REPORT: Corporations’ offshore tax haven abuse costs Mainers millions of dollars

Corporations depend on things like an educated workforce, consumers with enough income to pay for services and products, and infrastructure that facilitates commerce. As a state and a nation, we fund the investments that help businesses succeed and create a strong economy that allows them to profit.

In return, corporations are supposed to pay taxes — just like families do — to help sustain and improve strong economic conditions for future generations.

But every year, large US-based companies such as Apple, Pfizer, Exxon Mobil, Google, and others use a complex system of international accounting loopholes to move their domestic profits in foreign countries with lower tax rates. Instead of contributing what they should at home, these corporations exploit “offshore tax havens” to pay lower or no taxes abroad on profits generated in the US — including here in Maine.

These tax avoidance schemes reduce the resources available to fund investments that create economic opportunity and prosperity for the future. This is a $100 billion dollar problem at the federal level, but Maine pays a price too: Offshore tax haven abuse costs Maine up to $52 million annually.

Action is needed at the federal level to fully rein in the use of offshore tax havens by multinational corporations based in the United States. However, Maine doesn’t need to wait. There are relatively straightforward policy solutions that would help ensure corporations making profit off Mainers are paying their fair share for the investments Maine makes in its economy.

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