Massachusetts Fair Share

We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.

Our Tax Day Column: Making the Next Tax Day More Fair

Our opinion piece around tax day, as printed in the Berkshire Eagle.

As I go through the annual chore of submitting my taxes, I can’t help but shake my head at the thought that there are large corporations that don’t pay a dime in income tax because of places like the Ugland House.

Never heard of Ugland House? It is a modest, five-story office building located in the Cayman Islands. You might be surprised to learn that it is the registered address for 18,857 companies — including many large corporations in the U.S. that avoid paying U.S. taxes by registering subsidiaries there. In fact, a recent Citizens for Tax Justice report found that Fortune 500 companies are holding $2.1 trillion in profits offshore, avoiding $600 billion in taxes.

As Americans rushed to meet the April 15 filing deadline, a bill was making its way through the Massachusetts Legislature that would do something about this offshore corporate tax heist.

Rep. Josh Cutler and Sen. Mark Montigny have introduced a bill to close the “Waters Edge” loophole, which will recoup $79 million in taxes lost to offshore tax dodging. The bill, An Act closing a corporate tax haven loophole (HB 2477 and SD 1699), has been cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 57 lawmakers.

Offshore tax havens put small, local businesses at a disadvantage. Not only are they forced to compete with larger businesses who pay a much lower tax rate, they have to foot the bill for the services we all need.

Massachusetts lawmakers have a lot of tough decisions facing them this budget cycle. This is an easy one. Everyone should play by the same set of rules.

Where are we going to find the money to fix up the MBTA or make vital investments in early education? We can start by taking a look at the Ugland House.

Over the last year, Massachusetts Fair Share has generated more than 6,000 comments and signatures to close the “Waters Edge” loophole in Massachusetts. As I talk to people about this issue, I can you that Massachusetts residents and local business owners are tired of hearing about how the game is rigged in favor of large multinational companies.

We are ready to for action at the state level. We are ready for action at the national level. And if Massachusetts lawmakers take action this year, it might not make Tax Day any easier next year, but it will make it more fair.

Nathan Proctor is state director of Massachusetts Fair Share, a statewide non-profit advocacy group that believes everyone should get a fair shot, do and pay a fair share, and play by the same rules.

 

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2015 by in Tax and Budget.
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