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Senate Democrats release updated corporate minimum tax proposal

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) on Tuesday released new details about a Democratic plan to impose a 15 percent minimum corporate tax on some of the country's biggest companies.

This tax could be used to help fund the social spending bill Democrats are negotiating, and after the plan was unveiled, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), one of the moderates who had previously objected to a tax-rate increase, said she would support the corporate minimum tax, CNBC reports. 

As their plan stands now, the corporate minimum tax would apply to companies that publicly report more than $1 billion in profits annually over three years, creating a 15 percent minimum tax on those profits. There would be business credits, the senators said in a press release, "including R&D, clean energy, and housing tax credits," as well as "some flexibilities for companies to carry forward losses, utilize foreign tax credits, and claim a minimum tax credit against regular tax in future years." 

The senators estimate the tax would apply to roughly 200 U.S. corporations, like Amazon, which reported $45 billion in profits over the last three years but paid, they noted, "an effective tax rate of just 4.3 percent — well below the 21 percent corporate tax rate."

Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that "the most profitable corporations in the country are often the worst offenders when it comes to paying their fair share. Year after year they report record profits to shareholders and pay little to no taxes. Our proposal would tackle the most egregious corporate tax dodging by ensuring the biggest companies pay a minimum tax."

The proposal has not yet been formally approved by House or Senate leaders, CNBC reports, but Warren said she and her colleagues "extensively" discussed the matter with the White House, Senate Finance Committee, and the Treasury Department to get it included in the Build Back Better deal.