Toronto – April 21, 2016 – A new report published by the anti-poverty advocacy group Oxfam reveals that the 50 largest companies in the United States have more than $1.4 trillion stashed away in offshore tax havens. Tax dodging by multinational corporations drains an estimated $170 billion every year from poorer countries, preventing desperately-needed investments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
Between 2008 and 2014, over $1.4 trillion was diverted offshore by the 50 largest companies in the United States, with the three largest offenders being Apple ($181 billion, U.S.), General Electric ($119 billion, U.S.) and Microsoft ($108 billion, U.S.).
In the period recorded in the latest Oxfam report, the 50 corporations received over $11.2 trillion in benefits from the United States in the form of bail-outs, tax breaks, loan guarantees etc.
Some multinational companies operating in poor countries take advantage of loopholes to reduce their tax bills while simultaneously negotiating tax exemptions from governments who want to attract investment and spur growth. Governments in developing countries give away an estimated $138 billion each year in statutory corporate income tax exemptions.
For every $1 spent on political lobbying, these 50 companies collectively received $130 in tax breaks.
Companies set up subsidiaries in tax-friendly companies to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. A company such as Chevron, which is the 16th largest corporation in the world, with assets of $266 billion U.S., operates 264 different subsidiaries out of Bermuda.
Morgan Stanley, named the 21st most powerful company in the world in 2011 by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology holds over $7 billion offshore. The company has received more than $2 trillion in U.S. state handouts, while paying a domestic tax rate of 7.9%
The top 50 companies during 2008-2014 made over $4 trillion in profits.
Only 5 of the top 50 companies in the U.S. paid the full 35% corporate tax rate.
The companies relied on a secretive network of over 1,600 disclosed subsidies in tax havens to stash their money.
According to Oxfam, the world's richest 62 people now have the same wealth as 3.6 billion people - half of all of humanity.
Tax dodging by multinational corporations costs the United States approximately $111 billion each year.
Source: Oxfam, 2016: "Broken at the Top"