Border-Adjusted Tax Not the Answer to Tax Reform, According to New NCPA Report

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Proponents of a border-adjusted tax (BAT) as a way to encourage domestic production and increase tax revenue are making errors in their reasoning, according to a new NCPA report by senior fellow David Ranson, president of HCWE & Co.

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An attempt to tax foreigners and subsidize Americans would lead to backlash and retaliation overseas. In any case, competitive international markets would undermine the purpose of the BAT.

The BAT, which would impose a 20 percent tax on imported goods and exempt exported goods, has been given some serious consideration by both policymakers and economists. But there are too many variables in the international market to expect that it will produce the desired results in terms of more domestic production and tax revenue, says Ranson. For example:

  • While a tax would cause Americans to substitute cheaper domestic goods for foreign goods, it would also reduce their total spending.
  • Furthermore, the tax burden would fall on consumers, producers and importers of goods, not on foreign exporters.
  • The assumption that the dollar would appreciate automatically in response to the tax, thus reducing the cost of imports, is theoretical, and has no historical precedence.

"It is a good idea to cut and simplify the corporate income tax. But an attempt to tax foreigners and subsidize Americans would lead to backlash and retaliation overseas. In any case, competitive international markets would undermine the purpose of the BAT," says Ranson.

Link for "Should U.S. Imports Be Taxed to Subsidize Exports?":
http://www.ncpa.org/pub/should-us-imports-be-taxed-to-subsidize-exports

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