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Landmark climate and health care bill won’t crush corporate profits, Goldman Sachs says

<i>Ken Cedeno/Reuters</i><br/>Even as some business groups cry foul over the tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act
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Ken Cedeno/Reuters
Even as some business groups cry foul over the tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

Even as some business groups cry foul over the tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, economists at Goldman Sachs say the landmark bill will barely put a dent in massive corporate profits.

To pay for historic climate investments, the legislation that passed the Senate on Sunday imposes a 15% minimum corporate tax and a 1% tax on stock buybacks.

But the fallout from these tax provisions will be minimal, according to Goldman Sachs. The buyback tax and minimum corporate tax will lower per-share profits next year among S&P 500 companies by just 1.5%, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis published early Sunday.

Companies that pay low effective tax rates — such as health care and technology firms — would see a bigger hit, the bank said.

Overall, Goldman Sachs said the net fiscal impact of the Inflation Reduction Act “look very modest,” translating to less than 0.1% of GDP over the next several years. That’s because the new spending and new taxes “roughly offset,” the bank said.

Citigroup echoed that sentiment, saying the minimum tax and buyback components of the legislation will have a “minimal impact” on S&P 500 profits. Citi’s early read, the bank said, is that the 15% minimum tax will negatively impact consensus earnings estimates by just 0.42% for 2023 — and even that estimate might “overstate” the impact.

CEOs weigh in

The findings stand in contrast with warnings from some major business trade groups that have argued the new tax provisions will backfire.

The Business Roundtable, an influential CEO lobby, said in a statement on Saturday that while it supports policies in the bill to incentivize clean energy, the minimum corporate tax would suppress domestic investment and “undermine the competitiveness of America’s exporters.”

“Imposing more than $300 billion in tax increases during a downturn is the wrong policy at the wrong time,” Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten wrote in the statement, noting that the US economy has faced two consecutive quarters of declining GDP and “remains at risk of a protracted economic decline.”

The American Petroleum Institute, the biggest oil and gas trade group, said over the weekend it is “encouraged” by the bill’s extension and expansion of carbon capture tax credits and provisions on onshore and offshore lease sales.

However, the API said much-needed permitting reform is “glaringly absent” from the bill, and criticized its tax provisions.

“We remain opposed to policies that raise taxes and discourage investments in US oil and natural gas,” said API CEO Mike Sommers.

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