Boustany pledging international reform and corporate rate cut plan by end of March

House Ways and Means Committee Member Charles W. Boustany Jr., R-La., is aiming to complete an international tax reform bill by the end of March, and he has upped the stakes by promising to include a broader corporate rate cut.

Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is committed to pursuing international reform this year, and has deputized Boustany to help lead the effort because of Boustany’s “IP box” discussion draft last year. Boustany’s proposal would provide a deduction for C corporations that would essentially create a reduced rate on income derived from using domestic intellectual property. The idea is to combine this proposal with a broader international reform package that would exempt most offshore earnings from U.S. tax after a one-time tax on unrepatriated earnings.

Ways and Means Committee Republicans have shifted their focus to this international-only effort after discussions on broader business reform failed last year. Lawmakers largely abandoned efforts to pursue a corporate rate cut as part of business reform after pass-through businesses objected to being left out. But Boustany is now proposing to include a corporate rate cut with his international proposal.

Corporate reform is a significantly more ambitious undertaking and could potentially require significant revenue offsets. It would also run into the same objections from pass-through businesses that scuttled reform efforts last year. Brady has not commented on whether he wants to include a corporate rate cut as part of an international package, but has promised House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that a new GOP task force on tax reform will provide a reform blueprint this year.

The task force convened its first meeting last week and released a mission statement that calls for a simpler, fairer and flatter tax code with fewer loopholes, special interest carve-outs, deductions, exclusions and credits. The focus will be on pro-growth tax reform that makes compliance significantly easier.

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