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Back to the Drawing Board: The Structural and Accounting Consequences of a Switch to a Territorial Tax System

Michael P. Donohoe, Gary A. McGill, and Edmund Outslay

Abstract:

We review the basics of international tax planning by U.S. multinational corporations (MNCs) and the organizational structures that facilitate such planning. We then discuss the potential impacts that adopting a participation exemption regime (i.e., a territorial tax system) along the lines proposed by Representative Camp could have on a U.S. MNC’s worldwide supply chain structure and financing arrangements. We compare the change in a corporation’s global accounting effective tax rate under the current U.S. worldwide tax system and four participation exemption options proposed by Representative Camp. Using a hypothetical set of facts representative of a U.S. multinational with highly mobile intellectual property income, we show that the options produce very different accounting effective tax rates and tax revenues received by the U.S. Treasury. We also point out potential tax planning strategies that could be employed pre- and post-effective date of the implementation of a participation exemption system that would change the expected revenue to be received during the transition to such a system.

Citation

Michael P. Donohoe, Gary A. McGill, and Edmund Outslay (2013), Back to the Drawing Board: The Structural and Accounting Consequences of a Switch to a Territorial Tax System, National Tax Journal, 66:3, pp. 713-744

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2013.3.07