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McClatchy-Tribune  07/29/2014 6:50 PM ET
BRIEF: What is corporate tax inversion? [Chicago Tribune :: ]

July 29--WHAT IT MEANS -- A corporate tax inversion is a method to reduce companies' tax bills by moving their headquarters overseas.

WHO'S DOING IT: These sorts of deals have been gaining traction, setting a record pace since the first inversion 32 years ago. Nine such transactions have taken place this year and more are being considered.

North Chicago-based AbbVie struck a nearly $55 billion deal to buy drugmaker Shire this month, a transaction that will allow it to cut its tax bill by shifting its legal address to the United Kingdom. Deerfield-based Walgreen is considering a similar defection to lower-tax Switzerland.

HOW IT WORKS: Former Chicago company Aon reduced its tax rate from 24.7 percent to 17.5 percent when it moved its head office across the Atlantic to London two years ago, saving as much as $27 million on pretax profits, according to a Tribune analysis.


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