Republicans Plan For Reforming Corporate Tax Code — More Tax Breaks

Republicans have made big news this week. First, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) released his plan on reforming the corporate tax code. The plan calls for cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent and implementing a “territorial system” that would exempt U.S. corporations from paying taxes on money they earn overseas.

Speaker Boehner also mentioned a territorial system while speaking at the Economic Club of New York saying “Republicans are looking seriously at a territorial tax code.” Pat Garofalo’s wrote:  

Currently, U.S. corporations pay to the Treasury the difference between the tax rate of the country in which they earn money and the U.S. rate. (So money earned in a country where the rate is 25 percent would require a corporation to pay 10 percent — the difference between 35 percent and 25 percent — to the U.S.) However, corporations are allowed to defer paying their U.S. share of taxes until the bring the money back to the U.S., giving them every incentive to shift and keep money (and jobs) offshore. 

I must admit I had no idea what a territorial tax code is. It would exempt U.S. corporations from paying taxes on money they earn overseas. Citizens for Tax Justice reported on this: 

Under a territorial system, the offshore profits of a U.S. corporation would be exempt from U.S. taxes. A recent report from Citizens for Tax Justice explained that this would cause serious problems.   

First, corporations would have a greater incentive to engage in profit-shifting, meaning practices used to disguise U.S. profits as foreign profits. A common example is the manipulation of transfer pricing to shift corporate profits into tax havens (countries that do not tax, or that barely tax, certain types of profits).   

Second, corporations would have a greater incentive to shift actual operations — and jobs — to other countries.  

Our current system already encourages these practices because U.S. corporations are allowed to “defer” their U.S. taxes on their offshore profits. But the incentives would be even greater under a territorial system, in which corporations would NEVER pay U.S. taxes on their offshore profits.  

Other countries that have adopted territorial tax systems are experiencing these problems, and the European Union is considering adoption of a different system to allocate profits among EU member states.  

As CTJ’s report explains, the best alternative would be for Congress to repeal the rule allowing U.S. corporations to “defer” their U.S. taxes on offshore profits. Corporations could continue to get a credit for any taxes paid to a foreign government (just as they do now) which prevents any profits from being taxed more than once.   

Repatriation of corporate profits earned overseas  

Mr. Boehner also spoke on Monday about the possibility of a tax holiday that would allow corporations to bring the profits they earned overseas back to the U.S. without being taxed. During the Bush Administration in 2004, Congress did this and CTJ reported that there were several studies on the results of the 2004 repatriation and they showed the repatriated profits went to shareholders and not to job-creation, despite the promises made by corporate lobbyists. 

Speaker Boehner, during the same speech on Monday, also “demanded that ‘trillions’ be cut from public services — a goal that would be impossible without sharply cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

In summary, the Republicans GREAT idea on reforming the corporate tax policy will end up lowering even further corporate taxation and incentivizing corporations to shift their operations overseas. At the same time they want to gut the services like Medicare, Pell Grants, Education funding…basically anything that helps the working class. 

These guys really do live in a bubble.

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7 responses to “Republicans Plan For Reforming Corporate Tax Code — More Tax Breaks

  1. All though I see the benefit of reducing the corporate tax rate, the “territorial tax code” is a dumb idea.

    Reducing the corporate tax rate would increase the desirability of doing business in America, hence creating jobs in America. It would also lower the cost of goods and services. It would be a win/win for the American public.

    In reverse, the “territorial tax code” would incentives doing more business over seas. If corporation XYZ can produce goods in a lower tax country and bring the profits back to America without increased taxes, where is the benefit to the American worker? Sure those corporations would have more capitol in America but they are likely to spend it over seas to expand their foreign business to increase their income in low tax countries.

    Good post, thank you for your time.

  2. EGAD! Did the GOP just encourage corporations to move more businesses overseas in doing this?

    • Yes they are. Back in September of last year, GOP blocked a bill that would have ended tax cuts that are actually given to companies who move their operations overseas. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/28/gop-blocks-democrats-jobs-outsourcing-bill/

      Senate Republicans successfully blocked a bill from coming to the Senate floor Tuesday that Democrats claim would help keep American jobs from going overseas.

      Republicans call it nothing more than a pre-election political ploy. The Democratic bill would have ended certain tax breaks for companies expanding overseas while giving new tax incentives to businesses bringing jobs home.

  3. The GOP clowns are giving away the store, and they could care less.

    • The sad thing they say one thing in interviews, etc, and the legislation they pass are polar opposite. This has worked for them because they rely on the fact that their supporters just listen to their sound bites and won’t actually take the time to look at their legislation and their economic policies.

      The one thing that will destroy democracy is an uneducated population…..Fox News and right-wing pundits are doing their best to keep the public completely uninformed.

      • That is a lot of like what the DNC is doing. They talk about how corporations don’t pay enough taxes and then give enough tax breaks to GE to reduce their tax burden to zero. They say they are going to regulate Wall St (Dodd-Frank) while they hide bailouts in their “jobs” bill.

        Both political parties are trying to play us all for fools. That is why we need to elect citizen servants to office in 2012.

        • I agree with you on the fact that for both parties to fund their perspective campaigns they must go to the very people we want them to regulate and police. The people/corporations don’t give their money without strings attached, and it’s those strings that are killing America. The only way we are going to fix the system is through campaign finance reform….get private money out of politics and use public funding.

          Saying that, I do think Democrats have shown that they do want to reform the tax system to benefit the country based on legislation they have passed and/or proposed but have been blocked/filibustered time and time again. Prior to the 2010 elections, GOP used a record number of filibusters, more used in our government’s history, to block pretty much every legislation even if the legislation was their own.

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