Retailers fight border adjustment tax

Thursday, April 20, 2017
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

cash registerThe world's largest retail trade association continues to speak out against a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). 

The BAT is included in the House Republican leadership's "Better Way" plan for tax reform and applies to imports, the idea being that it will help domestic companies and U.S.-made products.

But David French, senior vice president for government retails at National Retail Federation, warns it will involve much higher prices for retailers and consumers.

"As a retail trade association," French says, "we're concerned about the consumer level prices that will be required after a Border Adjustment Tax is put in place."

Consumers might wonder why retailers cab't just absorb the cost.

"They will not be able to absorb all the costs," French tells OneNewsNow. "In many cases, retail margins are very low, and… they  will have to pass more of the costs on to consumers."

According to French, some of NRF's largest members think a Border Adjustment Tax could possibly put them out of business. 

"It's a very significant issue for retailers," French says, "and we have calculated it could cost the average American family as much as $1700 more in the first year. So it's a very big issue for consumers as well."

NRF has been running an anti-Border Adjustment Tax campaign. A new phase just began last week. 

credit card swipe"For the new phase we've selected three small retailers who are typical of the small businesses in every American community," French explains. "And they're talking on camera about how a Border Adjustment Tax will affect their business and their customers."

In June 2016, House Ways and Means Republicans led the effort to unveil a "Better Way for Tax Reform."

OneNewsNow was unsuccessful in getting members to comment at the time.

However, Republicans on the committee have said "this bold blueprint delivers a 21st century tax code built for growth – the growth of families' paychecks, the growth of American businesses, and the growth of our nation's economy."

In the meantime, French says NRF has been talking to Republicans and Democrats in Washington.

"We continue to be open," he says,"but we don't see how you can completely change the tax code and put the consumer in charge of paying everybody else's tax bills. We don't think that works."

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