CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- By transferring profits to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, large corporations save about $90 billion in federal taxes a year, according to a new study just released by U.S. PIRG, a coalition of public interest research groups around the country.
The study -- "Offshore Shell Games: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by the Top 100 Publicly Traded Companies" -- found every one of those top 100 companies used tax havens.
Fifteen of the companies held 66 percent of the $1.17 trillion in assets the 100 companies have deposited offshore.
"This is not just a federal problem that affects the federal budget," said Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Action Group, the West Virginia affiliate of U.S. PIRG.
"Our state's corporate taxes are based in part on the federal returns filed by the corporations. These tax-dodging, offshore operations are also hurting West Virginia's bottom line.
"Those companies cost over $100 million to the West Virginia budget. That would go a long way to help us keep our budget balanced," Zuckett said. "It is not just a federal problem."
Back in February, U.S. PIRG reported West Virginia lost $106 million in taxes in 2012 from offshoring, while all states lost $40 billion.
Nationally, the two United States-based companies with the most offshore tax havens are Bank of America, which operated 316 offshore subsidiaries, and Morgan Stanley, which operated 200 of them, according to the new study.
Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, ranked third with 174 subsidiaries based in tax havens including some in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Panama, Costa Rica and the Netherlands.