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NC Budget and Tax Center

Today the United States Senate is scheduled to debate and possibly vote on a bill titled the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which would authorize states to require businesses to collect state and local taxes for products sold via the internet. Currently, states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if a respective business has a physical presence in a state. And while the tax is still legally due to the state regardless of whether sales occur on-line, consumers don’t always know or comply with this requirement.  

As internet sales have steadily grown as a share of total retail sales, state and local government sales tax collections have been impacted. For 2012, internet sales in the U.S. totaled $226 billion, an increase of nearly 16 percent compared to 2011, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Read More

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The wonks at the Budget and Tax Center are out with a new report — “Cutting corporate income taxes won’t be an economic boon for North Carolina” – that ought to be a “must read” for state government leaders.

It lists three top reasons for not cutting corporate taxes:

  1. Corporate income tax cuts don’t pay for themselves and put key investments at risk.
  2. A very small share of corporations would benefit.
  3. Corporations are unlikely to expand or relocate because of state income tax cuts

It’s a quick, too-the-point read that you should check out too. Click here to do so.

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In the third installment in our three-part series on corporate tax avoiders with strong connections to North Carolina, NC Policy Watch has released a profile of International Paper, Co.

Here are some of the fast and disturbing facts on the giant multi-national (the largest company of its kind in the world) that owns 18 separate facilities in North Carolina:

  • Total assets $27 billion
  • 2008-2012 profits combined: $2.8 Billion
  • Net 2008-12 federal tax rate: 2.6% (the offical corporate tax rate is 35%)
  • 2008-2012 federal taxes paid: $74 million (if paid at the 35% rate, this figure would have been $980 million)
  • Five-year compensation of CEO John Faraci (as of April 2012):  $49.3 million

Read more about International Paper (as well as two other large tax avoiders — Duke Energy and Merck & Co.) by clicking here.

NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina lawmakers are barking up the wrong tree when they claim that corporate tax cuts, such as those proposed in the state Senate, will spur job creation and economic growth. In reality, those tax cuts will do more harm than good, in both the short- and long-term.

Every dollar that Senate Bill 677 would give away in a tax cut has to be made up for with a tax increase on another business or individual or with cuts to schools, health care and other vital services that provide a strong foundation for our economy.

This tax plan would cost the state $344 million once the tax cuts were fully phased in, according to the Legislature’s Fiscal Research Division. Read More

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Not that very many people with any common sense really believe that cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy would really jump-start the North Carolina economy, but here’s some additional info that places this patently absurd idea in its proper light.

As reported today by Travis Waldron at Think Progress:

“Even as American corporations are raking in record profits, the largest among them are shifting larger amounts of money away from the United States and into offshore tax havens that allow them to pad their bottom lines even more, according to multiple analyses of legal filings made since the beginning of 2013.

The Wall Street Journal found that the 60 largest companies moved $166 billion offshore in 2012, shielding 40 percent of their earnings from American taxes and costing the U.S. billions in lost revenue.”

Got it? The problem is not lack corporate profitability; it’s lack of demand from cash-strapped, debt-strapped consumers. Generally speaking, businesses generally have plenty to invest, but are holding back or squirreling money away because they don’t perceive a demand for the products and services they might produce. Cutting taxes and public spending further just perpetuates the vicious and destructive cycle in which we are already stuck.