Accounting News

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Is it Time for a Repatriation Tax Holiday?

The Win America Campaign is lobbying to get a repatriation tax holiday. This would provide a window for US Corporations to repatriate earnings from foreign subsidiaries. In effect they will pay a tax rate or 5.25% instead of the standard rate of 35%. The group says that $1 trillion is "trapped" overseas. They say that if the money was repatriated then the companies would use the money to invest in the US and create new jobs.

One opponent of the plan is Senator Carl Levin. He argues that those companies are already using the US banking system and are investing in US treasuries. In essence they already have the benefit of the strength and stability of the US financial system.

A second argument he brings up is the previous time the US had a tax holiday. That was back in 2004. When 15 companies were surveyed about what they did with the repatriated funds none could point to investing in US companies, hiring employees, or conducting new research and development. All 15 payed back shareholders and paid bonuses to executives.

A logical solution is to only provide the tax holiday for the funds that are re-invested in the US. The problem is that this would be very difficult to track. Money is very fungible for a large multi-national corporation.

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