Designing a 21st Century Corporate Tax -- An Advance U.S. Minimum Tax on Foreign Income and Other Measures to Protect the Base
61 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2015 Last revised: 24 Nov 2015
Date Written: July 31, 2015
The 21st Century has seen unprecedented levels of corporate tax aggressiveness and avoidance. This article continues our exploration of second best international tax reforms that would protect the U.S. corporate tax base and have some likelihood of adoption. In this case, we consider how a U.S. minimum tax on foreign income earned by a controlled foreign corporation should be designed to protect the United States against erosion of its corporate income tax base and to combat tax competition by low-tax intermediary countries. In the authors’ view, a minimum tax should be an interim levy that preserves the residual U.S. tax on foreign income, as distinguished from a final minimum tax that partially eliminates the U.S. residual tax. An interim minimum tax would be a significant improvement over current law and would more effectively limit incentives to seek low-taxed foreign income while ameliorating pressure to retain excess earnings abroad.
To achieve the objectives of such a minimum tax, corresponding changes should be made to the U.S. corporate resident definition, the source taxation of foreign MNCs, and the residence taxation of U.S. portfolio investors in foreign corporations to reduce tax advantages under current law for investments in foreign corporations. These changes would reduce tax advantages for foreign parent corporate groups and thereby further protect the U.S. tax base as well as reduce incentives for U.S. corporations to expatriate as a consequence of increased U.S. taxation of foreign income under an interim minimum tax.
Keywords: Corporate Tax, Minimum Tax, International Tax, Income Tax, Controlled Foreign Corporations, Base Erosion
JEL Classification: H21, H25, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation