The Tax Man Takes Aim at the World’s Wealthy : The Two-Way : NPR
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they’re not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.
This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world’s economic output.
“I do believe we all have a common interest in being able to tell our taxpayers who work hard and pay their fair share of taxes that we will make sure others do the same,” he wrote in an open letter to the G-8, promoting a coordinated approach to discourage tax evaders.
Multinational corporations have defended themselves by pointing out that they’re only taking advantage of international laws that allow them to look for “optimal” tax structures.
Google, for example, avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenue into a Bermuda shell company, Bloomberg recently reported.