Don’t Let Tax-Avoiding Corporations Off the Hook

pile of cash

Target: United States President Barack Obama

Goal: Demand tax reform that targets companies hoarding cash overseas to avoid paying taxes

The four largest technology companies in America are sitting on a mountain of wealth. Microsoft, Google, Apple and Cisco Systems have amassed cash and liquid investments worth $331 billion, and hold nearly as much more overseas where the money is protected from taxation by the United States. Rather than re-invest record profits into the floundering economy, the companies have instead lent a substantial amount to the US government—leaving taxpayers footing the interest at a rate of some $300 million a year.

The money these tech giants have lent the US government comes largely from their overseas holdings, according to a report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Some claim that businesses are left with little choice but to store assets elsewhere due to America’s highest-in-the-world corporate tax rates. But the federal taxes these corporations actually end up paying have fallen to their lowest level compared to profits since 1972. American companies continue to lobby for even lower rates, all the while avoiding taxes on billions of dollars in profits.

President Barack Obama has committed to closing corporate tax loopholes. While his proposals may be worthy, analysts point out that they have little chance of being approved given a deeply divided Congress. Call on the President to use his executive authority to bring an end to tax loopholes regardless of consent from Congress. It’s time that these tech giants, and others like them, started paying their fair share.


Dear President Obama,

Your 2015 fiscal budget proposal offers hope to a beleaguered nation. Updates to the transport infrastructure so necessary for commerce, and in such terrible disrepair, can’t come soon enough. Your intention to close corporate tax loopholes is equally necessary.

But like many Americans, I worry that without the support of a divided Congress such tax reform will never come to pass. Corporations are hoarding record profits, largely overseas and sheltered from taxation. Some, like Microsoft, Apple, Google and Cisco Systems, seem more eager to invest in America’s debt than in the nation’s future.

According to Moody’s, of the $1.48 trillion in cash retained by American corporations, $900 billion is sheltered in foreign institutions. I call on you to issue a presidential proclamation closing corporate tax loopholes, including those that allow companies based in the United States to escape taxation by storing money overseas. Don’t wait for the support of Congress when it likely will not come. The situation is simply too perilous to leave to chance.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nick Ares via Flickr

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