Politics

Wal-Mart Reportedly Sheltering $76 Billion in Tax Havens Overseas

| by Ethan Brown

One of America’s wealthiest and most well-known retailers reportedly holds $76 billion in assets that are not being reported to U.S. tax authorities.

Instead, $76 billion is being sheltered in tax havens in the Netherlands and Germany, where taxes are extremely low compared to the corporate taxes in the U.S., reports Bloomberg News, based on a study by United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.

The study, published on June 17 by Americans for Tax Fairness says, “at least 78 offshore subsidiaries and branches” exist in overseas markets in an effort to avoid the high American taxes on wealthy corporations."

Despite not having any stores in the country, Wal-Mart has reportedly invested funds in Luxembourg, where it was taxed at a rate of less than 1 percent. The company reported $1.3 billion in profits from 2010 to 2013 from those investments.

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The report said 90 percent of Wal-Mart’s units are located in tax-friendly zones, such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Politicians are now weighing in on the matter, lambasting the corporation for not paying its fair share of taxes in this country. Wal-Mart avoided paying around $3.5 billion in taxes by using these methods, the report says.

“Wal-Mart’s undisclosed subsidiaries in 15 different tax havens hurts its credibility on tax matters and raises questions about whether it is using hidden offshore tax dodges,” said former Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan. Levin has a history of fighting against corporations with similar practices, such as Apple and Caterpillar.

Wal-Mart later shot back at the report and accused the researchers of being pro-union, a stance that Wal-Mart has objected to in the past.

“This is the same union-supported group that regularly issues similar, flawed reports on Wal-Mart to promote their agenda rather than the facts. This latest report includes incomplete, erroneous information designed to mislead readers,” the company said in a statement.

Sources: Bloomberg News, USA Today

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart, Flickr Creative Commons