President Barack Obama’s first budget promises “A New Era of Responsibility.” And some $24 billion of that responsibility is laid squarely at the feet of alternative investment managers.
The proposed budget for 2010 would increase taxes on hedge fund, private equity and venture capital firms and executives by $24 billion over nine years by closing the so-called carried interest loophole. Beginning in 2011, Obama plans to tax performance and incentive fees charged by alternative investment firms as ordinary income, rather than as capital gains. That would increase the rate at which most such profits are taxed to 39.6%, up from 15%.
In a move likely to reignite the debates over raising taxes on carried interest from the last time Democrats sought to close the loophole two years ago, Obama’s plan makes no distinction among partnerships in imposing the higher rates. That means all partnerships, including real-estate and oil and gas partnerships, would be included in the plan.
In addition, the president is seeking to beef up the embattled Securities and Exchange Commission, proposing an additional $124 million in funding for the regulator in fiscal year 2010.
The 13% increase is required to allow the SEC to increase its headcount and “pursue a risk-based, efficient regulatory structure that will better detect fraud and strengthen markets,” the budget blueprint said.
Obama-appointed SEC chief Mary Schapiro said the new money would “help strengthen and reinvigorate” the agency, which has faced harsh criticism for its failure to detect several high-profile frauds, including the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff.