05-20-2018  9:06 am      •     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

US Marshals, police arrest Vermont fugitive in Oregon

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a missing sex offender from Vermont has been arrested in Oregon.The Marshals say 55-year-old James Rivers was arrested May 16 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, by deputy marshals and local police. It's unclear if he has an attorney.Authorities...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

ENTERTAINMENT

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...

'13 Reasons Why' premiere canceled after Texas shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix canceled the premiere party for its second season of the teen drama "13 Reasons Why" because of a school shooting near Houston.The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump Jr. met with Mueller witness during campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military contractor and an...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a...

British royal family thanks those who celebrated wedding

LONDON (AP) — The royal family, blessed with fantastic weather and a buoyant public mood at the royal...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

Markle's bridal gown work of Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller

LONDON (AP) — Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy is the master British designer behind the sleek silk...

Brian Setzler

I'm an accountant. My college degrees and CPA license are the intellectual properties that enable me to earn a living. Now suppose that I formed a corporation to deliver my services, then took my diplomas and license off my wall and placed them in a safe deposit box in a Luxembourg bank. When clients came to my Oregon office, I would explain that the value of my services was represented by the diplomas and license now held in the offshore bank, and they should send their payment to my corporation housed at a PO Box in Luxembourg. Using this little accounting trick, I would be able to avoid paying U.S. taxes, until I brought those "foreign" funds back to the United States.    

If I spun this ludicrous tale to my clients, I expect most of them would leave my practice immediately and find a different accountant.

But this accounting acrobatics is exactly the sort of transaction that hundreds of U.S. multinational corporations use to avoid paying billions of dollars annually in U.S. corporate income taxes. Technology, pharmaceutical and entertainment corporations, whose profits depend heavily on patents, trademarks and copyrights, have aggressively shifted profits from the United States, to one of dozens of tax havens that charge little or no taxes.

Bloomberg Business Week recently illustrated examples of this tax avoiding behavior: Forest Laboratories "sells nearly 100 percent of its drugs in the U.S. – and cuts its U.S. taxes dramatically by attributing the bulk of its profits to a law office in Bermuda. … Google reduced its income taxes by $3.1 billion over three years by shifting income to Ireland, then the Netherlands, and ultimately to Bermuda."

These tax avoiding strategies cost the U.S. Treasury more than $100 billion a year. And they have led to more than $1.2 trillion in liquid assets being stashed offshore by U.S. corporations.

A new coalition of corporate tax avoiders including Google, Apple Computer, Pfizer, Duke Energy and an array of industry trade groups are demanding that Congress pass a special tax break that would reward these tax avoiders who "repatriate," or bring back their offshore stash to the U.S., with a 5.25% tax rate, not the 35% corporate income tax that would otherwise be owed.

The coalition calls itself WIN America, but the numbers involved in the corporate tax holiday mean a real loss for America. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation has calculated this tax windfall would cost $80 billion, money that would be made up with higher taxes on small business people like me, or through reduced government services and infrastructure upon which all businesses, communities and families depend.

Tax amnesty programs are nothing new. The IRS has a couple of times allowed individual taxpayers to declare hidden offshore assets and pay both the full tax due and penalties in exchange for avoiding prosecution and possible jail time. While much corporate tax-dodging through the use of tax havens is neither hidden, nor illegal under current law favoring U.S. multinationals, it wholly stems from corporations who engage in these transactions for the principle purpose of shifting profits between countries in order to avoid taxes. Creating an incentive for such anti-social behavior through preferential tax rates will only serve to accelerate the offshoring of U.S. profits through fictional transactions.

Indeed, this is exactly what happened in 2004, when Congress enacted the American Jobs Creation Act, a bill which promised that a 5.25% tax rate would bring home billions of dollars that supporters claimed would be reinvested to create American jobs. The promise never materialized; most of the funds went instead to boost shareholder dividends and stock buybacks. Many of the biggest beneficiaries of the tax break, including Pfizer, Honeywell, and Hewlett Packard, laid off thousands of workers just months after receiving their tax windfall.  That tax holiday, and the promise of another, has dramatically accelerated the amount of U.S. profits shifted offshore.

All of my education took place in the United States, as do all of my client meetings. The vast majority of Americans find it right and logical that I have a duty to pay taxes in the U.S. It is time that the same logic applies to multinational corporations, and that we stop accepting fairy tales about patents and trademarks held in some far-away bank vault.



Setzler is President and founder of TriLibrium, a public accounting and business advisory firm located in Portland, OR

Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

The Skanner Report

repulsing the monkey