The House Ways and Means Committee published the initial draft of their bill on Nov. 2, 2017, a far-reaching document that had a few surprises.
Apart from the expected provisions, albeit different tax rates for the transition tax to a (quasi) territorial system than was expected, the double dip corporate interest provisions (worst of either rule) added a base erosion principle for most large multinationals in addition to a 30% tax based limitation. This new limitation was based on the premise that debt was being used in the US, receiving a tax benefit therefrom, while such proceeds have been transferred offshore resulting in a non-symmetrical base erosion assumption.
Additionally, a new 20% excise tax on payments to foreign affiliates from the US that are deductible, includable in cost of goods sold/inventory or as fixed assets are subject to a non-deductible 20% excise tax. This provision raises $155 billion. Most importantly, this does not have an export offset that was present in the now extinct Business Activities Tax provision, and is not limited to US headquartered multinationals. Knowing this provision would be challenging for most organizations to react quickly thereto, the effective date is 2019 whereas most of the provisions have an effective date of 2018.
Both of these “surprise” provisions already have many decrying the present draft, while the House Ways and Means Subcommittee is already in process of revising this document.
Aside from the formal bill, the House comments of each section should be reviewed, as it underscores the intent of the writers for such provision.
For the political process, this bill will be changed by the House Ways and Means prior to a vote by the House, another version will be produced by the Senate and a final reconciliation bill will need to be passed by both the House and Senate prior to forwarding to President Trump for signature.
The effective enactment date is being pushed for the end of this year, although it may easily drift into the first quarter of 2018.
A link to the bill is provided, which should serve as a baseline followed by legislative changes as it flows through the process, potentially becoming the largest tax code change since the 1986 provisions.
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