15 September 2016

OK, I Approve

The Obama administration has closed a loophole that allowed companies to take a tax credit on foreign taxes paid for income that they have refused to repatriate:

The U.S. Treasury Department took fresh steps on Thursday to curb tax avoidance by multinational corporations, announcing new curbs on a loophole through which companies artificially use credits for foreign taxes they pay to improperly lower their U.S. tax bills.

In a notice that took direct aim at the European Union’s push to have its member states collect more taxes from U.S. companies’ overseas units, Treasury officials said they’re writing new rules that would restrict how corporations can use credits on their foreign tax payments to reduce their U.S. tax bills. The official notice puts corporate tax planners on notice that officials will challenge any strategies that violate their intended rules.

The measure will focus on tax-planning strategies in which companies separate foreign tax payments from the underlying income that they’re based on. That separation -- which Treasury’s notice described as a “splitter” arrangement -- allows companies to artificially inflate credits they use to cut their U.S. tax bills.

Officials with the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service said it was possible that U.S. companies that find themselves subject to new tax bills as a result of EU investigations could use splitter arrangements to reduce their U.S. taxes. Last month, the European Commission found that Ireland must collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple Inc. after determining that the iPhone maker received a special tax deal that violated so-called “state-aid” rules, which are aimed at fostering competition.


In effect, the new rule would disallow corporations from using foreign tax credits unless the companies actually bring home to the U.S. -- or repatriate -- the overseas earnings on which they’ve paid the foreign taxes. Repatriation of overseas income triggers the 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate, one of the highest in the world -- and companies can use foreign tax credits to reduce or eliminate it. Treasury officials are worried that without the new rule, companies could claim artificially inflated foreign tax credits tied to offshore money they haven’t brought home.

U.S. officials have grown increasingly concerned that more than $2 trillion in offshore earnings that U.S. multinationals haven’t yet repatriated is now fair game for European countries.

Mark J. Mazur, Treasury’s assistant secretary for tax policy, said the new regulation would close “another tax loophole that contributes to the erosion of our tax base.”

“Today’s action protects the U.S. tax base by ensuring that such credits are only available when corporations repatriate their foreign earnings,” Mazur said.
Why the f%$# did this take 7 years to do?

Why did Obama have to wait until the  "I no longer have a f%$# to give" stage of his Presidency?

This should have started on day one.


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