Chris Priest, one of ten people on the board of US Uncut’s national planning committee, tells me that Verizon and FedEx have recently been added to US Uncut’s target list. He also added that there is a larger list of corporate tax dodgers the group plans to release later in the month. Both Verizon and FedEx are multibillion-dollar corporations that pay lower tax rates than you do, and the reason Verizon is able to do this is by creatively redirecting profits to their foreign wireless partner, Vodafone.
Vodafone has been the longtime target of UK Uncut due to its equally unscrupulous tax dodging practices. The company claims a large portion of its revenue should not be subject to British taxation because they reroute the cash through Luxembourg, which has a tax rate of under 10 percent. Vodafone has managed to double its profit during the recession by using this funneling scheme that ultimately robbed British taxpayers of billions of pounds that could have gone toward funding communities.
So here we have an exploitative company, Verizon, channeling its income to another corrupt partner in Britain, all in the name of avoiding taxation. These massive evaders do this during a time when public services in both Britain and America are being slashed in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” but the really responsible thing would be to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
And then there’s FedEx, a company with a long history of battling the IRS, but which has thus far remained relatively under the radar despite its shady practices. The GAO released a report in 2007 that stated FedEx has twenty-one subsidiaries in jurisdictions listed as tax havens (Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, three in the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Grenada, two in Hong Kong, three in Ireland, two in Netherland Antilles, Singapore, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands). For comparison, Exxon Mobil, one of the legendary tax-dodging corporations, had thirty-two listed tax havens in its 2007 report. Such revenue sheltering practices place FedEx in the big leagues of corporate scam artists.
However, Priest tells me Verizon will very likely be US Uncut’s next main target. “They owe a lot [in taxes],” he says, “and [Verizon] has easily accessible walk-in locations everywhere…easier than a bank to occupy.”