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Watchdog Group: Tax Shelters Cost Everyone Else Money

Illinois PIRG

The Illinois Public Interest Research Group says tax shelters are costing average taxpayers and small businesses money. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/WBBM Newsradio/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A local watchdog group says average Illinois taxpayers are carrying a heavier tax burden, because big corporations are sheltering much of their income in foreign countries.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Celeste Meiffren, field director with the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, stood across from Boeing’s headquarters to say their study shows the vast majority of the leading publicly traded corporations use offshore tax havens.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“At least 83 of the top 100 publicly-traded corporations in the United States, as well as some individuals, shift profits that are legitimately earned in the United States to offshore tax havens,” she said.

Meiffren says the corporations are avoiding about $100 billion in taxes.

Foreign tax shelters cost average Illinois taxpayers $500 per year, and small businesses more than $2,500.

Mike Nickodeem, who owns Naperville’s Great Harvest Bakery says while tax shelters are not illegal, Nickodeem argued that they are wrong.

“If large U.S. corporations are able to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes on what they should owe on their profits, that money has to be made up somewhere else, and it’s up who make up that money,” he said.

Nicodeme and Illinois PIRG say these loopholes should be closed. Legislation now stalled in Springfield would close the shelters.