Although light on details, the recent statement on tax reform from the “Big 6” group of Republican Congressional and White House policymakers provided two important hints on the direction that tax reform may be heading. First, the Big 6 remain dedicated to imposing a “system that encourages American companies to bring back jobs and profits trapped overseas.” Whether this means true international tax reform or merely lower tax rates at home is up for debate. However, if international tax reform remains a goal, the joint statement made clear that it will not be accomplished by way of a destination-based cash flow tax (a “DBCFT”). Continue Reading
In advance of yesterday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on tax reform, the Joint Committee on Taxation released its own comprehensive report on destination-based taxation and border adjustments. The report gives an overview of the current state of U.S. international taxation and then delves into the economics of border adjustments, including a summary of the academic literature on associated exchange rate (or other wage or price) adjustments such that exporters would not be advantaged and importers would not be disadvantaged (defined as “trade neutrality,” which we’ve previously explored here and here). Although the JCT ultimately does not take a view on whether the proposed destination-based cash flow tax would achieve this “trade neutrality,” the report does suggest that any currency adjustments would not happen quickly or, perhaps, evenly among importers and exporters, citing empirical studies that conclude that changes in consumer prices affected by exchange rate adjustments happen asymmetrically. Continue Reading
As the Trump administration and House and Senate leaders huddle to find a path to permanent tax reform, the detailed draft legislation released in 2014 by former Rep. Dave Camp will be among the ideas considered.
Relative to the Blueprint, the Camp proposal takes a traditional approach to tax reform, with a focus on broadening the tax base to achieve lower tax rates. We will consider various elements of the Camp plan and begin today with a recap of certain of its international components.
Territoriality. In a significant move toward a territorial system, U.S. corporations that receive dividends from 10%-owned non-U.S. Continue Reading
The Trump Administration is expected to announce its tax reform plan during a 1:30 PM press conference at the White House today. The Administration is boasting that the tax plan will be “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country.” We will be covering the press conference, so stay tuned for our summary and analysis of what is proposed. In the meantime, here are our predictions for what we may see:
- Corporate tax rate reduced to 15%
- Pass-through business income also taxed at 15%
- Repeal the corporate AMT
- Deemed repatriation of accumulated offshore earnings taxed at 10%
- No destination-based cash flow tax
- Shift toward territoriality?
One of the biggest challenges facing lawmakers in the current tax reform process is finding a way to reduce headline tax rates in a revenue neutral way. Some revenue raisers (like eliminating itemized deductions) would raise significant revenue and simplify the tax code. Other revenue raisers come at the cost of increased complexity, at least in the short term (e.g., implementing a federal VAT or a new carbon tax). Closer inspection of ideas on the table reveals that politically popular reforms are not necessarily the largest revenue raisers. For example, there seems to be bipartisan support for taxing carried interest as ordinary income (more on that here), a relatively small revenue raiser. Continue Reading
Certain aspects of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”), the revenue-raising portion of the 2010 stimulus bill known as the HIRE Act, have been a continuing source of controversy since its inception. A spate of recent criticism and introduced legislation raises the question whether FATCA will survive if any tax reform proposals are enacted. For example, on April 5, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC 11th) sent an open letter to the Treasury Secretary and the Director of OMB outlining administrative steps that the Trump administration could take to halt, or at least severely slow, the enforcement of the law. Continue Reading