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NAM: Business community takes stock of inversion rules

The Wall Street Journal (9/24, Mckinnon, Subscription Publication) reports that tax lawyers and similar experts said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration’s actions on Monday to make corporate inversions less attractive should discourage such moves, at least for the time being. However, they also believe that the White House maneuvers could reduce the pressure to reform the US corporate tax code, reducing the competitiveness of domestic companies.

Reuters (9/24, Drawbaugh, Kim) reports that the new rules had an immediate impact on the share prices of almost a dozen companies in the US and Europe. Reuters says that corporate executives were taken aback by the strength of new rules laid out by the Treasury Department.

The New York Times (9/24, Subscription Publication) calls the Treasury move “smart and narrowly tailored” and adds that the “new rules would take away some — but not all — of the reasons that a company might want to give up United States citizenship.” However, “most proposed inversions are likely to go forward, especially those that make sense as a business matter above and beyond the tax benefits.”

Editorial Boards Call For More Action. While the WSJournal’s editorial page opposed the rules and the WPost and NYTimes approved of them, all three argued that the Administration’s action alone is not the end of the matter, and that Congressional action of one sort or another is needed.

The Wall Street Journal (9/24, Subscription Publication) says that the issue isn’t that the moves will limit inversions, but that they will discourage US multinationals from repatriating foreign profits. The Journal says that what is really needed is comprehensive corporate tax reform in order to make the US more competitive internationally.

In an editorial, the Washington Post (9/24) calls the Administration’s actions on inversions “a potentially significant one.” However, while the Post sees the actions as likely to be effective, “the new actions are in no way a substitute for a broader reform of the U.S. corporate tax code.” At most, the Post, says, they are “a short-term fix for one specific manifestation of the code’s overall inefficiency.”

In an editorial, the New York Times (9/24, Subscription Publication) says that the new rules “are likely to slow the offensive practice” of inversions. The Times argues that Congress now needs to act to fully prevent inversions.

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