The $1 Trillion corporate heist

In days, world leaders will decide whether to plug a gigantic $1 trillion per year corporate tax loophole – and get enough money to end poverty, put every child in school and double green investment! Our messages to Harper last week caused a stir and a deal is close, but President Obama and Harper are being lobbied hard and are still on the fence – let’s press them to stand up to corruption and end the massive yearly heist:

In days, governments will discuss whether to plug a gigantic $1 trillion per year corporate tax loophole – enough money to end poverty, put every child in school, and double green investment! The Canadian Foreign Ministry told us they were blown away by the 20,000 messages we sent them last week, but Canada and the US are still on the fence. We need a final push now to get their support for a deal.

$1 trillion is more than every country combined spends on their military. It’s bigger than the budgets of 176 nations. It’s $1000 each for every family on the planet. And believe it or not, it’s the amount that our largest corporations and wealthiest individuals evade each year in taxes.

This should be a no-brainer. To massively boost our public finances in a time of painful cuts and debt, all we need to do is ensure that everyone pays the taxes they’re supposed to. But big corporations are fiercely lobbying to protect their dodgy practices. A massive global campaign will help identify and hold accountable the two leaders – Harper and Obama, who still could side with corruption over this gigantic step forward for the planet. Let’s get to one million voices and then Avaaz will deliver our call to leaders and the media in the middle of the negotiations:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/g8_tax_havens_p/?bybIpcb&v=25600

Apple, one of the world’s wealthiest companies, paid basically $0 in tax on $78 billion they made in recent years by setting up shell corporations in low-tax countries and posting profits abroad. This kind of global tax evasion gives multinational firms a huge advantage over smaller domestic companies. It’s as bad for a healthy market economy as it is for democracy and economic stability.

But in days, governments will consider a plan that would make it harder for companies and individuals to evade taxes by hiding their money offshore and in tax shelters. The plan would require countries to share information to expose where the money is hidden and require “fake” companies to reveal who’s really behind them. If talks go well this week, the G8 could agree to the whole thing later this month.

In hard times, when governments everywhere are cutting spending on vital social priorities, it’s particularly galling that the wealthiest get a free pass from paying their fair share. (Even more so when the hard times were caused by massive government handouts to bailout banks owned by the same people). Governments are finally getting serious about plugging these holes in our finances, but the US and Canada could fall sway to powerful business lobbies.

A large public petition that’s well covered by the media will help highlight which countries are blocking the agreement, and make this a political issue for Obama and Harper to deal with. A powerful call from the world’s people to choose to give a massive boost to our planet instead of preserving corrupt loopholes will also help these leaders to find their consciences and good sense. We can’t let the lobbyists win this one in the shadows, let’s bring the spotlight of public attention to this massive decision for our planet:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/g8_tax_havens_p/?bybIpcb&v=25600

Every week, our community strives in and often wins fights for human rights, democracy, conservation and more. But some decisions have the power to affect thousands of causes at once, often preventing many problems from ever happening. $1 trillion per year in public funding would make a massive difference in the lives of children who could go to school, lives that could be saved, peace that could be built, habitats that could be protected, and so much more. For the sake of all these future struggles that we might not need to fight, let’s win this one.

With hope,

Alex, Jeremy, Christoph, Marie, Ian, David, Paul, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=25325

MORE INFORMATION:

Europe’s push against tax fraud gains momentum (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22627330

Canada years behind allies in global tax evasion (CBC News)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/05/10/tax-data-leak-canada-.html

The missing $20 trillion (Economist)
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21571873-how-stop-companies-and-people-dodging-tax-delaware-well-grand-cayman-missing-20

The Corrosive Effect of Apple’s Tax Avoidance (New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/business/making-companies-pay-taxes-the-mccain-way.html

Factbox: Apple, Amazon, Google and tax avoidance schemes (Reuters)
http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/eu-tax-avoidance-idINDEE94L07Z20130522

Tax havens are entrenching poverty in developing countries (The Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/14/tax-havens-entrenching-poverty-developing-countries

Military spending by country (Economist)
http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/04/daily-chart-9

 

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