Quick Hit Brandon Campbell Monday April 16th, 2012, 12:13pm

The High Cost Of Corporate Tax Breaks On Illinois Small Businesses

The “Picking Up The Tab” report said that 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. took advantage of loopholes in 2008 that allowed them to shield revenues from taxes. By incorporating in countries like the Cayman Islands, which can typically done by simply registering a post office box, companies can legally avoid federal income taxes on the revenue maintained there.

“This tax dodging costs taxpayers an estimated $100 billion every year,” said Celeste Meiffren, field director with Illinois PIRG. “In 2011, the average Illinois tax filer would need to pay $508 to pick up the full tab.”

Meiffren spoke alongside Mike Nikodem during a press conference outside of Boeing’s downtown Chicago headquarters. The group said Boeing earned about $4.3 billion in profit in 2010, but due to the loopholes was taxed at only 0.3 percent. In contrast, Nikodem said he paid about 19 percent in federal income taxes.

“Boeing is only one of such companies that has lots of accountants, tax attorneys, and other resources to take perfectly legal advantage of the flaws in the U.S. tax code,” Nikodem said. “The ability of these companies to avoid paying federal income tax harms us as small business owners.”

While Boeing did not return phone calls for this story, Nikodem told Progress Illinois he understood that corporations who take advantage of the loopholes were doing what businesses do best by maximizing their profits. He said the tax codes that allowed those loopholes were “unfair.”

Illinois PIRG pointed to two bills now stalled in legislative limbo that would close the loopholes: The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and The Cut Loopholes Act.

“I’m here to urge my Congresswoman, Representative Judy Biggert, and all other Illinois Representatives who’ve not signed on this bill to stand up for me and all other Illinois small business owners and co- sponsoer the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act,” Nikodem said.


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