New minimum tax may hit Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon hardest, study shows

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett seen at the annual Berkshire Shareholder Day in Omaha, Nebraska, US, May 3, 2019.

Scott Morgan | Reuters

Researchers applied the Inflation Reduction Act’s new 15% minimum tax on corporate income in 2021 and found that the burden would only be felt by about 78 companies, with Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon paying the most.

The University of North Carolina Tax Center study used past securities filings to map the tax, which takes effect in January, to companies̵[ads1]7; 2021 earnings.

The researchers found that the 15% minimum would have taken a total of $31.8 billion from 78 firms in 2021. Berkshire led the estimated payout with $8.33 billion, and Amazon follows with $2.77 billion owed based on 2021 earnings .

The study notes the limitations of looking exclusively at public company data within a single year. The researchers acknowledged that these estimates could change, especially as the company’s operations change under the 2023 tax.

President Joe Biden signed the minimum book tax into law, along with the rest of the Inflation Reduction Act, in August. The tax is specifically intended to target companies that make more than $1 billion per year.

The Tax Committee had previously estimated that it would affect around 150 companies, with the costs particularly on industry. The bipartisan JCT also predicted $34 billion in revenue in the first year of the tax, slightly more than the theoretical 2021 revenue projected by UNC.

According to the study, the next highest taxes will be paid by Ford, AT&T, eBay and Moderna, all of which will owe more than $1.2 billion in payments based on their 2021 financial statements.

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