Study: US tax code among world's worst

The U.S. has one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world, according to a new study released Monday. 

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The Tax Foundation, a free market group, found that the U.S. tax code ranked 32 out of 34 — ahead of only Portugal and France — among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Estonia came in first in the Tax Foundation rankings, followed by New Zealand and Switzerland. The Paris-based OECD is a collection of 34 advanced and emerging economies that offers advice on a wide range of economic issues.

The Tax Foundation said it based its international tax competitiveness index on more than 40 separate factors in five key areas of tax policy — corporate taxes, consumption taxes, property taxes, individual taxes and international tax rules.

The U.S. ranked poorly in large part because of its high statutory corporate rate of 35 percent and because it still taxes corporations on their worldwide income, the index found.

But the Tax Foundation also found fault with the U.S. tax system practically across the board, calling out America’s estate tax and property tax rules, its high top rate for individuals and the double taxation of capital gains and dividends.

Estonia, on the other hand, has a much lower corporate rate (21 percent) and no double taxation on dividends.

Republicans such as Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems The Memo: Trump leaves chaos in his wake in UK Beto O'Rourke is dominating Ted Cruz in enthusiasm and fundraising — but he's still headed for defeat MORE (Texas) and groups including the Business Roundtable pointed to the new index to renew their calls for tax reform.

But both Democrats and Republicans have called for improvements to the U.S. tax code — especially on the corporate side, where both parties have called for reducing the top rate.

GOP officials have blamed the messy nature of the tax code itself for the recent influx of so-called corporate inversions in which companies shift their legal address abroad to get a lower rate, often with few changes to their business practices.

The White House has said that changes to the tax code need to bring in more revenue, to tackle the country’s longer-term deficit issues and offer more opportunities to the lower and middle class.