The Proposed Elimination of the Exclusion of Earned Income Abroad From United States Income Taxes
by NATHAN MCCLURE Partner, Deloitte, Plender, Haskins & Sells, Caracas Office
Presented before the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, Washington, D.C.—April 1968
ALL AMERICANS in foreign business service are aware that our busi-ness and political position in Latin America is dependent upon many things and that not the least of these is tax policy. It seems appropriate, therefore, that we of the American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America should view with consternation and alarm the type of punitive tax legislation against non-resident business sponsored in Congress by our Treasury Department.
The latest example is Senator Gore's bill to eliminate all personal income exclusions. I estimate that this will load American business in Latin America with many millions of increased costs.
We recognize and respect the sincerity and dedication of the fine citizens in the Congress and the Department who no doubt would believe that by this approach they would be serving our country's best interests. Our first-hand foreign experience indicates, however, that they are embarked
on a hazardous course for our country. We believe that they need, and probably strongly desire, our viewpoints and supporting evidence.
The fact that Americans in all foreign countries are not affected by the immediate problem raised by Senator Gore's bill does not mean that they too will not be affected by future legislation. So they too will share our concern over the matter and will join our ranks to resent a basic policy that I believe will harm American business abroad.
We all know that any increase in taxes on foreign-employed Americans
is in reality a tax on the businesses that employ them. This basic objection to increased taxation is, however, only one of the important objections, which we will discuss later.
The cost to American business of Senator Gore's bill alone I estimate to be many millions of dollars. Its value to our national budget is infinitesimal;
its effect on our business companies could be disastrous.