Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is sponsoring a bill designed to force big corporations to disclose how many jobs they outsource to other countries and if they’re using so-called tax havens in other countries to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
“In 2017, US corporations booked $32 billion of profits in Bermuda despite having 547 employees there. That’s something like an efficiency rate of $130 million per employee. Come on. I know Iowans are efficient when it comes to work, but that’s crazy,” Axne said. “That’s $32 billion in profits that’s been off-shored — they’re not paying taxes on that.”
Axne’s bill has cleared the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, said it’s a fairness issue.
“The large, multinational corporations are shifting those profits around and avoiding taxes,” Axne said, “while our Main Street businesses are paying their taxes and they’re struggling to make ends meet.”
If Axne’s bill becomes law, corporations with shareholders would have to publicly disclose details about operations on a country-by-country basis. Axne said it would show how many employees are based outside the U.S. and how much company revenue and profits are being claimed as being earned outside the U.S.
“Once you disclose this, there is an obvious understanding of how much money we’re missing out in taxes because businesses are taking advantage of opportunities that the everyday Iowan, the everyday American doesn’t even know about,” Axne said, “or even have a chance to do.”
Axne’s bill would work in tandem with tax changes the Biden Administration is seeking to reduce the incentives for corporations to shift profits to low-tax countries in order to avoid U.S. corporate taxes.
(By Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah; Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson contributed to this story)