Global Financial Integrity

 

GFI Joins Professional & Civil Society Groups Urging Lawmakers to End Tax Strategy Patents

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Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222

Patents Part of a Larger Industry that Enables Tax Evasion, Banking Secrecy

WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) joined a coalition of professional and civil society organizations calling upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to support a provision in S. 23, The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which will eliminate tax strategy patents today.

In a letter signed by 15 groups—representing consumer, taxpayer, charitable, financial planning, and tax adviser groups—submitted to members of the Committee this afternoon, the coalition states:

The ongoing, serious concerns associated with tax strategy patents pose a significant threat to American taxpayers and businesses, and we believe that Congress must prioritize fixing this problem as soon as possible.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee moves to mark up S. 23, we ask you specifically to champion this provision, and aggressively oppose any efforts to weaken or remove it.  There is too much at stake to allow special interests to try to monopolize methods of Federal tax compliance, leaving American taxpayers potentially subject to lawsuits, royalties, and a much more complicated, expensive tax code. . .

As of now, the numbers of tax strategy patents have grown to over 130 issued and more than 150 pending.  We fear this trend is likely to continue to grow exponentially without your leadership.  Legislation must be passed quickly if we are to provide taxpayers with equal access to all available avenues of federal tax compliance.

The complete letter can be downloaded here (PDF).

“Establishing a patent on a tax strategy enables a tax practitioner to require U.S. citizens to pay them in order to benefit from U.S. tax laws. Tax laws apply to everybody equally, but these patents make citizens pay for what is their right under the law,” said Heather Lowe, director of government affairs at Global Financial Integrity. “Many of these complex tax schemes also involve the use of offshore accounts in tax havens, and may skirt the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion.  Allowing patents on tax schemes is giving tax practitioners legal protection for schemes that may comply with the letter of our tax laws while violating the spirit of those laws.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to mark-up the bill as early as Thursday, February 3rd. Spokespersons on this matter are available. Contact Monique Perry Danziger (mdanziger@nullgfip.org, +1 202-904-3113 or Matthew Young (myoung@nullaicpa.org, +1 202-434-9273) to request an interview or request additional information.

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