President Barack Obama on Monday proposed removing tax incentives that he says encourage U.S. multinational firms to ship jobs overseas.
In a broad plan that would raise $210 billion over the next decade, Obama also would make it harder for individuals to stash money in overseas accounts to avoid taxation.
Many business groups oppose the changes, saying they would make them less competitive. Following are the details of Obama's proposal, along with estimated revenue raised over 10 years:
In a tax provision Obama criticized during his campaign last year, companies are allowed to defer paying taxes on profits they make overseas as long as those earnings are plowed back into the foreign subsidiaries. Critics say this allows companies to avoid taxation indefinitely and gives them incentives to create jobs overseas instead of at home.
Obama would tighten this rule by prohibiting firms from taking deductions on the expenses for their overseas operations until they have booked their profits in the United States. But an exception would be made for expenses on research and experimentation.
Estimated revenue: $60.1 billion.
FOREIGN TAX CREDITS
Companies are now allowed to claim a credit against their U.S. taxes for foreign taxes paid but the Obama administration says some firms take advantage of this by artificially inflating the amount of taxes they owe. The administration would end this practice.
Estimated revenue: $43.0 billion.
NEW INCENTIVES FOR U.S. RESEARCH
With the aim of encouraging job creation in the United States, the proposal would extend a research and experimentation tax credit for businesses now set to expire in 2009.
Estimated tax cut for firms using the credit: $74.5 billion over 10 years.
CHECK THE BOX TAX HAVENS
One provision of the tax code allows companies to shift around income earned by offshore subsidiaries on paper to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Such a tax scheme, while not illegal, gives companies a way to lower their tax burden by checking a box on their return to shift income to a low-tax jurisdiction.
The administration would limit this practice by requiring some foreign subsidiaries to be considered separate corporations for U.S. tax purposes.
Estimated revenue: $86.5 billion.
TAX HAVENS USED BY INDIVIDUALS
Obama is proposing several steps to prevent wealthy individuals from evading taxes through offshore accounts. In one of those measures, the administration would impose a new requirement for financial institutions to share information to the Internal Revenue Service about its U.S. customers.
Foreign institutions must sign up with the IRS to become a qualified intermediary or else face a presumption that they are helping individuals evade taxes.
Obama would tighten reporting requirements for overseas investments and stiffen penalties for those who fail to report foreign accounts.
Estimated revenue: $8.7 billion.
The administration plans to hire 800 new IRS employees, which it says would help it curb overseas tax avoidance.