May 15, 2017

ATF’s Tax Reform Principles


For a PDF of this document, click here.

  1. Corporations and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes so we can create an economy that works for all of us. There should be no tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations; they should pay much more in taxes than they pay now.
  1. Significant revenues should be raised to meet our needs for new investments and to create jobs. These include investing in infrastructure, protecting retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations, providing quality education and job training, researching new medical cures and renewable forms of energy, and supporting our nation’s children and families in meeting their most fundamental needs.
  1. The rigged tax system should end so we have a government that works for all of us, not just the rich and powerful. That means ensuring that the tax code is much more progressive than it is now. We also need to promote transparency by ending unproven revenue-estimating methods and budget gimmicks that obscure the true costs of tax breaks, and by increasing disclosure of the origins of corporate profits and the taxes owed.
  1. The tax incentive for multinational corporations to shift jobs and profits offshore should be eliminated, which would level the playing field for small businesses and domestic corporations. We must encourage U.S. corporations to invest in jobs here at home, not to shift profits offshore. Preferential tax treatment of foreign profits, either through lower tax rates or deferral of taxes, creates a huge financial incentive for U.S. corporations to shift profits, build businesses and create jobs offshore rather than invest domestically. This puts small businesses and domestic corporations at a competitive disadvantage, as they end up covering more of the cost of paying for education, infrastructure, research, the military and everything else our nation relies on to succeed.
  1. Corporations should pay the $750 billion owed on their $2.6 trillion in offshore profits.[1]  Congress intended for the taxes on these profits to be temporarily deferred, not forgiven. Offshore profits were earned knowing that the top U.S. tax rate would be 35%. On average, corporations have paid just a 6% tax rate on these profits. That means corporations owe a 29% tax rate here at home, which could raise $750 billion—that could pay for a wide array of smart public investments with broad and long-lasting benefits.

[1] Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, “Fortune 500 Companies Hold a Record $2.6 Trillion Offshore” (March 28, 2017).