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G20 Looking to Boost Taxes on Multinational Corporations

The leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies are set to try to force the world's largest multinational companies to pay more taxes.

As the annual G20 summit neared its end in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, the heads of state agreed to support a tax plan crafted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It would eliminate loopholes that allow many companies to hide profits in tax havens and force them to pay taxes in the countries where they make money.

Finance ministers from the G20 countries, which produce 90 percent of the world's economic output, are also expected to endorse the plan at the end of their two-day meeting Saturday in Moscow.

Some of the world's largest multinational corporations -- based in one country, but with substantial operations in other countries -- have often been able to avoid heavy taxation by keeping their earnings in offshore accounts.

In one instance, U.S. Senate investigators earlier this year found that technology giant Apple, through use of technicalities in Irish and U.S. law, was able to legally avoid virtually all taxes on at least $74 billion in earnings over the last four years.

Such other big U.S. firms as the Google search engine company and the Starbucks coffee chain could be affected by tax changes, although officials said it could be years before the changes take effect.

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