In 1918, the United States enacted a foreign tax credit (FTC) system for taxing foreign-source business income earned by multinational corporations (MNCs). This system, known as “worldwide” taxation is said to implement “capital export neutrality” by neutralizing a citizen’s decision between investing domestically or abroad. About half of the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) countries have adopted a similar approach. However, as foreign trade agreements and the complexity of U.S. tax treatment continue to increase, a “territorial” taxation system, as implemented by the other half of OECD countries, might be worth considering in the United States.
This article will 1) define some of the underlying principles behind international tax policies, 2) suggest a proposal for a tax-exemption system, 3) explain how the proposal solves problems under the current system, and finally 4) attempt to rationalize potential criticisms surrounding an exemption system. [More]