US senator introduces revised tax haven bill

| 12/07/2011

(CNS): Senator Carl Levin introduced his latest version of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act in Washington on Tuesday, once again taking aim at offshore tax haven abuses, which he says cost the US taxpayer around $100 billion per year. The most recent bill, which is the fifth one the senator has tried to get through the Senate, contains an array of provisions which would permanently close offshore tax loopholes, raise revenue and increase transparency and accountability for multinational businesses, the senator revealed. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson, Sanders, Shaheen and Whitehouse. The Michigan Democrat said he hoped the current focus in Washington on deficit reduction may carry his legislation “over the goal line” this time.

“But it is fundamental fairness to our taxpayers and to the businesses that stay here and pay taxes that will get it to the goal line,” remarked Levin, who is the chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “The idea that we have all these companies that avoid paying taxes through all these gimmicks is disgraceful, and that we tolerate it is disgraceful.”

Among the goals of the senator’s new proposal is to give the Treasury Department new tools to face down offshore banks that do not cooperate with the IRS.

It also aims to change Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow American traders credit-default swaps to avoid paying federal taxes on many transactions that begin in the United States. It would also tighten rules that enable some hedge funds and corporations based in the United States to reduce their federal tax liabilities by declaring themselves foreign companies andmoving a small part of their operations overseas.

“Passage of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would be a game changer,” said Global Financial Integrity (GFI) director, Raymond Baker, one of the NGOs backing the bill. “It would close offshore tax loopholes, remove incentives to send money and jobs overseas, level the playing field between small businesses and multinational corporations, and strengthen law enforcement and tax collection capacities.”

The bill contains a provision requiring annual country-by-country reporting by SEC-registered corporations related to their employees, sales, purchases, sales, financing arrangements and taxes.

Levin said he thought corporate opposition and the complicated nature of the issue had stood in the way of getting his bill passed in previous years. President Barrack Obama twice signed onto Levin’s tax haven legislation before being elected to the White House. “We’re very much hoping he will remember what he did when he was a senator,” Levin said.

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  1. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Question: How many individuals guilty of fraud and/or criminal activity during the financial crisis and there is ample evidence of this have been charged or sent to jail? This is a hypocritical stance from the U.S. government considering it's convenient blindness.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This bill will fail in the house of representatives.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….mainly because it was introduced in the Senate…..

      Its his brother, Sander, in the house.   Sander has had his own offshore bashing proposals in the past. 

  3. Polly Tricks says:

    Fair enough.  Why should a sub-nation of 30,000 deprive real countries of billions in revenue to help those most in need?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is not depriving the U.S. of anything. It is engaging in free enterprise and in particular tax competition. If the U.S. is losing tax revenues it simply needs to become more competitive. If you imagine that closing down Cayman means that billions of dollars come flowing into the U.S. Treasurythink again.

      As for "those most in need", as far as I can see U.S. govt. revenues are used to bail out their multimillionaire friends on Wall Street.  

      • Anonymous says:

         You guys need to look south and east for your financial customers. It is going to be increasingly hard for Americans to salt away money in Cayman shell companies (or any other "tax advantaged" location. Your whining makes no difference at all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Has Mr. Levin ever succeeded at anything?

    It seems his bills are always a vote short and a day late.

    Time to go sit down Mr. Levin – and contemplate the solutions to America's real problems instead of finding countries you can bully.

    • Anonymous says:

      I couldn’t agree more; the reporting requirements and compliance procedures that US Senators come up with these days are ridiculous. The computer systems, databases, man power, software, software integration work and data security that is needed in order to efficiently run this would be a tremendous cost.

      Sometimes I feel these boys suggest things without properly thinking them through…

  5. Anonymous says:

    A bigger government is no better government.

    All these added or proposed finanacial regulations will created a monstrous government entity which will not bring in signicant revenue.

    It will just increase the the cost of doing business by foreign financial entities to comply. Many of these will go out of business due to highcosts of compliance.

    I do hope hope some sensible senators and congressman add  a rider to the built to subsidise this additional costs and if necessary bail them out if they are going under.

    On a lighter note, the USA might end up being called the United States of the World. God bless the the new geo-political world

  6. The lone Haranguer says:

    For all you USA lovers, seems like they want to interfer in our business. Another reason we have to begin establishing relation with the richest country in the world. That would be China.

    • truth says:

      I think they just no longer will tolerate you interfering with THIER business. As Cayman has NO other business and nothing to sell but a little land you better establish relations with Cuba.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Diversionary tatic to avoid the US' real issues. Too bad they have the might to sink Cayman in the process.