The Relationship between a Credit and a Deduction for the Foreign Taxes of a Multinational Corporation
24 Pages Posted: 28 May 2014 Last revised: 20 Jun 2014
Date Written: May 26, 2014
A credit for foreign taxes paid by a multinational company is usually described as fundamentally different from a deduction for foreign taxes. The credit has been criticized for eliminating the taxpayer's incentive to reduce foreign taxes, whereas a deduction is said to maintain that incentive. On the other hand, the credit is traditionally defended as a method of eliminating double taxation of cross-border income, whereas the deduction is often criticized for producing multiple levels of taxation (and is therefore not an acceptable method of dealing with double taxation under the standard international tax treaties). The argument of this note is that a credit and a deduction for foreign taxes paid by a multinational company are not as different as the foregoing assertions would suggest. Indeed, credits and deductions can be interchangeable, with the distinction only a matter of labels or nominal tax rates.
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