Triple Pundit: Don’t Blame Google and Starbucks For Minimizing Tax Bills

By Harry Stevens
Triple Pundit, January 10, 2013

In a recent post on his blog, BusinessGreen, James Murray argues that Google’s and Starbucks’s use of “complex accounting techniques” to minimize their tax bill undermines their efforts to “position themselves as… environmentally and socially responsible businesses.” ... Murray’s indignation notwithstanding, he missteps by assigning blame to actors obeying the rules of the system in which they operate, failing to identify the system itself as the proper target of scorn. ...

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), along with Business for Shared Prosperity and the Main Street Alliance, recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress that blames federal tax law for the revenues forgone because of corporate tax loopholes. In doing so, the signatories properly identify the culprit of the lamentable corporate tax situation.

“The need for revenue highlights the importance of working toward revenue positive corporate tax reform, including closing the nearly $1 trillion offshore tax haven loophole,” said ASBC in a statment. “America’s small businesses want large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Any corporate tax reform must end the rigged corporate tax system that has corporations paying the lowest share of taxes in half a century at the same time as their profits have risen to 50-year highs.”

The letter points out that the corporate tax share of federal government receipts has fallen from 32 percent in 1952 to just 9 percent now. Moreover, the current corporate tax code creates perverse incentives for companies to shift jobs and investment overseas.

Such faulty tax codes operate on the state level as well. ...

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