When making remarks on Friday at a technical college in Los Angeles, President Barack Obama had some strong words for companies that use cross-border mergers to escape taxes in the United States, according to Bloomberg.
Obama accused the companies of being “corporate deserters who renounce their citizenship to shield profits.”
“You shouldn’t get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from American taxpayers,” Obama said.
Some 41 companies in the United States have changed their addresses to low-tax countries since 1982. This is typically done by taking over a smaller company. It helps them reduce their tax bills while keeping their listings and executives in the United States. One of the most common countries this occurs in is Ireland.
There are eight moves pending right now. Some companies that are pending include Medtronic Inc. from Minneapolis and Mylan Inc. from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Pfizer Inc. tried to move its tax address to the United Kingdom when it bought AstraZeneca Plc., which is based in London, but its move was rejected.
“I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong,” Obama said. “It sticks you for the tab to make up for what they’re stashing offshore.”
Obama spoke with CNBC prior to speaking at the college and said, “We reached out repeatedly. The reason it’s not getting done right now is that Congress, as you may have noticed, is just not real productive.”