Yellen Rejects Global Billionaire Tax

Yellen Rejects Global Billionaire Tax

Reuters/Altaf Hussain

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. does not support a proposal for a global tax on billionaires. The idea has been floated by Brazil, which is leading the G20 group of major economies this year, and supported by ministers from other member nations, including France.

The proposed tax would require billionaires to pay a 2% levy on their overall wealth each year, with the goal of ending international tax avoidance and reducing economic inequality.

The proposed levy would be similar to the global corporate income tax backed by roughly 140 nations. “This is exactly what we did with minimum taxation on corporate tax,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last month, per The Wall Street Journal. “It would be the same on the international taxation for the wealthiest individuals.”

Yellen has supported global corporate income tax, but opposition from Republicans in Congress means it is unlikely to become law in the U.S. At the same time, Yellen has now made it clear that a global wealth tax for individuals is a step too far as far as the U.S. in concerned.

“We believe in progressive taxation,” Yellen said. “But the notion of some common global arrangement for taxing billionaires with proceeds redistributed in some way—we’re not supportive of a process to try to achieve that. That’s something we can’t sign on to.”