Tax Law

Attack of the Killer Bs, and Other Snappy Acronyms

Last week Bloomberg ran a story on how U.S. multinational companies use sophisticated techniques to avoid paying billions in U.S taxes – billions that the rest of us get to make up.

The designers of these tax “maneuvers” are brilliant people. They take pride in their legal gaming of the tax system. The Bloomberg article had great fun in pointing out that these brilliant tax scientists give their maneuvers catchy names like “Killer B” or “Deadly D.” Good promotion and perhaps they’re also mocking the rest of us who can’t afford their services. And their services – which are selling corporate tax shelters – don’t come cheap.

But, sadly, there’s nothing new here. Back in December 1999 I wrote somewhat of a screed against corporate tax shelters.

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My point was to call on Congress to pass significant legislation to bring an end to products involving complicated transactions and huge fees that push a lot of money and paper around and produce absolutely nothing but tax profits.

Well, obviously that’s not working.

So, 11 years later I have a different point. Now I call on Congress to repeal the corporate income tax. Come one, it doesn’t raise that much money. We can find a way to replace the revenue; this may actually be the idea that gets me to support a VAT.

. . . .

In other words, I’ve decided – after more than a decade of thinking about it – that the best way to win the war against corporate tax shelters is to SURRENDER. And the world will be a better place, and the world . . .

View TaxAnalysts' Christopher Bergin's opinion in its entirety on

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