Harper Government

Tax issue the Harper Gov’t prefers not to address

Read Committee studying offshore tax evasion will not question revenue minister at The Globe and Mail.

This story comes from the USA but Canadian companies employ similar schemes of tax avoidance. In fact, most of the companies listed here have large Canadian operations. One of the reasons that companies doing business in British Columbia wanted to maintain HST is that, under that system, they avoided nearly all sales taxes.

Many had already managed to avoid income taxes through off shore affiliates and shelters but they wanted to eliminate local consumption taxes as well. The $2 billion of BC sales taxes those businesses will now pay under reinstated provincial sales tax cannot be sheltered by offshore phantoms.

That makes multi-national operations and their Liberal Party surrogates unhappy.

The entire article, Corporate Tax Dodgers: 10 Companies and Their Tax Loopholes, was published by Institute for Policy Studies, republished by Common Dreams,, a fine site available by free subscription.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 10 CORPORATE TAX DODGERS [IN U.S.A.]

Bank of America
Had $17.2 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Reported it would owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes if profits are brought home.

Citigroup
Had $42.6 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Reported it would owe $11.5 billion in U.S. taxes if profits are brought home.

ExxonMobil
Paid just a 15% federal income tax rate from 2010-2012, less than half the official 35% corporate tax rate – a tax subsidy of $6.2 billion. Had $43 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

FedEx
Made $5.7 billion from 2010-2012 and didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes. Got a tax subsidy of $2.1 billion. Received $10.3 billion in federal contracts from 2006-2012.

General Electric
Made $88 billion from 2002-2012 and paid just 2.4% in taxes for a tax subsidy of $29 billion. Paid no taxes in 4 years. Had $108 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Received $21.8 billion in federal contracts from 2006-2012.

Honeywell
Made $5 billion from 2009-2012 and paid just $50 million in federal income taxes – a tax subsidy of $1.7 billion. Had $11.6 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Received $16.7 billion in federal contracts from 2006-2012.

Merck
Made $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009-2012. Paid an 18.4% federal income tax rate, half the official 35% rate – a tax subsidy of $2.2 billion. Had $53.4 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Received $8.7 billion in federal contracts from 2006-2012.

Microsoft
Saved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009-2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. Had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes; reported it would owe $19.4 billion if profits are brought home.

Pfizer
Received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds from 2010-2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide even though 40% of its sales are in America. Had $73 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. income taxes. Received $3.4 billion in federal contracts from 2010-2012.

Verizon
Made $19.3 billion in U.S. pretax profits from 2008-2012 but paid no federal income taxes during the period; instead got $535 million in tax rebates. Total tax subsidy: $7.3 billion. Received up to $6 billion in federal contracts from 2011 through 2023.

4 replies »

  1. Norm, I don't know much about accounting or tax laws. You note in each instance that the above companies paid no or little US taxes, but were they required to pay taxes in the countries in which they realized their staggering profits?

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  2. The 5th estate recently ran an interesting story about off shore tax havens, specifically, Litchenstien, and how 106 individuals that the Canadian government knows about, due to a new tax treaty, are not being investigated for tax evasion. Seems they are choosing to ignore these folks. Anybody out there having tax problems should plead no contest, as the tax laws are not being followed in this “very telling” case of government looking the other way.

    Its interesting how companies and individuals are “allowed ” to avoid tax as opposed to evade tax. This is probably more prevelant than we believe…

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  3. It's perverse big corporations like these whine about taxes being too high and order our governments to shift more of the burden onto us peons whilst they hide their fortunes on little islands far out of reach. Oh well, at least we know where it is, if not how much it is.

    Remember the march of the penguins where a whole society of birds designed for swimming make an awkward, harrowing journey to nest in a barren landscape some 70 miles inland to avoid predation on their young; yet there is a species of raptor which can transit the vast distance on wing, if the wind is right, and gorge on the defenceless penguins.

    It is truly perverse the holders of these offshore, sheltered trusts make out like they're the penguins.

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