Clinton to Propose Crackdown on Inversions

The presidential candidate would impose an "exit tax" on tax inversion deals that let U.S. firms reduce their taxes by merging with companies overs...
Matthew HellerDecember 7, 2015

Hillary Clinton is targeting corporate inversion deals with a proposal to impose an “exit tax” on U.S. companies that merge with corporations overseas to lower their tax liability.

According to the Associated Press, Clinton’s presidential campaign will unveil the proposal Wednesday “as part of a broader effort to target what experts say is roughly $2 trillion in profits U.S. companies are hoarding abroad to reduce their taxes.”

The “exit tax” would tax foreign earnings at the time of the inversion deal and the revenue it raises would go toward creating new manufacturing jobs in the U.S., the AP said.

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Clinton’s proposal follows Pfizer’s announcement a week ago of an inversion deal in which it would acquire Dublin-based Allergan for $160 billion in part to slash its U.S. tax bill. According to Bloomberg, the transaction will make it easier for Pfizer to locate its tax address in Ireland for tax purposes.

Pfizer expects the deal will lower its tax rate to between 17% to 18% from the 25% it says it pays now. Ireland’s lower corporate tax rate would have saved Pfizer about $1 billion of the $3.1 billion in U.S. taxes it shelled out in 2014, according to the AP.

Presidential candidates from both parties have criticized the deal, with Clinton saying it “will leave U.S. taxpayers holding the bag.”

“I want the Treasury Department to do everything it can to stop that kind of behavior and call it for what it is: gaming the tax system,” she said last month, referring to inversion deals.

The department said last month it would roll out new guidance to “deter and reduce further the economic benefits of corporate tax inversions,” building on guidelines it issued last year to discourage such deals.

As Fortune reports, Clinton “has been criticized throughout her campaign, particularly by rival candidate Bernie Sanders, for having close ties to Wall Street.”

“Republicans may have decided to forget about the financial crisis that caused so much devastation — but I haven’t,” she wrote in a New York Times op-ed Monday. “The proper role of Wall Street is to help Main Street grow and prosper.”