Steven Pearlstein: Marty Sullivan figured out how the world’s biggest companies avoided billions in taxes. Here’s how he wants to stop them.
For two decades, from the same home office, Sullivan has been exposing the tax-dodging schemes of multinational corporations in the columns of Tax Notes... an early light on how companies had finagled 'transfer prices'... called out the big drug and tech companies for transferring ownership of their patents and trademarks... to subsidiaries in Ireland and other low-tax jurisdictions.... in 2010 pieced together from public filings that Apple had understated its reported profits to hide the fact that it was paying a tax rate of less than 2 percent on its overseas profits, shining the spotlight on Apple’s tax avoidance schemes. “We’ve been banging the drum on this stuff for years,” Sullivan said with just the slightest hint of satisfaction as the morning sun filtered into the garage he shares with bicycles, garden tools, an American flag and an old coffee maker. 'But it’s finally gone prime time'