For the economy to expand, create jobs, and attract foreign investment at its full potential, businesses – both domestic and foreign – must be able to plan with confidence and make decisions based on economic fundamentals. Tax rates that are unreasonably high and rules that are complex, inconsistent, and ever-changing complicate business decision-making, distort the rational allocation of economic resources, and undermine economic growth and job creation. With that in mind, the Forum strongly supports a business tax system that is reasonable, fair, consistent, and that serves to attract foreign investment.
The most fundamental business tax reform priority is to reduce rates by simplifying the code and broadening the base. The current U.S. statutory tax rate of 39.1 percent is the highest among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, a full 10 percent higher than the OECD average. Moreover, many other industrial nations – including Germany, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and China – have either announced or signaled significant reductions in their corporate tax rates. Given the competitive challenges of an increasingly global economy, business tax policy must be a central feature of any meaningful competitiveness agenda.
Within the context of a simpler and fairer tax code, the Forum maintains that imposing punitive taxes or fees on the financial sector would threaten economic growth and job creation by taxing capital formation, restricting the availability of credit, raising the cost of providing financial products and services, and increasing the tax burden on investors. Additional taxation of financial institutions would also undermine the international competitiveness of American financial institutions.