Tax Evasion in Congress's Crosshairs

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Coinciding with a new call from Citizens for Tax Justice for a crack-down on tax evasion, new legislation has been introduced in the Senate to target tax havens and to prohibit the patenting of tax strategies. The bill is sponsored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Barak Obama (D-IL). It includes a number of important reforms, including a presumption that offshore trusts and shell corporations in designated tax havens are controlled by the taxpayers funding them or directing them. It would also allow the federal government to order American banks to stop accepting or authorizing credit cards from foreign countries or banks not cooperating with U.S. tax enforcement laws.

The bill would also ban patents on tax strategies, of which there are currently 49. Senator Levin noted in his statement that patent law is designed to create an incentive for innovation, but there is hardly a lack of such incentive when it comes to tax avoidance.

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