Bill Schuster – September 15, 2017
Thirty-one years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the largest tax reform and simplification bill in American history.
Since then our country, global economics, and the way the world does business have all changed dramatically.
It seems everything has changed in the last three decades except the now-antiquated and increasingly complicated U.S. tax code. Without reform and simplification, the tax code will leave America on an uneven playing field with the rest of the world and all Americans will pay the price for it.
Simply put, the U.S. tax code punishes people for doing business in America.
The U.S. business tax is the highest in the industrial world at 35 percent, 10-15 points higher than the majority of our competitors. Because of high rates, more companies are relocating overseas to countries that have lowered their tax rates to be more competitive.
From 2003 to 2011, the U.S. lost on average one major company a year to other countries for tax purposes. In between 2012 and 2015, this number spiked to six major companies leaving per year. Companies aren’t just leaving with their taxable income; they are moving jobs and investing in other countries’ communities because our tax code has pushed them away.
In a global economy, U.S. companies will have profits overseas.
But faced with the steep tax penalty to bring revenue home, U.S. worldwide businesses are holding $2 trillion in earnings and investments overseas instead of bringing revenue home to invest in U.S. communities and workers. In 2012 alone, U.S. companies shifted over $280 billion in profits to low tax countries, which is more than all large corporations paid in U.S. taxes that year combined.
Small businesses, the backbone of our economy, don’t have the same luxuries multi-national companies do.
While small businesses employ roughly half of all jobs in the U.S., their reward for chasing the American dream and moving the economy is being taxed as high as 44.6 percent and spending $46 billion in compliance costs nationwide, averaging $12,000 per company just to keep up with the tax code.