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Highlights

The federal government was involved in about 8.6 million contract actions, including new contract awards, worth over $250 billion in fiscal year 2002. Some of these contracts were awarded to tax haven contractors, that is, U.S. subsidiaries of corporate parents located in tax haven countries. Concerns have been raised that these contractors may have an unfair cost advantage when competing for federal contracts because they are better able to lower their U.S. tax liability by shifting income to the tax haven parent. GAO's objectives in this study were to (1) determine the conditions under which companies with tax haven parents have a tax cost advantage when competing for federal contracts and (2) estimate the number of companies that could have such an advantage. GAO matched federal contractor data with tax and location data for all large corporations, those with at least $10 million in assets, in 2000 and 2001, in order to identify those companies that could have an advantage.

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