We do our part, so why don’t corporations?

Dodging taxes might be good for wealthy shareholders, but it’s an arrangement that Oregon’s kids and families can’t afford.

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Corporate profits have been steadily increasing since 2008. Today, they’re higher than ever — literally. Profits are rising, but the taxes that some of the largest corporations pay aren’t keeping pace. Working families, on the other hand, are doing our part — we work hard and we pay the taxes we owe. So why are wealthy corporations getting away with not paying their taxes?

If you’re a giant corporation, here are the top four ways that you might get out of paying the taxes you owe:

1. Hire an army of accountants! Some of the largest — and most powerful — corporations have a number of accountants to identify loopholes to exploit and complicated schemes to devise, all so they can avoid paying taxes and keep their bottom lines intact.

2. Hide your profits overseas! These same corporations stash their profits — currently, more than $2 trillion — in overseas tax havens, where they’re shielded from U.S. taxes.

3. Accept any and all handouts that are given to you. Large corporations take government handouts to subsidize their tax bills — and they’ve taken nearly $364 billion in federal tax subsidies.

4. If you didn’t earn any tax credits, buy them from some corporation that did. Large corporations are notorious for buying discounted tax credits, even if they aren’t qualified to receive them. They use these credits to dodge millions of dollars in taxes.

To make sure the largest corporations start paying their fair share in Oregon, we need to raise the minimum tax that these corporations owe.

Just looking at Oregon, we know that in 2012, nearly 400 corporations exploited a loophole to bring their tax bills down to zero. That cost us $9 million dollars in much-needed revenue. Oregon taxpayers have handed out $6 billion in corporate subsidies. That money could have gone to our schools (which have been hit with devastating cuts in recent years), or to services for our seniors. It could have made healthcare more affordable, or made waiting lists for state services a bit more approachable.

Worst of all, even if we closed the loopholes, stopped handing out subsidies, and put an end to foreign tax havens, that still wouldn’t guarantee that the largest corporations would start paying their fair share. That’s because Oregon has the lowest corporate taxes in the entire country — by a mile.

By raising the minimum tax for the largest corporations, and holding them accountable to it, we can overcome the accountants and their loopholes. We do our part, so why shouldn’t they? Zero-tax schemes by the world’s largest corporations might be good for wealthy shareholders, but it’s an arrangement Oregon’s kids and families can’t afford.

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