Organizations Brief Capitol Hill on Offshore Tax Abuses

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On July 24, three organizations, Global Financial Integrity, the Tax Justice Network, and Citizens for Tax Justice, briefed Congressional Hill staff on proposals to crack down on offshore tax abuses. The speakers from the three organizations explained the types of offshore tax abuses that are costing Americans billions in tax revenue: tax evasion (which is illegal) by individuals and tax avoidance (which is not necessarily illegal) by corporations.

Speakers from Global Financial Integrity and the Tax Justice Network discussed developments related to offshore tax evasion and the ways in which some financial institutions facilitate it.

The strongest legislation proposed so far to crack down on offshore tax evasion is the tax haven bill introduced by Senator Carl Levin and Congressman Lloyd Doggett (S.506/H.R.1265). (See the letter that CTJ and several other organizations signed in support of this bill.) Congressman Doggett himself made a surprise appearance at the briefing and expressed his determination to keep pushing for action on the bill.

Speakers also explained that as the U.S. prods other governments to comply with our tax enforcement efforts, some respond that the U.S. itself is a tax haven for foreigners trying to escape paying taxes to their own governments. The problem is that certain U.S. states allow people to set up shell entities that can be used to hide income from whatever government they're supposed to be paying taxes to. The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, introduced by Senator Levin (S.569) would address this problem. (See a letter that Citizens for Tax Justice and other organizations signed in support of this legislation).

CTJ director Bob McIntyre discussed offshore tax avoidance by corporations. (See a summary of his remarks.)

Read CTJ's summary of pending legislation to address offshore tax evasion.

Read the complete materials from the briefing: Tax Evasion and Incorporation Transparency.

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