Tax the Robots –OR–Don’t Tax the Robots

Published by , January 22, 2018 12:20 pm

(SFChronicle) The tax reform law includes a dramatic increase in tax incentives to acquire robots instead of hiring workers. Businesses can claim a 100 percent up-front expense deduction for purchasing automation equipment displacing human workers but no tax benefits for saving jobs for humans. Bill Gates embraced a seemingly simple answer to this problem: If robots are taking jobs away from humans, then tax the robots to slow the pace of automation and use the money to benefit displaced workers.
Tax specialists a robot tax would inevitably lead into a morass of tax disputes that would benefit only tax lawyers and accountants.The efforts of policymakers should be dedicated to finding real solutions to the problem of workers displaced by automation. Robot tax proposals make for great sound bites, but they don’t work.

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