During the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, Citigroup, Inc., one of the most well known financial institutions in the world, received billions in government bailout money. Now we learn that Citigroup has not paid federal income taxes for the last four years. And they’re not alone. Many of the largest financial institutions have moved their money offshore in order to avoid paying US taxes.
At a news conference last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed out that more than 18,000 US companies use the same single building in the Cayman Islands in order to avoid paying taxes. Meanwhile these institutions received government bailout money during the recession, which begs the question: Are these companies American or aren’t they? It is clear that they can’t be allowed to both receive corporate welfare and evade US taxes. “Wall Street needs to be held to the same standards as the rest of American taxpayers,” according to James Kauffman, a securities attorney with Levin Papantonio.
According to Sen. Sanders, corporations and the wealthy are avoiding over $100 billion in US taxes by moving their income to the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other offshore tax havens. He introduced The Corporate Tax Fairness Act, which he hopes will stop profitable corporations from sheltering profits in tax havens and stop rewarding companies that ship jobs and factories overseas with tax breaks, and said it is estimated to raise $590 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. James Kauffman explained “for a long time companies like Citigroup have avoided taxes and have paid far less than their fair share, legislation like the Corporate Tax Fairness Act is one step towards changing that corporate culture.”
Amidst the endless debate over deficit reduction, demanding that the largest financial institutions and corporations in America pay their share of taxes seems more than logical. Americans should not have to be worried about having their Medicare and Social Security benefits slashed, while big institutions are allowed to continue their highway robbery of the U.S. government.
Alisha Mims is a Content Management Specialist for Levin, Papantonio law firm, a writer, and contributor to Ring of Fire.