Some mistake the corporate income tax as the entirety of a business’s tax burden. However, businesses pay many types of taxes outside of the corporate income tax, including sales tax, property tax, excise tax, payroll tax, and more. The corporate income tax makes up only 9.5 percent of total business taxes.
Today’s map shows how much state governments collect in corporate income taxes per capita. New Hampshire collects the most at $433 per capita, with Delaware shortly behind at $424 per capita. Delaware also levies a gross receipts tax in addition to the corporate income tax. Alaska’s ranking of fifth highest in the country may surprise people, but it is mainly due to a large number of extractive companies and the relatively small population.
Soda sales in Philadelphia have also declined since the tax went into effect at the beginning of 2017, threatening the long-run sustainability of the tax. According to some local distributors and retailers, sales have declined by nearly 50 percent. This is likely primarily due to higher prices, which discourage purchasing beverages in the city. Some Philadelphia taxpayers took to Twitter as the tax took effect, noting their plans to shop for groceries outside the city. This kind of tax avoidance is only feasible for consumers with means of transportation, making the tax even more regressive. Purchases of beer are also now less expensive than nonalcoholic beverages subject to the tax in the city. Empirical evidence from a 2012 journal article suggests that soda taxes can push consumers to alcohol, meaning it is likely the case that consumers are switching to alcoholic beverages as a result of the tax. The paper, aptly titled From Coke to Coors, further shows that switching from soda to beer increases total caloric intake, even as soda taxes are generally aimed at caloric reduction.
State and local governments collected an average of $1,070 per person from individual income taxes, but the collection amount varies widely from state to state. New York collected $2,699 per person, the most of any state. Connecticut comes in second at $2,162, with Maryland rounding out the top three at $2,097 collected per person. Arizona collected $515 per person, the least among states with broad-based taxes on wage income. Other states with relatively low collections include Mississippi ($557), Louisiana ($592), and New Mexico ($622). New Hampshire and Tennessee, which tax only interest and dividend income, collected $70 and $37 per person respectively. The seven states that don’t collect individual income taxes predictably reported $0 in per person collections.
There are serious reasons to consider cutting the U.S. corporate income tax. However, many of the best arguments for cutting the corporate income tax apply most strongly to permanent cuts, not temporary ones. A temporary corporate income tax cut is less likely to promote growth and less likely to benefit workers than a permanent corporate income tax cut. A tax reform effort should hope to boost incomes for all, and a corporate income tax cut could be a means to do it. However, a large but short-lived reduction in corporate income taxes may be largely a windfall for investors, pension funds, and retirement accounts, with precious few broader benefits to the economy at large.
Corporate income taxes are one of the smallest sources of state and local tax revenue. On average, only 3.7 percent of state and local tax revenues came from corporate income taxes in fiscal year 2014 (the most recent data available).
Some, however, mistake the corporate income tax as the entirety of a business’s tax burden. In reality, businesses pay many types of taxes (such as sales tax, property tax, excise taxes, and more) and the corporate income tax makes up only 9.5 percent of total business taxes.
The share of revenue from corporate income taxes will decline as more businesses organize as pass-throughs (S-corps, partnerships, sole proprietorships, etc.), which “pass their income through” to their individual tax returns and therefore are liable under the individual income tax code.