This is the time of year when many people make resolutions promising to do things differently come January, reasoning that it is good to start fresh when the last digit in the year changes. Except for resolving to write the new year correctly on all my checks starting January 1, I am not one of those people. If something needs fixing or doing differently, I try to take care of it right away. After all, if a problem crops up on January 30, why would I wait 11 months to do something about it?
Others, however, need a little extra excuse, like New Year’s, to resolve to do the right thing. So in the spirit of year-end wishful thinking (as well as holiday season whimsy), here are some resolutions in the international tax arena that should — but are unlikely to — be made for 2016:
- U.S. Congress: Pass and send to the president’s desk by April 15 legislation to comprehensively reform U.S. international tax law.
- Citizens of Greece: Pay all the taxes they owe.
- Greek tax collectors: Pay all taxes they collect into the Greek treasury.
- The “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF): After the first two resolutions are fulfilled, restructure Greece’s debt to account for the country’s surprisingly large and timely payments of its existing debt.
- U.S. companies with large untaxed offshore profits: Repatriate those profits and pay the requisite income taxes.
- Their CEOs: Release a joint statement, “As responsible corporate citizens, we have an obligation to support the infrastructure of the United States which created the opportunities that have enabled our businesses to thrive. Therefore, although we have no legal obligation to repatriate these profits, pay taxes on them, and invest them in building the U.S. economy, we accept a moral obligation to do so.”
- Pfizer: Split from Allergan and “un-invert” back into the United States.
- Multinational corporations doing business in the U.K.: Pay U.K. income taxes on all sales made in the U.K.
- Cameron government: Repeal the diverted profits tax.
- Luxembourg prosecutor’s office: Drop all charges against Antoine Deltour and Edouard Perrin, reasoning that, all things considered, tax transparency is a good thing for Luxembourg, its citizens, and the corporations that do business there.
- Government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Accept binding arbitration to resolve international tax disputes, realizing that such a move not only respects Indian sovereignty, it is also likely to produce beneficial results for India.
Happy New Year!