econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 03 February 2017

An Original Republican Tax Plan Offers Trump A Radical Tool For Corporate Tax Reform

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Chris Jones, Aston University

Major US companies have long been known to specialise in profit shifting to tax havens to reduce their tax bill. This erosion of the corporate tax base is thought to lead to rising inequality and deprives countries of important revenues to spend on public services.

So what can be done? Donald Trump is being encouraged by leading House Republicans - led by Kevin Brady, chairman of Washington’s tax-writing Ways & Means committee, and speaker Paul Ryan - to introduce a Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax, or DBCFT. This tax plan has been pushed forward by leading Berkeley economist Alan Auerbach and scholars at the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation.

It sounds complicated - and has an awful acronym - but there is something in this plan that offers an alternative.

The DBCFT doesn’t go after a firm’s profits in the normal sense, as the current corporate tax regime does. Instead of taxing corporate income (revenue minus costs) it taxes sales at their point of destination or consumption.

Another key part of the new tax is that monetary flows across a multinational corporation’s international network of subsidiaries (that would include tax haven locations) are border-adjusted. This means that export sales, for example Ford selling cars overseas, would be excluded from a firm’s tax base, but imports, such as the purchase of raw materials from abroad, would be included. What this boils down to is that the tax looks like an export subsidy, and at the same time, an import tax. In many ways therefore it looks like a backdoor attempt to improve the US’ large current account deficit - which formed a major part of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump on the campaign trail. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

Radical Change

The House Republicans highlight several key attractions of this new and radical tax.

They argue that it would allow the US to reduce its federal corporate tax rate to around 15-25% - from 35% currently - which would bring it in line with China and much closer to the UK. The hope is also that it will deter firms from stashing profits in tax havens, and minimise the role of aggressive transfer pricing manipulation - the practice of buying and selling goods between divisions of the same multinational as a means to reduce the corporate tax bill. It should also deter firms from relocating their legal domicile to countries like Ireland and Bermuda - so called corporate inversions.

Current tax arrangements offer companies an advantage if they raise money through debt. However the DBCFT would have the effect of removing that incentive by eliminating deductions for interest payments. This means in theory that firms would be more likely to favour stock markets when raising capital. There is a potential twin advantage here: lower debt ratios would make the US economy more resilient in the face of external shocks, while equity markets are given a further boost.

Bullish for Wall Street? Numenor1965/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

The theory seems appealing, but the truth is, nobody really knows if it will work. It might not even be compliant with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This is a step in to the unknown; there could be multiple unintended consequences. Not since the early 20th century, when bilateral tax treaties between countries were introduced, has there been such sweeping reform to international taxation as this policy change would initiate.

Progressive?

There is an argument that the new tax could have a progressive outcome. Because payroll costs could also be deducted from its calculation, this should shift the tax burden more firmly on to shareholders, and away from workers. Concerns with the existing system are that workers end up paying a fair chunk of the corporate tax bill, through lower wages and benefits.

However, consumers might not get off lightly. The DBCFT may well have the effect of increasing consumer prices on imported goods, leading to higher energy and food prices. This would disproportionately hurt the poor, meaning the tax’s progressive credentials might not bear scrutiny.

In order for the tax to work, proponents argue that the dollar will have to appreciate in value to offset the effects of the border-adjustment. This is because exports are tax free but imports incur tax. Hence US exports will appear more attractive to foreign consumers and imports will appear more expensive to US consumers. But whether exchange rates will move is an open question, as ever.

Consumer power? EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT

This really is a highly contentious and ambitious proposal for tax reform. The US’ international competitors - and of course tax haven locations - may see it as a hostile move. It will encourage firms from abroad to locate their production in the US. On the other hand, proponents argue that the policy is “incentive compatible" - in simpler terms, it will force other countries to adopt a similar policy. This would, in effect, dismantle the standard tax haven business model and send shockwaves throughout an industry that specialises in tax avoidance.

That is an intriguing prospect, but interest groups such as the Tax Justice Network in the UK would argue that the key to a better functioning corporate tax regime is for countries to be more open with one another in terms of information exchange for tax purposes. This would include multinational companies reporting their financial statements on a country by country basis instead of consolidating them. Countries would then be able to clearly define their corporate tax base and decide themselves what tax rate to levy.

The EU is currently discussing the introduction of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base to partially achieve this. This would not eliminate the tax havens, but it may go a long way towards enhancing transparency, leading to greater scrutiny of the world’s biggest multinational enterprises and changing their behaviour in terms of profit shifting.

In some ways this is the longer, harder road. The appeal of the Republican proposal would be to force the issue, but it is desperately hard to predict, or manage, the consequences if this tax is enacted.

The ConversationChris Jones, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Aston University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.




Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Men Without Work
Slow Economic Growth Will Be Around For A Long Time
News Blog
Crumbling Comet? The Great Debate About Whether Rosetta Rock 67P Is Breaking Apart
ISIS: Income Has More Than Halved Since 2014
What We Read Today 29 March 2017
The Best Hilarious Prank Ideas For April Fools' Day
February 2017 Pending Home Sales Index Improves?
The Need For Very Low Interest Rates In An Era Of Subdued Investment Spending
America's Missing Workers Are Primarily Middle Educated
The Share Of American Women In The Labor Force Is Slipping Even As It Rises In The Rest Of The Developed World
Infographic Of The Day: Which Countries Are Going In The Right Direction
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar, Oil Up, Gold Down, Article 50 Day, Westinghouse Files Ch. 11, Trump Wants $1B To Start Wall, Russian Protests, China's $8T Shaky Debt, And More
Thirty Plus Terror Suspects And Convicts Not A Rare Occurrence In UK
The Winners And Losers In Trump's Proposed Budget
God and America (Version 3)
Investing Blog
Investing.com Technical Summary 28 March 2017
The Dollar's Coming Impact On Markets
Opinion Blog
Free Immigration Is The Moderate, Common-Sense Position
Macron May Lead But Le Pen Remains The Big Story
Precious Metals Blog
These Gold Stocks Will Produce Much Bigger Gains Than Gold Itself
Live Markets
29Mar2017 Market Close: DOW Closes Down 42 Points, SP 500 Up At Close, Nasdaq Clearly The Winner Closing Up 0.4 Percent, Wall Street Investors Happy
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government































 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved