Dodgeball: 5 ways companies beat the tax man

  • Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations US Senator Carl Levin holds up his Apple iPhone as he questions Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook (not seen) about "offshore profit shifting and the US tax code" at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) JIM WATSON

    Around the world with tax loopholes

    You pay your taxes, why don't big businesses? From Silicon Valley to the oil patch, powerful companies with the most creative accountants that money can buy have dreamed up some nifty ways to minimize, and often obliterate, their tax obligations. And a lot of the loopholes involve moving money around the globe. It's a big deal, recently noted Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has been conducting an ongoing investigation into corporate tax avoidance.

    "At a time when we face such difficult budget choices, and when American families are facing a tax increase and cuts in critical programs from education to health care to food inspections to national defense, these offshore schemes are unacceptable."

    Here's a look at some of of the common ploys companies use to pay little or no tax.