Attention FAE Customers:
Please be aware that NASBA credits are awarded based on whether the events are webcast or in-person, as well as on the number of CPE credits.
Please check the event registration page to see if NASBA credits are being awarded for the programs you select.

Treasury Secretary Yellen Calls for Global Minimum Corporate Tax

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 5, 2021

Secretary Treasury Janet Yellen, in a speech Monday to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, advocated for an international minimum tax that would discourage venue shopping by multinational corporations to avoid U.S. taxes, according to Axios.

"[One] consequence of an interconnected world has been a thirty-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates," she said. "Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids.  It is about making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.  ... We are working with G20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom.  Together we can use a global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a more level playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations, and spurs innovation, growth, and prosperity."

The Treasury secretary said that this race to the bottom imperils the ability of governments to respond to crises such as the pandemic, and that competitiveness among multinationals nowadays appears to rely more on who can most skillfully execute global merger-and-acquisition bids. A global minimum corporate tax would ensure that no matter where a corporation's headquarters is, it will still have to pay at least some taxes. Yellen is currently working with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations to advance its already-ongoing efforts toward establishing such a regime. 

Axois said that doing so is important, given the White House's recent plans to raise the corporate tax rate, as it would discourage companies, which generally oppose this plan, from setting up somewhere else to escape it. The Wall Street Journal noted that many corporations would not have to pay this tax until later as, due to the pandemic, there's no profit to really tax; those that will be most affected will be those that benefited the most from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as the Biden plan eliminates or reduces many of the benefits it gave.

In her speech, Yellen observed that, in the past, the United States "created global institutions, such as the United Nations, and financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to reduce economic conflict and address global poverty." Yet, she said, there have been missed opportunities to combat climate change and adapt to a changing economy.

"In the push to grow our economies, we neglected our environment," she said. "As we embraced new technologies, we didn’t do enough to prepare our workers and our education systems for the changes underway. While we embraced trade as an engine for growth, we neglected those who did not benefit. And in the most recent period, when we might have adopted policies at home to face these issues and joined with our allies to address issues abroad, we isolated ourselves and retreated from the international order that we created."

Yellen closed by setting out goals to address inequality and promote inclusion. "[O]ur policies at home and abroad must be designed to be inclusive, tackle inequality, and respect our environment," she said. "In this context, I will use the Spring Meetings this week to: advance discussions on climate change; press our partners to do their part to support a strong global economic recovery; strengthen tools to improve vaccine access and financing for the world’s poorest countries; and increase the focus on inequality, including for vulnerable populations and women and girls."

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.