NY cargo ship imports Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Die Nachteile einer amerikanischen Einfuhrsteuer

NEW YORK – Wahrscheinlich führen die Vereinigten Staaten bald eine Wareneinfuhrsteuer im Grenzverkehr ein (border adjustment tax, BAT). Die Republikanische Partei, die jetzt die Legislative und die Exekutive kontrolliert, sieht die BAT als wichtiges Element der geplanten Unternehmenssteuerreform. Eine solche Steuer hätte letztlich den Effekt, US-Exporteure zu subventionieren, indem sie ihnen Steuererleichterungen verschafft. US-amerikanische Unternehmen, die Waren importieren, würden dagegen bestraft. Die Befürworter der Steuer behaupten, sie werde die US-Handelsbilanz verbessern und gleichzeitig die Produktion, die Investitionstätigkeit und den Arbeitsmarkt im Inland ankurbeln. Damit liegen sie falsch.

In Wirklichkeit ist der Plan der Republikaner höchst problematisch. Gemeinsam mit anderen vorgeschlagenen Reformen würde die BAT dazu führen, dass die US-Körperschaftssteuer in eine (grenzangepasste) Steuer auf den Cashflow der Unternehmen verwandelt wird. Dies hätte weitreichende Folgen für die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Profitabilität der Unternehmen.

Auf einige Unternehmen oder Sektoren – insbesondere jene, die wie der US-Einzelhandel, stark von Importen abhängen – kämen deutlich steigende Steuerverbindlichkeiten zu. Diese könnten in manchen Fällen höher sein als ihre Vorsteuergewinne. Die exportierenden Firmen oder Sektoren, beispielsweise das produzierende Gewerbe, könnten sich dagegen über deutliche Steuererleichterungen freuen. Diese gegensätzliche Behandlung ist nicht nur unverdient, sondern auch unfair.

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