Changing Corporate Regulation and Taxation August 2021
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As countries attempt to recover from the covid‑19 pandemic, global businesses are receiving an unusual amount of attention from both tax collectors and trustbusters. One example is the plan for a 15% global minimum tax on large multinational corporations that US President Joe Biden introduced in June 2021 at the G7 (Group of Seven) meeting in Cornwall, England. To date, 130 countries have signed on to the plan, and the OECD (Paris, France) projects that the tax could yield as much as an additional $150 billion annually.
Recent years have pushed governments to question well‑established policies for business. Large companies have enjoyed advantages on the basis that they create jobs; however, new technologies weaken the link between large companies and job creation. In the United States, researchers have repeatedly shown that as a whole, small businesses are responsible for creating more jobs than large companies create. And during the pandemic, when millions of people lost their jobs, some large companies made record profits for shareholders but paid comparatively little in taxes.
The 15% global minimum tax applies to goods not on the basis of where the goods see production but on the basis of where the majority of the goods sell (affecting some Big Tech firms, among other types of companies). A second potential revenue source is to impose an excise tax (a tax a business pays before goods sell, such as in the alcohol, tobacco, and fuel industries) on digital advertising. Former World Bank (World Bank Group; Washington, DC) chief economist and current New York University (New York, New York) professor Paul Romer argues that an excise tax would act as an incentive to break up into smaller parts large tech companies that profit from ad sales. According to Dr. Romer, the breakup would benefit the companies by reducing their tax burden and benefit society by reducing the political influence of large advertising-supported social-media companies (and avoid antitrust charges). In another sign of the changing regulatory mood, the new head of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC; Washington, DC) is Columbia Law School (Columbia University; New York, New York) associate law professor Lina Khan, who has indicated that she favors greater regulation of Big Tech.