TaxProf Weblog


TaxProf Weblog


Many tax commentators would keep in mind the discourse on the proposed “destination-based money stream tax (DBCFT)” in the course of the presidential election debate in 2016-17. Though I lamented the acronym of the proposal, DBCFT, as an unwelcome addition to the already-crowded alphabet soup in tax regulation, reminiscent of CFC, ECI, PE, TOB, CEN, CIN, UBIT, DRD, GILTI, and so forth, I loved the idea itself, which is to exchange the normal company revenue tax with taxation of a company’s home money stream. I notably loved the feedback by Michael Devereux (Oxford) and Alan Auerbach (Berkeley), who’re famend specialists in enterprise money stream taxation. The DBCFT proposal was not included within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017.

Lately, Devereux and Auerbach have fashioned a bunch referred to as the Oxford Worldwide Tax Group together with Michael Eager (IMF), Paul Oosterhuis (Skadden), Wolfgang Schön (Max Planck), and John Vella (Oxford) (hereinafter “Oxford Group”), and launched a report, Taxing Revenue in a International Financial system, to evaluation the worldwide tax reform proposals for combatting revenue shifting and addressing tax challenges within the digitalized economic system. The report proposes the Residual Revenue Allocation by Earnings (RPAI) and the DBCFT proposal as two alternate options to the prevailing worldwide tax system. I’ve reviewed the RPAI proposal right here, and have argued  the restrictions of DBCFT as a global tax reform proposal for the digital economic system (right here), noting that 1) there are important quantities of barter transactions within the platform economic system – which is without doubt one of the most essential sectors of the twenty first digital economic system, 2) these digital barter transactions don’t contain money stream, and thus will not be captured underneath the normal tax system, and three) a money stream tax, together with the DBCFT, can’t resolve the issue.

Alvin C. Warren Jr. (Harvard) has not too long ago examined the Oxford Group’s DBCFT proposal as nicely, however from a barely completely different perspective. Warren explains that the DBCFT is a money stream tax on the enterprise entity stage, compares it with Shareholder Money Move Taxation (that’s, a money stream tax on the shareholder stage), and implies {that a} additional examine on the Shareholder Money Move Taxation could be required to efficiently defend the DBCFT.  

First, underneath a primary (home) enterprise money stream tax, a company with no cross-border transactions would come with all receipts and deduct all funds, apart from the tax itself and funds to and from shareholders. Such a tax would have a tax base that would come with actual and monetary money stream, and because of this capital expenditures could be instantly deductible, and borrowings and principal repayments could be included and deducted respectively, not like conventional company revenue tax. (The identical could possibly be mentioned about one other model of the money stream tax that solely considers actual money stream.)

Second, the fundamental mannequin expands to a cross-border setting the place a DBCFT applies. This proposal would have international locations ignore cross-border funds and receipts. The US, for instance, would tax home and international firms on their U.S. receipts minus their U.S. prices. DBCFT has typically been defined as a way to encourage exports and discourage imports. Nevertheless, many economists and the Oxford Group reject this argument as a result of floating change charges would alter to offset the acknowledged results on exports and imports.

Third, a money stream tax on the entity stage, such because the DBCFT, could be equal to a money stream tax on the shareholder stage. In a home context, an actual plus monetary money stream firm tax (as mentioned above) is equivalent to a tax on the web money flows to shareholders, as a result of the supply of a company’s web funds (the tax base of the previous) should equal the makes use of of these funds (the tax base of the latter). The Shareholder Money Move Tax would make investments by people in firm shares deductible whereas disinvestments could be taxable—much like the tax remedy of conventional (non-Roth) retirement financial savings. The identical holds within the worldwide context. A DBCFT on home money flows of home and international corporations is equal to a tax on the web money flows of home homeowners of corporations worldwide.

Fourth, Warren criticized the Oxford Group report for missing a comparability between the DBCFT and the Shareholder Money Move Tax. The Oxford Group signifies that the DBCFT proposal could be progressive as a result of its incidence would fall totally on the shareholders who’re residents of the house nation. For this argument, the mentioned equivalence is central to the Oxford Group’s help to the DBCFT proposal. Along with the rationales for the DBCFT proposal, reminiscent of effectivity (solely pure earnings above the conventional price of return could be taxed) and administrability (shifting accounting earnings overseas wouldn’t scale back taxes), the Oxford Group considers this progressive incidence to be an essential energy of the DBCFT proposal. Nevertheless, the Oxford Group stops right here, and doesn’t additional examine the 2 taxes. On this article, Warren as an alternative reveals {that a} Shareholder Money Move Tax could be easier to administrate than the DBCFT as a result of the tax on the shareholder stage wouldn’t have to trace as many transactions of firms, together with cross-border ones. Moreover, a Shareholder Money Move Tax might keep away from the difficult problems with changes in change charges, which was a major weak point of the DBCFT proposal in the course of the TCJA dialogue.

Briefly, Warren argues that for the reason that DBCFT and a Shareholder Money Move Tax would possible be economically equal, the Oxford Group ought to have supplied the explanation why they like the DBCFT to the Shareholder Money Move Tax. Warren gives some elements that will help the latter moderately than the previous. Nevertheless, Warren signifies that the problems he raised can’t be totally resolved on this brief article. Nonetheless, Warren supplies a really clear and exemplary rationalization of enterprise money stream taxation. For many who analysis or educate money stream taxation, I extremely suggest this text as a vital studying. For many who have loved thought experiments on money stream taxation, this text gives extra superior factors, which I imagine will make them desperate to learn Warren’s future work in growing these factors. I additionally surprise what Warren thinks concerning the tax issues related to barter transactions within the platform economic system.


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