Policymakers actively marginalized the manufacturing sector by saddling them with cost recovery rules that prevent them from deducting the full cost of investment in physical plant and equipment. Going forward, policymakers should avoid haphazard fixes, targeted measures, and protectionism.
We estimate that moving to permanent full expensing and neutral cost recovery for structures would add more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs to the long-run economy and boost the long-run capital stock by $4.8 trillion.
Cost recovery is the way the tax code permits firms to recover (or deduct) the cost of making investments. Cost recovery plays an important role in defining a business’ taxable income and can impact investment decisions.
Studies have shown that accelerated depreciation helps increase wage growth. A recent report found that states that implemented accelerated depreciation in their tax codes led to a 2.5 percent increase in compensation per employee in manufacturing, relative to states that did not.
While tax rates matter to businesses, so too does the measure of income to which those tax rates apply. The corporate income tax is a tax on profits, normally defined as revenue minus costs. However, under the current tax code, businesses are unable to deduct the full cost of certain expenses—their capital investments—meaning the tax code is not neutral and actually increases the cost of investment.
Permanent full expensing for all types of investment is an effective policy change lawmakers can use to encourage additional investment and economic growth.
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Adopting a distributed profits tax would greatly simplify U.S. business taxes, reduce marginal tax rates on investment, and renew our country’s commitment to pro-growth tax policy.
While hoping for inflation’s continued decline, policymakers should finish the job and index the tax code to prepare for future bouts of high inflation and as a contingency in case it takes longer to defeat elevated inflation than expected.
When peeling back layers of the JCT report, it becomes clear that many tax expenditures are not “loopholes” or benefits for narrow special interests, but important structural elements of the tax code.
At the end of 2022, prices were 14.6 percent higher than they were two years prior. That’s the fastest inflation rate over any two calendar years since the stagflation era of the late 1970s. State policymakers are understandably interested in bringing any tools at their disposal to bear on the problem. And many of them are reaching for tax policy solutions.
Most of the 2023 state tax changes represent net tax reductions, the result of an unprecedented wave of rate reductions and other tax cuts in the past two years as states respond to burgeoning revenues, greater tax competition in an era of enhanced mobility, and the impact of high inflation on residents.
If bonus depreciation is allowed to phase out, then the tax bias against capital investments will increase, discouraging firms from making otherwise profitable investments.
Lawmakers should recognize both the growing importance of business R&D and the need to support it through a commonsense tax policy, namely a return to full and immediate expensing for R&D.
As Chile looks to the future, the accelerated deductions for capital investment costs should be extended and made permanent while unnecessary tax hikes on individuals and capital should be avoided. Policymakers should focus on growth-oriented tax policy that encourages investment, savings, and entrepreneurial activity, increasing Chile’s international tax competitiveness.
The tax treatment of research and development (R&D) expenses is one of the biggest issues facing Congress as the year winds down.
History is clear. Lowering budget deficits via spending restraint frees resources for additional private output and jobs. Lowering them by raising taxes on business investment and labor services makes it harder to dis-inflate without a recession.