Analyzing the Impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on U.S. Corporate Tax Dynamics

TCJA

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 represented a pivotal moment in U.S. fiscal policy, primarily aimed at overhauling the corporate tax system. The landmark legislation sought to align the U.S. corporate tax regime more closely with global standards. A significant change was the corporate tax rate reduction from 35% to 21%. Multiple objectives drove this move: enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. companies, curbing the trend of businesses relocating outside the U.S. for tax advantages, and spurring economic growth. The architects of TCJA anticipated that the resultant economic expansion would counterbalance the immediate loss in tax revenues.

Study Findings on TCJA’s Effects

A comprehensive study by economists from prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and the U.S. Treasury, published for the National Bureau of Economic Research, sheds light on the outcomes of the TCJA. Key findings from the study include:

  • Boost in Domestic Investment: The study observed a notable 20% rise in domestic investment among firms directly influenced by the TCJA compared to those that were not.
  • Increase in Foreign Investment: There was also an uptick in foreign investment, signaling broader positive impacts of the tax reform.
  • Labor Tax Revenue Growth: An increase in labor tax revenues emerged due to wage growth, which helped to offset the decrease in corporate revenue that resulted from more depreciation deductions. This aspect suggests that the corporate tax reform was self-financing.

The study received positive reception from the economic community, as The Wall Street Journal reported, due to its credible evidence and robust economic models.

Tax Revenue Context Post-TCJA

It is crucial to contextualize the TCJA’s effects on overall tax collections. Despite initial apprehensions, the TCJA did not diminish the total tax revenue collected by the IRS. The figures speak for themselves:

  • In 2017, before the TCJA, the federal tax revenue was approximately $3.32 trillion.
  • The following years saw a steady increase, with $3.33 trillion in 2018, $3.46 trillion in 2019, $3.42 trillion in 2020, and a significant jump to $4.05 trillion in 2021.

These numbers indicate that the overall tax collection remained resilient, even with the corporate tax rate cut.

Corporate Tax Collection Trends

While there was an initial dip in corporate tax collections post-TCJA, a recovery and subsequent growth trend are evident:

  • In 2017, corporate income tax collection stood at $230 billion.
  • This slightly decreased to $225 billion in 2018 and $210 billion in 2019.
  • However, a recovery trend started in 2020 with $222 billion, followed by a remarkable increase to $280 billion in 2021 and a record-setting $369 billion in 2022.

This data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis demonstrates that despite the lower tax rate, corporate tax collections recovered and reached new heights in 2022.

Long-Term Outlook and Individual Tax Changes

An important aspect to consider is the permanence of these reforms. The corporate tax changes implemented by the TCJA are permanent, contrasting with the individual tax changes. For instance, the doubled standard deduction and the $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes are provisional measures set to expire in 2026. This distinction highlights a critical aspect of the TCJA: its enduring impact on the corporate sector versus the temporary nature of individual tax adjustments.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 marked a significant shift in the U.S. tax landscape, particularly for corporate taxation. The data post-implementation reveals a complex but largely positive picture. While there were initial reductions in corporate tax collections, these were offset by increases in domestic and foreign investments and growth in labor tax revenues. Overall, the TCJA did not reduce the total tax revenue for the IRS, and corporate tax collections have shown a remarkable recovery. As the U.S. moves forward, the permanence of corporate tax reforms, in contrast to the temporary nature of individual tax changes, will continue to shape the economic and fiscal environment.

If you are a Legacy client and have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Legacy advisor. If you are not a Legacy client and are interested in learning more about our approach to personalized wealth management, please contact us at 920.967.5020 or connect@lptrust.com.

This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only.
It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.

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