(Reuters) - The tax overhaul legislation passed by the U.S. Senate jettisoned a long-held Republican goal of repealing the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT), a move seen as hurting companies that invest heavily in research and development.
The Senate’s inclusion of the AMT puts the bill, passed narrowly last Saturday, on a collision course with Republicans in the House of Representatives, whose version would repeal the corporate AMT. House Republicans are calling for the tax to be eliminated in final legislation to be hammered out by a House-Senate conference committee.
Orrin Hatch, chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, said on Wednesday a final tax bill that congressional Republicans hope to get to President Donald Trump for his signature by the Dec. 25 Christmas holiday likely will not retain the AMT.
Here are some details on the impact of the AMT and which companies and industries invest the most in R&D.
— The 20 percent corporate AMT is an alternative to the regular corporate income tax in computing taxes owed, designed to limit the benefit of deductions and tax credits, including credits for R&D that are popular with Silicon Valley.
— With the top corporate rate now at 35 percent, few wind up paying the AMT. But since congressional Republicans want to cut the tax rate to 20 percent, the AMT could affect many companies.
— “Retaining the AMT in reform is even more harmful than it is in its present form,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business lobby group said on its website. “This cannot be the intended impact from a Congress who has worked for years to enact a more globally competitive tax code.”
— Companies in the U.S. pharmaceutical and medical research industry plowed about 17 percent of total revenue into R&D in their most recent fiscal year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
— The software industry and IT services invested 14 percent of revenue in R&D while technology and equipment companies invested 12 percent of their revenue in R&D.
— The healthcare services and equipment sector spent 5.6 percent of its revenue on R&D in the most recent fiscal year.
— Manufacturers also invest significantly in R&D, with Boeing (BA.N) investing 5 percent of its revenue in R&D last year.
— “Research and development is the lifeblood of manufacturing. The NAM supports pro-growth tax reform, and is working with key policymakers to ensure the final bill does not inadvertently harm manufacturing,” said Chris Netram, vice president for tax and domestic economic policy at the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group.
Compiled by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Will Dunham