As many as 50 of the United States’ biggest companies have stashed a total of $1.6 trillion (over Rs 101 lakh crore) in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes, according to a report published by Oxfam on Tuesday. Apple had the biggest sum – over $200 billion – in offshore accounts, followed by Pfizer with more than $193 billion (more than Rs 12 lakh crore) and Microsoft with $124 billion (over Rs 7 lakh crores).
The companies have used a “secretive network of 1,751 subsidiaries in tax havens” to stash their earnings outside of the US, AFP claimed, citing the report. According to the tax laws in the United States, companies are allowed to keep their profits from foreign operations offshore to avoid any corporate tax.
“From 2009-2015, the 50 biggest US companies got more than $423 billion (over Rs 16 lakh crore) in tax breaks and spent more than $2.5 billion (over Rs 15,000 crore) on lobbying Congress to boost their bottom line even further,” Oxfam said.
US President Donald Trump had proposed to cut the tax rate to 15% and also allow the companies to repatriate their cash reserves with a one-time tax of 10%. “President Trump promised to fix the rigged political and economic system yet his tax reforms will further enrich powerful corporates at the expense of ordinary people and small businesses,” Oxfam senior advisor Robbie Silverman said according to AFP.
“Corporate tax dodgers cheat the US out of approximately $135 billion (approximately Rs 8,52,000 crore) in unpaid tax revenues every year and poor countries out of an estimated $100 billion annually,” Oxfam’s head of inequality Ana Arendar told The Guardian.
Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption
Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.
Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.
Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.
Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.
One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.
With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.
Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.
You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.
Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.
Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.
So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.