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Rollins College

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

Abstract

In recent years, the number of U.S. companies trying to merge with a foreign company and thereby reincorporate themselves in countries with a lower corporate tax rate – a practice known as corporate inversion – has skyrocketed. The public outcry in 2014 against corporate inversions led the U.S. Treasury to release a series of new anti-inversion regulations, and more policy changes are in the process of being debated. At the same time as this national discussion on the harmful effects corporate inversions have on the U.S. tax base is progressing, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is in the process of working with G-20 countries to develop a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan, a plan that aims in part to bring about major international corporate tax reform. In light of these developments, this paper aims to explain the incentives behind corporate inversions and the different policies being discussed on both the national and international level that could discourage this practice. Through the analysis of government reports and interviews with experts, this paper shows that actions on the national level to stop inversions are indeed possible, although the most meaningful actions will probably be carried out by the Administration, not Congress. The OECD effort to create a multilateral tax instrument, however, is much less promising; the governments currently involved have strongly divergent interests when it comes to setting standards for corporate taxation, and developing countries are almost completely left out of the conversation. Based on these conclusions, the paper makes recommendations on measures to curb inversions and advises that the United States not wait for an international solution to its national problem of tax base erosion.

Disciplines

American Politics | Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Economics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Finance | Finance and Financial Management | Income Distribution | International and Area Studies | International Relations | Other Political Science | Political Economy | Political Science

 

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