A controversial Obama-era rule meant to stop corporations from moving their headquarters abroad will be targeted in the executive order President Trump is signing Friday.
Trump is going next door to the Treasury to sign an executive order requiring the agency to review tax rules imposed since 2016 that impose burdens or complications for taxpayers.
Top among those rules would be regulations rushed out by former President Barack Obama's Treasury Department in October meant to undercut one of the main tax benefits of corporate "inversions," in which businesses merge with companies in low-tax countries and then move the new combined company's headquarters there.
Those rules were hotly contested by businesses and by congressional Republicans. They were also credited with blocking a merger between U.S. drugmaking giant Pfizer and Ireland-based Allergan.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the point of the orders was to signal how serious the administration is about lessening the burdens of the tax system, not about inversions specifically.
But the anti-inversion rules are "obviously one of the significant things and one of the things we will be looking at," he said.
The Treasury Department was expected to review those rules even without an executive order. But signing the executive order, in Mnuchin's office, allows the administration to advertise the efforts it is making out of public sight.
The same is true for the two memos Trump is signing related to two contentious provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
"The purposes of the orders are to make clear what the president and the administration's priorities are, and to signify the importance of these issues to the American people," Mnuchin said.
Last year's anti-inversion rule was justified by then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as necessary to protect the tax base from the threat of companies undertaking inversions and then shifting taxable income to lower-tax jurisdictions. Companies, however, complained that the rules were too far-reaching and would affect all kinds of routine transactions.