Activists prompted Treasury to curb corporate tax avoidance scheme that hurts schools

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By Amanda Litvinov / photo by Tim Evanson

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Everyday Americans scored a major victory in early April that will help protect public schools and the millions of students who rely on them.

Through digital organizing efforts, Americans for Tax Fairness gathered 120,000 confirmed signatures on a petition that asked the Obama administration to take a stand against corporate tax dodging by closing an egregious loophole that drains funds for critical public services including education. The petition was submitted to the White House at the end of March.

On April 4, the U.S. Treasury Department issued new rules that discourage corporate inversions, a scheme in which an American company merges with a foreign company located in a tax haven to avoid paying corporate taxes to the U.S. government. The rules will wipe out the $35 billion in tax breaks American drug giant Pfizer intended to exploit through a merger with Ireland-based Allergan.

How will this help students?

If everyone pays their fair share in taxes, we can expect lawmakers to fully fund federal education programs, including Title I, which helps low-income students, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which has never been funded at even half the amount Congress promised 40 years ago.

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It is estimated that U.S. corporations hold a record $2.4 trillion offshore to avoid paying taxes. And that means the government loses an estimated $695 billion in federal income taxes that could be invested in education, public health, our nation’s infrastructure—the things that benefit us all.

“The government cannot let big corporations run away from their responsibilities to this nation,” said Frank Clemente, executive director for Americans for Tax Fairness. “Treasury has taken an important step to improve the overall corporate tax system.”

There are many more steps lawmakers should take to stop rewarding the wealthy with handouts they don’t need so we can start investing in our children through high-quality education that begins with well-resourced schools in every zip code.

Speaking up together is the best shot we have in countering the corporate lobbyists and influential business execs who ask lawmakers for even more tax breaks every day.

Do you think they have our students’ best interests in mind?

Speak up today—sign our petition for tax fairness on behalf of public education!

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