Obama proposes lowering corporate tax rate to 28 percent
The Obama administration proposed a major overhaul of the nation’s corporate tax code on Wednesday, an election-year gambit that aims to draw a contrast over a key policy issue with the Republicans vying to replace him.
The plan would lower the nation’s corporate tax rate to 28 percent. At the same time, he wants to boost overall revenues from corporate taxation by banning numerous deductions and loopholes that save companies tens of billions of dollars a year on their tax bills, according to a senior administration official.
“The current tax code was written for a different economy in a different era. It needs to be reformed and modernized,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in outlining the proposal in the early afternoon.
“Our corporate tax rate is now on pace to become the highest among all developed economies,” Geithner said. “The rate is high in order to pay for a tax code full of special benefits for certain industries and certain activities... Whatever you call them, they are subsidies. They are spending through the tax code. And they are expensive, costing billions of dollars a year.”
The current U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is one of the highest in the world, but the abundance of loopholes and deductions enable many businesses to pay far less than that — or nothing at all. Companies in the United States pay almost half the taxes that companies in other rich countries pay, compared with the size of the economy, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Obama is also targeting oil and gas companies for tax increases while promising special breaks for manufacturing companies, according to a senior administration official.
The prognosis for the overhaul plan in Congress is unclear. Many Republicans, including the leading presidential candidates, have favored reducing taxes on businesses well below what the president is proposing.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has called for a 25 percent tax rate for corporations, is planning to speak on tax reform later this week, while his rivals for the GOP nomination have called for far lower tax rates.
Despite those disagreements, Republicans and Democrats have shown support for a tax strategy that reduces rates across the board while eliminating special-interest loopholes.