Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Obama Wants to Triple Dividend Tax Rate

Greg Mankiw 的 blog 上看到的:

Warning: Obama Proposes Tripling Dividend Tax Rate By Alex Brill & Alan Viar

簡單的說,Obama 政府打算將高股利收入的投資人在股利上的所得稅從 15% 提高到最高 39.6%。加上一些原有的 1.2% 扣除額將被取消,以及明年因健保而增加的 3.8% ,在現金股利上所課徵的最高稅率將達到 44.6%。

這個數字讓我的下巴差點掉了下來。

Benjamin Franklin 曾說過 "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." 我們可以加上一句補充 "The government will never gather the extra taxes it intends to raise."

美國政府需要增加稅收,並希望藉此縮減赤字。不過他們在有錢人的現金股利收入所增加的稅收絕對不會是原先的三倍。在這麼誇張的增稅政策下,我們可能會看到:

1. 企業會增加保留盈餘 (retained earnings) 以及買回庫藏股 (stock  repurchase),並減少現金股利的發放。不管 agency problem 以什麼樣的面貌呈現、用什麼方法解決,CEO 一定會注意到董事會以及其他大股東(可能是自己以及高階經理人員)的利益。將股票買回實質上跟發放現金股利對於股東的影響接近,只是把獲利從現金股利轉向資本利得。IRS 會進行嚴格的監管,不過他們不能完全禁止這種做法,將來會看到政府和民營企業雇用的律師在這一點上面鬥法。

2. 資金會流出美國股市。至於會流向其他美國的其他市場或是其他國家,那就只有見步行步了。

3. 美國在嬰兒潮逐漸接近退休,投資可能漸趨保守而轉向債券之際,未來在股市投資上本來就會有資金缺口,必須靠其他國家的投資人以及願意承擔風險的下一代來補上。在稅率提高後,這個缺口只會變大不會減少。企業集資預計將更加困難,這對於經濟成長和就業都不是好事情。

4. 在公司發放現金股利縮水後,希望得到穩定現金流量的年金類基金以及退休人員將是受到打擊較重的族群。

我們可以看到這個政策所造成的影響的方向,但是程度有多嚴重就不是那麼容易看出來了。Obama 連任還不是必然的結果(雖然我現在比較看好他連任的機會),所以公司和股市投資人會暫時持觀望態度,任何變化要等到今年第四季甚至明年才會明朗。同時以就業而言,如果整體經濟復甦的速度還在可以接受的範圍,這部份政策倒退也許不足以抵消整體前進的動能。

問題:Apple 手上抱的那麼一大堆現金要怎麼回饋給股東?他們應該要早一點、多一點發放現金股利才是。這個稅率應該夠讓他們的市值下降。夠不夠降到 $500 bn 之下?

Your guess is as good as mine. My bet is yes if their market value in 2012Q4 is in the neighborhood of where it is.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

This is totally a bad move. I don't think this policy would materialize given that many corporate leader and investors will resist. Wouldn't stock market plunge if this is for real?

Ivan de la Isla Hermosa said...

幾個立即的想法: 數字是反映到您寫的幾個點上~

1.我是不知到美國政府會不會做到這麼絕, 台灣可是有未分配盈餘加徵10%營利事業所得稅的方法, 所以保留太多未分配盈餘不見得可以避免這項稅收

只不過美國一直不是兩稅合一, 一隻牛扒兩層皮還要扒得這麼重, 真是......

3 and 4.
我覺得還是得看一下配套措施, 基本上美國政府是鼓勵民間自己存退休金的, 如果我對於401(k)的理解沒有錯誤的話, 投資的孳息應該在未領取的時候是暫時不課稅的.

我猜想: 這種高稅率的方案反而可能是把錢"趕"到其他已經建立起來的機制上. 如果是這樣的話, 民眾可能透過建立退休帳戶的方式來進行投資並且儲蓄, 降低自己目前的薪資所得稅以及投資收益要被課稅的部分. 如果立法目的是這樣, 把這條拿出來逼大家把錢轉過去不見得是壞事.

話說反正現在道瓊跟S&P500都在高水位, 拿出來給大家討論一下然後給證券市場潑個冷水好像也不是壞事~:P

Ben said...

I wouldn't take anything that any politician is saying right now too seriously. This is an election year, and all politicians (maybe with the exception of Ron Paul) will say anything to get your vote. Case in point: Newt promised a new Moon base when he was campaigning in Florida several weeks ago....sad.

Obama is saying all these tax-the-rich stuff to appease his liberal democrat base. What Obama is not telling you is that we will need to raise tax on almost everyone if we are serious about solving our deficit problem.

As for Apple the stock, I think we are entering the blow-off top phase and its stock price should be meaningfully lower by the end of the year.

Full disclosure: I currently have no position in AAPL, but I have shorted AAPL several times in the past 12 months. And I will most likely initiate new short position in the coming days/weeks. The opinions expressed here are not investment advice or offers or solicitations to buy or sell the securities mentioned.

CCLu said...

To Jennifer,

This is only a proposal by the executive branch, not an approved law per se. If I have to bet, I'll bet against it to get the nods in the Capitol Hill.

To Ivan,

存錢到這些退休基金有稅前和稅後兩種不同制度。還記得我在博士班修財務理論一的時候期末考題就跟這個有關。這個要看看在美國工作的人有什麼看法,我從來沒試著去搞懂這些東西。

To Ben,

I agree, Obama probably just talks the talk but will never walks the walk. However, when a proposal from the current administration comes out, we all listen.

AAPL's P/E ratio does not seem ultra high. Don't bet against it too early.