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Apple affair should drive US tax reform

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Following the Apple furore, US Treasury secretary, Jacob J Lew, appears to use an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal to signal a shift in mood. Under the title, ‘Europe’s bite out of Apple shows the need for US tax reform’, secretary Lew recalls the broad condemnation in the US of the European Commission’s decision, but notes that ‘the US Treasury agrees with the commission that there is a serious problem with tax avoidance around the world’. Despite progress made by the OECD and G20, he writes, ‘the fundamental problem remains: America’s broken business tax system’. Secretary Lew adds: ‘The Apple decision, and the bipartisan reaction to it, may present a new opportunity to make reform a reality. That opportunity should not be lost.’

Secretary Lew urges Congress to take forward the president’s framework for business tax reform, first released in 2012. He says: ‘The European commission’s state aid investigations have further highlighted the issue and created additional urgency.’

The article’s themes of ‘business tax reform and infrastructure investment’ echo those expressed by EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, in a recent speech, ‘Why fair taxation matters’, at the Copenhagen Business School. The commissioner suggested in her speech: ‘The US Senate cares as much as we do about making sure companies pay their fair share of tax. And it was their investigation into Apple, and US transparency rules, that tipped us off that the company might have received state aid.’


Issue: 1323
Categories: News