The 41st Annual Tax Law Conference in Washington, D.C. is just one month away, and the latest tax developments since the new administration took office will give attendees plenty of food for thought. On March 3, come examine what the future holds regarding newly issued regulations and recent developments in the tax code. Connect with colleagues, judges, lawyers, accountants, and policymakers for a full-day educational forum that examines how the changing tax landscape affects your clients and practice. Register today at www.fedbar.org/taxlaw17.
There is wall-to-wall mayhem over the planned border adjustment tax (BAT). Billed as a way to boost U.S. manufacturing and pay for corporate tax cuts, Congressional Republicans want to eliminate tax incentives that encourage U.S. companies to move overseas, sharply cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, and support factory output at home. Currently, the income tax applies to businesses’ income from production in the U.S. Under the BAT, the income tax would apply to businesses’ income from sales in the U.S.
Opponents say the plan could cause companies to lay off workers. The proposal—spearheaded by House GOP Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House tax-writing committee—would represent the most comprehensive reforms to corporate taxes in decades. House GOP supporters say the proposal would eliminate the incentives for corporations to use complex schemes to shift their incomes to lower-tax jurisdictions.
Under the current tax code, if a company sells a product in the U.S. that was produced overseas, it doesn’t pay income taxes to the U.S. on the value of the imported product. Under a border adjustment, companies would be required to pay income taxes to the U.S. on the value of their imports—because the products are sold in the U.S.
The tax, which aims to finance in part President Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border, could be particularly painful for retailers: Some 97 percent of all clothing and footwear sold in the U.S., and more than 90 percent of electronics, are imported, according to Fortune. This explains why more than 100 retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Walmart, Nike, Target, QVC, Neiman Marcus, and luxury conglomerate LVMH, are stepping up their pressure on the Trump administration not to push its proposed BAT on imports.
The National Retail Federation, along with the American International Automobile Dealers Association, the National Grocers Association, and others are joining forces to form Americans for Affordable Products (AAP), which will run a campaign to educate consumers and show lawmakers that the BAT proposal would lead to higher prices of as much as 20 percent on everyday import items like clothing, food, and gas. Companies selling goods in the U.S. would have to either eat the new tax or pass the cost onto consumers in the form of higher prices to safeguard profit margins.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.