News & Features » News

Lobbyists love those loopholes



A Denver office building reportedly has this sign in its elevator: "Braille Instructions, Please See Below."

Well, most of us would need a combination of Braille, 20-20 eyesight, a magnifying glass and a seeing-eye dog to find all that's buried deep in the U.S. tax code. But giant corporations are able to see what we can't, because they have an advantage we don't: an office full of tax lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to twist the words in the tax code to create tax-avoidance loopholes for themselves.

Take the phrase "hybrid structures." Corporate tax sleuths got hold of this and are now using it in a convoluted way to avoid U.S. taxes altogether on profits they make from foreign operations. Not only has this become nearly a $2-billion tax dodge, but it also encourages corporations to move more of their operations overseas to take advantage of the lucrative loophole.

In January, U.S. Treasury Department officials gave notice that they were ending the tax break on these offshore "hybrid structures" ... but, whoa, stand back! Here came a hoard of lobbyists from such heavyweight outfits as Microsoft, GM, Philip Morris, Exxon and Coca-Cola, all rushing to Congress and crying: "Save our loophole!"

To make a long story short, Congress did. After all, those corporations are big campaign contributors to both parties, and members of both parties rallied to their avaricious cause. The Treasury Department quickly backed off, agreeing that companies already using the loophole can continue to do so permanently, and that other companies can use the loophole for the next six years.

Thanks to their lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers, giant corporations get special treatment that lets them dodge their tax responsibilities and shift the burden onto the backs of working families.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.