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Stock Buyback Tax Would Have Raised Over $8B if in Effect in 2021

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 9, 2022

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A provision of the Inflation Reduction Act is projected to raise $74 billion over the next decade after it goes into effect next year, but it could have raised $8.4 billion last year from the biggest public companies had it been in effect then, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The 1 percent stock buyback tax would have had the effect of raising the tax rate from 17.56 percent to 17.95 percent, according to the Journal, attributing those numbers to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which analyzed the buybacks for companies in the S&P 500 index.

The Joint Committee on Taxation made the $74 billion projection.

S&P 500 buybacks in the second quarter of this year declined by about 19 percent from those in the first quarter, amid concerns over an economic slowdown, though they remained above the levels of the second quarter of 2021.

“The additional tax will not have a material impact on buybacks,” said S&P Dow Jones Indices Senior Index Analyst Howard Silverblatt. “The concern is that, like any other tax, it has the tendency to go higher, given that both sides of the aisle seem to want the tax.”

The impact of the tax is likely to vary across companies and industries, the analysis found. The percentages were small enough—from 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent of income—that it may not affect some companies’ buyback strategies.

“I don’t say I’m not concerned about it, because it’s another tax, but I think it’s manageable,” Dell Technologies Inc. CFO Tom Sweet told the Journal.

Had the tax been in effect last year, Apple Inc. would have paid nearly $900 million in taxes on its net buybacks of $87.7 billion, Alphabet Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. would have paid about $500 million each, and Microsoft Corp., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Bank of America Corp., would have paid between $250 million and $275 million each.

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