August 20, 2022

U.S. Corporate Tax Leads the World, By Any Measure

The U.S. statutory corporate tax rate sits currently at 39% – the highest in the world. As other countries have cut their statutory rates, America now paces the world – even Japan and France, who have had historically high corporate tax rates, are lower than what we face in the U.S.:

Of course, we can parse it out further from there – the U.S. corporate tax code is riddled with special-interest carve-outs that allow companies like General Electric, parent company of MSNBC, to pay almost nothing in corporate taxes thanks to “green energy” credits, among others. So the effective tax rate on corporations in the U.S. is lower than that – but by some measures, it still paces the world.

Economics 21 has the lowdown on new studies that show, even when accounting for the loopholes in the U.S. code, we’re still first or second in highest corporate tax rate:


Markle and Shackelford find the U.S. effective corporate tax rate to be 28 percent, the second highest in the world. This is just slightly higher than France and South Africa’s effective tax rates. Through 2011, Japan had the highest effective tax rate at 38 percent.

These rates differ from the effective tax rates calculated by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. It uses a method called marginal effective tax rate analysis instead of Markle and Shackelford’s use of financial statements. The Tax Foundation finds the U.S. effective tax rate to be the highest in the world, 35.3 percent, compared to Markle and Shackelford’s 28 percent. Both measures show the U.S. effective corporate tax rate to be above the international average, evidence that the United States’ tax code is falling behind its international competitors.

The corporate income tax is the most harmful means of raising revenue. A nation that paid attention to econonmic literature on the subject would be hard-pressed to find a reason not to scrap the whole thing entirely.