I do not understand the Biden Corporate Minimum Tax Rate proposal. Biden wants to set it at 15% per this article and few others.

However, the minimum corporate tax rate is already 21%. Wikipedia notes: "Since January 1, 2018, the nominal federal corporate tax rate in the United States of America is a flat 21%. Tax Policy Center

So how will this proposal change the tax rate?


It's not about taxes in US states, it's about companies avoiding American taxes by registering in another country so they pay taxes (over part of their business) there rather than in the US.

The Reuters article you linked elaborates on this as follows:

Biden’s 15% tax floor seeks to stop large, multinational companies like Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) from paying little to no U.S. taxes. Currently many of these companies show large profits on earning statements but shift their liability to more tax-friendly countries.

An example of such a tax scheme is the Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich, according to Investopedia:

The double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is a tax avoidance technique employed by certain large corporations, involving the use of a combination of Irish and Dutch subsidiary companies to shift profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions. The technique has made it possible for certain corporations to reduce their overall corporate tax rates dramatically.

The scheme works as follows, according to the same Investopedia article

The first Irish company would receive large royalties from sales sold to U.S. consumers. The U.S. profits and therefore taxes are dramatically lowered and the Irish taxes on the royalties are very low. Due to a loophole in Irish laws, the company can then transfer its profits tax-free to the offshore company, where they can remain untaxed for years.

The second Irish company is used for sales to European customers. It is also taxed at a low rate and can send its profits to the first Irish company using a Dutch company as an intermediary. If done right, there is no tax paid anywhere. The first Irish company now has all the money and can again send it onward to the company in the tax haven.

Effectively, the company would get a lower tax-rate than 15%, according to a Reuters article on Google's use of the scheme above (emphasis mine):

For more than a decade the arrangement has allowed Google owner Alphabet GOOGL.O to enjoy an effective tax rate in the single digits on its non-U.S. profits, around a quarter the average tax rate in its overseas markets.

Note that while the Reuters article refers to "non-US profits", the Investopedia article describes a way to use royalties on the American sales to lower profits there.

While the above scheme might not be so relevant anymore, multinationals using tax avoidance techniques is still relevant. According to dutchreview.com (dated 23 November 2020):

The Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest tax havens, third only to the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom.

The findings come from a new report from the Tax Justice Network. The study found that tax havens are forcing the global economy to miss out on $427 billion USD (€359 billion) every year.

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