Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she wants to crack down on American companies who set up shop in other countries to get out of paying taxes here — and suggested she wouldn’t need Congress to go along with her.
The practice that’s drawn so much ire is called corporate inversion, where a company based in the U.S. will buy a company based overseas, then shift its operations to the foreign entity to avoid paying U.S. taxes. On top of that, some of them set up their finances so that the American company borrows money from the foreign version of itself, because it can then claim deductions on the interest it pays to the overseas entity, lowering its tax liability even further.
The Democratic presidential candidate recently criticized the practice of inversion when pharmaceutical giant Pfizer proposed a $160 million merger with an Irish company to lower its taxes. The presidential candidate has proposed tightening the rules around inversion in the past, but today suggested having the Treasury department get involved to stop American companies borrowing from their foreign operations and then deducting the interest, a practice known as “earnings stripping.”
According to the Huffington Post, Clinton said she would work to close that tax loophole via the Treasury Department, which could raise $60 billion in a decade, if Congress didn’t pass legislation to do so. The Treasury Department has looked at the issue in the past, although not acted on it. Any move by lawmakers to curb inversions wouldn’t make Wall Street happy, though; big banks have pulled in $1 billion in just a few years by helping companies execute inversions.
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