Time to Get Rid of the Corporate Income Tax?
Posted by Dan Mitchell on February 18, 2011
Here’s a video arguing for the abolition of the corporate income tax. The visuals are good and it touches on key issues such as competitiveness.
I do have one complaint about the video, though it is merely a sin of omission. There is not enough attention paid to the issue of double taxation. Yes, America’s corporate tax rate is very high, but that is just one of the layers of taxation imposed by the internal revenue code. Both the capital gains tax and the tax on dividends result in corporate income being taxed at least two times.
These are points I made in my very first video, which is a good companion to the other video.
There is a good argument, by the way, for keeping the corporate tax and instead getting rid of the extra layers of tax on dividends and capital gains. Either approach would get rid of double taxation, so the economic benefits would be identical. But the compliance costs of taxing income at the corporate level (requiring a relatively small number of tax returns) are much lower than the compliance costs of taxing income at the individual level (requiring the IRS to track down the tens of millions of shareholders).
Indeed, this desire for administrative simplicity is why the flat tax adopts the latter approach (this choice does not exist with a national sales tax since the government collects money when income is spent rather than when it is earned).
But that’s a secondary issue. If there’s a chance to get rid of the corporate income tax, lawmakers should jump at the opportunity.
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