I’m very leery of corporate tax reform, largely because I don’t think there are enough genuine loopholes on the business side of the tax code to finance a meaningful reduction in the corporate tax rate.
That leads me to worry that politicians might try to “pay for” lower rates by forcing companies to overstate their income.
Based on a new study about so-called corporate tax expenditures from the Government Accountability Office, my concerns are quite warranted.
The vast majority of the $181 billion in annual “tax expenditures” listed by the GAO are not loopholes. Instead, they are provisions designed to mitigate mistakes in the tax code that force firms to exaggerate their income.
Here are the key findings.
In 2011, the Department of the Treasury estimated 80 tax expenditures resulted in the government forgoing corporate tax revenue totaling more than $181 billion. …approximately the same size as the amount of corporate income tax revenue the federal government collected that year. …According to Treasury’s 2011 estimates, 80 tax expenditures had corporate revenue losses. Of those, two expenditures accounted for 65 percent of all estimated corporate revenues losses in 2011 while another five tax expenditures—each with at least $5 billion or more in estimated revenue loss for 2011—accounted for an additional 21 percent of corporate revenue loss estimates.
Sounds innocuous, but take a look at this table from the report, which identifies the “seven largest corporate tax expenditures.”
To be blunt, there’s a huge problem in the GAO analysis. Neither depreciation nor deferral are loopholes.
Today, at 11:20 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance; Williams Edge Webinar for August 27th, 2014 | John Ransom
In Other News: Warren Buffet's Secretary Unavailable for Comment on Burger King Tax Move | Michael Schaus
In Other News: Rare Sighting of the Elusive President Obama in His Natural Habitat, the Golf Course | Michael Schaus
Today, at 11:20 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance; Williams Edge Webinar for August 25th, 2014 | John Ransom
In Other News: Law "Enforcer" Eric Holder Understands People's Mistrust of Law Enforcement | Michael Schaus
In Other News: Good News for Mexican Drug Cartels Seeking Some Slightly Used DOJ Hard Drives | Michael Schaus