Corporate Taxes Push Budweiser to InBev

We at the Rio Grande Foundation took the position earlier a few weeks ago on this blog that the Belgian company InBev should have the right to purchase Anheuser-Busch. Unfortunately, the purchase of InBev was not simply an example of the free market at work. Instead, the takeover was at least partially the result of America’s high corporate taxes.
As Stephen Moore and Tyler Grimm pointed out recently in the Wall Street Journal:

According to the Tax Foundation, Belgium ‘s corporate tax rate is 33%, but the effective tax rate can be half the nominal rate thanks to adjustments for something the OECD calls a “notional allowance for corporate equity.” Bottom line: InBev was paying around 20% of its profits in corporate taxes, compared to Anheuser-Busch’s rate of 38.4%.
Things have gotten pretty bad when U.S. companies relocate to Europe to cut their tax payments. But a research analysis by Morgan Stanley finds the combined company’s corporate tax bill will be lower than in the U.S. and that the tax differential indeed figured into the economics of the sale…
New data from the OECD for 2008 indicate that the international average for corporate tax rates fell by another percentage point last year, meaning the U.S. is pricing itself out of the market as a corporate headquarters. ” America ‘s 35% corporate tax rate is not just bad economics, it’s downright unpatriotic,” says tax expert Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute.

High taxes have an impact not only when American companies leave for lower taxes, but when New Mexico businesses move out of state or to other nations for lower taxes. This is a real issue and we need to address it both in Santa Fe and Washington.

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