Let’s say you run a tennis ball company in California that rakes in $100m/year in net income.
In California, you’ll pay a state income tax (8.84% of net income) — and possibly an alternative minimum tax (6.65%) — in addition to the federal corporate tax rate of 21%.
By incorporating in Delaware, though, you can likely save millions in taxes with something called the “Delaware loophole.”
In Delaware, intangible assets — think trademarks, copyrights, and leases — are free from taxation. Companies will often transfer these assets to a Delaware subsidiary and pay their own subsidiary for the rights to use said assets.
The budget deal Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut this week with the Legislature lifts the top marginal rate on the state’s income tax to 10.9%, from today’s 8.82%. Add New York City’s top local tax of 3.88%, and the total is 14.78%. Take a knee, California (top marginal rate of 13.3%), and recognize America’s new tax king. Wall Street types already are migrating to Florida, which has an income tax of 0%.
Mr. Cuomo’s budget deal also raises the business franchise tax to 7.25%, from 6.5%. This affects many independent proprietors and will be another incentive to escape from Manhattan. Both of these tax increases are sold as temporary “surcharges,” running through 2027 for the income tax and 2023 for the corporate tax. But politicians in Albany used the same line when they passed the “millionaires tax” in 2009. Does Mr. Cuomo think two decades is temporary?
The reason for the tax increase isn’t the pandemic or a revenue shortfall. Mr. Cuomo last year pointed a gun at New York’s head and threatened to shoot unless Congress sent more money. He received the ransom he demanded, and more. The state is getting $12.6 billion in direct budget relief from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid bill.
Thanks to the recently-passed $1.9 trillion spending package, the state of New York is set to receive a whopping $23.5 billion in federal bailout money. This is more than enough to make up for any revenue gaps incurred over the last year. But progressive lawmakers are nonetheless considering a slew of new business and personal taxes—prompting 250 top business leaders to pen an open letter this week warning that these punitive tax hikes could have drastic ramifications.
“Significant corporate and individual tax increases will make it far more difficult to restart the economic engine and reassemble the deep and diverse talent pool that makes New York the greatest city in the world,” wrote the leaders, whose ranks include the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase, Blackrock, and Goldman Sachs. “Many members of our workforce have resettled their families in other locations, generally with far lower taxes than New York, and the proposed tax increases will make it harder to get them to return.”
Author(s): Brad Polumbo
Publication Date: 24 March 2021
Publication Site: Foundation for Economic Education
Corporations in the United States pay federal corporate income taxes levied at a 21 percent rate. Many states also levy taxes on corporate income. Forty-four states and D.C. have corporate income taxes on the books, with top rates ranging from North Carolina’s single rate of 2.5 percent to a top marginal rate of 11.5 percent in New Jersey. Fourteen states levy graduated corporate income tax rates, while the remaining 30 states levy a flat rate on corporate income.
In Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, corporations are subject to gross receipts taxes in lieu of corporate income taxes. Delaware and Oregon impose a tax on corporate income and a separate levy on gross receipts.
And that’s the context of that big $932 million tax hike on business Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pushing as part of his proposed 2022 budget.
Pritzker calls the proposal “closing corporate loopholes.” Arguably that’s true, at least in the sense that any tax break I don’t receive must be someone else’s undeserved loophole. But the proposal comes at the very time when population and jobs have begun to drop not only statewide but in the metropolitan area, and at a time when the state refuses to confront its ever-rising pension debt. Not to mention Chicago’s murder and car-jacking wave. Or what Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi is up to.
In fairness to Pritzker, Illinois is not the only state to be moving its tax structure in his proposed direction, at least in part. For instance, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington research group that’s fairly conservative but also frequently cited in economic circles, only 16 states grant the full accelerated depreciation that’s now in federal tax code. Pritzker’s proposed change there is worth $214 million a year.