Business Monday

South Florida CEOs: Tax code far too complex

When businesses start making major decisions based on tax reasons and not on what’s best for clients and employees, we have a problem. The system is broken and the long term effects will be worse than just reducing tax revenues.

Eddy Arriola, chairman, Apollo Bank

With the sole exceptions of the 10 Commandments and the US Constitution, most legislation has become cumbersome and difficult to decipher over time due to amendments and changes. Clarity breeds equity.

Roslyn Artis, president, Florida Memorial University

I would prefer a simple tax structure without loopholes. However, government inefficiency should be address before taxes are raised.

Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines

Many have speculated that Burger King, one of Miami’s few corporate headquarters, is moving to Canada to take advantage of a more favorable corporate tax structure. What more evidence do we need that we are losing our competitiveness?

Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO, Codina Partners

After decades of loopholes, patches, and incentives the system in the U.S. is so complex that one of the solutions for a company may be to simply "not play the game" and to move off-shore.

Daniel Cane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine

It’s not simply a matter of the amount of the tax but the complexities and the need to comply with them. If companies could have a sense of predictability regarding their tax exposure our tax regime, the result would be more palatable. As it stands, our current code contains numerous snags, leaving some frightened about doing business in the U.S. and others finding it more cost-effective to relocate elsewhere.

Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder, Miami office, Greenberg Traurig

Having been in leadership roles in several different organizations and industries over the years, I have had many vantage points on this complex issue – I can say generally that most companies are focused on competition and doing everything they can to improve performance for their stakeholders, so tax policies should reflect today’s environment of global competition and give corporations the best possible opportunity to compete here and abroad.

Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp.

The backbone of the U.S. economy rests on the backs of medium-sized and small businesses, yet corporates seem to benefit the most from the tax structure. It's absolutely unfair to see some corporate giants not pay their fair share of taxes and then move operations off-shore.

Fabiola Fleurvanil, CEO, Blueprint Creative

I firmly believe that simplicity breeds clarity and clarity garners “buy in”. I believe the U.S. could benefit from tax reform that intently focuses on both simplicity and clarity as key attributes.

Marcell D. Haywood, CEO, DirtPros

Way to high and hinders our global competitiveness and the generation new jobs.

Charlotte Gallogly, president, World Trade Center Miami

The real challenge is that the tax structure is overly complex, and that means that even the most well-equipped company or individual is at a disadvantage when it comes to preparing taxes that properly reflect their real obligation and that fully take advantage of the potential deductions available to them.

Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO, Autonation

US corporate tax rates are much higher than our global competitors, but complex loopholes and subsidies create winners and losers. Our government will make our country stronger and our tax base more fair by reducing rates and eliminating deductions.

Keith Koenig, president, City Furniture

To put in pespective, there are other countries with more advantageous tax structures.

Jose Li, CEO, 71 lbs

The U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a combined rate of about 39 percent when taking into account federal and state taxes. Given global competition across many industries, high tax rates put the US at a competitive disadvantage and could cause a greater exodus of corporations from the US into more “tax-friendly” countries. The negative downstream effect of this exodus will be loss of intellectual capital/talent and loss of growth industries such as technology and pharmaceutical firms.

Ana Lopez-Blazquez, CEO, Baptist Health Enterprises

Simply put, we need to incentivize companies to stay in the US.

Brad Meltzer, president, Plaza Construction Group Florida

Our American corporations should be keeping the money in the USA and Investing here not simply trying to avoid the high taxes.

Bruce Orosz, president and CEO, ACT productions

Inconsistencies are a major issue.

Steve Owens, president, Swire Properties

The vast majority of businesses of all sizes will benefit from a more simplified and streamlined tax structure.

Lauren "Lolo" Reskin, owner, Sweat Records

Whenever the system is designed in such a way that organizations feel the need to move, we need to review and reform the driver for that decision.

Penny Shaffer, South Florida market president, Florida Blue

We are losing U.S. based companies to other countries with more favorable tax structures for a variety of reasons. We must work towards reform to incentivize the companies to stay.

Maureen A. Shea, CEO, Right Management

The number of corporations that are leaving our country to be domiciled elsewhere for tax purposes is a significant issue for our economy.

Steven D. Sonenreich, president and CEO, Mount Sinai Medical Center

Too high. Because our corporate tax rate is higher than other countries, we are at a competitive disadvantage in luring businesses that can create jobs and pay taxes. This is why so many businesses have chosen to relocate outside the U.S.

John Sumberg, managing partner, Bilzin Sumberg

The tax code is very difficult to understand. There are too many conflicting sections that only the smartest, experienced and specialized tax attorneys and accountants can piece together. Thus, those that can pay for the advice can take advantage of the many loopholes that will save the corporation substantial taxes.

Teresa Weintraub, president and CEO, Fiduciary Trust International of the South

Q: Given the many deductions available to corporations, how would you rate the U.S. corporate tax structure?


Way too high


Reasonable, given deductions


Way too complex


Fair, given U.S. advantages

Based on survey of 24 CEO Roundtable members