New York (CNN Business)The historic agreement from the world’s richest nations to impose a global minimum tax doesn’t pose much of a threat to Corporate America’s bottom line.
In a win for President Joe Biden, G7 nations announced their support last weekend to impose a global minimum tax rate of at least 15%. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said such a tax would end the “race-to-the-bottom” where companies shift profits to slash their tax burden.
And although some prominent Republicans are already bashing the global minimum tax, Goldman Sachs is advising clients not to sweat. If a global minimum tax is enacted — and that’s a big if, given the sizable hurdles ahead — it would have just a “small” impact on corporate profits, the Wall Street bank said in a report late Monday.
Goldman Sachs estimates that a 15% global minimum tax rate would represent downside of just 1% to 2% from consensus per-share earnings estimates for 2022.
The bank found that certain low-tax industries, namely technology and healthcare, would face a steeper haircut. However, even those sectors would suffer downside of less than 5% compared with current consensus estimates, the bank said.
All of this is one reason investors are generally unfazed by the G7 tax agreement. The other factor is that the global minimum tax has a long way to go before it becomes a reality.
“It’s incredibly meaningful these seven countries agreed. But it’s only one step in what’s going to be a long road,” said Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading.
The next obstacle is getting G20 nations to bless the global minimum tax at next month’s meeting in Venice.
That is no easy task in part because Ireland, which is represented in the G20 via its membership in the European Union, is not a fan of the global minimum tax. Ireland has successfully lured American and other global companies to its shores with a corporate tax rate of just 12.5%, a sizable cut compared to the current US rate of 21%.
If Yellen manages to convince the G20, it would then be up to the more than 125 other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“We remain fairly skeptical that the OECD talks around a global 15% minimum tax will succeed — despite the nice headlines heading into the G7,” Chris Krueger, managing director at Cowen Washington Research Group, wrote in a note to clients on Monday, adding he detects “skepticism within the administration too.”
Perhaps the biggest hurdle: getting a narrowly divided US Congress on board. Some GOP members are already voicing opposition.
Republican Senator John Cornyn dismissed the G7 agreement on Monday, telling CNN’s Ted Barrett it’s a “fantasy.”
And his fellow Republican, Senator Pat Toomey, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, told Business Insider the global minimum tax deal is a “terrible agreement.”
The challenge will be that much greater if the global minimum tax is considered a tax treaty, making it subject to two-thirds approval from the US Senate.
Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments, called that two-thirds requirement a “very, very high bar to clear” and predicted “furious pushback” from conservatives.
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