On Tuesday, July 22 the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing with regard to the problem of American companies relocating their headquarters abroad. With a 35 percent corporate income tax in the U.S., it is no wonder there are currently 8 corporate inversions pending in the U.S.
Harvard Business School Professor, Mihir Desai, says to prevent corporate kingpins from changing their domiciles, “First, our rate has to be brought in line with what the rest of the world is. Second, in conjunction with that we have to move away from this worldwide tax regime that we have. Those are the underlying drivers of these inversion transactions and those are the underlying drivers of why firms are undertaking transactions that are probably not efficient so we need to think about those two changes…”
At the senate hearing, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon called for retroactive legislation to extinguish tax benefits to the companies that have inverted over the past year. This would affect companies who have finalized their deals including AbbVie and Medtronic’s plan to acquire Covidien. The U.S. Department of Treasury estimates such legislation would save the U.S. economy from losing $17 billion over the next decade.
Still, while neither Republicans nor Democrats approve of company inversions and what they do for the economy, Congress has yet to meet a consensus on what should be done. Most legislative proposals have been punitive in nature. In the meantime, corporate inversions keep multiplying and gnawing away at the U.S. economy.
Between 2012 to present, there have been a total of 20 inversions and pending inversions, which is unprecedented. To compare numbers, between 2005 and 2011, there were a combined total of 6 corporate inversions. Rounding out the current list of pending inversions are the AbbVie, Mylan, Salix, Auilium, Medtronic, Chiquita Brands, Horizon Pharma, and Applied Material takeovers.