Tax

The UK and Australia have already agreed to disclose the true owners of anonymous shell companies. It's time for the United States to get serious about incorporation transparency. 

The Panama Papers: So Much Of It Is Legal, And That's A Problem

By | Jeremy Flood
Tax & Budget Digital Campaigner

After a leak of millions of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed the widespread use of anonymous companies to hide money abroad, one fact remains clear —  setting up secret shell firms to hide secret money is totally legal. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group | Tax

Following the Money 2016: New Report Ranks All Fifty States on Government Spending Transparency

Government spending transparency is improving, but many states still lag far behind, according to “Following the Money 2016: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the sixth annual report of its kind by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Some states have improved their spending transparency web portals significantly, earning perfect scores in this year’s report, while others are still barely achieving the minimum standards.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group | Tax

Following the Money 2016

State governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Public accountability helps ensure that state funds are spent as wisely as possible.

State-operated spending transparency websites provide checkbook-level detail on government spending, allowing citizens and watchdog groups to view payments made to individual companies, the goods or services purchased, and the benefits obtained in exchange for public subsidies.

 

All 50 states operate websites to make information on state expenditures accessible to the public, and in the past year these web portals continued to improve. For instance, all but four states provide checkbook-level data for one or more economic development subsidy programs and more than half of states make that subsidy data available for researchers to download and analyze. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

U.S. PIRG Statement in Response to Finalized BP Oil Spill Settlement

A statement by Michelle Surka, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Program Associate, regarding the recently finalized BP Gulf Oil Spill Settlement:

 

“Though we are glad that the protracted settlement to address BP’s actions in relation to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill has finally concluded, and injured parties can begin to be made whole again, we are disappointed that BP will yet again be able to claim its settlement payments as ordinary cost of doing business tax deductions.

U.S. PIRG Statement on State of the Union Address

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama came before Congress to give his seventh and final State of the Union address. In his speech, the President highlighted top national priorities and some of the greatest challenges faced by the American people.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Tax

U.S. PIRG Opposes Congressional Deal to Extend and Make Permanent Tax Breaks Costing $830 Billion Without Paying for Them

U.S. PIRG urges the Congress to reject the proposed budget and tax break deal announced late Tuesday. The deal extends or makes permanent about 50 tax breaks that add $830 billion to the deficit over 10 years. The proposed deal does not pay for any of these new costs. 

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Government Agencies Allow Corporations to Write Off Billions in Federal Settlement Payments

A new study by United States Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (U.S. PIRG) analyzes which federal agencies allow companies to write off out-of-court settlements as tax deductions and which agencies are transparent about these deals. The study found that five of the largest government agencies that sign settlement agreements with corporations rarely specify the tax status of the resulting payments. Billions of dollars are allowed to be written off as cost of doing business tax deductions. Additionally, the report found that major government agencies do not consistently disclose the details of corporate settlement agreements.

Report | US PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Settling for a Lack of Accountability?

When large companies harm the public through fraud, financial scams, chemical spills, dangerous products or other misdeeds, they almost never just pay a fine or penalty, as ordinary people would. Instead, these companies negotiate out-of-court settlements that resolve the charges in return for stipulated payments or promised remedies. These agreements, made on behalf of the American people, are not subject to any transparency standards and companies often write them off as tax deductions claimed as necessary and ordinary costs of doing business.

Resource | Tax

Following the Money 2016 Webinar

Webinar detailing criteria and context of Following the Money 2016.

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