They discover that multinationals working in tax havens are much more worthwhile than domestically owned firms in these nations, and that their earnings dwarf what they pay employees. They break the numbers down to point out the outsize earnings are largely as a result of of cash being “shifted” — on paper — into these havens.
Large companies like Apple, Google, Nike and Starbucks all take steps to book profits in tax havens comparable to Bermuda and Ireland. Their methods have prompted a crackdown by authorities regulators, significantly within the European Union, the place officers have tried to power firms to pay again taxes they believed are owed to their nations. Mr. Zucman mentioned his analysis recommended that officers ought to step up these efforts.
“It’s very striking in the sense that these multinational companies, they are the main winners from globalization. And they are also those who have seen their tax rates fall a lot,” Mr. Zucman mentioned. “This means that other actors in the economy, they have to pay more in order to take up the tax burden.”
Mr. Zucman mentioned the outcomes ought to trigger policymakers to rethink their efforts on a number of fronts. They counsel, he mentioned, that superior nations are underestimating financial development and undercollecting company tax revenues, as a result of they’re lacking the earnings which have been shifted on paper by multinational companies.
Kimberly Clausing, an economist at Reed College who has written and researched extensively concerning the scope of shifting earnings to tax havens, mentioned the analysis demonstrated that “the decline in the corporate tax is a result of policy, not an inevitable feature of the global economy. This implies that policymakers have the ability to address this problem without losing out in a tax competition game against other countries. But they must have the will to tackle tax havens themselves, instead of directing their fire at other non-haven countries.”
Included within the new tax legislation have been a number of steps meant to handle profit-shifting, together with a sophisticated set of world minimal taxes for multinational companies. Those steps have pissed off many firms as they wait for the Treasury Department to problem laws and steerage on how they are going to be implement. Some economists fear that one of the measures could actually encourage companies to maneuver jobs out of the United States.
Mr. Zucman mentioned it was too quickly to inform whether or not these measures would succeed. But he mentioned it was clear that policymakers ought to fear much less about outdoing their allies with company tax cuts, and as an alternative contemplate steps to crack down on profit-shifting, comparable to taxing earnings the place firms register their gross sales.