Reid blasts Walgreens for possible move overseas

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said if Walgreens decided to move its headquarters to Switzerland it would be the definition of “exploitation.”

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“The company that Charles Walgreen started is reportedly considering a renunciation of its American citizenship and a move to Switzerland, just to avoid paying its fair share of taxes,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “This practice, what some call ‘inversion,’ is a tax trick — a loophole.”

Walgreens announced this week that it will buy Swiss-based retailer and wholesaler Alliance Boots. It could then move its headquarters to Switzerland to avoid taxes, but no such announcement has been made yet.

Reid said the Senate Finance Committee is working on tax reforms that would make it a disincentive for U.S. companies to move overseas. 

“Now we are seeing this dash-and-stash scheme become common practice for major corporations who don’t want to pay taxes,” Reid said. “Congress must close this loophole.”

Reid said this practice was “exploitation” because Walgreens would still enjoy the protections of the U.S. military, receive some U.S. tax breaks and it makes most of its profits from taxpayer funded Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions.

— This article was updated at 11:30 a.m.

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