuts to programs and priorities.

What can be done?

We need Congress to pass legislation that includes priorities such as:

  • Requiring ownership information of all business entities, trusts, foundations and charities to made available to law enforcement and the public – this information that indicates who benefits from their existence;
  • Requiring country-by-country reporting by multi-national corporations of the sales made, profits earned and taxes paid in every jurisdiction where an entity operates;
  • Strengthening, standardizing and enforcing anti-money laundering laws; and
  • Reforming our tax system to make sure that the corporations that benefit from all of the resources, protections and markets in the United States pay their share of taxes

These policies promote an equitable market economy, foster development, aid law enforcement, keep more jobs on our shores, level the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses, curtail corruption, expose terrorists, and increase both national and human security.

 Why should an ordinary individual U.S. taxpayer care?

Ordinary taxpayers are picking up the slack because corporations and individuals aren’t paying their fair share. We can’t run the government with only a portion of the population paying taxes. No working person in America can afford this continue. Most corporations are not channeling the money to their workers - they’re paying themselves huge salaries and stock buy-backs to prop up the price. They’re giving tax breaks to executives instead of using the money for their workers or to add to their workforce or do anything productive with it. The last taxpayers left in America are the workers on a payroll. Everyone else has figured out how to bolt the system. You can’t run a country without money. It’s a national security matter as you can’t pay the military and protect the country without resources. 

Corporations using tax havens to keep profits offshore result in massive losses in revenue for the U.S. Treasury – which ultimately must be made up by taxpayers. Tax havens are used not only by powerful multinational corporations to keep profits offshore, the level of secrecy and lack of accountability makes them also appeal to criminals – drug traffickers, sex traffickers and terrorists, among others.