Obama Announces Plan to Close Tax Loopholes

May 4, 2009 - 11:57 AM
President Barack Obama vowed to "detect and pursue" American tax evaders Monday as he announced a plan to close tax loopholes and clamp down on overseas shelters.

President Barack Obama, speaks about tax reform as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, left, and Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service Douglas Shulman right, look on in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama vowed to "detect and pursue" American tax evaders Monday as he announced a plan to close tax loopholes and clamp down on overseas shelters.
 
The president said he wants to prevent U.S. companies from deferring tax payments by keeping profits in foreign countries rather than recording them at home. He also called for more transparency in bank accounts held by Americans in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands.
 
"If financial institutions won't cooperate with us, we will assume that they are sheltering money in tax havens and act accordingly," Obama said.
 
The president, who hammered on this issue during his long campaign for the White House, said at a White House event that his plan would generate $210 billion in new taxes over 10 years and "make it easier" for companies to create jobs at home. Over a decade, $210 billion would make a modest dent in a federal deficit expected to swell to $1.2 trillion in 2010.
 
Under the plan, companies would not be able to write off domestic expenses for generating profits abroad. The goal is to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to base all or part of their operations in other countries.
 
The current law, Obama said, "says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York. "
 
He said the government also is hiring nearly 800 new IRS agents to enforce the U.S. tax code.
 
Congress is expected to resist significant portions of Obama's plan.