Sundance Film’s Focus On Tax Avoidance

January 22, 2012

Victoria Bruce, one of the filmmakers responsible for a new documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this month, was drawn to the project when she realised her tax bill was higher than those of multinationals including Google — which avoid US taxes on foreign profits using off-shore jurisdictions like Bermuda.

Her documentary “We’re Not Broke” explores federal tax policies and how corporations are able to defer paying federal taxes if the profits are kept offshore, which is one of the tax policies the film questions.

The filmmaker said upward of $100 billion in taxes are avoided annually by big corporations by booking their profits outside the US, in offshore financial centres like Bermuda.

“I had no idea this was going on. I had no idea I was paying more taxes than General Electric,” Ms Bruce said in an interview as the leading Utah film festival approached.

Promotional clip from “We’re Not Broke:

“We’re Not Broke” tells two stories — one about how US corporations have been able to hide over a trillion dollars from the Internal Revenue Service, the other about six ordinary Americans who take their frustration to the streets and vow to make them pay.

Co-directed and produced by Ms Bruce and Karin Hayes, “We’re Not Broke” reviews tax policies and ideas dating to the 1960s, including a look at Republican Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 presidential campaign and a segment about the Reagan administration’s tax ideas.

The 81-minute documentary uses footage from the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City as bookends.

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