As Tax Day looms on the calendar, John Oliver turned his attention to what he calls “the government’s GoFundMe page.” Partially inspired by rapper Cardi B’s call for tax transparency in a now-viral Instagram video, Oliver decided to get to the bottom of what exactly the government does with the taxes — and who pays them.
Many large and profitable companies don’t pay taxes at all and will go to impressive lengths to avoid them. That includes moving their corporate headquarters to Panama, in a move Oliver called “the Panama Scoot,” to take advantage of their low tax rate. The more common option is to move money off-shore to a tax haven, a country with a low tax rate, such as the Cayman Islands.
According to Oliver, tech companies frequently move their intellectual property overseas to avoid paying taxes. Apple famously kept some $269 billion offshore in Ireland, which it then moved to the island of Jersey in the U.K. Google reportedly channels its money from Ireland to the Netherlands to Bermuda. That tax move Oliver claims is called a “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich,” which Oliver notes, “sounds like a disgusting sex act or an even more disgusting Waffle House menu item.”
Donald Trump and Congress famously made the overhaul of the U.S. tax code their hallmark piece of legislation and Oliver notes that the bill does tax corporations on money held overseas, however, he notes the tax rate was cut from 35% to as low as 8%. The administration claims this new low corporate tax rate will create jobs, however as Oliver notes, if you say you’re “dipping this badger in fudge to create jobs” he can’t disprove that it will create at least one job, however there are undoubtedly better ways to do it.