Even as they were arguing that the tax increase would be too costly, business lobbyists in Washington called for delaying a vote on the new spending package. The delay comes after two Democratic lawmakers announced their opposition to the deal last week, citing concerns with how it funds some of Biden’s proposals.
The “federal tax increase 2021” is a business lobby group that seeks to delay the tax rise that funds the Biden spending plan. The group believes that they can convince lawmakers to not pass the law, and also help them find a way to lower taxes.
WASHINGTON— A group of huge multinational corporations has started a last-ditch lobbying effort to defer a tax rise on overseas revenues under the Build Back Better proposal, claiming that it will harm American firms competing against international competitors.
President Biden’s major domestic-policy objective, which depends on corporate tax hikes to pay increased spending on education, child care, healthcare, and other domestic programs, might face another setback as a result of the conflict.
Lobbyists for major U.S. corporations such as Honeywell International Inc., HON -2.12 percent, General Electric Co., GE -1.17 percent, and Boeing Corp., BA 0.96 percent, hope to persuade centrist Democratic senators like Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia that the proposed global minimum tax would raise the cost of doing business in the United States if implemented too soon.
The rate hike would put into effect a pact made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and almost 140 other countries to create a global rate floor for corporations. It is intended to target corporate tax avoidance strategies that funnel earnings to low-tax nations.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was successfully convinced by private-equity lobbyists to oppose a $14 billion tax hike on carried interest income in the Build Back Better package.
Tom Williams/Zuma Press photo
Companies’ lobbyists have decided that they are unlikely to convince Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic congressional leaders to repeal the new foreign levies entirely. As a result, they’ve moved their focus to pressing Congress to postpone the implementation of the new tax system until other nations follow suit.
“If Congress enacts a harsher minimum-tax regime before other countries enact any minimum-tax regime at all, it will put U.S. companies and workers at a significant competitive disadvantage,” said Rohit Kumar, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) who is now a co-leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s national tax office and is leading the effort to postpone the changes.
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Setting US taxes higher than other countries would “reintroduce a financial incentive for US corporations and their assets to hunt for a new home abroad,” Mr. Kumar noted, contradicting the administration’s intentions.
Delaying the introduction of the global minimum tax, according to proponents, would send a message to other nations that the United States was unlikely to follow through on the international agreement, and would allow corporations more time to kill the higher minimum rate in a future Congress.
The Biden administration is fighting back on the lobbying, claiming that the new minimum tax would close the gap between U.S. and foreign tax rates, making it less likely for American corporations to recognize earnings elsewhere to avoid paying taxes in the United States.
“The Treasury Department fully thinks that [this] should happen quickly to guarantee that firms are no longer motivated to transfer profits and jobs offshore,” said Alexandra LaManna, a spokesperson for the department.
Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) has slowed the Senate’s progress on the social-policy and climate bill, allowing lobbyists more time to seek modifications.
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Business lobbyists convinced House MPs to postpone the application of the offshore profits tax until January 1, 2023, when they were contemplating the Build Back Better package earlier this year. It was suggested by the government that it go into force next year.
After barely passing the bill in the House last month, lobbyists are now focusing their efforts on the Senate, where they are attempting to postpone the expansion of the offshore profits tax until at least 2024.
“The more time we have, the more time Treasury has to create rules so firms know what they’re doing,” said Cathy Schultz, a tax-policy director with the Business Roundtable.
The lobbying campaign is being coordinated by Promote America’s Competitive Economy, or PACE, a loose group of firms sponsored in part by the Business Roundtable, a coalition of chief executives from some of the country’s largest corporations. The National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce are also active.
The PACE coalition’s strategy calls regularly attract about 100 lobbyists and attorneys who debate how to persuade individual senators to support their cause. The corporations submitted a letter to senators on Friday outlining their case for a postponement.
Separate lobbying campaigns are being waged by other business organizations to urge senators to remove measures that they dislike.
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JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. C -2.51 percent, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS -3.92 percent, among others, are urging senators to reject a little-noticed provision in the House-approved version of the bill that would give the Federal Trade Commission broad new authority to fine companies for unfair and deceptive business practices.
Generic-drug lobbyists are attempting to remove a clause included into the bill by Vice President Biden and Democratic leaders to restrict the cost of brand-name pharmaceuticals. The generic pharmaceutical companies claim that the present approach may inadvertently affect low-cost alternatives.
Oil and gas corporations are attempting to prevent new natural gas levies that they believe would affect domestic energy providers.
As the Build Back Better proposal made its way through the House, industry lobbyists peeled out bits and pieces. The bill will very certainly require the backing of all 50 Democrats and two independents in the Senate to pass, since all 50 Republicans oppose it.
Lobbyists for the private-equity sector were successful in convincing Ms. Sinema to oppose a $14 billion tax hike on what is known as carried interest income, which they said would hurt her state’s industries. The idea was deleted from the House bill due to Ms. Sinema’s objection.
A proposal to raise the federal tax on cigarettes and extend it to vaping and other tobacco products was also toned down by House drafters. The anticipated tax increase was reduced from $100 billion to $9 billion after pressure from cigarette firms and convenience retailers. Vaping advocates convinced Democratic senators earlier this month to repeal the tax entirely.
Senators changed a planned 15% minimum tax on financial-statement income to exclude gains from defined-benefit pension plans after intense lobbying from employers. They also scaled the planned new limitations on multinational firms’ interest deductions.
Mr. Biden’s measure has challenges that go beyond corporate influence. Mr. Manchin, a critical Democratic vote, has refused to support for the measure, claiming that his party is hiding the bill’s true cost using financial gimmicks.
Because of Mr. Manchin’s opposition, the Senate is likely to postpone a vote on the bill until after the holidays, giving business lobbyists more time to gather opposition to specific provisions.
—This essay was co-written by Richard Rubin.
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The “biden tax plan retroactive” is a business lobby that seeks to delay the tax increase that funds the Biden spending plan.
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