A campaign launched today by a coalition that includes the Campaign for America’s Future, Americans for Tax Fairness and Daily Kos calls on the online retailer Etsy to stop using a tax evasion tactic that besmirches its claim to be a progressive-minded business.
As we explained in this post last month, Etsy has registered itself as a “certified B corporation,” a new type of business registration that is supposed to symbolize a commitment to operate the business not only for the benefit of shareholders but also in ways that benefits workers and the community at large.
But Etsy has also earlier this year offshored some of its key intellectual property assets to an Ireland-based subsidiary, through which it can funnel profits so that they are not subject to American taxes.
The corporation, as the petition states, is an “unlimited liability company, which allows it to conceal the shifting of profits into Ireland – a tax haven – from around the world because it no longer has to disclose basic financial information about the profits of and taxes paid by that subsidiary.”
The move certainly violates the spirit, and arguably the letter, of the B Lab standards for a certified B corporation, which queries companies on whether they have “reduced or minimized taxes through the use of corporate shells or structural means.”
Every time a multinational corporation uses tax havens and other schemes to avoid paying taxes on the profits they earn inside the company, that means a heavier tax burden for individuals and businesses, and billions of dollars less that would be available for our shared needs. “If Etsy is really trying to be ‘mindful, transparent, and humane,’ it must pay its fair share of taxes at home,” the petition says.
Add your name to the petition using this link.