Tax cheats stash $2 trillion overseas!

America's biggest companies are playing by their own set of rules. According to a recent report from two major watchdog organizations, our nation's Fortune 500 companies have $2.1 trillion dollars stashed in overseas tax havens.

To put that number in perspective, it's worth noting that the entire federal budget for 2015 was only about $3.8 trillion.

This stunning report, called “Offshore Shell Games 2015,” was the result of a study conducted by Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups. They found that about 70 percent of these massive companies have subsidiaries in low-tax nations like Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

In many cases, those subsidiaries are really just PO boxes used to pretend like they do business in those nations.

By stashing money away overseas, those corporations have left taxpayers footing the bill for as much as $620 billion dollars of unpaid taxes. And, that means they're getting to benefit from our nation without contributing their share of the costs.

Michelle Surka of US PIRG said, “The American multinationals that take advantage of tax havens use our roads, benefit from our education system and large consumer market, and enjoy the security we have here, but are ultimately taking a free ride at the expense of other taxpayers.”

We give these corporations the privilege of doing business in our great nation, and they make a boatload of profits at our expense. The corporate powers have taken our pensions, reduced our wages, and destroyed our environment.

The least they could do is contribute their fair share of taxes, instead of skirting the system to make a few extra bucks for shareholders.

If corporations want to do business in the United States, it's about time they start pulling their weight.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 24 weeks ago

There's no such thing as genetic memory. There is no process for an organism to change its own DNA, and there's no process for reading DNA as if it were memory. The idea is ridiculous. Epigenetics is merely a modification of how strongly DNA is expressed, and contains even less information. Please stop the pseudoscience BS.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 24 weeks ago

Not sure why you want to tax corporations. The federal goverment is mainly an insurance company with guns. Corporate sales in the us has nothing to do with that. Transportation is paid by gasoline taxes. If you want them to pay education, fine, but that is independent of profits and even revenues.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 7 years 24 weeks ago

Anything goes Fri.

Speaking of off shore money, Amy Goodman does excellent segment on new documentary, “Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe.” Instead of watching brain cell killing Comcast (MSNBC) or Murdoch or Turner, Catch up on 'Democrcy Now!' This weekend.

jdstone's picture
jdstone 7 years 24 weeks ago

Duhhhh Thom, these corporations are NOT 'Tax Cheats.' They are fully complying with US laws (IRS regulations that they wrote and paid to have passed)

These laws were written by, signed, sealed and delivered by members BOTH parties - the CorporaDEMS are just as guilty as any Republican. Republican and Democratiic presidents signed them into legislation

Again greed rules and the people lose!

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 7 years 24 weeks ago

Right, it was Bill Clinton that rode the same Reaganomics band wagon, signing NAFTA, and even though Clinton now realizes that was a mistake, it doesn't change the fact that American citizens have been totally screwed by the U.S. corporate elite. How we take back what they have taken from us is a question that needs to be answered by our elected officials. Just glad that my father didn't live to see what this country has been turned into. A sick hell hole that's full on nothing but greedy fascist pigs.

cccccttttt 7 years 24 weeks ago

Sadly, the US as a traditional nation state has died.

We now live in "The Corporate Enterprise Zone".

This new paradyne will supply the grim logic for:

immense tax havens made legal my prostitute congressmen

token prosecution of employers using illegal labor

importing computer programmers while US grads live at home

trade pacts that make whole US industries disappear

endless controlled wars most profitiable for "defense" contractors.

While Tom is to be applauded for focusing the public mind on

corporate abuses, it is unlikely we will put the genie back in the bottle.

Rather, check with an attorney about incorporating your family

or community.

For a yearly fee depending on the the state, you to can

---access well established tax dodges

---avoid jail time for money laudering and fraud.

---walk away from certain homicides by poisons, GMOs, and radiation.


DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 24 weeks ago

I've seen that while people will grumble about the $2 trillion loss, what actually enrages our middle class is the very thought of a person purchasing a little treat with $2.00 of food stamps. This indicates how poorly the general population grasps any of these issues.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 24 weeks ago

This isn't something that just happened to us, coming out of the blue and hitting us upside the head. Every step of the way, from Reagan's deregulation mania and through the years of massive corporate tax cuts ("For job creation," we are always told), our middle class have supported this.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 24 weeks ago

I've worked most of my life doing plumbing work, living a decent life, and paying my share of the cost of running our great country. I'd be glad to get a tax refund but didn't mind paying the taxes I owed for all of the benefits those taxes bring. As I worked my way up from apprentice to journeyman, I payed higher and higher percentages of my pay in taxes but that's ok. The more you benefit from our economic system, the more you should pay for those benefits weather you are an individual or a corporation. Tax breaks for the wealthy who do not need them are absurd. That just puts the burden of the financial responsibility of running our country on those less fortunate. Hiding what you owe in taxes is treasonist. Trickle down taxes has always been absurd., There is no guarantee that rich people are going to create jobs if you give them big tax breaks and there is nothing that will make them do so. They just put the savings in the bank and in trust funds and bigger mansions and yachts. I saw Dr. Adrian Rodgers, a southern baptist preacher with a huge following, on TV one day fussing at his huge congregation and TV audience telling everyone "Jesus said "pay your taxes!" so pay your taxes!".

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 24 weeks ago

Another dumb thing about this post is that it assumes all this cash was earned in tbe year. Supposed it was earned over 20, then the taxable amount per year is very small.

Second, the cash could be offset by debt. What is taxed is profit, not cash.

Lastly, that money is probably being used like most extra cash, waiting for demand and the economy to pick up.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 24 weeks ago

I just read the article. Its 90 billion per year, out of nearly 4 trillion budget.

And that is if you want to tax them at 35%, which really would be a high tax rate.

pax2u 7 years 24 weeks ago

I'm new to this site. I want to share a comment on 2 of the shows he had this week. If anyone can direct me to where I can post my comment to Thom or 2 those particular shows would be appreciated.

David32's picture
David32 7 years 23 weeks ago

Thom, it is indeed deplorable that corps seek to evade taxes and remove funds from our economy. But wait, where did the corps get their money to pay taxes in the first place? Off a special tree out in the parking lot!! Of course not, the fact is, THE MONEY COMES FROM THE CUSTOMERS!!!!! In case you didn't know the customers are you and me for the most part. CORPORATIONS ARE TAX COLLECTORS, NOT TAXPAYERS!!! Why do we continue to lie to ourselves about this.

George Marion's picture
George Marion 7 years 23 weeks ago

This past Tuesday a friend recommended that I listen to and read Mr. Hartman’s podcasts and blogs because, in my friend’s opinion, Mr. Hartman was an intelligent, well-researched, well-spoken commentator. So I am doing just that. After reading this note about “tax cheats”, I am disappointed. In fact, I must report to my friend that some of Mr. Hartman’s musings are a waste of my time. His reliance on Michelle Surka of US PIRG was misplaced. Neither she nor he display any knowledge of the US tax laws. The International Division of the IRS is very effective in enforcing these laws. The corporations that he calls “tax cheats” are merely taking advantage of the US Internal Revenue Code as it is currently written. This they have every right to do.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 23 weeks ago

"...The corporations that he calls “tax cheats” are merely taking advantage of the US Internal Revenue Code as it is currently written. This they have every right to do..."

That is correct. The real issue is corporations buying our politicians so that the tax code allows them to avoid fair taxation. One person one vote is fundamental to democracy, allowing corporations and super-rich elites to buy our politicians is tantamount to high treason, and must be stopped.

A rational government, accountable to the people, would not allow these loopholes in the tax code.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 23 weeks ago


No, the tax is on profits

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 23 weeks ago

The more i read about this, the worse it gets!

The money put offshore is only tax deferred !

They still have to pay tax when they distribute the profits to shareholders.

And of course the shareholders pay taxes on thier income.

Everyway you look at this it is stupid for liberals to get so upset about. This is a minor issue.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 23 weeks ago

A corporation is a single tax entity. If a corporation decides to legally keep some of it's profits in an account to avoid paying taxes, so what. Corporations employ thousands of people, from the lowest to the highest paid. All who pay taxes.

Q: Why do you think a State or locality will offer corporations huge tax breaks to locate within their borders?

A: The employees of the corporation will bring new economic opportunities to the area including paying taxes.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 23 weeks ago

Well, the tax should be on profit, and corporations should a small amount of tax because they do bennefit theoretically from the government.

But these offshore accounts are not really profit. They are reinvesting the money - just not in thier own companies. They should not have to pay tax on this stuff anyway. They are holding this cash to either invest it later or distribute it as profit.

At that time they should and will pay tax on it.

But what rate should they pay? Should they pay the same rate as you or i who are putting money into social insurance? Of course not.

Dr PeterPalms's picture
Dr PeterPalms 7 years 23 weeks ago

It think its real, i,e, it is happening. It will not be stopped because it

is accepted. Only individual tax returns are audited by IRS or domestic corproate business. The Rockerfeller-Rothschild cartel runs the New World Order. The federal reserve system of double taxation through inflation has elimiated most of the middle class. See my 55 blogs on the subject in your

At this point In believe 5% of the world's population already owns 53% ofthe planet intrinsic assets

If you a part of the cabal you are exampt from criminal prosecution.

You will notice corporate executive can now pleade guilty and postone the trial for a decade by paying a fine

Since power corrupts and absolute power corrups absolutely

we have lost control of what used to be our government. High priced and highly paid attornies are working for the transition to a Totalitarian government globally with modern feudalism

Doing anything immediately is not going to help

You already know this Tohm

I think our hope lies in the fact that non-cooperation would

be helpful.

1. If no one voted, so as to establish they have no representation in gov.

2. Stop showing up world wide

You have written many powerful books on the subject Tohm, I am currenlt buying most of them used to keep the cost down.

You know every I know and probably a great deal more.Your activities bring income, and at 81 my savings have been exhausted during the last 18 years, including the inflation which has been 45% the last 20 years, and 90% over the past 45 years.

I am just hanging in there to see what happens an d how long I can last. For details read

Greenacres318's picture
Greenacres318 7 years 23 weeks ago

where can I get a list of companies who ARE paying their fair share of taxes?? - because those are the companies I will support with my pocket book.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist