What You Need to Know
- The BEAT system could keep companies from reducing their federal income taxes by shifting revenue overseas.
- A draft House Ways and Means amendment could replace the current complicated BEAT tax rate formula for affected revenue with a 15% BEAT tax rate.
- A provision would classify use of international indemnity insurance or reinsurance to reduce taxable income as an unwelcome base erosion tax benefit.
Lawmakers in the House are considering a proposal that could change the tax rules for life and annuity issuers that work with insurers or reinsurers outside the United States.
If approved and implemented as written, the proposal could increase federal income tax bills for life insurers that, from the perspective of Congress, appear to be trying reduce their taxable income by sending some of their revenue to non-U.S. entities.
The House Ways and Means Committee has put the proposal in its version of the big “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation package being debated in the House.
Other House budget package proposals could, for example, add dental, vision care and hearing benefits to the basic Medicare benefits package.
The House Ways and Means Committee has been marking up, or debating and revising, the package since Monday and expects to vote on whether to endorse the package Wednesday.
The Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) Rules
Congress and the Internal Revenue Service have developed “Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax” (BEAT) rules in an effort to keep big international companies from reducing their total worldwide income tax bills by shifting revenue from one jurisdiction to another.
The current BEAT rules include specific provisions for insurers and reinsurers.
An affected company uses a complicated formula to calculate its BEAT tax amount.
The BEAT Modifications Proposal
The new, insurance-related proposal is part of the “Modifications to Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax” section in a draft budget package amendment in the nature of a substitute to add Subtitle I, Legislative Recommendations Relating to Funding Our Priorities.
The BEAT section as a whole would change the rules companies and the IRS use to decide whether companies are shifting revenue to non-use entities to reduce their taxable income in unacceptable ways.