The recent announcement that it would renounce its American identity and become an Irish company -- thereby dodging billions of dollars in taxes -- is just the latest in a string of shady deals and sleazy behaviors by the pharmaceutical giant.
It is obvious Pfizer will go on taking advantage of the American people until we say no. This proposed international tax-dodging deal is a good place to put our foot down given Pfizer's corporate misbehavior:
- Six years ago, Pfizer was hit with $2.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties for peddling its drugs for unapproved uses. But if the company pled guilty to a felony, it couldn't go on selling drugs to the federal government (the feds have a rule against dealing with corporate felons). So the maker of Viagra, Lipitor and ChapStick made a dummy subsidiary the fall guy, allowing the parent company to maintain its billion-dollar-a-year business with Washington.
- Pfizer keeps about $140 billion in profits stashed offshore--earnings on which it owes U.S. taxes but has yet to pay because of a giant tax loophole. By pulling a switcheroo and becoming an Irish firm, Pfizer will likely avoid paying the tens of billions of dollars in taxes it owes.
- A decade ago it brought some of its overseas cash horde home under a tax holiday meant to promote jobs, but instead of hiring, the company laid off 10,000 workers.
- Pfizer has 150 offshore subsidiaries located in 15 tax havens. This lets it shift U.S. profits offshore while artificially increasing its domestic costs, thereby slashing its U.S. taxes. Despite making 40 percent of its sales in America, the company claims it lost $16 billion here from 2010-2014, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
- To justify the recent announcement that it is changing its corporate address to Ireland, a tax haven, Pfizer complained that it paid a 25.5 percent tax rate on its global income last year. But an investigation by Americans for Tax Fairness found that rate was inflated by future payments it might never make. Its real out-of-pocket tax rate was just 7.5 percent.
Failure to stop it will give a green light to Pfizer to keep misbehaving. It will encourage other huge corporations to dodge their U.S. tax obligations with the same kind of overseas stunt. (Más)