Main Street to Microsoft: “Stop offshore tax dodging”

This week, hundreds of Washington state small business owners affiliated with the Main Street Alliance of Washington sent an open letter to Microsoft calling on tech giant to stop offshore tax dodging, the Seattle Times reports.

According to BloombergBusinessweek, Microsoft tops the list of U.S. tech firms with the biggest overseas profit hauls, holding $76 billion in profits stashed offshore.  In their letter, small business owners express their disappointment that Microsoft has joined in coalitions with other big corporate interests lobbying for a permanent tax amnesty on offshore profits – a so-called “territorial” tax system – while backing cuts to Medicare and Social Security that would wreak further havoc on the Main Street economy.

“Small business owners are proud to contribute our fair share. We know that in order to build strong local economies, we need to invest in an educated workforce, reliable roads and bridges, and a healthy middle class customer base,” said letter signer Consuelo Gomez, owner of Marty K. Inc. in Bellevue.  “But when Microsoft and other large corporations use offshore tax havens to avoid their tax responsibility, it puts small businesses at a disadvantage and robs the country of the resources necessary for economy-boosting investments.”

The Main Street Alliance letter comes as Congress is embattled in major budget showdowns, and on the heels of the introduction of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1533), which would would close the most egregious corporate tax loopholes used by multinational corporations to shield profits from U.S. federal taxes. The legislation was introduced last week by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and is cosponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

A Main Street Alliance survey of small business owners from 42 cities across Washington state found 67% support for closing offshore tax loopholes, while 92% believe large corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes.