What is the US tax rate

US minimum tax rate: The tax havens are drying up

In principle, the answer to this question is simple, but the details are complicated. "The losers are the tax havens," says Johannes Becker, economics professor at the University of Münster. A zero percent tax like the one in the Bahamas means that countries like Germany and the USA are still missing high revenues today. That is also the reason for the grand coalition of tax havens fighters. Becker considers the tax havens' bargaining power to be very limited, "that is why the proposals can be implemented at all".

The winners of the minimum tax regime would be so-called high-tax countries, which could in future collect up to four additional percentage points of corporate income tax. For Germany this would mean additional income of up to one billion euros. However, the redistribution of revenues to the countries that import many goods also has an impact on tax revenues. Countries with large markets tend to benefit from this, while nations in which companies are based and deliver to all parts of the world tend to lose.

Germany falls into both categories. It is both a large sales market and home to many global corporations. Whether the state ultimately earns more or less money with the new regulation depends on its specific design. If ten percent of the taxes paid worldwide on profits were ceded to the recipient countries, Germany would even make a slight plus, according to estimates by the Munich-based Ifo Institute. Between 2010 and 2016 that would have been around 100 million euros a year. Given annual corporate tax revenue of € 24 billion, that's not a lot of money.

For this estimate, the Ifo Institute only used companies with a turnover of more than 750 million euros. However, the US government envisions corporations with significantly higher sales. According to an initial assessment by the Federal Ministry of Finance, this would not change much in the German additional income. But for some US corporations. The tax expert of the OECD, Achim Pross, counts among the losers above all those companies that are "active in their tax planning". Tax avoidance would be a better term. Pross does not name any names, but they have long been in the world. The example of Apple was historically quite unique. The group had paid only ten million euros in corporate income tax in Ireland in 2011 - on a profit of 16 billion euros. Digital corporations that make billions in apps and other software can easily shift profits because they don't have factories that make cars or machines. They would most likely be affected by a consistently collected minimum tax.