Tax Extensions, Tax Permanence, Tax Competitiveness

By December 8, 2010Taxation

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, participated in a conference call with NAM members from small- and medium-sized companiess on Tuesday. Taxes were Topic No. 1, and while the NAM welcomes the agreement between President Obama and Congress on extending the current tax rates, there’s more that needs to be done.

Engler spoke the larger issues and had a few things to say about Rep. David Camp (R-MI), incoming chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, as well. Excerpt:

Congressman David Camp from Michigan, who’s going to chair the Ways & Means Committee, one of the things that he really has a keen appreciation for, is the importance of having permanence in some of these provisions and rates. We have got to get away from this practice where everything is expiring every year or two.

No one can do proper estate planning, if you’re talking about the estate tax, or business planning – if you’re talking about what dividends and capital gains rates are – or investment strategies. I think Dave Camp, who is really going to be a superb chair, is really thinking about how to do we get some of these locked down – we cannot have so many moving parts.

That said, I think he is also working on the broader topic of comprehensive business tax reform, too. That’s long been one of our objectives. When we talk about having the United States be the best place in the world for a company to be headquartered, it will never be that without having tax rates that are significantly lower. We’re almost 10 full percentage points* in corporate tax rates above the average of other developed nations. That’s a big deal, and one of the reasons why issues like repatriation of foreign earnings become such a problem, because you’re looking at such a big tax burden when  you bring money earned overseas back home.

Again, U.S. policy on taxing globally everybody’s income is very different than the countries we’re competing with.

* Here’s a chart of corporate tax rates in OECD countries, 2009.

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