Whistleblower primer: which corporations are tax evaders and which aren’t?

When you start with knowledge that every dollar of tax evasion is borne on the backs of the rest of the United States citizens, the issue of tax evasion becomes more prominent. As time passes and budget belts tighten perhaps then the IRS will awaken to the need to energize its whistleblower program to collect what is really owed by US companies. John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market has a different spin on things. He says we should not blame Apple because it seeks to avoid paying taxes. “They are just following the rules.” That may be one way to put it. Another is that Apple and General Electric and scores of other multi-national companies have taken a very narrow perspective on the definition of good citizenship. As consumers, we hold the cards. If we gather together and say in unison, by our buying power: “Apple, when you decide to pay your fair share of taxes like we do, we will buy your products,” that would make a difference. Nothing like a truly capitalist Democracy, with a capital D. In his interview with the Financial Times, Mackey distinguished between Apple and General Electric. He says GE gets tax breaks because of crony capitalistic favors from the government in the form of tax credits because they are investing in alternative energy. None of this relates to some of the larger forms of tax fraud such as transfer pricing and the use of tax havens to evade US taxes. Those efforts are shameful, as are the meager efforts of the IRS to pursue them. Whistleblowers even the playing field and when they come forward with primary data which cannot be ignored, the IRS has no choice. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. jeffrey.newman1@gmail.com