WASHINGTON 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)