Bannon Backs New Limits on Carried Interest to Spur Long-Term Investment in Companies

Bannon Brendan S AFPGetty
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Steven Bannon is backing a House proposal to spur long-term investment in companies and limit the ability of hedge fund and private equity managers to take advantage of the carried-interest tax break.

Bannon told Bloomberg news that he is backing a provision in the House tax bill that would require investment managers to hold investments for at least three years to qualify for the lower capital gains rate on carried interest. This would encourage hedge funds and private equity funds to focus on longer-term investments, Bannon outlined in a statement to Bloomberg. He said:

I have long called for the elimination of the carried interest loophole but I believe that the proposal in the House tax bill requiring investments be held for a minimum of 3 years to qualify for capital gains is a good way of eliminating short-term financial engineering that benefits no one, while encouraging long-term investments that create good paying jobs.

Carried interest is the share of a hedge fund or private equity fund’s profit that gets paid to investment managers. This has traditionally been around 20 percent of the profit but can be much higher in some of the more sought after investment funds. Currently, tax authorities treat that income as capital gains so long as the underlying investment profit is based on capital gains. That means the profit is eligible for a tax rate as low as low as 23.8 percent instead of being subject to ordinary income tax rates, which go as high as 39.6 percent.

It is employed by managers of real estate firms and venture capitalists in addition to some hedge fund and private equity managers.

Other changes to the tax code may make carried interest less important. If private equity firms qualify for the 25 percent pass-through rate, for example. Some may choose to organize as regular corporations to qualify for the 20 percent corporate tax rate.

On the campaign trail, Trump said he would  he would eliminate the carried-interest tax break.