Dec 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What the death of Build Back Better means for business taxation

Joe Manchin and a pile of papers
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin yesterday decapitated President Biden's "Build Back Better" legislation and, in so doing, maintained the status quo on business taxation.

The big picture: No changes are coming to carried interest or qualified small business stock, at least for the 2021 tax year. And forget about that 15% minimum tax on large corporations or the 1% excise tax on stock buybacks.

  • Carried interest tax changes were stripped from the version of BBB that passed the House, but there had been widespread speculation that they'd be reintroduced in the Senate. Maybe that was the ultimate kiss of death, since carried interest is the tax code's consummate cockroach.
  • Also not in the bill quashed by Manchin was a wealth tax, which remains a progressive priority without a legislative home.

Market reax: Stocks are way down in early trading this morning, although it's hard to know how much of that is BBB vs. Omicron. If the former, it's investors deciding the GDP hit is more important than the corporate profit boon.

The bottom line: Business leaders and investors like to grouse about "uncertainty," particularly around taxes. Take solace in the silence.

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