“You Got to Know When to Fold ‘Em”

Gambling with the Highway Trust Fund: The House always wins? As expected, the House rejected the Senate’s four-and-a-half month $8 billion highway funding patch passed earlier this week. The House returned its own 10-month $10.8 billion patch—the one that includes pension smoothing—back to the Senate. The Senate approved it last night by a vote of […]


How REIT Spinoffs Will Further Erode the Corporate Tax Base

While Congress has been obsessing about tax inversions, it turns out another—potentially more important–tax avoidance technique is getting increased attention from the business community: Spinning off tangible assets into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). If these deals become widespread, they’d be another nail in the coffin of the corporate income tax. Multinational firms already slash […]


What’s Love Got to Do with It? Not Much, in Congress

The Senate won’t “Bring Home Jobs…” at least not through the bill that would have denied tax deductions for costs of moving corporations out of the country. The Bring Home Jobs Act needed 60 votes to pass but received only 54. The House GOP may vote to put the estate tax to death. They’ve been […]


What Ronald Reagan Didn’t Say About the EITC

I like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It encourages work and allows millions of low-wage workers and their kids to escape a life of poverty. Democrats support it as a critical part of the safety net. Republicans back it because it rewards work and family. Just last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan […]


Reincorporation, Renunciation, and a Dose of Reality

There’s more than one way for a corporation to reduce taxes. It doesn’t have to reincorporate itself overseas. It could instead spin off a part of itself into a publicly traded real estate investment fund. As long as the new REIT distributes 90 percent or more of its income to investors as taxable dividends, it […]


Are Tax Inversions Really Unpatriotic?

President Obama and many congressional Democrats argue that U.S.-based multinational firms are being unpatriotic by moving their corporate addresses overseas in order to reduce their taxes. Obama even implied they are “corporate deserters.” These are powerful, emotionally-charged allegations. But are they fair? Is it unpatriotic to maximize tax savings? After all, companies and individuals do […]


How Do You Solve a Problem Like Inversions?

How do you catch a tax and pin it down? Can governments make corporations “stay and listen to all they say?” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in his Washington Post op-ed called on Congress to immediately stop corporations from lowering taxes by incorporating overseas. Former Treasury official Steve Shay suggests the Administration doesn’t need to wait […]


The “Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act” Would Help, but Doesn’t Solve the Timing Mismatch

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) does not work for low-income families. It fails on three counts – the credit is nonrefundable, covers only a portion of expenses, and comes long after expenses have been incurred. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) have proposed the […]


A Showdown, Some Backlash and Big Bets

The Highway Trust Fund is almost out of gas. Congress leaves for its month-long recess on Friday, but without legislative action the fund will run out in August. The Senate is expected to vote on the amended bill this week, though it needs 60 votes to pass. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had scheduled a […]


There’s No Joy in Inversion-Ville

Corporate inversions: Not exactly a home-run campaign issue. But some Democrats are swinging for the fences anyway, including President Obama: “You shouldn’t get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from American taxpayers.” He reiterated a call for “economic patriotism” among corporations and a retroactive, speedy end to corporate inversions. […]