Democrats Call for Slowdown on Tax Bill after ‘Paradise Papers’

Democrats  and tax advocacy groups are calling for a slowdown on the GOP tax bill after the release of the “Paradise Papers,” which highlight how multinational companies, like Nike Inc. and Apple Inc., and individuals avoid taxes.

The House Ways and Means Committee chairman, however, suggested on Sunday that the committee will be sticking with its plan to review the plan this week. Leaders of the House are hoping to pass the bill before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The bill, released by Rep. Kevin Brady last week, would impose a 20% excise tax on payments U.S. companies make to affiliates overseas. The bill would also impose a 10% tax on some foreign profits for corporations.

Democrats have called on Republicans to slow down the review of the bill after the release of the “Paradise Papers.”

Reports on Sunday by the New York Times and an international journalism organization pointed to undisclosed documents that link officials in the Trump administration to offshore holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Among those officials are Gary Cohn, economic adviser, and Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary.

The papers also cite the strategies of multinational companies, including Apple, which reportedly “shopped around Europe and the Caribbean for a new island tax shelter.”

“It doesn’t make sense to move forward with the marking up the tax bill before we can see all the documents,” said Clark Gascoigne, deputy director of the FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition. “There are serious concerns about what this tax bill would do to address these offshore problems.”

While Democrats are pushing for Republicans to review the papers, delaying the passing of the bill, the GOP says the papers underscore the need to move quickly.

“It shows why the tax-reform elements within the tax-cut package are so important and why it is so vital to move quickly,” said John Feehery, former House leadership aide.