Big American corporations liked what they saw in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but they wanted more – and the Trump administration was happy to give it to them as it wrote rules and regulations around the new tax law, The New York Times’ Jesse Drucker and Jim Tankersley reported earlier this week.
“[N]ot long after the bill became law in December 2017, the Trump administration began transforming the tax package into a greater windfall for the world’s largest corporations and their shareholders,” they wrote. “The tax bills of many big companies have ended up even smaller than what was anticipated when the president signed the bill.”
Some highlights from the Times piece:
- Lobbyists swarmed the Treasury Department starting in early 2018, looking for favorable interpretations of the new rules. “The crush of meetings was so intense that some top Treasury officials had little time to do their jobs, according to two people familiar with the process,” Drucker and Tankersley said.
- The lobbying effort was led by representatives from some of the largest U.S. corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, General Electric, United Technologies, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, IBM, Kraft Heinz, News Corporation and ConocoPhillips.
- Companies sought favorable interpretations and exemptions of the new tax rules – and largely got what they wanted. As a result, the “Internal Revenue Service is collecting tens of billions of dollars less in corporate taxes than Congress projected, inflating the tax law’s 13-figure price tag.”
- The winners from the process will surprise no one: “It is largely the top 1 percent that will disproportionately benefit — the wealthiest people in the world,” said Bret Wells, a tax law professor at the University of Houston.
And the rule-writing process isn’t over. “In the coming days, the Treasury is likely to complete its last round of rules carrying out the tax cuts,” Drucker and Tankersley said. “Big companies have spent this fall trying to win more.”