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Now that the analysis of last night's debate has begun, one of the interactions last night that reporters are looking more closely at centered around whether or not companies receive a tax break for shipping jobs overseas. Last night buckeyed brought it up in a recommended diary: How has nobody mentioned this mega-gaffe by Romney? Here's the exchange:


Mitt Romney: America to have a strong more vibrant economy.

President Obama: Right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn't make sense that all that raises revenue.

Mitt Romney: Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant, but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.

So do companies get a tax break for shipping jobs overseas? Here's your opportunity to decide between three answers from online news sources: It's true, it's false or, it's both.

Surprisingly, The Boston Herald, which usually leans conservative, came out with an article entitled: Romney’s huge gaffe last night

Experts tell the Herald that many corporate relocation expenses are tax-deductible and companies can take the deductions whether they move a plant overseas or just to a neighboring state. Maybe that is what the president is talking about.

One thing is clear from the Romney tax returns that have been made public.

The former Bay State governor’s accountant is very familiar with legal ways to aggressively minimize his taxes, so despite the president’s skepticism last night, maybe Romney can find trillions in tax loopholes — even if he says he couldn’t find this one.

The Los Angeles Times decided to take a fair and balanced approach: Obama, Romney both right (sort of) in debate clash on outsourcing
But the way each candidate phrased their assertion makes them both correct.

"Under present law, there are no specific tax credits or disallowances of deductions solely for locating jobs in the United States or overseas," the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation wrote in June to lawmakers sponsoring the proposed Bring Jobs Home Act.

(snip)

So Romney was technically right in implying there is no special break.

But Obama didn't say it was a special break. He simply said companies could take a deduction if they moved jobs overseas. And on that point, he is right.

Finally, the National Review Online, a severely conservative publication, took Romney's side and called President Obama a liar with The Tax Credit for Outsourcing Is Fiction
So the special outsourcing tax credit isn’t really there — it’s just regular-ol’ deductible business expenses. Rather than repealing an instance of tax favoritism, Democrats (and some Republican miscreants) propose to use the tax code to inflict punitive measures on businesses that make business decisions at odds with Washington’s political preferences.
Yes, there has been legislation introduced (and failed to get passed) to punish businesses that ship jobs overseas. But, I didn't hear President Obama suggest that last night. What I heard was a suggestion that we give businesses an incentive or tax credit for creating jobs here in America making it more attractive than shipping the jobs overseas and encouraging businesses that have already shipped jobs elsewhere to bring them back to America. What do you think?

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