U.S. International Tax System at a Crossroads

Angus, Barbara, Neubig, Tom, Solomon, Eric, Weinberger, Mark | January 1, 2010

The current U.S. international tax system, the administration’s international tax proposals, and other potential international tax reforms all have ramifications for U.S. businesses, American workers, and the U.S. economy that must be fully discussed and understood. This report focuses on some of the most important facts and perspectives that should be considered as part of that discussion. This process starts by asking, at a minimum, questions like these: (1) How have the dynamics of the global economy changed? (2) What role should differences between the U.S. tax system and those of other countries play in determining an advantageous international tax policy for the United States? (3) What are the tax policy choices that would best support the needs of the U.S. government and business in today’s world? (4) What are the potential consequences of placing additional tax burdens on foreign investment by U.S.-headquartered global companies? (5) How do the U.S. transfer pricing rules fit into the U.S. tax system and integrate with the rules of U.S. trading partners in today’s global economy? In addressing these questions, one thing that taxpayers and tax policymakers of both political parties can agree on is that the tax laws should not disadvantage American businesses, workers, or consumers. In fact, the focus should be on improving the overall standard of living for Americans by providing good employment opportunities with businesses that are thriving in today’s global economy. As policymakers approach their challenge of crafting an advantageous international tax system for the United States, they should maintain a clear focus on what is best for the U.S. economy and the American people.