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Ballmer threatens to move Microsoft jobs out of US over tax changes

Cliff Saran

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has threatened to move US jobs offshore if president Obama's proposal to impose higher taxes on US companies' foreign profits is voted in.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ballmer said the tax would make US jobs more expensive. "We are better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the US, as opposed to keeping them inside the US," he said.

Obama plans to reform US tax laws which allow businesses to avoid paying US taxes on their foreign investments. A paper on Barack Obama's website states that the president aims to level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry, as well as by limiting the ability of large multinational corporations to use tax havens to hide income overseas.

Obama's proposals could affect US IT suppliers that run global businesses.

Ballmer told Bloomberg that while the Obama proposals would preserve expense deductions related to research and experimentation costs, the overall deduction limits for companies that defer tax on foreign profits would raise the cost of employing US workers. He said it would force Microsoft to lower its costs by moving jobs out of the US.


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