Corporate Tax Breaks Cost U.S. Government $180 Billion Per Year: GAO Report

By:  Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The annual cost of corporate tax breaks, including one that eases shifting profits offshore and out of the U.S. taxman's reach, has more than doubled to $180 billion since 1987, according to a report released on Monday.

Corporate tax deferral, the potential indefinite postponement of U.S. taxes on profits held offshore, makes up nearly a quarter of that sum, according to a Government Accountability Office report released on April 15, which is the deadline for individuals to file their tax returns.

The study comes as lawmakers work to revamp the U.S. tax code, a task expected to involve scrubbing the code of breaks to fund a cut in the top corporate income tax rate, now at 35 percent. Legislation is expected this year in the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

Comments from special interests streamed in late on Monday to the House committee that is leading the drive to overhaul the code. Midnight was the deadline for taxpayers to comment.

Prospects for an overhaul are unclear, with Republicans and Democrats squabbling over whether new revenue is needed, and corporate lobbyists gearing up to protect their tax perks.

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