A European Perspective on the US plans for a Destination based cash flow tax


The Republican majority in the US House of Representatives is considering the introduction of a destination based cash flow tax (DBCFT). While its global implementation has the potential of substantially increasing welfare, a unilateral introduction of such a tax system raises a range of questions due to the co-existence with source based taxation systems abroad. We consider the US tax plans from an EU perspective. We show that European exporters may suffer, but European firms with affiliation in the US may benefit from a switch to the DBCFT. American multinational firms with affiliates in the EU will be the likely losers of this policy – a surprising finding given President Trump’s “America first!” rhetoric. Finally, tax competition over profits, IP location and investment will further intensify, which will require policy reactions by the EU and its member countries far beyond the implementation of the OECD BEPS project. We will therefore also discuss the legal and economic implications of possible adjustments in EU tax systems.