Rep. JeffersonÆs ætonnage taxÆ makes final cut of tax bill
U.S. Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., said the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this week included his proposed 'tonnage tax' in the final version of a corporate tax bill due for a vote by the full House of Representatives this Friday.
The proposal provides tax breaks for mariners in Louisiana and across the country, and its 'tonnage tax' will especially benefit U.S.-flag vessel owners, such as Central Gulf Lines and Waterman Steamship Corp.
Under current law, U.S. shipping companies that own the 89 American-flag vessels in international trade are subject to significantly higher taxes than foreign-based companies.
Jefferson's provision allows companies to elect a U.S. tax regime based on the tonnage of a taxpayer's U.S.-flag fleet, in lieu of regular income tax.
'This is one of the most important pieces of maritime legislation that this country has seen in many decades,' said Erik Johnsen, chairman of International Shipholding Corp., the parent company of Waterman, in New Orleans.