The U.S. federal corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. is currently 35 percent, second-highest in the world. If it were cut, who would benefit? Lots of people, says Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw:
The ultimate payers of the corporate taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. are those individuals who have some stake in the company on which the tax is levied. If you own corporate equities, if you work for a corporation or if you buy goods and services from a corporation, you pay part of the corporate income tax. The corporate tax leads to lower returns on capital, lower wages or higher prices — and, most likely, a combination of all three.
A cut in the corporate tax as Mr. McCain proposes would initially give a boost to after-tax profits and stock prices, but the results would not end there. A stronger stock market would lead to more capital investment. More investment would lead to greater productivity. Greater productivity would lead to higher wages for workers and lower prices for customers.
Mankiw’s op-ed looks at several studies that concluded that “a substantial part of the corporation income tax is passed on to the labor force in the form of lower wages.” Read it here.Share