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Small Businesses Cry Foul over Corporate Tax Havens

A coalition of advocates for small business today called on the White House and Congress to end what they consider support for tax dodging by large corporations that use offshore tax havens to save billions of dollars.

"Everyone needs to pay their fair share to keep America moving forward," the group said in a statement. "Tax dodging deprives our nation of revenue needed to maintain and modernize the infrastructure and services underpinning a strong economy."

Sponsors of the statement include Wealth for the Common Good, Business for Shared Prosperity, Growth & Justice, and the American Sustainable Business Council.

The crux of the group's argument: Big corporations use tax havens not available to small businesses. "Responsible businesses and banks are hurt when other firms use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes," they said.

"An estimated $100 billion or more in tax revenue is lost every year to tax havens," the group claims. "Our economic progress is undermined when companies are rewarded for financial manipulation rather than innovation and productive investment."

According to the group, 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations and 63 of the 100 largest publicly traded federal contractors had subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland, Luxembourg or other offshore tax havens as of 2007, according to the latest report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The group calls for eliminating tax benefits for transactions that have no real business purpose apart from avoiding taxes, and disallowing a business to incorporate in a country that serves as an offshore tax haven while "pretending to be a foreign corporation for U.S. tax purposes while, in reality, being managed and controlled from the United States, and taking advantage of all the commercial, educational and other infrastructure financed by U.S. taxpayers."

The group is seeking petition signers here.