Business Leaders Join Sen. Levin to Support New Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act Targeting $100 billion in lost revenues yearly from offshore tax dodges

Bill Would Close Tax Loopholes, Level Playing Field for Business, and Keep More Profits, Jobs in U.S.

Washington DC, July 12, 2011 – Business leaders endorsed the new “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” at a press conference with Senator Carl Levin today. The legislation would close offshore tax haven loopholes used by U.S. multinational companies to avoid paying taxes and level the playing field for smaller businesses that are the job engines of our economy. Tax haven abuse is conservatively estimated to cost the United States at least $100 billion in lost revenue every year.

Speaking at the press conference, Frank Knapp, President and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies. We pay our fair share of taxes and generate most of the new jobs. Why should we be subsidizing U.S. multinationals that use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes? Big corporations benefit immensely from all the advantages of being headquartered in our country. It’s time to level the playing field. We need to stop tax haven abuse – not reward it with tax holidays.”

“This bill will help close the barn door on U.S. corporations moving their profits to offshore tax havens to avoid U.S. taxes,” said Scott Klinger, Tax Policy Director of Business for Shared Prosperity. “Increasingly, U.S. multinationals want to benefit from government spending on research, education, infrastructure and so on without paying for it. Today, large corporations as a group contribute just 9 percent toward federal government bills – down from 32 percent in 1952. It’s obscene to put everything from the Small Business Administration to Medicare on the chopping block while corporate tax dodging deprives us of major revenue.”

Business for Shared Prosperity leads the Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse campaign, which also includes the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Wealth for Common Good. More than 1,200 business owners, managers and investors have signed a petition calling “on the President and Congress to end tax dodging and support a level playing field for business by enacting strong legislation to stop tax haven abuses. Offshore tax havens reward tax evaders, rob public coffers of needed revenue and offload taxes to responsible businesses and households. Everyone needs to pay their fair share to keep America moving forward.” Find the full statement below and a partial list of signers to date at http://businessagainsttaxhavens.org.

“Imagine if I took my U.S. college degrees and CPA license off my wall, stuck them in a safe deposit box for a shell corporation I created in Bermuda, and told my Oregon clients to send their payments there,” said petition signer Brian Setzler, President of TriLibrium an accounting and business advisory firm in Portland, Ore. “Imagine this little accounting trick allowed me to avoid paying U.S. taxes until I brought those ‘foreign’ funds back to the United States – or maybe I’d just go retire in Bermuda. This is just the kind of absurd accounting acrobatics U.S. multinational corporations use to avoid paying billions of dollars annually in U.S. corporate income taxes.”

“Aggressive tax avoidance raises the question of what kind of country we want to have and who is going to pay for it,” said entrepreneur Paul Egerman, founder of the medical information technology company eScription and a member of Business for Shared Prosperity. “It’s outrageous that a U.S. multinational company is able to report profits to their shareholders and losses to Uncle Sam. When Cisco, Google or Pfizer deploy armies of accountants to game their taxes down, it means the rest of us are left responsible for the bill. This is about fairness in capitalism. Paying our fair share of business taxes is the price we pay to live in a civilized society and conduct business in a regulated marketplace with property rights protections, public infrastructure and the rule of law.”

To arrange interviews with business people opposed to tax haven abuse, contact Bob Keener at 617-610-6766 or bobkeener@businessforsharedprosperity.org.

Business for Shared Prosperity is a network of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors.

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Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse Petition

We, the undersigned business owners, executives and investors, call on the President and Congress to end tax dodging and support a level playing field for business by enacting strong legislation to stop tax haven abuses. Offshore tax havens reward tax evaders, rob public coffers of needed revenue and offload taxes to responsible businesses and households.

Everyone needs to pay their fair share to keep America moving forward. Tax dodging deprives our nation of revenue needed to maintain and modernize the infrastructure and services underpinning a strong economy. An estimated $100 billion or more in tax revenue is lost every year to tax havens. Our economic progress is undermined when companies are rewarded for financial manipulation rather than innovation and productive investment.

Responsible businesses and banks are hurt when other firms use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

There is no justification for tax avoidance and evasion through tax havens. Offshore tax havens provide cover for banks, hedge funds and corporations to shift taxable income from the United States for the sole purpose of escaping taxation. Tax haven secrecy allows wealthy Americans to hide assets, helps companies manipulate their finances, and fosters the casino economy.

Ending tax haven abuse shows we are serious about taxation that is transparent, fair and responsible. It is an important step in ending the irresponsible speculation and financial manipulation putting our whole economy at risk. We call on Congress and the President to strengthen our economy by enacting tough legislation to stop tax haven abuses.