Tech giants who seek $80 billion tax holiday face stiff opposition

win-america-campaign-logoA coalition that includes some of America’s largest technology companies have launched a lobbying campaign to pressure the Obama administration into allowing a tax holiday worth billions of dollars. The suspiciously named “Win America Campaign” (WAC) includes the likes of Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Apple, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce. Despite claims that the saved money will be used to reinvest in America to create jobs, both the Obama administration’s Treasury Department and citizen advocacy groups say otherwise.

According to the WAC’s mission, these American corporations have a total of about $1 trillion in money that is “trapped overseas.” They would like to bring this money “back home” to America in order “to strengthen our economy, pay down our debt, put people back to work,” and otherwise “invest” in the country. Thing is, they want to bring this money they earned outside of the US back without having to pay high taxes on it. But to do so legally would require changes to US tax code — changes the Obama administration and members of Congress are currently reluctant to make.

“Unfortunately, our broken tax system actually penalizes U.S. businesses that want to bring their global earnings to America. We are left with a choice: provide businesses with incentives to invest their global earnings here at home, or preserve the status quo and keep the money overseas,” says statement on the WAC website.

A similar tax holiday was enacted in 2004, which allowed US corporations to bring their profits to the states at a reduced tax rate of 5.25 percent, well below the standard 35 percent government cut. According to Michael Mundaca, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, many of the companies that benefited from that tax holiday “used the repatriated funds simply to repurchase stock or pay dividends” — not to ‘invest in America’ or create jobs. Not only that, but he says there is currently less incentive for US companies to use their lowly taxed funds to hire more workers than in 2004.

“Today, when U.S. corporations have ready access to cash they have accumulated and are holding here in the United States, it is even harder to make the case that a repatriation holiday will unlock new investment and job creation,” Mundaca writes in a post on the official Treasury blog.

The Obama administration isn’t the only group pushing back against the demands of the WAC. A group called US Uncut has launched a protest campaign against Apple for its involvement in the WAC.

“Apple is a leader of a Tax Cheaters Lobbying Group that is lobbying Congress to give tax dodgers a tax holiday,” write US Uncut in a statement on its website. “They call themselves the ‘Win America Campaign,’ but America will lose $80 billion if they get their way.”

US Uncut urges those who oppose the tax holiday to rally like-minded citizens to protest at Apple Store locations around the country on June 4.