At a time where the majority of citizens in the developed world are facing austerity measures that are affecting their access to quality and adequate food, shelter, education and healthcare, this call for transparency and accountability could not be more timely. It is a well-known secret among leaders of these nations that companies and individuals have offshored money in order to escape taxation and, in some instances, legally. The main questions governments are posing now are…how much has been offshored and how to effectively close tax haven loopholes?
I, however, would also like to know specifically what companies and individuals are doing with their offshored profits? The fact that they do not feel obligated to the very societies that enabled these profits by allowing these profits to be taxed appropriately for reinvestment into our public infrastructure is obvious and a lethal reality for both parties.
In the coming days and weeks, governments will be seeking comprehensive international solutions to stop the offshoring of our money. It is absolutely essential that the United States play a positive and strong role in enabling governments to close international and domestic loopholes which are siphoning off trillions of dollars, euros, yen, etc. for the children and adults within all of our nations.
It is also time that corporations and individuals that are banking overseas review their beliefs on scarcity versus sharing and the role they should be playing for (wo)mankind. They need to understand that their current perspective that people exist to enrich them and that they have no obligation to us is a belief system indicative of a flourishing banana republic. It is not only short-sighted but has fatal direct and indirect consequences due to the withholding of much-needed revenues to help support those who cannot help themselves and to provide societies with a healthy public infrastructure for all of our futures.
Moreover, this offshoring is not only negatively affecting people in developed nations but those in developing nations struggling to survive in this global economy. The artistic and athletic community as well as activists and organizations specifically geared toward running development projects at home and around the globe are fervently working together to raise awareness and funds from taxpaying citizens to fight injustice and poverty and their root causes. They have stepped up where governments have failed, proven themselves inadequate and/or ineffective. We, the people, have understood our interdependence and interconnectedness. It is time that corporations and certain individuals understand this, too. It is time that governments call them to task.
I received the following call for action shown below in an email yesterday. I would like to share this with you in full due to its importance and simplistic truth. Moreover, the links listed at the very end of the email are informative and will be worth your while to read and share with others:
In days, governments will discuss whether to plug a gigantic $1 trillion per year corporate tax loophole – enough money to end poverty, put every child in school, and double green investment! Most governments want powerful multinationals to pay these taxes, but the US and Canada are on the fence. To get a deal, we need them to feel the pressure.
$1 trillion is more than every country combined spends on their military. It’s bigger than the budgets of 176 nations. It’s $1000 each for every family on the planet. And believe it or not, it’s the amount that our largest corporations and wealthiest individuals evade each year in taxes.
This should be a no-brainer. To massively boost our public finances in a time of painful cuts and debt, all we need to do is ensure that everyone pays the taxes they’re supposed to. But big US corporations are fiercely lobbying to protect their dodgy practices. A massive public campaign will help identify and hold accountable the two leaders – President Obama and Prime Minister Harper, who are considering siding with corruption over this gigantic step forward for the planet. Let’s get to one million voices and then Avaaz will deliver our call to leaders and the media in the middle of the negotiations:
Apple, one of the world’s wealthiest companies, paid basically $0 in tax on $78 billion they made in recent years by setting up shell corporations in low-tax countries and posting profits abroad. This kind of global tax evasion gives multinational firms a huge advantage over smaller domestic companies. It’s as bad for a healthy market economy as it is for democracy and economic stability.
But in days, governments will consider a plan that would make it harder for companies and individuals to evade taxes by hiding their money offshore and in tax shelters. The plan would require countries to share information to expose where the money is hidden and require “fake” companies to reveal who’s really behind them. If talks go well this week, the G8 could agree to the whole thing later this month.
In hard times, when governments everywhere are cutting spending on vital social priorities, it’s particularly galling that the wealthiest get a free pass from paying their fair share. (Even more so when the hard times were caused by massive government handouts to bailout banks owned by the same people). Governments are finally getting serious about plugging these holes in our finances, but the US and Canada are falling sway to powerful business lobbies.
A large public petition that’s well covered by the media will help highlight which countries are blocking the agreement, and make this a political issue for Obama and Harper to deal with. A powerful call from the world’s people to choose to give a massive boost to our planet instead of preserving corrupt loopholes will also help these leaders to find their consciences and good sense. We can’t let the lobbyists win this one in the shadows, let’s bring the spotlight of public attention to this massive decision for our planet:
Every week, our community strives in and often wins fights for human rights, democracy, conservation and more. But some decisions have the power to affect thousands of causes at once, often preventing many problems from ever happening. $1 trillion per year in public funding would make a massive difference in the lives of children who could go to school, lives that could be saved, peace that could be built, habitats that could be protected, and so much more. For the sake of all these future struggles that we might not need to fight, let’s win this one.
Alex, Jeremy, Christoph, Marie, Ian, David, Paul, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team
PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=25325
Europe’s push against tax fraud gains momentum (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22627330
The Corrosive Effect of Apple’s Tax Avoidance (New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/business/making-companies-pay-taxes-the-mccain-way.html
Factbox: Apple, Amazon, Google and tax avoidance schemes (Reuters) http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/eu-tax-avoidance-idINDEE94L07Z20130522
Tax havens are entrenching poverty in developing countries (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/14/tax-havens-entrenching-poverty-developing-countries
The missing $20 trillion (The Economist) http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21571873-how-stop-companies-and-people-dodging-tax-delaware-well-grand-cayman-missing-20
Europe’s lost trillion in taxes (CNN) http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/21/news/economy/europe-taxes/index.html
Military spending by country (The Economist) http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/04/daily-chart-9