Reforming the U.S. Corporate Tax System to Increase Tax Competitiveness

20 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2005

Date Written: May 2005


The U.S. corporate tax system is a patchwork of overly complex, inefficient and unfair provisions that impose large costs on corporate business. U.S. corporations seeking to minimize the costs imposed by the detrimental provisions in the U.S. corporate tax system have adopted strategies to reduce overall tax exposure and increase profits. Such strategies include moving operations overseas, corporate inversions, transfer pricing, earnings stripping, and complex leasing arrangements, all to minimize taxation.

Debate surrounding the issue of corporate tax reform has lately focused on whether or not the U.S. corporate tax system contributes to structural declines in manufacturing jobs and, more generally, to the weakening competitiveness of U.S. firms in a global economy. Furthermore, it is obvious that many U.S. businesses are conducting costly and complex operations that have minimal economic content but rather seem designed solely to reduce tax exposure.

Unless broad and significant corporate tax reforms are enacted, it is likely that U.S. tax competitiveness will continue to suffer. The results of inaction are undesirable: potential loss of American jobs, movement of production overseas, sale of U.S. companies to foreign multinational firms and general erosion of the corporate tax base. This Joint Economic Committee study provides a general overview and discussion of the important economic issues of the U.S. corporate income tax system and provides a primer on several reform options to enhance U.S. tax competitiveness.

Keywords: Tax reform, corporate tax, transfer pricing, international competitiveness, tax competition, tax competitiveness

JEL Classification: E63, H2, H26, H74

Suggested Citation

Fichtner, Jason J., Reforming the U.S. Corporate Tax System to Increase Tax Competitiveness (May 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Jason J. Fichtner (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - SAIS ( email )

1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC, DC 20036
United States

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