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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 April 2 release of a General Accounting Office report on corporate taxes could hardly have been better timed to get press attention. Just as millions of Americans were filling out their federal 2003 tax forms to beat the April 15 deadline, the GAO study indicated that most corporations owed no taxes from 1996 to 2000, a boom period for corporate profits.
Those untaxed corporations earned $3.5 trillion of revenues.