Letters to the Editor

We are looking for fairness on Tax Day

I can’t help but shake my head at the thought that some large companies pay nothing in income tax because of loopholes, despite billions in profits.

By stashing profits in offshore tax havens through complex accounting schemes, big multinational companies avoid paying hundreds of billions in taxes, leaving the rest of us — taxpayers and small businesses — to pick up the tab.

Most of the tax dodging is done by 50 companies that have stashed $1.6 trillion offshore in order to avoid hundreds of billions in U.S. taxes. The offshore amount tops $2.6 trillion and represents $767 billion in avoided tax.

The playing field is rigged against smaller, fully domestic businesses. Not only do they compete with much larger companies, they also pay taxes their competitors don’t.

Our leaders in Washington, D.C., have claimed that tax reform is at the top of the to-do list. But as debate rages — more like spirals — it seems like next year will be more of the same.

There is hope, however. While the administration works to draft a new tax plan, there are some common sense ideas being put forward.

Rep. Mark Pocan introduced a bill that would close the biggest loophole, which allows offshore profits to avoid taxes indefinitely. Rep. Lloyd Doggett introduced the “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act,” which takes aim at the most egregious loopholes in our tax codes. And Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill last month that would tax in full the $2.6 trillion stashed offshore.

But if we want to make the next Tax Day more fair, it will a take push. The companies with offshore money have spent $2.9 billion lobbying Congress since 2009, according to a recent report from Oxfam.

Here’s hoping Florida’s lawmakers mark the next Tax Day by backing legislation to make it more fair.

Susan McGrath, Executive Director,

Florida Consumer Action Network