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Obama Administration Proposes Corporate Tax Rate Cut to 28%, Retention of Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Last week the Obama administration called for reducing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent, eliminating tax breaks and changing core features of the tax code such as interest deductibility.  The plan, which leaves many details up to Congress, would retain tax breaks for corporate research, manufacturing and renewable energy.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the proposal would raise $250 billion more than the current corporate tax system does, because expiring provisions would either be allowed to lapse or offset with revenue increases elsewhere.

New taxes would be imposed on some insurance products, depreciation schedules would get longer and companies would face new restrictions on the deductibility of interest. Large companies that aren’t structured as corporations could face higher taxes, though the proposal isn’t specific on how that would happen.

Representative Dave Camp (R, Michigan), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he appreciated the administration’s attention to corporate taxation even though there are disagreements over the taxation of income earned outside the country and Obama’s reluctance to offer a plan that also addresses individual taxation.  “While this is a good step by the administration,” he said in a statement, “I will borrow from the president’s own words to Congress from just yesterday: Don’t stop here. Keep going.”

The framework doesn’t detail how much of the new revenue would come from ending breaks and how much would come from changes to structural features such as the interest deduction.

The administration wants the manufacturing, research and clean-energy tax breaks to remain while other industry-specific tax breaks would end, officials told reporters in a briefing, on condition of anonymity.