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Westlake Legal Group > Corporate Taxes

Trump’s Push to Bring Back Jobs to U.S. Shows Limited Results

WASHINGTON — From tax cuts to relaxed regulations to tariffs, each of President Trump’s economic initiatives is based on a promise: to set off a wave of investment and bring back jobs that the president says the United States has lost to foreign countries.

“We have the greatest companies anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump said at the White House recently. “They’re all coming back now. They’re coming back to the United States.”

Mr. Trump’s tax cuts unquestionably stimulated the American economy in 2018, helping to push economic growth to 2.5 percent for the year and fueling an increase in manufacturing jobs. But statistics from the government and other sources do not support Mr. Trump’s claim about his policies’ effectiveness in drawing investment and jobs from abroad.

Foreign investment in the United States grew at a slower annual pace in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s tenure than during Barack Obama’s presidency, according to Commerce Department data released in July. Growth in business investment from all sources, foreign and domestic, accelerated briefly after Mr. Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017 but then slowed. Investment growth turned negative this spring, providing a drag on economic output.

In Mr. Trump’s first two years in office, companies announced plans to relocate just under 145,000 factory jobs to the United States, according to data and modeling by the Reshoring Initiative, a Washington nonprofit group. That is a record high in the group’s data, which dates back to the late 1980s, but it adds up to less than one month of average job gains in the United States in its decade-long expansion. More than half of those jobs — about 82,000 — were announced in 2017, before Mr. Trump’s tax cuts took effect.

Moreover, the Reshoring Initiative data show fewer than 30,000 jobs that companies say they will relocate to the United States because of Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel, aluminum, solar panels, washing machines and a variety of Chinese goods. Researchers at A.T. Kearney said last month that Mr. Trump’s trade policies, including tariffs, had pushed factory activity not to the United States but to low-cost Asian countries other than China, like Vietnam.

Manufacturers of primary metals, which include steel and aluminum, have added fewer than 15,000 jobs since Mr. Trump took office, with more than half of those gains coming before Mr. Trump imposed tariffs on foreign-made metals last year.

Now manufacturing is struggling amid a global slowdown and fallout from the trade war, which Mr. Trump has escalated by imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods and by labeling China a “currency manipulator.”

A May report by researchers at the International Monetary Fund concluded that the investment impact of the tax bill “has been smaller than would have been predicted based on the effects of previous U.S. tax-cut episodes” and that the strongest effects on investment were likely to have shown up in the first year after the law was enacted. Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index shows companies’ plans for new investment plummeted this summer.

The tax law reduced the corporate income-tax rate to 21 percent from a top rate of 35 percent, and it overhauled the way the United States taxes multinational companies. Data show those changes have encouraged multinational companies to shift hundreds of billions of dollars in profits to their American operations, essentially for accounting purposes, through a process known as repatriation.

Mr. Trump often cites repatriation figures as if they reflected direct investment in the United States. That’s wrong, said Brad Setser, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who tracks international investment flows.

Commerce Department statistics show that the repatriated funds came mainly from low-tax countries like Ireland and Bermuda, where companies had booked profits to minimize tax liability, and not from China or other economic competitors like Japan.

That flow of money “doesn’t mean all that much,” Mr. Setser said. “You’re not in any way seeing a shift in real activity back to the United States.”

Researchers from Wall Street financial firms and the Federal Reserve have concluded that companies used repatriated funds mostly to buy back stock.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158872485_41763d40-3f29-43f3-807a-97bcc0fe6558-articleLarge Trump’s Push to Bring Back Jobs to U.S. Shows Limited Results United States Economy Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) International Trade and World Market Foreign Investments Factories and Manufacturing Customs (Tariff) Corporate Taxes China

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said, “We’re sensing and seeing a betrayal of workers and promises broken over and over again.”CreditAlbert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer, via Associated Press

Administration officials contend that those selling shares will soon invest their proceeds from the buybacks into start-ups, business expansions or other forms of economic activity.

The officials also assert that tariffs are helping to create jobs. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a conference in Washington last month that the positive effects of Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs “can be measured on the factory floor.”

Jim Lentz, who oversees North American operations for the Japanese automaker Toyota, has cited the company’s plans to invest $13 billion in American operations over the next several years.

“Thank you, Mr. President, for having such a strong economy for allowing us to be able to do that,” Mr. Lentz said at the White House last month.

At a summit meeting in June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan handed Mr. Trump a chart showing Japanese investments in the United States that would yield just under 22,000 new jobs.

While Mr. Trump hailed the figures, Commerce Department data show that the rate of Japanese investment growth in the United States has slowed under Mr. Trump, compared with Mr. Obama’s second term. And companies like Toyota have warned that the president’s determination that foreign autos pose a national-security threat and may be subjected to tariffs could discourage additional investment.

On another front, administration officials point to companies like Mylan and Allergan — which had moved their corporate addresses overseas in a process known as inversion but recently said they would return to the United States — as a sign of success for the tax law. Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said last week that “you’re seeing American firms move back.”

When a CNBC interviewer said the Mylan and Allergan moves would not bring back manufacturing jobs, Mr. Kudlow agreed. But he said, “You’re also going to have factories moving back in from other places around the world, including China.”

Mr. Setser said he was surprised that relatively few pharmaceutical companies were moving plants and activity back to the United States from countries like Ireland or Switzerland. Pharmaceutical imports from those countries actually rose in 2018, he noted.

Harry Moser, the founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, praised Mr. Trump’s efforts to bring jobs and investment back to the United States, but said the president’s trade fights appeared to have undercut those efforts last year.

“We are pleased with the over 50 percent surge in reshoring jobs announced in 2017 and the record number of companies announcing reshoring jobs in 2018,” said Mr. Moser, whose group advocates measures to bring back five million factory jobs.

But he said efforts to draw investment and jobs to the United States were less successful in 2018 than 2017 because of a stronger dollar, which makes American products more expensive in foreign markets, as well as “uncertainty from the tariffs, dysfunction in Washington and the increasing skilled-work-force shortage.”

Mr. Trump won office by tapping into frustration among working-class voters in traditional manufacturing states where economists say up to 2.5 million jobs were lost to Chinese competition in the century’s first decade. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, an industrial state that Mr. Trump carried easily in 2016, said some workers there were growing disillusioned over the president’s failure to deliver jobs to replace those in shuttered factories like the General Motors plant in Lordstown.

“We’re sensing and seeing a betrayal of workers and promises broken over and over again,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat.

Mr. Brown has proposed several bills that he says would reverse the outflow of jobs, including tax incentives for companies that invest in the United States and pay workers well. Mr. Moser said the aim could be furthered by investment in skills development for manufacturing workers and by the weakening of the dollar — both policies that Mr. Trump has pushed.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Foreign-Owned Banks’ Results Could Sweeten Further Under Tax Law

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s tax cuts have been very good to big banks. For foreign-owned banks, they could get even better.

The cuts allowed America’s largest banks to save an estimated $16 billion collectively in taxes last year, a windfall that helped those firms reward shareholders through stock buybacks and dividend payments.

The savings flowed largely from changes to the corporate rates, which fell to 21 percent from 35 percent under the new law. For years, domestic banks’ effective tax rates had been higher than those of many other companies’, so when they fell, those institutions enjoyed outsize benefits.

Foreign-owned banks reaped benefits as well, though the structure and reporting of their global financial operations make them more difficult to quantify. Late last year, they won a potentially lucrative victory in a proposed Treasury Department regulation that puts into effect a part of the 2017 tax law that established a global minimum tax on multinational corporations. Analysts say the proposed regulation, which companies must apply even though it has not been made final, could allow foreign banks to largely avoid the minimum tax.

[Earnings reports this week showed that the five biggest banks in the United States continue to benefit from the tax cuts.]

The regulation effectively provided a carve-out that would allow foreign banks to reduce or avoid a new tax, known as the base erosion and anti-abuse tax or the BEAT. Treasury’s rule would allow foreign banks to minimize their tax liability by sending large payments back to their headquarters in the form of interest payments, which would not be counted toward the minimum tax.

Many foreign banks, and an industry lobbying group, welcomed the proposal — and quickly pushed Treasury to expand it further, by exempting even more transactions between banks and their overseas affiliates from the tax. The final regulations will be decided this summer.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty” about the anti-abuse tax, said Andrew J. Silverman, a tax analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “But a lot of companies are taking comfort from the fact there are a lot of big exceptions to it.”

Financial filings, corporate earnings call transcripts, and industry and company letters to Treasury officials underscore the degree to which the tax cuts have helped banks financially. Some of the ways appear to go against the intention of the Republicans in Congress who drafted and approved the law in a two-month flurry at the end of 2017.

The favorable treatment for banks is contributing to a steep decline in corporate tax revenues, which has helped sharply increase the federal budget deficit. Corporate receipts were down more than 25 percent, or nearly $60 billion, through June for the 2019 fiscal year, compared with the 2017 fiscal year, before the tax cuts took effect. The budget deficit is on track to top $1 trillion in 2019, a 28 percent increase from 2018.

The 10 largest United States banks — a group that includes JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs — had a combined income tax expense of $35 billion last year, equivalent to 20 percent of their pretax earnings. Their average effective rate in the five years through 2016 was 29 percent. If last year’s pretax income had been taxed at that rate instead of the post-tax-cuts rate, the banks’ income tax expense would have been $51 billion, or $16 billion more.

Money saved from having a lower tax rate helped pay for a surge in stock buybacks and dividend payments to shareholders. Last year, the 10 largest American banks distributed over $104 billion to their shareholders in these two ways, an increase of 25 percent from nearly $84 billion in 2017.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156105849_d23b994f-50e9-4edd-b379-09a2a607851f-articleLarge Foreign-Owned Banks’ Results Could Sweeten Further Under Tax Law Wells Fargo&Company United States Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) JPMorgan Chase&Company Income Tax HSBC Holdings PLC. Goldman Sachs Group Inc Federal Taxes (US) Federal Budget (US) Corporate Taxes Banking and Financial Institutions

Proposed rules from the Treasury Department could allow foreign banks to reduce what they owe under a global minimum tax included in the 2017 tax law.CreditPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

Some banks are reporting tax rates well below the 21 percent statutory rate. Wells Fargo said this week that its effective tax rate — the rate reported on financial statements — was just over 17 percent in the second quarter. JPMorgan’s rate for the period was just shy of 15 percent, in part because the bank enjoyed a tax benefit after tax audits were resolved.

Those savings continued to pad bank profits in the second quarter, according to financial filings released this week, and helped to offset weakness in trading revenue. Citigroup’s larger-than-expected earnings per share, for example, were almost entirely the result of the corporate rate cut and its stock repurchases.

Large foreign banks doing business in the United States disclose income tax expenses for their American subsidiaries, but it is not clear how useful they are for assessing whether the United States tax bill has had an effect on their tax rates. That’s partly because they don’t have to break out, in public disclosures, their liability under the BEAT.

Those banks received what many analysts saw as a break from Treasury in December, when it issued preliminary regulations governing the BEAT., which is part of the tax law’s overhaul of how the United States taxes companies that operate in more than one country. That overhaul has taken a political and public-opinion back seat to the corporate rate cut and changes in individual taxes, but it has drawn intense activity from business lobbyists seeking to shape the new rules to minimize their tax bills.

The BEAT is meant to curb a practice known as “earnings stripping,” in which multinationals avoid American taxes by shifting profits to other branches of the company operating in lower-tax countries overseas — often in the form of interest payments.

It is a sort of minimum tax, forcing companies that send their profits offshore to pay at least some American tax on them.

But in its December regulations, which provided nearly 46,000 words of details on how the provision applies to companies, Treasury essentially said certain interest payments made by foreign-owned banks are not subject to the calculations that determine that minimum tax. The move alarmed some former congressional aides who were involved in the tax effort. They said the exemption ran afoul of lawmakers’ intent in passing the tax overhaul.

The law’s authors tried to balance the international provisions to favor neither American-based companies nor foreign-owned ones. Throughout its drafting, they repeatedly asked the congressional Joint Tax Committee to run tax models to simulate the effects on both types of companies, eventually finding a near-50-50 balance. The Treasury regulations, which included the exemption that foreign banks had pushed for, could upset that balance.

Foreign banks received the regulations warmly but asked Treasury to go even further, in the name of fairness. The Institute of International Bankers, an industry lobbying group, told Treasury officials in a letter that it “wishes to express its appreciation for the strides made by the proposed regulations.”

The institute went on in the letter to push Treasury for further tweaks, in final regulations, that would reduce potential bank liability under the tax even more. Those highly technical changes would, if adopted, essentially exclude an even broader set of payments between banks and their foreign affiliates from the minimum tax calculations.

Bank reactions to the December regulations have been mixed, in part because some foreign banks are structured in ways that expose them to more BEAT issues than others. UBS officials reported that they expected not to incur any liability under the minimum tax, in light of the regulations. Credit Suisse said in February that it expected to still have to pay the tax, which it expected would add about 2 percentage points to its effective tax rate.

Treasury is expected to issue final regulations this summer, and the banks are still trying to win favorable changes to the preliminary rules.

“We continue to have discussions with Treasury about the unique nature of foreign banks operating in the U.S. and how various aspects of the proposal impact our U.S. operations,” said Chris Rosello, United States head of public affairs for HSBC.

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As Nations Look to Tax Tech Firms, U.S. Scrambles to Broker a Deal

Westlake Legal Group merlin_148265940_3d34f4ca-6938-496a-86fd-8da1c7681316-facebookJumbo As Nations Look to Tax Tech Firms, U.S. Scrambles to Broker a Deal United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Treaties tax evasion Mnuchin, Steven T International Trade and World Market Income Tax Great Britain Google Inc France Federal Taxes (US) Facebook Inc Customs (Tariff) Corporations Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

WASHINGTON — For most of the 21st century, wealthy nations have engaged in a race to the bottom on corporate taxes, cutting rates in an effort to poach business activity across borders. Very quickly, that script has flipped.

Developed countries are now moving to impose new taxes on technology companies, like Facebook and Google, that have large presences in their citizens’ daily lives but pay those countries little tax on the profits they earn there.

France moved on Thursday to become the first country to impose a so-called digital tax of 3 percent on the revenue companies earn from providing digital services to French users. It would apply to large companies, numbering more than two dozen, with robust annual sales in France, including United States-based Facebook, Google and Amazon. British leaders also detailed plans on Thursday to impose a similar tax, of 2 percent, on tech giants. And the European Union has also been mulling a digital tax.

The digital revenue grab is pitting traditional allies against one another, threatening to set off a cascade of tax increases and tariffs unless political and economic leaders work out a multinational agreement to avert them. Late Wednesday, the Trump administration said it would pursue an investigation into whether France’s tech tax amounted to an unfair trade practice that could be punishable with retaliatory tariffs. Administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have also raised concerns about Britain’s move.

The French tax, which would exact a bigger toll on foreign companies than French ones, has been denounced by the American tech industry, along with Democratic and Republican leaders, who are looking for ways to avoid such one-off decisions by more closely coordinating international digital tax arrangements.

Administration officials have tried to shape an effort being led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to broker an international system for taxing digital profits. A lobbying flurry has broken out in Washington to influence the negotiations.

And in its attempts to show international leadership — and not go it alone, as Mr. Trump has in his trade wars with China and other partners — the administration is pushing the Senate to vote next week on a package of long-foundering updates to international tax treaties, which could demonstrate to allies that it is serious about leading the effort to broker a digital armistice.

Countries have competed to reduce corporate tax rates, and attract business activity both physically and on paper, for two decades. The average rate tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has fallen seven percentage points since 2000, to just over 21 percent today. France and the United States both cut rates substantially for 2018, with Mr. Trump’s signature tax cuts bringing the American rate of 21 percent right to the international average.

Technology companies’ revenue has surged worldwide, but not their tax payments, prompting many wealthy governments to complain that digital businesses are not paying their fair share. The European Union calculates that digital company revenue is growing more than four times as fast as revenue for other multinational companies, partly from ad sales to European consumers.

Because the firms have relatively light physical presences in Europe, they benefit from the current system, which taxes companies based on where their operations and assets are — and not where their sales are generated. The European Union has said this has allowed tech companies to pay less than half the effective tax rate of other multinationals, and European leaders want to tax them in a way that takes into account where their users are.

Mr. Mnuchin has spent much of his time discussing the issue at international forums with finance ministers from around the world.

During meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in April, Mr. Mnuchin said it was a “priority” to find an international solution, and he pressed France and Britain to abandon their own tax plans once a compromise is reached.

At the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting in Japan in June, Mr. Mnuchin underscored his concerns, and the finance ministers agreed in their communiqué to work toward finding a common set of rules to close loopholes that global technology companies have been using to reduce their tax bills.

“I’m not in favor of the current digital tax that has been proposed by France and the U.K.,” Mr. Mnuchin said, warning a system of unilateral digital taxes would not work. “We have significant concerns with both of those.”

The United States has called for a tax that is based on companies’ income, not sales, and said specific industries should not be singled out with a different standard. The Treasury secretary has dispatched his deputy, Justin Muzinich, to help broker an agreement. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a “road map” in May, agreed to by nearly 130 countries, toward finding agreement on a global digital tax plan.

France has said that it will repeal its tax once a group agreement is reached. The subject will come up again when finance minsters gather in Chantilly, France, for the summit of the Group of 7 industrialized nations next week. Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has suggested that France’s tax will help accelerate an international pact.

“We are willing, especially with Steven Mnuchin, to give new impetus during the G7 in Chantilly on the very specific topic of minimum taxation,” Mr. Le Maire said in an interview last month.

The Treasury Department said in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that it is considering a range of responses to the French tax.

“We have and will continue to urge France to forbear from such unilateral actions and join with us in an intensive effort to reach a comprehensive, multilateral solution,” wrote Kimberly J. Pinter, deputy assistant secretary in Treasury’s office of legislative affairs.

As negotiations persist, administration officials and Republican Senate leaders have worked together to break a decade-long logjam on updating international tax treaties, some of which were negotiated in the early years of the Obama administration.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, moved on Thursday to set up a vote on the quartet of treaties next week, in what would be a bipartisan victory for multinational companies. The package is expected to succeed in garnering the support of two-thirds of senators voting on the issue.

The so-called tax protocols would update existing tax treaties with Spain, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland. They would allow companies with operations in those countries to avoid some previous tax penalties for transferring money to their operations abroad, in a provision proponents say would encourage multinationals to invest more in the United States. They would also update the existing treaties to allow for more detailed sharing of information among countries on individual and corporate taxpayers.

The treaties were held up for years by Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who objected to that information sharing. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee overrode his complaints and voted to advance the treaties last month.

A host of large and powerful trade groups, including the Semiconductor Industry Association and the Business Roundtable, has been urging Senate leaders to approve the measures. “Tax treaties help the U.S. economy by allowing U.S. companies to more efficiently conduct their businesses abroad and by making the U.S. more hospitable to foreign investment,” the groups wrote this spring in a letter to Senator Jim Risch, the Idaho Republican who leads the Foreign Relations Committee.

One of the companies that stands to benefit is a Spanish-owned steel maker with a large plant in Kentucky, North American Stainless, which has been pushing Mr. McConnell and other senators to schedule a vote.

North American Stainless is the subsidiary of Acerinox, and employs more than 1,300 workers in Kentucky. A company executive told a Senate panel in 2014 that ratifying the tax protocol with Spain could boost Acerinox’s investments in Kentucky, by ending a 10 percent tax on dividend payments from the American subsidiary to the parent company.

In pushing for the tax treaties, Treasury officials have argued that they would promote fair and efficient taxation by the United States and treaty partners, reduce the risk of double taxation and help combat tax evasion by improving the flow of information among tax authorities.

A Treasury spokeswoman said the tax treaties were a priority for Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. McConnell and that the Senate’s bipartisan work on the issue would fuel economic growth.

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France Moves to Tax Tech Giants, Stoking Fight With White House

Westlake Legal Group frenchtechtax-facebookJumbo France Moves to Tax Tech Giants, Stoking Fight With White House Mnuchin, Steven T Macron, Emmanuel (1977- ) Law and Legislation International Trade and World Market Google Inc France Facebook Inc Corporate Taxes

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron’s government waded into a potentially messy fight with the White House on Thursday as French lawmakers voted to impose a tax on Facebook, Google and other American technology giants despite a blunt warning from the Trump administration.

The measure, which the White House said could amount to an unfair trade practice, is likely to be signed into law by Mr. Macron within two weeks, placing France squarely in the cross hairs of President Trump’s escalating trade wars.

The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told the French Senate before the vote that Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, the White House’s top trade negotiator, phoned him on Wednesday to say the United States is opening an investigation into the French tax using a mechanism Mr. Trump had already employed to impose sweeping tariffs on China.

It was the first time in the history of French-American relations that the United States had taken such a step, Mr. Le Maire said. “I believe that between allies we can and must sort out differences in other ways than by using threats,” he said.

“France is a sovereign nation that decides its own tax rules. And this will continue to be the case,” he added.

France has moved independently from the European Union to seek a tax on technology companies after little progress was made in creating Europe-wide rules to tax the largest tech platforms. Mr. Macron accelerated the French tax plan this year after waves of so-called Yellow Vest protesters forced his government to make billions of euros in spending concessions that widened the country’s budget shortfall.

Mr. Le Maire described Thursday’s vote as a pivotal moment in which governments needed to stand up to digital behemoths that he said were becoming the equivalent of sovereign states acting with virtual impunity as they maneuvered to keep their tax bills low across the world.

“We’re being confronted with the emergence of economic giants that are monopolistic and that not only want to control the maximum amount of data, but also escape fair taxes,” he said. “It’s a question of justice.”

France is seeking a 3 percent tax on the revenues that companies earn from providing digital services to French users. It would apply to digital businesses with annual global revenue of more than 750 million euros, or about $845 million, and sales of €25 million in France. That would cover more than two dozen companies, many of them American, including Facebook, Google and Amazon.

The government expects to collect around €500 million, or about $563 million. France’s General Assembly passed the bill last week.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Lighthizer said the United States was “very concerned that the digital services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies.”

“The president has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce,” Mr. Lighthizer said.

The European Commission last year proposed modernizing tax policies across the bloc as a way to keep pace with the digital economy, but countries have been unable to reach an agreement.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is also trying to hammer out a deal for taxing digital companies across countries, but the slow pace of the talks has frustrated European nations.

Mr. Le Maire said that if anything, the disarray underscored the need for the United States to help formulate an accord on the international taxation of digital services. He urged Mr. Mnuchin to participate in accelerated talks at a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 7 richest nations in Chantilly, France, next week.

Governments across Europe fear their tax base will fall as more commerce moves online because digital businesses are able to make use of subsidiaries in low-tax countries to avoid paying taxes elsewhere in Europe. The European Commission estimates digital companies pay an average effective tax rate of 9.5 percent, compared with 23 percent for more traditional businesses.

“It’s totally unjust and ineffective,” Mr. Le Maire said. “How will we finance our environmental needs, our schools, day care centers, hospitals and colleges if we don’t tax them at the same level” as other goods or services? he added.

France’s digital tax adds to the list of actions that European authorities have taken against the tech industry for anticompetitive business practices, unpaid taxes and lax privacy standards. And more regulation looms. Amazon and Facebook are facing antitrust inquiries from the European Commission.

France and Britain are mulling new social media laws to stop the spread of hate speech and other harmful content. Ireland has several investigations open against Facebook and Google for violating European privacy laws.

The companies have taken advantage of old rules that allow profit to be booked based on where value is created. Without a brick-and-mortar business that sells physical goods, digital services can funnel profits through low-tax countries. In 2016, the European Commission ordered Apple to repay $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland.

On Thursday, Britain provided further details about its own proposal to tax tech companies. Starting in 2020, it plans to impose a 2 percent tax on revenue from companies that provide a social media platform, search engine or online marketplace to British users. The proposal was unveiled last year.

In Britain Google paid 66 million pounds in taxes last year on revenue in the country of over 1.4 billion pounds, according to a regulatory filing. In 2017, Facebook paid 17 million pounds in British taxes on sales of 1.3 billion pounds. Spain and Germany have also mulled a digital tax.

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France Moves Toward Digital Tax, Stoking Fight With White House

Westlake Legal Group frenchtechtax-facebookJumbo France Moves Toward Digital Tax, Stoking Fight With White House Mnuchin, Steven T Macron, Emmanuel (1977- ) Law and Legislation International Trade and World Market Google Inc France Facebook Inc Corporate Taxes

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron’s government waded into a potentially messy fight with the White House on Thursday as French lawmakers voted to impose a tax on Facebook, Google and other American technology giants despite a blunt warning from the Trump administration.

The measure, which the White House said could amount to an unfair trade practice, is likely to be signed into law by Mr. Macron within two weeks, placing France squarely in the cross hairs of President Trump’s escalating trade wars.

The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told the French Senate before the vote that Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, the White House’s top trade negotiator, phoned him on Wednesday to say the United States is opening an investigation into the French tax using a mechanism Mr. Trump had already employed to impose sweeping tariffs on China.

It was the first time in the history of French-American relations that the United States had taken such a step, Mr. Le Maire said. “I believe that between allies we can and must sort out differences in other ways than by using threats,” he said.

“France is a sovereign nation that decides its own tax rules. And this will continue to be the case,” he added.

France has moved independently from the European Union to seek a tax on technology companies after little progress was made in creating Europe-wide rules to tax the largest tech platforms. Mr. Macron accelerated the French tax plan this year after waves of so-called Yellow Vest protesters forced his government to make billions of euros in spending concessions that widened the country’s budget shortfall.

Mr. Le Maire described Thursday’s vote as a pivotal moment in which governments needed to stand up to digital behemoths that he said were becoming the equivalent of sovereign states acting with virtual impunity as they maneuvered to keep their tax bills low across the world.

“We’re being confronted with the emergence of economic giants that are monopolistic and that not only want to control the maximum amount of data, but also escape fair taxes,” he said. “It’s a question of justice.”

France is seeking a 3 percent tax on the revenues that companies earn from providing digital services to French users. It would apply to digital businesses with annual global revenue of more than 750 million euros, or about $845 million, and sales of €25 million in France. That would cover more than two dozen companies, many of them American, including Facebook, Google and Amazon.

The government expects to collect around €500 million, or about $563 million. France’s General Assembly passed the bill last week.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Lighthizer said the United States was “very concerned that the digital services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies.”

“The president has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce,” Mr. Lighthizer said.

The European Commission last year proposed modernizing tax policies across the bloc as a way to keep pace with the digital economy, but countries have been unable to reach an agreement.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is also trying to hammer out a deal for taxing digital companies across countries, but the slow pace of the talks has frustrated European nations.

Mr. Le Maire said that if anything, the disarray underscored the need for the United States to help formulate an accord on the international taxation of digital services. He urged Mr. Mnuchin to participate in accelerated talks at a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 7 richest nations in Chantilly, France, next week.

Governments across Europe fear their tax base will fall as more commerce moves online because digital businesses are able to make use of subsidiaries in low-tax countries to avoid paying taxes elsewhere in Europe. The European Commission estimates digital companies pay an average effective tax rate of 9.5 percent, compared with 23 percent for more traditional businesses.

“It’s totally unjust and ineffective,” Mr. Le Maire said. “How will we finance our environmental needs, our schools, day care centers, hospitals and colleges if we don’t tax them at the same level” as other goods or services? he added.

France’s digital tax adds to the list of actions that European authorities have taken against the tech industry for anticompetitive business practices, unpaid taxes and lax privacy standards. And more regulation looms. Amazon and Facebook are facing antitrust inquiries from the European Commission.

France and Britain are mulling new social media laws to stop the spread of hate speech and other harmful content. Ireland has several investigations open against Facebook and Google for violating European privacy laws.

The companies have taken advantage of old rules that allow profit to be booked based on where value is created. Without a brick-and-mortar business that sells physical goods, digital services can funnel profits through low-tax countries. In 2016, the European Commission ordered Apple to repay $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland.

On Thursday, Britain provided further details about its own proposal to tax tech companies. Starting in 2020, it plans to impose a 2 percent tax on revenue from companies that provide a social media platform, search engine or online marketplace to British users. The proposal was unveiled last year.

In Britain Google paid 66 million pounds in taxes last year on revenue in the country of over 1.4 billion pounds, according to a regulatory filing. In 2017, Facebook paid 17 million pounds in British taxes on sales of 1.3 billion pounds. Spain and Germany have also mulled a digital tax.

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Apple’s Plan to Buy $75 Billion of Its Stock Fuels Spending Debate

Westlake Legal Group apples-plan-to-buy-75-billion-of-its-stock-fuels-spending-debate Apple’s Plan to Buy $75 Billion of Its Stock Fuels Spending Debate Stocks and Bonds Stock Buybacks Politics and Government Income Inequality Corporate Taxes Cook, Timothy D Company Reports Apple Inc
Westlake Legal Group merlin_148735596_2cf387b9-ac17-45be-8337-8b2850b08f35-facebookJumbo Apple’s Plan to Buy $75 Billion of Its Stock Fuels Spending Debate Stocks and Bonds Stock Buybacks Politics and Government Income Inequality Corporate Taxes Cook, Timothy D Company Reports Apple Inc

SAN FRANCISCO — Shortly after Apple used a new tax law last year to bring back most of the $252 billion it had held abroad, the company said it would buy back $100 billion of its stock.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its plans for another major chunk of the money: It will buy back a further $75 billion in stock.

“Our first priority is always looking after the business and making sure we continue to grow and invest,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said in an interview. “If there is excess cash, then obviously we want to return it to investors.”

Apple’s record buybacks should be welcome news to shareholders, as the stock price is likely to climb. But the buybacks could also expose the company to more criticism that the tax cuts it received have mostly benefited investors and executives.

Separately on Tuesday, Apple said slumping iPhone sales shrank its profit 16.4 percent, to $11.56 billion, in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.

In the period, the company’s second fiscal quarter, iPhone sales fell 17.3 percent from the same period a year ago, to $31 billion, in part because of a larger drop in revenue in the China region. The company’s services revenue, which includes app sales, grew 16.2 percent to $11.45 billion.

Overall results exceeded Wall Street’s expectations and Apple’s share price rose more than 5 percent in early trading Wednesday. Investors had anticipated a slowdown in iPhone sales but some signs suggested business was rebounding.

Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said on a call with analysts that business in China increased toward the end of the quarter. He attributed the improvement partly to price cuts, the Chinese government’s economic stimulus, and loosening trade tensions with the United States.

Apple said it expected revenue for the current quarter would be $52.5 billion to $54.5 billion, exceeding analysts’ forecasts. The company also announced a 5 percent increase to its dividend.

While stock buybacks have plenty of critics, many economists say the money is better off flowing into investors’ pockets and into the economy instead of sitting in Apple’s coffers.

“The money isn’t disappearing,” said Alan Auerbach, an economics and law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Apple is basically saying: We have all this money and we prefer not to invest it right now, so we’ll give it to our shareholders.”

Still, Apple’s decision to return so much cash to investors is likely to provide more grist for liberal politicians who argue that giant stock buybacks are manipulations of the stock market.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, and Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate, recently proposed restricting such buybacks, saying they increase inequality by putting billions of dollars in the pockets of wealthy shareholders instead of into new plants and higher wages.

“It’s total insanity,” said Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and former presidential candidate. “The main incentive, which they will not admit to, is it improves the metrics for executive compensation that consultants develop for them.”

Mr. Nader and other corporate critics say Apple could spend a small fraction of the $75 billion it plans to give to investors on a way to effectively recycle the world’s computer waste, cut the prices of iPhones that have swelled past $1,000, or increase the pay of its contract workers in China. Apple has said the starting pay for workers at the world’s biggest iPhone factory, in Zhengzhou, China, is about $3.15 an hour.

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But some economists say that thinking is simplistic: Corporations aren’t the government and shouldn’t be expected to invest large sums in ventures that won’t contribute to profits.

“Firms should reinvest internally when it’s their best use of capital, and they should pay it out to investors when it’s not,” said Laurie Hodrick, a visiting finance professor at Stanford University who studies how corporations use their cash.

Mr. Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said Apple invested an appropriate amount in its business before deciding how much to return to shareholders. Over the past two quarters, Apple’s spending on research and development increased 15.7 percent to $7.85 billion. “Certainly making investments that are not productive are not good for anybody,” he said.

When it repatriated its cash under the new tax law, Apple paid $43 billion less than it would have under previous rates, bigger savings than any other American company, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research group in Washington. Apple has also saved billions of dollars under the lower corporate tax rate. Apple says it is spending billions in the United States, hiring new workers, building data centers, expanding offices in Texas and investing in some outside manufacturers.

For many big companies like Apple, stock buybacks also support higher compensation for employees, since so many of them are paid in part with company stock, said Ed Yardeni, president of the stock market research firm Yardeni Research.

Companies in the S&P 500 bought back a record $806 billion in stock last year, up from $519 billion in 2017, according to data from Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Apple has returned the largest amounts to shareholders in history, Mr. Silverblatt said. From 2014 through 2018, Apple bought back $229 billion in stock, or more than the value of Home Depot, the 18th most valuable company in the S&P 500.

Over that period, Microsoft was second in stock buybacks, with $66 billion, according to Mr. Silverblatt. Apple accounted for seven of the eight largest quarterly stock buybacks in history, including the latest quarter, Mr. Silverblatt said.

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Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It.

AKRON, Ohio — Colin Robertson wonders why he pays federal taxes on the $18,000 a year he makes cleaning carpets, while the tech giant Amazon got a tax rebate.

His concerns about a tilted economic playing field recently led Mr. Robertson to join the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. At a gathering this month, as members discussed Karl Marx and corporate greed over chocolate chip cookies, it wasn’t long before talk turned to income inequality and how the government helps the wealthy avoid taxes.

“One of the benefits of taxation is taking it and using it for the collective good,” said Mr. Robertson, 25, comparing his minimal income to the roughly $150 billion net worth of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest person.

“He could be taxed at 99.9 percent and still have millions left over,” Mr. Robertson said, “and I’d be homeless.”

It’s a topic that several presidential candidates, led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have hammered recently as they travel the campaign trail, spurred by a report that 60 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal taxes on $79 billion in corporate income last year. Amazon, which is reported to be opening a center in an abandoned Akron mall that will employ 500 people, has become the poster child for corporate tax avoidance; last year it had an effective tax rate of below zero — receiving a rebate — on income of $10.8 billion.

For decades, profitable companies have been able to avoid corporate taxes. But the list of those paying zero roughly doubled last year as a result of provisions in President Trump’s 2017 tax bill that expanded corporate tax breaks and reduced the tax rate on corporate income.

“Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump’s tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes,” Mr. Sanders said last week during a Fox News town hall-style event. “I think that’s a disgrace.”

Companies That Paid No Federal Taxes in 2018

These are the 30 most profitable companies that paid no federal income taxes in 2018. In many cases, the companies also received tax rebates that could be used to reduce their tax burdens in other years.

Westlake Legal Group zero-tax-Artboard_1 Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

$5 billion

$10 billion

Amazon

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

General Motors

EOG Resources

Duke Energy

Occidental Petroleum

Dominion Energy

Honeywell

Deere & Company

American Electric Power

Public Service Enterprise Group

Kinder Morgan

Prudential Financial

Principal Financial

FirstEnergy

Xcel Energy

PulteGroup

WEC Energy

Molson Coors

Devon Energy

Pioneer Natural Resources

DTE Energy

PPL

Halliburton

Ameren

Netflix

IBM

CMS Energy

Salesforce

Federal tax rebate

Westlake Legal Group zero-tax-Artboard_2 Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

$5 billion

$10 billion

Amazon

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

General Motors

EOG Resources

Duke Energy

Occidental Petroleum

Dominion Energy

Honeywell

Deere & Company

American Electric Power

Public Service Enterprise Group

Kinder Morgan

Prudential Financial

Principal Financial

FirstEnergy

Xcel Energy

PulteGroup

WEC Energy

Molson Coors

Devon Energy

Pioneer Natural Resources

DTE Energy

PPL

Halliburton

Ameren

Netflix

IBM

CMS Energy

Salesforce

Federal tax

rebate

Westlake Legal Group zero-tax-Artboard_3 Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

$10 billion

Amazon

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

General Motors

EOG Resources

Duke Energy

Occidental Petroleum

Dominion Energy

Honeywell

Deere & Company

American Electric Power

Public Service Enterprise Group

Kinder Morgan

Prudential Financial

Principal Financial

FirstEnergy

Xcel Energy

PulteGroup

WEC Energy

Molson Coors

Devon Energy

Pioneer Natural Resources

DTE Energy

PPL

Halliburton

Ameren

Netflix

IBM

CMS Energy

Salesforce

Federal tax

rebate

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

By The New York Times

Corporations’ ability to whittle down their tax bills has long been a target of criticism by Democrats, and this presidential campaign is no exception, particularly among left-wing candidates who argue that corporations should be accountable for wage inequality and its impact on low- and middle-income workers.

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Here in Ohio, even though unemployment has hit an 18-year low, several counties still have jobless rates significantly higher than the national rate, 3.8 percent, and the statewide rate, 4.4 percent. Ohioans have witnessed so many factory closures over the years that they seem to live with a permanent sense of economic wariness. The question for Democrats is how to leverage that to their advantage as they try to retake the state, which Mr. Trump won by 8 percentage points in 2016.

David Betras, the Democratic chairman in Mahoning County, a traditionally blue stronghold of union voters that President Trump nearly carried in 2016, said that Democrats had not yet figured out how to use the economic angst of laid-off employees and minimum-wage workers to defeat Mr. Trump in Ohio in 2020.

“Believe it or not, if you listen to the president, he addresses that issue,” Mr. Betras said. “He does it with a lot of smoke and very many mirrors, but he’s at least talking about how good the economy is and what I’ve done for you. ‘I’m with you. I have your back.’”

Even as candidates focus on corporate taxation, Mr. Betras said the issue didn’t resonate with voters in the same way as more familiar topics like health care or immigration. “It appeals to a small slice of the electorate,” he said. (Mr. Betras, a lawyer, has endorsed Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio for the Democratic nomination.)

A Gallup poll last fall suggested that taxes were generally a more important issue for Republicans than for Democrats.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00taxes2-articleLarge Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

Goodyear, which is based in Akron, paid no federal corporate income taxes for 2018.CreditAllison Farrand for The New York Times

In an election in which Democrats will seek to win back voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, then switched to Mr. Trump, some Democrats also worry that calls to increase corporate taxes might actually turn off swing voters in this critical state, those like Thomas Chhay, a student at the University of Akron.

“I lean Republican,” Mr. Chhay, 18, said last week while having lunch at the university’s student union. “I agree with corporate tax cuts unless the companies ship the jobs overseas.”

The list of profitable companies that pay no corporate taxes, compiled by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, also includes Goodyear and three other Ohio companies, including the Akron-based electric utility FirstEnergy. The company, which has the naming rights to the Cleveland Browns’ stadium, paid no taxes last year on $1.5 billion in income, according to the analysis, and will receive additional tax credits that can be used in the future. In a win for consumers, some of that will be returned to the utility’s customers.

Westlake Legal Group tax-rebate-Artboard_1_copy Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

Largest Tax Rebates as a Percentage of 2018 Profit

Largest Tax Rebates, in Millions

Gannett

IBM

AECOM

Activision Blizzard

Pitney Bowes

Celanese

JetBlue

Prudential Financial

Duke Energy

WEC Energy

Duke Energy

Prudential Financial

IBM

EOG Resources

Deere & Company

Activision Blizzard

WEC Energy

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

Celanese

Westlake Legal Group tax-rebate-Artboard_1_copy_2 Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

Largest Tax Rebates, in Millions

Duke Energy

Prudential Financial

IBM

EOG Resources

Deere & Company

Activision Blizzard

WEC Energy

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

Celanese

Largest Tax Rebates as a Percentage of 2018 Profit

Gannett

IBM

AECOM

Activision Blizzard

Pitney Bowes

Celanese

JetBlue

Prudential Financial

Duke Energy

WEC Energy

Westlake Legal Group tax-rebate-Artboard_1_copy_3 Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It. Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Ohio Income Inequality Federal Taxes (US) Democratic Party Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

Largest Tax Rebates, in Millions

Duke Energy

Prudential Financial

IBM

EOG Resources

Deere & Company

Activision Blizzard

WEC Energy

Delta Air Lines

Chevron

Celanese

Largest Tax Rebates as a

Percentage of 2018 Profit

Gannett

IBM

AECOM

Activision Blizzard

Pitney Bowes

Celanese

JetBlue

Prudential Financial

Duke Energy

WEC Energy

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

By The New York Times

Ms. Warren has gone the furthest in issuing a detailed plan to alter the corporate system. Under her proposal, corporations would pay a new 7 percent tax on every dollar over $100 million in profits they earn anywhere in the world. She estimated the new tax would apply to roughly 1,200 companies and bring in $1 trillion.

During the 2016 presidential campaign and in this one, Mr. Sanders has routinely talked about closing loopholes and capturing some of the billions in profits that multinationals have kept overseas in tax havens and out of the Internal Revenue Service’s reach.

Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator who is also running, has taken a different approach. She has tied a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, to 25 percent from the current 21 percent, to plans to rebuild bridges, roads and airports nationwide. About $400 billion of her trillion-dollar infrastructure plan would be financed by the tax increase.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who officially entered the race on Thursday, has not issued a formal proposal on corporate taxes. In remarks last May, however, he blamed a “yawning” income gap for tearing the country apart. “We have to deal with this tax code,” he said. “It’s wildly skewed toward taking care of those at the very top. It overwhelmingly favors investors over workers.”

[Check out the Democratic field with our candidate tracker.]

In surveys, more Americans support raising the corporate tax rate than lowering it or leaving it unchanged. And several Democratic candidates, like the former housing secretary Julián Castro, invoke “fair share” rhetoric in speeches or vow to undo the recent Republican tax law. Others, like Senator Kamala Harris of California, have focused more on the individual income tax and reducing the burden on working families.

But raising the headline tax rate on corporations won’t eliminate the corporate zero-rate club, which also results from companies taking advantage of loopholes and the way global profits are taxed.

Two years ago, Mr. Trump appeared at a sold-out rally in working-class Youngstown, the seat of Mahoning County, and delivered a message full of economic reassurance.

“I was looking at some of those big, once incredible job-producing factories,” the president said. “Those jobs have left Ohio. They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.”

But it has not entirely worked out that way.

General Motors, one of the companies on the zero-tax list, recently idled a large plant near Youngstown that produced the Chevrolet Cruze, a decision that helped increase the company’s stock price even as G.M. paid no federal taxes on $4.32 billion in income.

“What was promised to these people was more jobs,” said David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represents workers at the plant, which is in Lordstown. “When you give them the tax break and they take the jobs away, that’s like a double whammy. That’s a lose, lose.”

Lordstown is in Trumbull County, where the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March and many of those who work are eligible for public assistance. “Working people can get free cheese? The system is broken,” Mr. Green said.

Amazon is one of 60 profitable American companies that didn’t pay federal taxes for 2018, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.CreditPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

Notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s entreaty two years ago that local workers stay put, Tyler Savin, a real estate agent, said the idling of the plant had added to his home listings and that many sellers wouldn’t get their asking prices as they leave Ohio for other G.M. locations.

Mr. Savin, 22, was among the customers last week at Tommy Dogg’s Bar and Grill in nearby Niles, the birthplace of both Mr. Ryan, the local favorite-son candidate, and William McKinley, a Republican president who was known for imposing tariffs on foreign goods.

Mr. Savin likes Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, but will ultimately vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, he said in a whisper lest pro-Trump patrons overhear.

“I think corporations should pay their taxes, like Amazon,” he said. But he said health care and support for abortion rights were more important to him.

Jeff Williams, 57, who manages a convenience store on the midnight shift, had heard about Amazon’s tax breaks on the radio. Last week, as he sat outside his home in Niles catching the first warm rays of the year, he also was doing some comparison.

He was treated for cancer, heart disease and two hernias last year but wasn’t able to deduct his expenses, he said. Amazon, meantime, availed itself of a full suite of tax breaks. “Amazon doesn’t pay taxes, but I pay taxes,” Mr. Williams said.

Akron, about an hour west, is faring better economically. Mayor Daniel Horrigan won’t confirm or deny it, but Amazon is believed to be the company he has recruited to move into Akron’s Rolling Acres Mall, a once-thriving shopping center that closed in 2008, becoming a symbol of both the recession and the retail disruption caused by online shopping.

Under Ms. Warren’s plan, Amazon would have paid $698 million instead of $0 in federal taxes for 2018. In a statement, the company said it “pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate.” The company would not comment on whether it planned to open a facility in Akron.

Mr. Horrigan has been working to invigorate the economy of Akron, historically known as the Rubber City for its role in tire manufacturing. The tire jobs have mostly moved elsewhere.

Goodyear, which made the list of 60 by paying no federal corporate income taxes, employs 64,000 people worldwide, but only 3,000 of them remain here, mostly in the company’s headquarters. A spokesman said the company’s 2018 tax situation stemmed from “historical losses in U.S. operations.”

The Democratic Socialists have close to 100 members in Akron, many of them supporters of Mr. Sanders. Those attending last week’s meeting ranged from a stay-at-home mother who said she hadn’t been able to pay her water bill for a year to a college professor, David Pereplyotchik.

Mr. Pereplyotchik, 37, said he believed the group should come up with a viable alternative to the corporate tax and wage system in the United States.

“If we’re fighting for something, what version of the thing are we fighting for?” asked Mr. Pereplyotchik, who teaches philosophy. “It seems like if you just make them pay employees more, they’re just not going to hire employees.”

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

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