Friday, October 19, 2007

The Taxes Update

The bill I mentioned yesterday was introduced today by Senator Kerry - S. 2199, the "Offshore Deferred Compensation Reform Act of 2007". Rep. Emanuel's bill apparently will be introduced in the House later with identical language.

(note - haven't found the bill yet online, but here is a press release from Kerry's office)

In substance, it is as I described - it would prevent nonqualified deferred comp arrangements by companies located in low tax jurisdictions. The definition of low tax jurisdiction for this purpose, however, is not quite clear. The bill requires that:
substantially all of the income of [the offshore] corporation is subject to an income tax imposed by [the offshore country]

It is not clear whether this means that a corporate income tax must be on the books of such country, or whether the corporate income tax must actually apply to the actual income of the company. In either case, however, it does not say that the rate needs to be high - so the idea I mentioned yesterday - domicile in a country with a legit corporate income tax, but negotiate for a low rate (Zug, Switzerland comes to mind) could still work. Treasury regulations (which are authorized) would be necessary to refine details like this.

I know that someone did a client alert on this yesterday, but I have not found it. I do not expect to do another one. There's nothing new here that I didn't already mention in my prior alert.

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