The Tax Evasion Double Standard: How US CEOs Are Withholding Revenue

Wisconsin's 99% march on GE at their Shareholder meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on April 25, 2012. (Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now)Wisconsin’s 99% march on GE at their shareholder meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on April 25, 2012. (Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now)

If I refused to pay any taxes until the US government lowered my taxes to a so-called “fair rate,” I’d almost certainly be arrested for tax evasion. But when The Washington Post asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the billions that his company has stashed in tax havens around the world, Cook declared: “We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

And nothing happened, either to Cook or to Apple. Because when it comes to taxes, it’s truer today than ever that only the little people pay.

Apparently though, that’s not enough for the CEOs of multinational corporations, like Tim Cook. He doesn’t just want to avoid taxes, he wants Americans to know that Congress isn’t writing the rules; Apple is.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

Dave Johnson from Campaign for America’s Future wrote a great article about this titled, “CEO Of Giant Corporation Tells US Government He’s the Boss of Them.” In it, Johnson writes:

[T]hese days huge multinational corporations are the boss of our Congress. So, CEO Cook gets away with it, and with keeping $181 billion in tax havens to dodge paying $59 billion in taxes. Cook knows he can just come out and say they are not going to pay their taxes until there is a “fair rate.”

And he’s right.

But Apple is by no means the only corporation doing this.

In March, Citizens for Tax Justice reported that US Fortune 500 corporations are avoiding up to $695 billion in US federal income taxes by holding $2.4 trillion of “permanently reinvested” profits offshore. That’s nearly $700 billion that the largest US corporations — corporations like Netflix, Nike and Citigroup — are stashing in offshore tax havens.

And now Tim Cook is setting an outrageous precedent by flagrantly declaring that Apple won’t pay a dime of what’s owed unless the US government does what he…

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