Amazon, Qualcomm, and Micron were among the stocks that fell on Thursday following a report that the Biden administration is pushing for a tax change that would require companies to pay a minimum tax rate of 15%.
The White House is aiming for this levy and is willing to set aside its broader proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent for the time being. This is an attempt to sway Republican support for the administration’s infrastructure plan.
According to strategists, the proposed 15% minimum tax is not a new idea and was already sought by the administration. Republicans have opposed Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from its current level of 21%, which the GOP approved in 2017. According to the report, President Joe Biden still wants to raise the corporate tax rate, but this may now be discussed outside of the infrastructure talks.
The minimum levy is regarded as a “Amazon tax,” as it is designed to entice profitable companies that pay low corporate tax rates.
“A lot of this debate is in flux,” Raymond James Washington policy analyst Ed Mills said. “There is a dramatic shift this year toward focusing on a minimum tax for those who pay less than the statutory rate.”
“How this fits into the larger model of what Democrats are pushing for is that it’s part of an idea that Democrats aren’t raising taxes; they’re forcing more individuals and corporations to pay the taxes they already owe,” he added.
According to Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, it appears that Amazon and chip stocks fell shortly after the report was released. “Another example is Netflix. It’s also gone down “He stated. “A lot of it is technological.”
Micron paid a 7.5 percent tax rate last quarter, according to Boockvar. Qualcomm paid a tax rate of 17 percent, but it paid at a rate of 5.7 percent the previous quarter, he noted. According to Boockvar, Nvidia paid a tax rate of 6.5 percent in the most recent quarter and less in previous quarters. The stock, however, rose after Evercore declared it a top pick on Thursday.
On an international level, the United States has also advocated for a 15% tax rate. According to the Treasury Department, finance ministers from the Group of Seven nations are expected to support the United States’ push for a 15% minimum corporate tax rate when they meet later this week.
The United States is attempting to impose a minimum tax in order to halt a downward spiral in corporate tax rates and prevent multinational corporations from shifting profits to tax-haven countries. “This is a proposal that Joe Biden has repeatedly pushed,” said Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas. “He’s saying to Republicans, ‘If we can reach a bipartisan agreement, I’ll only raise one tax.’ This is not to say that Biden will not raise the corporate tax rate in the future.”
Clifton and Mills anticipate Republican opposition to the proposal. “What it’s doing now is laying the groundwork for Biden to walk away from a bipartisan agreement,” Clifton said.
According to Clifton, the minimum tax proposal would generate about $140 billion for the Treasury over ten years, while the broader 28 percent tax rate would generate $700 billion. He said other companies that have paid low tax rates over the years are Adobe, Pfizer, McDonald’s, and FedEx.