* U.S. companies in deals to lower taxes spur action
* Corporate inversions a 'loophole' -Senator Levin
(Adds Senator Ron Wyden)
By Patrick Temple-West
WASHINGTON, May 8 U.S. Democratic senators on
Thursday said they are considering legislation to prevent
corporate inversions, an increasingly-popular transaction that
involves U.S. companies reincorporating overseas to avoid U.S.
Senator Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat,
said he wants to make it harder for U.S. companies to move their
headquarters abroad to lower their taxes for inversion deals
that take place on or after May 8, 2014.
"I don't approach retroactivity in legislation lightly, but
corporations must understand that they won't profit from
abandoning the U.S.," Wyden said in a Wall Street Journal
editorial posted online late Thursday.
Wyden said he wants to increase to 50 percent from 20
percent the amount of stock a foreign company must own in a U.S.
company for an inversion deal to legally take place.
Additionally, Wyden called for comprehensive tax reform as a
way to make the U.S. more business friendly.
"I'm committed to making this happen and including changes
in the inversion rules as part of a tax overhaul," Wyden said.
Earlier on Thursday, Democratic Senator Carl Levin, a
long-time advocate for closing corporate tax loopholes, said he
is also talking with senators about potential legislation.
"It's become increasingly clear that a loophole in our tax
laws allowing these inversions threatens to devastate federal
tax receipts. We have to close that loophole," said Levin in a
Levin is the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations, which has held hearings to shed light on U.S.
companies' legal efforts to avoid U.S. taxes.
A recent bid from drug-maker Pfizer Inc to acquire
AstraZeneca Plc, renewed attention on corporate
inversions. The potential deal would allow U.S.-based Pfizer to
re-domicile in Britain to take advantage of a significantly
lower corporate tax rate there.
In April, days after the potential Pfizer deal was made
public, the Obama administration said it was seeking ways to
(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Chris Reese and