- js reader version
- email this article
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Deborah Field
Sunday, Jun. 01, 2014 at 12:37 PM
The GE Loophole isn't just unfair to small businesses; it's a burden to us all. If the loophole is renewed, it will cost $62 billion over the next decade. That's money we won't have to fix roads, build schools, or find medical cures—the kinds of investments that strengthen our communities...
Fifteen years as an accountant in corporate America taught me that big multinational companies think they can play by their own rules. That's especially true when it comes to taxes: Some corporations take pride in paying close to nothing in federal income taxes. Now that I run my own small printing and stationery businesses, I'm paying my fair share along with the rest of the middle class.
Too many big companies avoid taxes by lobbying Congress to riddle the law with loopholes. Some lawmakers aid their efforts – then complain that the law has holes like Swiss cheese. How big are those loopholes? Large enough that 26 large, profitable U.S. corporations paid absolutely nothing in federal income taxes from 2008 to 2012, according to the watchdog organization Citizens for Tax Justice. Verizon, Boeing and General Electric combined paid less in federal income taxes over five years than your family or my small business paid in taxes in one year. There is something deeply wrong with that.
I'm proud to pay my fair share of taxes. Most of us realize that it's the price of sustaining our public infrastructure, schools, legal system and other things essential to making America an excellent place to do business. Corporations that take advantage of all America has to offer and then refuse to pay their fair share in taxes are shirking their civic responsibilities.
Small businesses like mine don't have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. But big corporations use offshore tax havens to dodge billions of dollars in taxes every year. When big corporations use tax havens to avoid paying taxes, the rest of us end up paying more. Oregon taxpayers will have to pay $1,022 this year on average to make up for the combined losses in federal and state tax revenues from tax havens, according to a report by U.S. PIRG. Oregon small businesses will have to pay $3,125 on average.
The good news is some of the loopholes that enable large corporations to hide their profits offshore recently expired. The bad news is Congress is on course to bring them back.
One of the expired tax loopholes, known as the "active financing exception," enables banks and other companies with financing operations to make it appear that U.S. profits were earned in offshore tax havens. General Electric depends on this loophole to lower its tax bill, and so has put four dozen lobbyists working to keep it alive, according to a recent study by Americans for Tax Fairness and Public Campaign.
Thanks to the "GE Loophole" and other tax dodging tricks, GE hasn't paid a dime in federal income taxes over the last five years even though it's made $27 billion in profits. Instead, it's gotten $3 billion in refunds.
The GE Loophole isn't just unfair to small businesses; it's a burden to us all. If the loophole is renewed, it will cost $62 billion over the next decade. That's money we won't have to fix roads, build schools, or find medical cures—the kinds of investments that strengthen our communities and boost small business.
Even in Washington, expired corporate tax breaks wouldn't stand much of a chance of being renewed through stand-alone legislation. But they've been cleverly bundled with scores of other tax changes that mostly benefit businesses into an innocuous sounding package known inside the Beltway as "tax extenders." The total cost is $86 billion for two years, but none of it is paid for meaning it will get added to the budget deficit.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on this measure soon. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the bill's chief sponsor, recently declared this would be the "last extenders bill on my watch." It should be the last package of corporate tax giveaways, period.
When the recession hit in late 2008, our sales suddenly fell 50 percent. My customers didn't have as much money to spend on our products. We had to lay off most of our staff. Those are the kind of problems small businesses have to face and overcome. They can't be fixed by sweetheart deals for large corporations like the GE Loophole.
Congress should let corporate America know it has to play by the same rules as everybody else. Let's end tax breaks that favor giant corporations and focus on supporting our small businesses in local communities and their customers.
Deborah Field co-owns Paperjam Press in Portland and serves on the executive committee of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, a coalition of over 2,200 small business owners.
Report this post as:
Meet Green elected school board members, Sunday, March 29 in LA - 4pm
Californians Shame Regulators For Teaching Big Oil How To Skirt Law and Pollute Our Water
Next "Star Wars" to score in Los Angeles for First Time in Franchise History
Los Angeles Stands Up for Women's Rights
American Flag Banned from UC Irvine
Conversations with 3 HOLES AND A SMOKING GUN
Indymedia and the Cyber Left
FEDS ALLOW LAWSUIT TO SHUT DOWN DIABLO CANYON TO PROCEED
Open Letter to LA indymedia re hardly any more comments
Time Warner Now Charging Customers For Over-The-Air Television
Sketchy Crusader Against Poor Brandishes Dildo at Council
March Against Air France
More Local News...
Phony US Support for Ending Palestime's Occupation
Kiev's Ongoing Dirty War o Donbass
Amnesty International Documents hamas War Crimes
America at War, Again
Gov Susana Martinez petitions court to reject Chiricahua Fort Sill Apache Tribe's legal re
The Shortwave Report 03/27/15 Listen Globally!
Are Jewish students safe at the University of California?
Putin and Assad Address Western Imperialism
Secret US Intelligence on Yemen Compromised
More US-Sponsored Middle East Aggression
Where is Geronimo
NJ Gov. Christie Claims Cannabis Legalization is "Blood Money"
how the fbi converts cops at every level (and citizens) into criminals.
Vaccines' Toxic Ingredients Fueled by Drug Company Liability Immunity And Greed
Seeing behind the Global iron Curtain.
US-Created Violence and Chaos in Yemen
Israel Wants Iran Nuclear Deal Blocked
Hypocritical and Hippocratic Economic Policy in Europe
Heading for WW III
Cesar Chavez on Zionism
Paddington Creator Backs Campaign To Save Bear in Peru
City of Fullerton Conspires to Silence Free Press Following Hung Jury #LivestreamOnTria
fbi, police and the general public are an emerging criminal enterprize
Fbi and the public are an emerging criminal enterprize
The Clinton Crime Family
Fascist US House Members Declare War on Russia
Reelecting Israel's Greatest Con Man
President Obama Insults Intelligence of America’s Youth By Dictating Priorities
More Breaking News...