WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure investment plan eschews fuel taxes and other traditional sources of funding for such initiatives in favor of corporate tax hikes that aim to raise $2 trillion in revenue over 15 years.
The plan, which reverses parts of the corporate tax cuts passed under former President Donald Trump at the end of 2017, is already drawing howls of protests from business groups and congressional Republicans, who charge that it will make U.S. companies less competitive globally and reduce job growth.
Following is a rundown of the key elements of the plan:
The plan will raise the corporate income tax rate after deductions to 28% from the current 21%. That’s still well below the 35% prior to 2017, a rate in place since 1993.
GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX
The plan would impose a global minimum tax of 21% on overseas income for U.S. companies and eliminate certain loopholes that the administration says encourage companies to shift profits to tax haven countries. Among these would be an exemption that allows U.S. firms to pay zero tax on the first 10% of income from overseas investments. The administration says the plan will discourage the shifting of jobs overseas.
INTERNATIONAL TAX NEGOTIATIONS
The Biden administration says it wants to end a global “race to the bottom” on corporate taxes. The U.S. Treasury is currently seeking a global agreement on international taxation of companies and digital commerce through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that would create a global minimum tax. The administration said it is seeking to deny deductions to foreign corporations that would allow them to shift U.S. profits to tax haven countries that do not have a minimum tax.
The Biden administration is proposing reforms that would make it harder for companies to merge with a foreign firm and claim the partner’s country of residence in order to achieve a lower corporate tax rate, even though management and substantial operations may reside in the United States.
The plan would deny U.S. companies the ability to deduct expenses for moving operations to other countries. Biden is proposing a tax credit for U.S. firms that move jobs back to the United States.
INTANGIBLE INCOME LOOPHOLE
The administration is proposing to eliminate tax breaks on foreign income derived from intangible assets such as software services, trademark royalties, intellectual property licenses on technology, pharmaceuticals and other products. These are generally taxed at a rate of around 13%, far less than the headline 21% rate.
LARGE CORPORATION MINIMUM TAX
The plan would enact a 15% minimum tax on the “book income” that the largest corporations report to investors to ensure that they cannot use tax code loopholes to completely eliminate their tax liability. In presenting his plan, Biden singled out Amazon.com Inc for paying “not a single penny” in federal income taxes.
Tax credits and deductions for fossil fuel producers would be eliminated under the plan as part of Biden’s drive to cut taxes.
The administration would boost resources for the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that it can effectively enforce U.S. tax laws after years of cuts that has left it with 15,000 fewer revenue agents than a decade ago. The administration’s plan says this is aimed at keeping corporations from evading taxes, but additional IRS funding also would likely be directed at wealthy individuals. U.S. Treasury and IRS officials have said they want wants to shrink the “tax gap” -- the difference between taxes legally owed and those collected, which one estimate puts as high as $7.5 trillion from 2020 to 2029.
Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Mary Milliken and Sonya Hepinstall
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