The newly-proposed Global Minimum Corporate Tax is an impracticable plan that diminishes American economic sovereignty and competitiveness.
As I write this post, American officials are meeting with their counterparts from the UK, France, Japan, Italy, Canada, and Germany at the G7 Summit currently underway in Cornwall, UK. One of the main issues they are discussing is the promulgation of what they are calling a ‘global minimum corporate tax’, which would involve all seven of the world’s wealthiest democracies agreeing to not move corporate taxes below 15% so as to better capture the profits of large multinational corporations. When I first read that the Biden administration – and particularly Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – was seeking to push this international agreement on taxes, I was flabbergasted at the fact that any American administration would think this is a good idea. There are several reasons for my skepticism, many of which were expertly laid out by the Wall Street Journal, but this post will focus on one major issue that’s dear to my heart: the fact that the agreement necessarily diminishes American sovereignty for no good purpose.
When there is a major advance in civil rights for a minority group that has been widely discriminated against, do people have the right to dissent with the new standard? Should individuals and businesses be treated the same with respect to the fundamental rights protected by our Constitution? Are artists, artisans, and other craftsmen exercising their free speech rights when they create custom works for paying clients in the normal course of business? Where does society draw the line when it comes to sincerely-held religious beliefs? And how, if at all, is racial discrimination different than discrimination based on sexual orientation? All of these critically important societal questions are deeply integrated in one of the most widely discussed and anticipated Supreme Court cases of this term, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
As you may know, the Republican leadership along with the Trump administration have recently put out the general outlines of their planned tax reform package, which will focus on lowering rates for businesses and individuals, as well as incentivizing business growth and investment through a number of different mechanics, including ‘loophole’ reduction and alteration of some tax treatments. I will have far more to say with respect to this plan as it moves through Congress, but this article is only focused on one specific proposal within the basic GOP plan that is not getting a lot of coverage outside of the business-oriented press (and not even much there). The proposal is known as ‘full expensing’ and allows businesses to treat investments in physical property, intellectual property, and other long-lived assets as expenses that only last one year versus the current treatment which maintains that those expenses must be spread out over multiple years (this is known as ‘depreciation’). Why focus on this seemingly minor proposed change, when there are big rate changes and other important proposals within the plan? As a former auditor and licensed CPA with plenty of experience in reviewing financial statements of large public companies, as well as smaller private firms, I see this proposal, said to boost growth by its backers in the Republican party, as one that will throw the accounting system and financial statements into a world of chaos.Read More »