Retailers flock to Washington to push tax reform

Top retailers are in Washington this week to intensify their lobbying efforts on tax reform.

Tax executives from companies like American Eagle, Costco, Target, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods will be in the nation’s capital on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a leading industry group, the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Their message, RILA says, is that Congress needs to press ahead with a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code that considers scrapping all major tax breaks.

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From our perspective, the ideal tax reform will put all corporate tax preferences on the table in order to give lawmakers as much latitude as possible to reduce the corporate rate and individual rate in a revenue-neutral fashion,” Kirt Johnson, vice president of tax policy at RILA, said in a statement.

Retailers pay a higher effective rate than many other industries and rely less on big-ticket tax preferences, making a tax overhaul that lowers rates more of a priority for them.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is expected to try to push the tax reform debate forward in his chamber on Tuesday with a draft dealing with international tax laws.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is downplaying his chances of marking up a bill this year. A Camp aide told a conference call on Monday that the chairman could release a draft proposal either in December or January.

Still, many tax observers are skeptical that Baucus and Camp’s efforts on tax reform will be successful, in no small part because of the revenue divide between the two parties.