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Pay Up Now, Corporations: We’re Organized, Aware of Your Tax Havens and Ready to Boycott

(Photo: Steve Rhodes / Flickr)

PayUpNow.org is an online effort to “uncut” the cutbacks by promoting boycotts of corporations who pay little or no federal income tax.

According to a US Senate subcommittee report, eliminating tax havens could save $100 billion a year. That's a conservative estimate. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calculated that companies and individuals are holding up to $5 trillion in foreign tax havens.

Some of the worst offenders include General Electric (GE), which had $10 billion in profits and received a tax rebate; Bank of America, whose financial statements, according to a Bloomberg report, were “so delusional that they invite laughter”; oil giant Exxon, which paid no US taxes; and Citigroup, with an astounding 427 foreign tax havens.

The list goes on and on. In scanning the Government Accountability Office's list of tax abusers, one is struck by the absence of companies WITHOUT tax havens, euphemistically referred to as “financial privacy jurisdictions.” Indeed, only 17 of the 100 largest US companies were listed as tax-haven-free.

The $100 billion per year lost to the taxpayers would cover most of the $140 billion budget deficit faced by the 50 states.

Several of the tax evaders are featured at PayUpNow.org, with brief summaries of their recent tax escapades, products to avoid and links to online forms or email addresses to corporate management. The web site was developed by US Uncut members. A Facebook “Pay Up Now” page has also been created.

As noted on the Pay Up Now web site, every effort has been made to provide truthful, documented information, but errors and omissions are likely in such a sensitive area. Corporations are adept at tax strategy. A New York Times story said “G.E. is so good at avoiding taxes that some people consider its tax department to be the best in the world, even better than any law firm's.”

Feedback is requested to correct inaccuracies, to add or remove companies depending on their tax-paying behaviors, to clarify company products and to provide the most suitable modes of communicating to management (online forms or email addresses). The web site includes message-sending help. Polite but assertive objection to tax avoidance is essential. Contact information for Pay Up Now is offered as a substitute for a message-sender's personal information.

It is occasionally suggested that consumers end up paying corporate taxes anyway, through higher prices. This argument fails when the extraordinary increase in upper management pay is taken into consideration. Literally billions of dollars have gone to the richest 1 percent, while their personal and corporate taxes have decreased. PayUpNow.org is, at the very least, a means of better informing the public of the truth behind the budget deficit.

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