If policymakers want a recipe to dramatically expand the complexity of U.S. international tax rules and the burden on U.S. multinational businesses, then a tax on foreign earnings calculated at the country level would be the way to do it. Alternatively, policymakers could focus on mitigating the unintended consequences of GILTI and other recent international tax rules.
Daniel Bunn is President and CEO of the Tax Foundation. Daniel has been with the organization since 2018 and, prior to becoming President, successfully built its Center for Global Tax Policy, expanding the Tax Foundation’s reach and impact around the world.
Prior to joining the Tax Foundation, Daniel worked in the United States Senate at the Joint Economic Committee as part of Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) Social Capital Project and on the policy staff for both Senator Lee and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). In his time in the Senate, Daniel developed legislative initiatives on tax, trade, regulatory, and budget policy.
He has a master’s degree in Economic Policy from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from North Greenville University in South Carolina.
Daniel lives in Halethorpe, Maryland, with his wife and their three children.
This week the Australian government released its latest budget proposal and two policies that stand out in its fiscal response to the pandemic should be helpful as the economic engine of the country turns back on. The first is full expensing for some investments and the second is the introduction of a loss carryback provision. The new budget takes both these temporary policies and extends them into 2023.
As countries move closer to agreement on how the OECD Pillar 1 Amount A will work and which companies will be impacted by it, it is incredibly important for policymakers to continue to evaluate not just the intended effects but also the potential unintended consequences.
New international tax rules on super-profits would disproportionately impact U.S. companies however they are designed. The question that Treasury should answer is why limit the policy in such a way that magnifies that disproportionate application and the risk to the U.S. tax base.
No other country has tried to enforce some of the policies that the Biden administration is proposing. Embarking on such uncharted course would set the U.S. apart from global tax policy norms and best practices and could harm American competitiveness.
The tax treatment of intangible assets has come into the spotlight recently with the Biden administration proposing to undo a policy adopted in 2017 to encourage intellectual property (IP) to be located in the U.S.
Whether we use corporate tax collections as a portion of GDP, average effective tax rates, or marginal tax rates, each measure shows that the U.S. effective corporate tax burden is close to or above the average compared to its OECD peers. Raising corporate income taxes would put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage, whether one looks at statutory tax rates or effective corporate tax rates.
An increase in the federal corporate tax rate to 28 percent would raise the U.S. federal-state combined tax rate to 32.34 percent, higher than every country in the OECD, the G7, and all our major trade partners and competitors including China.
The 2021 UK budget introduces a two-year super-deduction of 130 percent for plant and equipment and a delayed corporate tax rate increase from 19 percent to 25 percent in 2023. These policies have differential impacts on marginal effective tax rates for different assets, implying investment incentives will not be uniform.
Many members of Congress have taken issue with the 2017 tax reform. However, the reasoning that has led some to believe that GILTI provides a path to offshoring investment and jobs is flawed.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s immense health and economic challenges, the crisis has also revealed the incredible value of innovation.
Both the Biden campaign and some Democratic members of Congress have recommended changes to GILTI, but before doing that, policymakers should consider how GILTI’s design can have ramifications for many U.S. companies and their tax burdens.
While there are several parts of the policy that are subject to further discussion and agreement, GloBE is expected to be different from GILTI in several ways.
The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak released the 2021 budget, and most important for near-term growth is the significant boost to capital allowances.
The Biden campaign and Senate Democrats identified changes to GILTI that would increase the taxes U.S. companies pay on their foreign earnings. Rather than tacking on changes to a system that is currently neither fully territorial nor worldwide, policymakers should evaluate the structure of the current system with a goal of it becoming more, not less, coherent.
As the House Ways and Means Committee continues working on the latest round of fiscal relief amid the pandemic, one curious provision in the legislation is a tax hike on multinational companies. One section of the legislation would repeal a provision in current law that allows U.S. multinationals to choose to allocate their interest costs on a worldwide basis (more on that in a moment).
This week, the Treasury Department added several new appointees as staffing continues following President Biden’s inauguration. Among them were three scholars of international tax policy: economist Kimberly Clausing and law professors Rebecca Kysar and Itai Grinberg. These three will be influential in developing the administration’s approach to changing U.S. tax rules for multinational corporations and negotiating international tax policy changes at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The consultation on the EU’s digital levy provides an opportunity for policymakers and taxpayers to reflect on the underlying issues of digital taxation and potential consequences from a digital levy. Unless the EU digital levy is designed with an OECD agreement in mind, it is likely to cause more uncertainty in cross-border tax policy.
Many governments have chosen to use VAT as a tool to provide tax relief for consumption in various sectors throughout the pandemic, but in the long term, VAT should not be used as a tool for relief.
Despite the potential of consumption taxes as a neutral and efficient source of tax revenues, many governments have implemented policies that are unduly complex and have poorly designed tax bases that exclude many goods or services from taxation, or tax them at reduced rates.