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Midtown Advocacy Group: Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Georgia Taxpayers $351 a Year

New study finds that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in Georgia would have to foot a bill of over $1,520 on average.

Tax Day has arrived…have you procrastinated and waited until the last minute?

If so you’re in good company as according to Intuit, makers of the software Turbo Tax, Atlanta ranks 14th among U.S. cities that waits until the last minute to complete its tax returns.

But if you have filed, you might consider rewarding yourself at “Tax Day Tuesday” at in the 1010 Midtown building.

Keeping a little money in their pockets, on Tax Day Tuesday guests can choose from more than 35 sushi, appetizer, and tapas selections ranging from $2 to $7, and RA’s all-day drink specials from $2 to $7. RA Sushi’s happy hour typically runs from 3 to 7 p.m., but on this specific day, happy hour specials will be offered from 3 p.m. until close.

And while eating, you might want to chew on this study fact released by Midtown-based Georgia Public Interest Research Group: the average Georgia taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra $351 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens.

Georgia PIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization located at 817 West Peachtree St.

The report additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in Georgia would have to foot a bill of over $1,520 on average.

According to Georgia PIRG, every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $100 billion in taxes by shifting income to low or no tax offshore tax havens. Of that $100 billion, $60 billion in taxes are avoided specifically by corporations. A Government Accountability Office study found that at least 83 of the top 100 publically traded corporations use offshore tax havens.

“When corporations shirk their tax burden by using accounting gimmicks to stash profits legitimately made in the U.S. in offshore tax havens like the Caymans, the rest of us must pick up the tab,” said Jessica Wilson, Georgia PIRG program associate, in a release. “Responsible small businesses don’t just foot the bill for corporate tax dodging, they are put at a competitive disadvantage since they can’t hire armies of well paid lawyers and accountants to use offshore tax loopholes.”

The report recommends closing a number of offshore tax loopholes, many of which are included in the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (H.R. 2669) and Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act (S.2075). Congressmen Hank Johnson and Congressman John Lewis are cosponsors of the House legislation.

According to the report, using complex tax avoidance schemes, many of America’s largest corporations drastically shrink their tax bill:

Google uses techniques nicknamed the “double Irish” and the “Dutch sandwich,” involving two Irish subsidiaries and one in Bermuda – a tax haven – that helped shrink its tax bill by $3.1 billion between 2008 and 2010.

Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010 despite being profitable all three years in part due to its use of 58 offshore tax haven subsidiaries.

G.E. received a $3.3 billion tax refund in 2010 despite reporting over $5 billion in U.S. profits to shareholders. The company has $94 billion parked offshore and uses 14 tax haven subsidiaries.

“It is appalling that these companies get out of paying for the nation’s infrastructure, education system, security, and large market that help make them successful,” Wilson added in a statement.

How does the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals make you feel as a taxpayer?

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