New tax coalition concentrates on effective rates

Bill Hughes, a senior vice president at RILA, said rolling back the disparities in effective tax rates could be key to spurring economic growth, and would get the government out of the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace.

“What is unique about this coalition is that we represent large and small,” Hughes said.

In all, the coalition says that it represents some 500,000 businesses, with interest groups for contractors, franchisers and wholesalers also taking part.

The coalition is revving up just days before the deadline set by the Senate’s top tax-writers, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s ranking member, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), for their colleagues to lobby for which tax breaks should be in the code.

Danner and Hughes said they wouldn’t be giving any advice to the Senate on that front, even as they stressed that effective tax rates have long been a central concern for both the small businesses that the NFIB advocates for, and even some of the corporate giants, like Target, in RILA.

The NFIB fought hard against allowing the top individual tax rates to rise in the fiscal-cliff deal signed early this year, a spat that put the small business group at odds with corporations more interested in protecting their rates.

Figuring out exactly how much top corporations pay in taxes can be difficult. But corporate retailers often pay at the higher end of effective tax rates, given that they generally have fewer tax breaks and strategies at their disposal for minimizing their bill.

Still, the newest coalition also underscores that – while business groups broadly favor tax reform – they have different priorities for what they’d like to see in a rewritten code. Other current coalitions are concentrating on lowering the statutory corporate rate, or implementing a system to shield offshore profits from taxation.

Danner, for instance, said that reducing the disparity in effective tax rates would need to concentrate on what some large multinationals pay in U.S. taxes. Some of the companies with lower effective tax rates, like Apple and Google, are also quite popular with lawmakers.

“What they pay in federal taxes in the United States,” Danner said. “You’ve got to look at that.”

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