Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform [December 1, 2014]   [open pdf - 508KB]

"Many economists and policy makers believe that the U.S. corporate tax system is in need of reform. There is, however, disagreement over why the corporate tax system needs to be reformed, and what specific policy measures should be included in a reform. To assist policy makers in designing and evaluating corporate tax proposals, this report (1) briefly reviews the current U.S. corporate tax system; (2) discusses economic factors that may be considered in the corporate tax reform debate; and (3) presents corporate tax reform policy options, including a brief discussion of current corporate tax reform proposals. […] In 2014, the sum of all corporate tax expenditures was $154.4 billion. The significance of the corporate tax as a federal revenue source has declined over time. At its post-WWII peak in 1952, the corporate tax generated 32.1% of all federal tax revenue. In 2013, the corporate tax accounted for 9.9% of federal tax revenue. The decline in corporate revenues is a combination of decreasing effective tax rates, an increasing fraction of business activity that is being carried out by pass-through entities (particularly partnerships and S corporations, which are not subject to the corporate tax), and a decline in corporate sector profitability. […] This report discusses a number of economic considerations that may be made while evaluating various corporate tax reform proposals. These might include analyses of the likely effect on households of certain reforms (also known as incidence analysis). Policy makers might also want to consider how certain corporate tax provisions contribute to the allocation of economic resources, choosing policies that promote an efficient use of resources."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42726
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