Two Terrible Words: Transfer Pricing

We all know that big companies search for loopholes in the tax code, but sometimes you read a case that just questions the whole system. Apparently there is a new fun practice called Transfer Pricing in which with very flittle foreign investment, you can bounce your companies profits through other nations that have light taxes. It literally takes a financial transaction in America and transfers the profits to another country. It’s a miracle every hot dog stand in Battery Park hasnt figured a way to game this.

Off shore banks have now become metaphysical.

Jesse Drucker writes for Bloomberg News,

After an economic bailout in which the U.S. government lent, spent or guaranteed as much as $12.8 trillion, the Obama administration faces a projected budget deficit of $1.5 trillion this year. In February, the administration said it would target some of the techniques companies use to shift profits offshore — part of a package intended to raise $12 billion a year over the coming decade.

Losing $60 Billion

That’s only about a fifth of the $60 billion in annual U.S. tax revenue lost to thousands of companies’ income shifting, according to a study published in December in the National Tax Journal by Kimberly A. Clausing, an economics professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

The lost revenue could pay the federal government’s share of health coverage for more than 10 million uninsured Americans, such as Hurst — more than a third of the people who will gain insurance under the health-care overhaul passed in March. The administration’s proposed tax on certain financial institutions would take almost seven years to generate $60 billion.

“Transfer pricing is the corporate equivalent of the secret offshore accounts of individual tax dodgers,” said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a statement to Bloomberg News. Levin has overseen hearings on tax shelters including those sold to wealthy people by KPMG LLP. “Now that progress has been made in addressing offshore tax abuse by individuals, transfer pricing is an issue that deserves scrutiny.”

read more at Bloomberg

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