First Ad Campaign of 2015 Highlights Walmart’s Use of Tax Havens to Avoid Paying American Taxes

Television and print ad will air in 11 cities and 7 states during the week of July 4th across the country, including Arkansas

Washington, DC — “Making Change at Walmart,” the national campaign to change Walmart into a more responsible employer, announced its first national ad campaign of 2015. The new ad campaign, that includes TV, print, and social media ads, highlights Walmart’s avoiding American taxes through offshore tax shelters, and the fact that the average Walmart worker earns one thousand times less than Walmart’s CEO.

“Stashing billions in Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes and keeping employees at poverty-level wages are not consistent with American values,” said Jess Levin, communications director for Making Change at Walmart. “This Fourth of July, we’re sending a message to Walmart, the billionaire Waltons, and the rest of the country that it’s time for Walmart to do the right thing by their employees, and what every hard-working American worker does – pay your taxes.”

The TV ad campaign, entitled “Hot Dogs,” began airing this Sunday during morning shows in Washington, DC. It will air in 10 additional cities leading up to July 4th and will take Walmart to task for using tax havens in multiple countries to avoid paying its fair share of American taxes.

It specifically cites a recent report from Americans for Tax Fairness detailing how the retailer has placed at least $76 billion worth of assets in subsidiaries located in 15 overseas tax havens including Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, and Barbados.

The ad can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFV24g0b0Ec

BACKGROUND

The ad will air in Washington, DC; Bentonville, AR; Fort Smith, AR, Little Rock, AR; Mobile, AL; Pensacola, AL; Shreveport, LA; Springfield, MO; Osage Beach, MO; Tulsa, OK; and Clovis, NM starting the week leading up to July 4th.

The ad highlights findings from a recent report from American’s for Tax Fairness on Walmart’s extensive and secret web of subsidiaries located in tax havens around the world.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Walmart has 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 offshore tax hahavens, none of them publicly reported before. They have remained invisible to experts on corporate tax avoidance in part because of the way Walmart has filed information about them to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Walmart may be skirting the law as there is a legal requirement to list subsidiaries that account for greater than 10 percent of assets or income.
  • Walmart has 22 shell companies in Luxembourg – 20 established since 2009 and five in 2015 alone. Walmart does not have one store there. Walmart has transferred ownership of more than $45 billion in assets to Luxembourg subsidiaries since 2011. It reported paying less than 1 percent in tax to Luxembourg on $1.3 billion in profits from 2010 through 2013.
  • At least 25 out of 27 (and perhaps all) of Walmart’s foreign operating companies (in the U.K. Brazil, Japan, China and more) are owned by subsidiaries in tax havens. All of these companies have retail stores and many employees. Walmart owns at least $76 billion in assets through shell companies domiciled in the tax havens of Luxembourg ($64.2 billion) and the Netherlands ($12.4 billion) – that’s 90 percent of the assets in Walmart’s International division ($85 billion) or 37 percent of its total assets ($205 billion).

As part of the campaign to highlight Walmart’s failure to change, the print ad, entitled “Devolution,” will additionally run in the Bentonville market, Washington, DC, as well as the St. Louis region – which includes cities in Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois. That ad makes clear that it would take the average Walmart worker 1,117,514 years to earn what the Waltons did last year, pointing out that this is the same number of years it took humans to evolve to walk on two legs.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.