Treasury to take time to weigh options on tax inversions: official

WASHINGTON Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:22pm EDT

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council's annual report, on Capitol Hill in Washington June 25, 2014.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council's annual report, on Capitol Hill in Washington June 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will need more than a few weeks to weigh potential administrative actions to discourage U.S. companies from reducing their tax bills by moving to other countries, a Treasury Department official said on Monday.

Staff at the U.S. Treasury has been assembling a list of options for Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"The issues are complex, so the work will not be done in a week or two," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

Analysts are divided over how much the administration could deter inversions without legislation, and Lew and other officials have been urging lawmakers to act on the matter.

"We cannot wait months and years for Congress to act while inversions erode our corporate tax base," the official said on Monday.

Under an inversion, a U.S. company shifts its tax home base to a lower-tax country by combining with a company based in that country. Popular destinations are Ireland and the Netherlands.

The Treasury has said previously it was looking for ways to make it harder and less rewarding for companies to engage in inversions.

"The secretary is hoping to have recommendations from his team in the near future," the official said on Monday.

While some Democratic lawmakers are clamoring for anti-inversion legislation, Republicans say the issue should only be addressed through comprehensive tax reform, which is not expected to occur this year.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Steve Orlofsky)

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Comments (1)
Wulff wrote:
Only if you believe the Big Lie that businesses pay taxes will this make any sense. For any business providing a product or a service, taxes paid, where ever, are part of the cost of what they sell. Like all other costs, those taxes get added to the market price of the item. Businesses merely act as a surrogate tax collector for the gov’t. The consumers pay out the money when they purchase the item. To remain competitive in the market place, all businesses must look to reduce their costs. If they can’t make a profit, they will go out of business. That’s an economic law not up for debate or revision.

Aug 18, 2014 7:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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