Businesses wary of global tax talks

The nation’s largest businesses are worried that international tax talks could lead to higher tax bills, and are urging the U.S. to push back.

In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the Business Roundtable said it was concerned about the direction of recent tax talks at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The global group is hosting a tax conference in Washington to discuss coordinated efforts to shore up tax treaties and close loopholes.

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But the Roundtable said the current discussion is driving concerns in the business community that the effort would be used to impose extraterritorial taxes on U.S. business income, which could “freeze business investment and halt economic growth.” If nothing else, the talks are driving concern and uncertainty among businesses, they warned.

To address those concerns, the Roundtable called on the U.S. government to “stand firm” against such efforts, warning that some governments could be trying to redraw long-established lines of jurisdiction that could lead to some U.S. businesses being forced to pay taxes to two countries.

And the impact would be felt at home as well, as the Roundtable warned that new taxes abroad would mean a “direct revenue loss” for the U.S. as a portion of taxes paid domestically would now go abroad.

“Business Roundtable strongly urges the U.S. to draw a firm line against tax changes that would target U.S. business and slow U.S. and global economic growth,” the group wrote.