Is the Corporate Income Tax a Good Idea Term Paper

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Dropping or Lowering Corporate Taxes

This is a paper with two charts concerning corporate taxes. Corporations are taxed under a tax rate structure depending on the income. There has been talk about dropping the corporate tax. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of this. What methods can be used to drop or lower corporate taxes and why?


Where did the corporate income tax begin? How does it affect our economy? What is the future of the corporate income tax? Will deleting corporate income tax be the answer for the economy? What about cutting part of this tax? How does the corporate income tax help the economy? These are questions that will be answered in this paper as well as how the corporate tax is affecting our economy now.

The Beginning of Corporate Income Tax

How the corporate tax began is an example of why tax systems can be worse than they should be and how little influence the economic profession has on government policy (Norton 2). Sometimes ideals look great when they are not that sound. Corporate taxes were used during wartime until 1909, when Congress enacted a 1% tax on corporation income. The rate increased until 1932 to 12.5% when the rate was changed to the progressive rates. Norton stated, "Surtaxes on corporate income were added for "excess profits" during both world wars. The highest peacetime rate, 52.8%, was reached in the sixties" (2).

Back in the forties and fifties the corporate income tax provided almost a third of federal revenues. In 1966 it provided 23%. Over the next twenty years the tax declined. "The top corporate tax rates fell from 52.8% in 1969 to 46% in 1979. Tax laws gave generous deductions for capital expenditures. Corporate profits averaged 11% in the sixties and less than 5% from 1981 to 1985.

The 1986 Tax Reform Act

In 1986 the Tax Reform Act increased the share of federal revenues from the corporate income tax and decreased the share from the individual income tax. Both the corporate income tax and individual income tax was cut to 34%; however, deductions for expenditures were curtailed and the investment tax was repealed (Norton 2).

Most economist will agree that corporate taxes is one of the least efficient and least defensible of taxes. Most will recognize that no one knows who really bears the burden of corporate taxes. The man on the street will probably say, "Let the big companies be taxed." The corporations usually take the increase in taxes and place it on the consumer by raising prices on the product. Some companies decide to become an "S" corporation. If the company becomes an "S" corporation then it does not pay corporate tax. Its income is passed and taxed to shareholders. The growth of "S" corporations and the growth of the net income is an example of the measurement problems. Changing the "S" form of income taxes to corporate taxes is not the answer either.

How does taxes affect business

Research has shown that some firms will leave the business because of taxes. This will reduce the demand for labor, which reduces wages, and that reduces the supply of goods produced. When supplies of good are reduced, prices get higher. Looking at the corporate income tax,

Taxes close business Less labor

Reduced wages Reduced goods

Higher prices

Who pays the corporate tax?

Many feel the businesses pay the corporate tax; but looking at the above diagram, it seems the consumer may be the one paying the corporate tax. Economists feel that the corporate business is being taxed twice. First from the corporate level and again when stockholders pay dividends. If corporations are going to pay for taxes, all corporations should pay taxes. The next problem is corporate tax rates are high for many businesses. Corporate tax dates back to the eighteenth century when a corporate charter was given special state privileges such as exemption from specific laws or the power of a monopoly. Corporations today have private contracts with the government merely a tax collector.

Corporate Tax Rates

Corporations pay taxes on their net profits and this is under a graduated tax rate structure. If the corporation's net profit is under $50,000, then they pay only 15%. This helps small businesses. If the corporation makes over $15,000,000, then the amount of tax is increased by the either the lesser of 3% of the excess or $100,000. The chart shows the rate of corporate income tax:

Corporate Tax Rates

Taxable income

Tax rate

10,000,001 and up

The Learning Network Inc. 2001

The federal tax is shown at three rates with the lowest net income getting the beneficial tax breaks. Looking at a recent year, 90% of the corporations of 3.2 million corporate tax returns filed in one year were from corporations with less than $1 million assets. The lower rates had little economic significance. "Nearly 94% of all corporate tax revenue came from the 8.8% of corporations with assets greater than $1 million.

There are corporate tax incentives such as 10% to 35% against the cost of equipment or installation of equipment. Some states give saving on investing in a renewable energy project or for ways to save energy, or for recycle waste. Or deductions for solar or wind energy projects.

Decline of the Corporate Income Tax

Since 1980 the corporate income tax has declined as well as many of the corporate taxes in various states. Nicholas Jenny states, "It's almost certainly tied to corporate profits being down across the country" (5) In June 2000, the federal corporate tax fell by 26% compared to June 2000. An overwhelming number of state statues have been added, deleted or changed. A multi-state corporation'

The chart shows the corporate income tax of various states as a percentage of total revenue from October 2000 to March 2001 versus October 1999 to March 2000. This is ranked from the largest decrease to the largest increase (Vadum 5):

North Carolina -3.3%

Maine -2.8%

Illinois -2.3%

Delaware -1.6%

Oklahoma -1.5%

Alabama -1.4%

Ohio -1.3%

Minnesota -1.3%

Virginia -1.2%

Pennsylvania -1.2%

Iowa -1.1%

West Virginia -1.0%

Tennessee -1.0%

Colorado -0.9%

Massachusetts -0.9%

Indiana -0.9%

Missouri -0.9%

Kentucky -0.8%

Wisconsin -0.6%

New Jersey -0,6%

Kansas -0.6%

Rhode Island -0.5%

New York -0.4%

Vermont -0.2%

Michigan -0.2%

Florida -0.2%

Oregon +0.1%

Arkansas +0.1%

Utah +0.2%

Mississippi +0.2%

Arizona +0.3%

Georgia +0.3%

South Carolina +0.3%

Nebraska +0.5%

California +0.5%

Connecticut +0.9%

North Dakota +1.0%

Hawaii +1.2%

Montana +2.0%

Maryland +2.1%

Louisiana +2.2%

New Hampshire +2.7%

Idaho +3.1%

New Mexico +3.5%

Alaska +15.1%

Average -0.4%

Why the Wide Range Between State and Corporate Taxes

There is a wide range between states on corporate taxes. There may be several reasons for this. One state, Mississippi still bases its corporate income tax structure on plant and payroll investments. Most states bases their corporate taxes on formulas based on companies' sales in the states. Georgia used a four-factor formula in figuring corporate taxes, instead of the three-factor formula. "Jeter says, "With the four-factor formula, or also known as the double weighted sales formula, plant and payroll account for half, and sales accounts for the other half. The four-factor formula helps recruiters with economic development organizations attract new businesses and industry to the state because corporations don't want to be taxed for essentially making an investment in the state" (20).

How Does Corporate Tax Work with Multi-state Manufacturers?

Multi-state manufacturers who do not do most of their sales in the state benefits from the lower taxes. An example of a multi-state manufacturer is Nissan. Multi-state manufacturers who sale most of their products in the state would have higher taxes. Here is a chart showing state Apportionment of Corporate Income as of January 1, 2000:

Alabama Three-Factor

Arkansas Double-Weighted Sales

Florida Double-weighted Sales

Georgia Double-weighted Sales

Louisiana Double-weighted Sales

Mississippi Three-Factor

North Carolina Double-weighted Sales

South Carolina Double-weighted Sales

Tennessee Double-weighted Sales

Texas Sales Only

The concern of many in state legislatures is to modify the formula to stimulate employment and investment in the state. Some like Mina Jones, chief financial officer of Steel Services, says she supports the double-weighted formula. "Right now, in-state manufacturers like us are being punished. We are paying 100% on everything -- property taxes, employment taxes and sales. Income tax is the only thing that manufacturers who just sell in state are paying."

Many say that giving businesses a tax break will help business put that money back into the company. Roger Villere, owner of Villere's Florist and chairman of the Conservative Republican Network, says, "Instead of offering tax incentives only to large companies, the state would stimulate greater economic development by encouraging small business growth through uniform business tax relief" (1).

Remember that corporate taxes are paid based on the companies profits. The fact is that many corporations do not pay taxes due to exemptions or unforced tax laws. They do not pay taxes based on profits in other countries. Should all corporations pay corporate tax…[continue]

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