Levin To Add Anti-Tax Evasion Offsets To Jobs Bill

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington
Last updated 14 hours ago | Wednesday, July 21, 2010

US Senator Carl Levin is attempting to add an amendment to a small business jobs bill currently pending in the Senate that will close loopholes he says are being abused by multinational corporations to reduce their US taxes.

Levin, a long-time campaigner against offshore tax avoidance, announced his initiative as he launched a new coalition of small businesses set up to highlight the issue of international tax planning strategies by large corporations, known as ‘Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse.’

Levin’s amendments would attempt to raise billions of dollars in revenue to help fund a lending facility for small businesses which are struggling to obtain credit from banks, as proposed in the Small Business Jobs Act unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu (D-La.) last month.

One of these offset provisions would give the US Treasury Department the authority to block transactions with foreign banks which are found to be “impeding US tax enforcement.” The coalition is also seeking a number of other policy changes which it says would level the playing field between domestic businesses and US multinationals, including prohibiting firms from transferring intellectual property offshore to avoid US taxes, and banning “phony offshore corporations” which report income offshore but which have their central place of management in the US.

The coalition also wants disincentives to discourage government contractors from using offshore jurisdictions, including tougher penalties.

Sen. Levin was the major architect of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse bill which failed to gain Senate support for a second time after its reintroduction last year. However, some of the language of this bill was incorporated in the the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 (HR 3933, S 1934), which became law as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, changing the system of withholding on payments made to non-US persons.

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