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.