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Study: Overseas profits find tax havens

Jan. 29, 2013 at 4:10 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A congressional research team said U.S. multinational firms were shifting massive profits to tax havens where their investments were marginal.

The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan branch of Congress, sometimes referred to as a government think-tank, said it studied profits multinational firms claimed were earned in five reputed tax havens and compared them to profits claimed in countries where multinational firms have major investments.

The five small tax havens chosen for the study were Bermuda, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland.

The study found that multinational firms claimed 43 percent of their overseas profits in those five locations. In contrast, multinational companies declared only 14 percent of their profits in Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Australia and Germany.

In terms of investment, only 4 percent of the multinational firms' workforce and 7 percent of their overseas investments were in the five reputed tax havens. In comparison, 40 percent of their overseas workforce and 34 percent of their overseas investments were in the five larger countries, the report said.

Multinational firms claimed $940 billion in overseas profits, the study said.

Strikingly, the profits declared in Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Australia made up 1 percent to 2 percent of those countries' gross domestic products. In the smaller countries, the profits declared by multinational firms averaged 33 percent of their gross domestic products, the Congressional Research Service said.

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