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Profit Shifting before and after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Kimberly A. Clausing


In recent years, profit shifting by multinational companies (MNCs) has generated substantial revenue costs to the U.S. government. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed U.S. international tax law in several important ways. This paper discusses the nature of these changes and their possible effects on profit shifting. The paper also evaluates the effects of the global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) tax on the location of taxable profits. Once company adjustment to the legislation is complete, estimates suggest that the GILTI tax will reduce the corporate profits of U.S. multinational affiliates in haven countries by about 12-16 percent, modestly increasing the tax base in both the United States and in higher-tax foreign countries. However, a per-country minimum tax would generate much larger increases in the U.S. tax base; a per-country tax at the same rate reduces haven profits by 23-31 percent, resulting in larger gains in U.S. tax revenue.


Kimberly A. Clausing (2020), Profit Shifting before and after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act , National Tax Journal, 73:4, pp. 1233-1266

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2020.4.14

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