Report says Walmart stashing billions overseas
The phrase "economic patriotism" has been thrown around in recent years to put pressure on U.S.-based multinational corporations to stop using accounting maneuvers and legal loopholes to avoid paying their "fair share" of taxes in the U.S. The latest company to come under the spotlight is Walmart following claims it has cut its tax bill by $3.5 billion over the past six years by reporting profits at subsidiaries in tax haven countries around the globe.
Critics of a report of the allegations, published by Americans for Tax Fairness, might point out that it was researched by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which has long sought to organize Walmart’s workers. Walmart maintains the company is in compliance with IRS and SEC requirements and that the report is misleading.
According to the report, Walmart has 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 countries overseas. Ninety-percent of the chain’s overseas assets are owned by subsidiaries in the tax haven nations of Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Walmart has no stores in Luxembourg, but its subsidiaries there reported profits of $1.3 billion that were taxed at less than one percent.
Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon – Photo: Walmart
One of the main criticisms of Walmart in the report is the company’s lack of transparency. The company’s dealings "have remained largely invisible, in part because Walmart fails to list them in its annual 10-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)."
"This report is continuing evidence that everybody has been engaging in cross-border tax avoidance," Stephen Shay, a professor at Harvard Law School and former deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs for the Obama Treasury Department, told The Washington Post.
- Wal-Mart has $76 billion in overseas tax havens, report says – The Washington Post/The State Journal-Register
- The Walmart Web: How the World’s Biggest Corporation Secretly Uses Tax Havens to Dodge Taxes – Americans for Tax Fairness
- The Walmart Web – Americans for Tax Fairness
Will the Americans for Tax Fairness report hurt Walmart? What is your position on the use of overseas tax shelters by U.S.-based corporations?