There’s more than one way to skin offshore earnings. TPC’s Steve Rosenthal explains how Congress could slow tax-motivated departures like corporate inversions and preserve the tax base: Levy an exit tax. “If a US company voluntarily departs (or is acquired by a foreign company in a hostile takeover), we could charge the US company the tax due on its deferred earnings, just as we collect the deferred tax on IRAs of people who relinquish their US citizenship.”
Could a carbon tax benefit companies and households? In TPC’s latest Tax Fact, Donald Marron, Eric Toder, and Lydia Austin illustrate what would happen to households if Congress split carbon tax revenues equally between a corporate tax rate cut and a “dividend” paid to each American. Low- and high- income households would come out slightly ahead, while those in the middle would come out slightly behind. By contrast, using carbon tax revenues to buy down corporate taxes would be more regressive, but do a better job reducing the macroeconomic drag of the energy levy.
In the United Kingdom, pressure builds for a sugar tax. Parliament’s Health Committee cites "clear evidence that measures to improve the food environment" must be used to tackle obesity. State-run health services spend $7.65 billion a year treating obesity and its related medical issues. The committee calls for strong controls on price promotions of unhealthy food and drink and a tax on full sugar drinks.
The Islamic State has a (violent, predatory) tax system. The New York Times reports that militants charge tolls; issue traffic tickets; require rent for government buildings; bill for water and electricity usage; tax income, crops, and cattle; and fine individuals for smoking or wearing the wrong clothes. ISIS collects nearly $1 billion a year. The revenue stream is strong enough that the Islamic State could cover its costs even if the US and its allies cut off oil revenue.
On the Hill. There’ll be hearings today in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Tax Policy Subcommittee on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report on base erosion and profit shifting. House and Senate conferees continue work on a longer-term highway funding bill. House and Senate negotiators are also trying to reach a deal on expired tax breaks—one that could be included in the highway bill due December 4 or the omnibus spending bill due December 11.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.