American Companies Think The Unthinkable — Leaving The U.S.

Taxes: Walgreen, America’s venerable drug-store chain, is thinking the unthinkable: relocating to Europe. Not because it sees growth and opportunity there, but because of onerous taxes here in the U.S. It’s an ominous trend.

The Financial Times of London calls it “one of the largest tax inversions ever.” That is, a company seeking to avoid punitive taxes in one market by moving to another.

No doubt the FT is right. And after its recent $16 billion takeover of Swiss-based Alliance Boots, it would be easy for Walgreen to remake itself as a Swiss company.

If it did, the Democratic Party’s liberals would no doubt call Walgreen unpatriotic for wanting to lessen its tax burden. In fact, they are responsible for an economic environment so hostile to capital and investment that companies now find it intolerable.

As we’ve noted, corporate tax rates in the U.S. are the highest among the developed nations. The average rate in America in 2013 was 39.13%; for all of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, it stood at 28.2%.

In short, being headquartered here is a major competitive disadvantage for American firms.

According to an analysis by UBS, Walgreen’s U.S. tax rate is 37.5% — compared with Alliance Boots’ rate in Europe of about 20%. That’s a huge gap, worth billions of dollars a year.

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Culture Challenge of the Week: Tax Tyranny By Rebecca Hagelin

Anxious and somber faces greet me as I step into the crowded waiting room. A sense of dread fills the air.

Men and women sit silently, clutching folders and envelopes, stacks of papers and piles of files. The fear in the air is so thick you can almost cut it with a knife. I join the morbid group as I slump into the nearest empty chair and wait for my turn to see….the ACCOUNTANT!

It’s tax time, and even though we go through the same depressing ritual year-after-year, it just doesn’t get any easier. If I think about it too long, I get really ticked off.

I’m angry that I am forced to hand over so many of my hard-earned dollars to a nameless, faceless bureaucracy where much of it is wasted; frustrated that someone else chooses who gets my money; and upset that I work hundreds of hours each year to pay for stuff I don’t want, don’t need and often times find disgusting.

And to make matters worse – just like all those people sitting in all those waiting rooms across the country – I can’t even figure out how to figure out how much I owe the beast!

The system is so complex that I actually have to pay someone else to calculate it for me and hope and pray that the accountant is educated enough on the intricacies of the tax code to get it right. Every time I see one of those advertisements by accounting firms claiming that they can pretty much guarantee they will find errors in some other accountant’s rendering of my tax return, I get upset all over again. And not because I think they are lying, but because I know that it is true. The tax labyrinth is too complicated for anyone to know their way through it unscathed.

And the real kicker? When April 15 rolls around, the reality is that I have not yet made enough money this year to pay for the taxes I will have to pay next year.

Read more at Patriot Post

Can the government seize your tax refund to pay a relative’s debt?

Two months ago, Mary Grice, a career employee at the Food and Drug Administration, was notified the U.S. Treasury had confiscated her state and federal tax refunds totaling $4,500.

The government had taken the money before she knew there was a problem.

“To be honest, I was ticked off,” Grice said. “I’m like ‘how can they intercept or take my funds without my first being notified about it?’”

The claim against her came from the Social Security Administration which said it overpaid death benefits to Mary’s family after her father Scott Grice died in 1960. Mary was five years old. In other words, without notice and for a debt that was not hers, the government had her refund seized anyway.

Read more here…

When Setting Tax Policy, Don’t Forget About Long-Run Growth By Alan D. Viard

Neither party will always welcome estimates of how their proposals affect long-run growth. But the American people should welcome the prospect of their elected representatives being asked to think further ahead than the next election.

Last Friday, the House of Representatives took a sensible step to counteract the short-run focus that too often drives tax and budget policy decisions. The House voted 224-182 to pass H.R. 1874, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, which would require the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to analyze the effects of major tax and budget bills on long-run economic growth.

Tax and budget policy can boost economic growth, particularly by cutting tax rates on labor and capital and reducing the deficit. Of course, the promotion of long-run growth can conflict with other goals, such as preserving tax progressivity and the safety net or providing short-run Keynesian demand stimulus. Resolving these tradeoffs sometimes requires hard choices.

Today, however, the deck is stacked against growth-oriented policy. Official budget estimates cover only a ten-year period and exclude any effects of tax and spending changes on the size of the overall economy. Although CBO and JCT have provided supplemental estimates of how a few tax and budget proposals affect the overall economy, even those estimates have been limited to a ten-year period.

H.R. 1874 would offer modest measures to place greater attention on long-run growth. For a handful of the largest tax and budget bills, it would require CBO and JCT, “to the extent practicable,” to provide supplemental estimates of the bills’ effects on GDP, investment, capital, employment, labor supply, interest rates, and revenue over a 40-year period. Of course, members of Congress would be free to give the estimates as much or as little weight as they saw fit when voting on the bills.

Regrettably, H.R. 1874 provoked partisan division, with Republicans supporting it 220-0 and Democrats opposing it 182-4. A similar bill passed by the House in February 2012 never came to a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Rather than supporting H.R. 1874 as a tool to help both parties make more informed policy decisions, Democrats raised a series of unfounded objections.

Read more at the American

Despite Massive Tax Hikes, Left Wants More By J.T. YOUNG

When it comes to taxes, there are never enough for the left. If you have any doubt about that, President Obama’s budget removes it.

A political document written in numbers, the administration’s latest budget is a clear play for liberal support this November, and the way to the left’s heart runs through higher taxes.

Just a year ago, large federal tax increases took effect. Through a host of hikes — such as ObamaCare surcharges, allowing taxes on upper-income earners to return to pre-Bush levels and the end of the suspension of a portion of payroll taxes — federal revenues increased a whopping $324 billion last year.

This 13% jump easily took total federal revenues above their all-time high, set in pre-recession 2007.

Putting 2013′s dramatic surge into an economic context, it represented an increase equal to 1.5% of gross domestic product. In contrast, the economy itself grew just 1.9% in real terms.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s historical data, that 1.5% increase is the largest jump as a percentage of GDP in the last 40 years.

Fiscal year 2014, which began last October 1, shows continued revenue increases. Through February (and excluding payments to the government), income and payroll taxes were up 8%, while federal outlays were down just 1.3%.

This revenue surge was apparently not enough for the left.

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