Ending Corporate Tax Avoidance and Tax Competition: A Plan to Collect the Tax Deficit of Multinationals

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By Kimberly A. Clausing, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman

Between 1985 and 2019, the global average statutory corporate tax rate has fallen from 49 percent to 23 percent, largely due to the rise of international tax competition. The biggest winners from globalization have received the largest tax cuts. In this paper we propose a solution to replace this race-to-the-bottom with a race-to-the-top. Multinational companies that have low effective tax rates in some foreign countries (what we call a “tax deficit”) would pay an extra tax in their home country. We explain how such a tax should be designed and how it could be collected. The ideal solution would be for all countries to jointly start collecting the tax deficit of their multinationals. We describe how defensive measures could be applied against countries refusing to take part in such an agreement, measures that could ultimately pave the way to global corporate tax coordination.

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By Kimberly A. Clausing, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, posted on Monday August 17, 2020
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