September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C…. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) expressed its disappointment in what appears to be a politically motivated attack on the tech sector today by U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich.  In a hearing he chaired and a report he issued, Sen. Levin targeted the tech sector's tax planning practices as an attempt to cheat the U.S. government, even though it was made clear throughout his hearing that the companies represented followed U.S. tax law to the letter. 

For many years, the U.S. technology sector has been united in urging an overhaul to the tax code, which was last revised in 1986.  However, to date, Congress has been unable to reach agreement on a way to make the U.S. code more competitive with the rest of the world, placing U.S. companies operating internationally at a disadvantage. 

Tom Gavin, ITI’s Vice President for External Affairs, issued this statement in reaction to the Levin hearing on Thursday: 

“For all of the overheated rhetoric he used, Senator Carl Levin is right about one thing:  America's tax system is outdated, unfair, and woefully inefficient.  His report is not breaking news.  Companies are forced to spend tens of millions of dollars to comply with a set of illogical rules and incentives in order to reduce tax costs and remain competitive.  Today’s report and hearing underscore a point that America’s job-creating companies have been making for many years:  the U.S. tax system is broken, hurts U.S. companies and the U.S. economy, and needs to be replaced.  Congress created this system, and it's up to Congress to fix it. 

“In 1986, when the Congress last tackled the corporate tax structure, the United States had one of the world’s lowest corporate tax rates.  Today, we have the world’s highest.  Many of our foreign competitors have responded to extraordinary changes in the global economy by lowering their rates and modernizing their systems.  Meanwhile, the U.S. operates under a tax system that exposes the earnings of our country’s economic champions to double-taxation, punishing their success overseas and making it almost impossible to invest the fruits of that global success in people and products in the U.S. 

“We support a framework for tax reform that would simplify the system and eliminate loopholes.  We support a shift to a more innovative tax system that is in line with our major economic competitors – one that would give U.S. companies a more level playing field and provide the U.S. economy increased investments and jobs.  As both the President and Governor Romney have endorsed, we would back a framework that lowers the corporate tax rate and broadens the tax base in order to increase competitiveness for businesses across the nation.

“Senator Levin voted to create the corporate tax system in 1986, and has introduced no significant legislation to modernize our tax system in the 26 years since.  It’s easier to issue incendiary reports about the problem than to craft smart legislation to fix the problem.  It’s long past time for Congress to move forward with smart, innovative tax reforms that strengthen the American economy and help to create more American jobs.”

 

Media contact:  Meghan Fletcher, mfletcher@itic.org, (202) 445-9242

About ITI

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier advocacy and policy organization for the world’s leading innovation companies.  ITI navigates the constantly changing relationships between policymakers, companies, and non-governmental organizations, providing creative solutions that advance the development and use of technology around the world.  We develop first-rate advocacy strategies and market-specific approaches.  And we deliver results.  Visit itic.org to learn more.