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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Schön Presents Neutrality and Territoriality in European Tax Law Today at Penn

SchoenWolfgang Schön (Max Planck) presents Neutrality and Territoriality: Competing or Converging Concepts in European Tax Law? at Pennylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

This article presents an analysis of the ECJ case law on the interaction between the fundamental freedoms and national tax systems. It pleads for a strict application of a unilateral neutrality principle based on non‐discrimination and rejects those strands of the judicature which apply an overall perspective to the taxation of cross‐border events by two (or more) involved states. The article criticizes the emerging trend in the ECJ’s jurisprudence to stress the territorial demarcation of Member States’ taxing rights and supports a sophisticated application of the concept of “coherence” in order to reconcile the requirements of neutrality with the territorial limitations of taxing power.

March 25, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Osofsky Presents The Case for Categorical Nonenforcement Today at NYU

Osofsky (2015)Leigh Osofsky (Miami) presents The Case for Categorical Nonenforcement at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Executive nonenforcement of the law is a hot-button issue. An important question that has surfaced in the debate about such nonenforcement is whether categorical, or complete, prospective nonenforcement of the law is legitimate. A variety of scholars and commentators have suggested that it is not. This Article contests such claims by applying theories of agency legitimacy to the realities of IRS nonenforcement of the tax law. Doing so reveals that in some circumstances categorical nonenforcement may actually increase the legitimacy of the IRS’s nonenforcement. Categorical nonenforcement can serve as a particularly salient means of communicating nonenforcement decisions, which may lead to greater political accountability, increasing the legitimacy of nonenforcement under the political accountability theory of agency legitimacy. Also owing to its ability to make enforcement decisions particularly salient, categorical nonenforcement may yield greater public deliberation, increasing the legitimacy of nonenforcement under the civic republican theory of agency legitimacy. Categorical nonenforcement also can serve as a practical (though perhaps not legally enforceable) means for high-level officials to commit the agency to a policy of nonenforcement, which may increase the legitimacy of nonenforcement under the nonarbitrariness theory of agency legitimacy. Categorical nonenforcement, of course, may not always be legitimacy enhancing, nor does this Article attempt to claim that it is. Rather, this Article fundamentally claims that viewing nonenforcement through the lens of agency legitimacy may help apply core values of democratic governance, which are obscured or missed by the existing analyses, to agencies’ inevitable, systematic nonenforcement of the law.

March 24, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Polsky Presents Private Equity Tax Games Today at Pepperdine

Polsky (2015)Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina) presents A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

This paper will describe and analyze tax strategies, lawful and unlawful, used by private equity firms to minimize taxes. While one strategy — the use of “carried interest” — should by now be well understood by tax practitioners and academics, the others remain far more obscure. In combination, these strategies allow private equity managers to pay preferential tax rates on all of their risky pay (through carried interest), pay preferential tax rates on much of their non-risky pay (through management fee waivers and misallocations of their expense deductions), and push much of the residual non-risky pay down to their funds’ portfolio companies who, unlike the fund, can derive significant tax benefits from the resulting deductions (through monitoring fees and management fee offsets). 

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

March 23, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Schizer Presents Taxes, Subsidies, and Energy Innovation Today at Northwestern

SchizerDavid M. Schizer (Columbia) presents Taxes, Subsidies, and Energy Innovation at Northwestern today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Part I outlines the environmental, national security, and economic goals of our energy subsidies. Part II considers how conflicts among these goals, as well as empirical uncertainty, undermine efforts to pursue them effectively. Part III demonstrates why poorly crafted subsidies increase overall demand for energy, and also require the government to pick winners. This Part also shows that the real problem is not so much using subsidies instead of taxes, but using “proxy” policies in lieu of “results-based” policies. Part IV focuses on “demand reduction” subsidies, analyzing challenges in funding energy efficiency and alternative energy. Part V considers “supply enhancement” strategies, exploring problems with subsidizing oil production. Part VI considers how the traditional tax policy issues of distribution, excess burden, and revenue apply to energy subsidies. Part VII is the conclusion.

March 19, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Singhal Presents Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement Today at UCLA

Singhal (2015)Monica Singhal (Harvard) presents Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement (with Paul Carrillo (George Washington) & Dina Pomeranz (Harvard)) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

Reducing tax evasion is a key priority for many governments, particularly in developing countries. A growing literature has argued that the use of third party information to verify taxpayer self-reports is critical for tax enforcement and the growth of state capacity. However, there may be limits to the effectiveness of third party information if taxpayers can substitute misreporting to less verifiable margins. We present a simple framework to demonstrate the conditions under which substitution will occur and provide strong empirical evidence for substitution behavior by exploiting a natural experiment in Ecuador. We find that when firms are notified by the tax authority about detected revenue discrepancies on previously filed corporate income tax returns, they increase reported revenues, matching the third party estimate when provided. Firms also increase reported costs by 96 cents for every dollar of revenue adjustment, resulting in minor increases in total tax collection.

March 19, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sieg Presents Increasing Property Tax Compliance at Penn

SiegHolger Sieg (Pennsylvania) presented An Experimental Evaluation of Strategies to Increase Property Tax Compliance: Free-riding in the City of Brotherly Love at Pennsylvania yesterday as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

This study evaluates a set of notification strategies intended to increase property tax collection. We develop a field experiment in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Revenue to test three of the most commonly suggested hypotheses of tax compliance: deterrence, moral appeal, and peer conformity. Our preliminary findings provide evidence that both moral appeal and peer conformity modestly improve tax compliance, while deterrence notifications are no different from standard notifications.

March 19, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shanske Presents Local Democracy and Financial Knowledge Today at Toronto

Shanske (2015)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents Local Democracy and Financial Knowledge: The Case for a Local Government Finance Commission at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated that local governments often do not currently have the expertise to use debt wisely, much less the expertise to reform their use of pensions or to design tax systems that can raise more money with less economic distortion. Yet local governments must do all of these things and more, as higher levels of government continue to devolve responsibilities.

This is not to say that there is not useful expertise that could help local governments, just that there is not generally an institution for aggregating this knowledge and making it available to local decisionmakers in a manner consistent with the norms and goals, both political and economic, of local democracy. There are examples of such mediating institutions, such as North Carolina’s Local Government Commission, but their role – and the reasons for their success – have not yet been adequately theorized.

In short, I will argue that a new state‐level institution can succeed in improving local government financing in a manner consistent with preserving local autonomy if its expertise is used in the first instance to design default rules that are both simple and (mostly) correct. Beyond the default rules there is a place for a more fact‐intensive engagement, but in most cases the default rules should provide a workable options or set of options with which a local government can achieve its goals.

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March 18, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dharmapala Presents Interest Deductions in a Multijurisdictional World Today at Georgetown

Dharmapala (2015)Dhammika Dharmapala (Chicago) presents Interest Deductions in a Multijurisdictional World (with Mihir A. Desai (Harvard)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

The tax treatment of interest expenses in a multijurisdictional setting raises numerous complexities. This paper catalogs these difficulties and highlights the particular problems associated with efforts to achieve ownership neutrality among multinational corporations (MNCs) when debt financing is available. We argue that the differential deductibility of debt entailed by various current tax law provisions leads in general to potential distortions in the patterns of asset ownership across MNCs, and that various proposed solutions have significant limitations. We suggest several alternative regimes to address both the ownership distortions that we highlight, as well as other well-established problems of income-shifting through debt. These alternative regimes are extensions to a multinational setting of two general approaches to the neutral treatment of interest expenses - the CBIT (comprehensive business income tax) and ACC (allowance for corporate capital). These regimes – a worldwide debt cap (WDC) and a net financing deduction (NFD) – provide solutions to income-shifting and ownership distortions. However, they have the potential disadvantage of restricting other policy parameters.

March 17, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leff Presents A New Method for Funding Law School Education Today at William & Mary

LeffBenjamin M. Leff (American) presents The Income-Based Repayment Swap: A New Method for Funding Law School Education (with Heather Hughes (American)) at William & Mary today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

The high cost of legal education and corresponding student debt levels is a subject of robust debate. Yet too few critics of degree cost show creativity in thinking about the optimal mechanism for funding a legal education. The traditional model for financing a legal education is that students borrow with (mostly) fixed-rate loans repayable soon after graduation. The federal government supplements loans with income-based repayment and loan forgiveness programs to protect students who have borrowed more than they can afford to pay back. The reach of these programs has expanded dramatically in recent years, with the programs covering 1.3 million graduates owing around $72 billion as of the first quarter of 2014, with every indication that those figures will grow dramatically unless the programs are modified. A significant segment of those who depend on income-based repayment and loan forgiveness programs will be law students, because those are among the students with the highest levels of qualifying debt.

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March 17, 2015 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thomas Presents User-Friendly Taxpaying Today at UCLA

Thomas (2015)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents User-Friendly Taxpaying at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

Our income tax system is notoriously complex. The sheer volume of the tax code, along with the technical nature of its provisions, means that many individuals don’t fully understand the tax rules that apply to them. This Article refers to this type of tax complexity as “substantive complexity.” Although many commentators have argued for reforms that would simplify the substance of our tax laws, others have argued that substantive complexity is necessary if we want to tax each person according to his or her individual circumstances.

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March 12, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yin Presents Protecting Taxpayers from Congressional Lawbreaking Today at NYU

Yin (2015)George K. Yin (Virginia) presents Protecting Taxpayers from Congressional Lawbreaking at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

This paper describes how the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee broke the law in 2014 when it approved public release of the confidential tax return information of 51 taxpayers. Because the Speech or Debate Clause insulates the legislators and their staff from prosecution if they carry out their violation in the context of a protected legislative act, to prevent a future violation, the paper recommends a new restriction on the access of the tax committees to tax return information.

March 10, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hellwig Presents The Constitutional Nature of the U.S. Tax Court Today at Indiana

HellwigBrant Hellwig (Dean (as of July 1, 2015), Washington & Lee) presents The Constitutional Nature of the United States Tax Court at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Is the United States Tax Court part of the Executive Branch of Government? One would expect that question would be capable of being definitively answered without considerable difficulty. And as recently expressed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, that indeed is the case. In the course of addressing a challenge to the ability of the President to remove a judge of the Tax Court for cause on separation of powers grounds, the D.C. Circuit rejected the premise that the removal power implicated two branches of government: “The Tax Court exercises Executive authority as part of the Executive Branch.” [Kuretski v. Commissioner]

This article will examine the Kuretski decision, using this case as a vehicle to examine the constitutional nature of the Tax Court.

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March 9, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kysar Presents Interpreting Tax Treaties Today at Virginia

KysarRebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) presents Interpreting Tax Treaties at Virginia today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

The circumstances, if any, that permit a non-uniform, or differentiated, approach to treaty interpretation are difficult to define. Generally, a differentiated approach stands in tension with the Vienna Convention’s rules of interpretation, which apply to all treaties. Yet the notion that some treaties warrant special interpretive rules is also widely accepted by courts, states, and scholars. Thus far, however, efforts to justify differentiated treaty interpretation based on subject matter or treaty purpose have proven inadequate. A more promising avenue is the examination of the objective characteristics shared within a treaty type. One such characteristic, I contend, is the treaty’s degree of completeness. Specifically, all else being equal, standalone instruments call for less reliance upon extrinsic materials; interstitial instruments demand more.

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March 6, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Prasad Presents Starving the Beast: The 1981 Reagan Tax Cut Today at UCLA

PrasadMonica Prasad (Northwestern) presents Starving the Beast: The 1981 Reagan Tax Cut at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

The debt when Reagan entered office was just over $900 billion, not historically high in constant dollars or as a percent of GDP, but by the time Reagan left office it had almost tripled in nominal terms, and in percent of GDP it had gone from 33.4 percent to 51.9 percent. At the end of his term, the debt stood at $2.6 trillion, with a substantial portion of it contributed by Reagan's own policies: a mountain over 160 miles high in loose or tight bricks.

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March 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Kysar Presents Interpreting Tax Treaties at Harvard

KysarRebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) presented Interpreting Tax Treaties at Harvard yesterday as part of its Tax Law, Policy and Practice Workshop Series hosted by Daniel Halperin and Stephen Shay:

The circumstances, if any, that permit a non-uniform, or differentiated, approach to treaty interpretation are difficult to define. Generally, a differentiated approach stands in tension with the Vienna Convention’s rules of interpretation, which apply to all treaties. Yet the notion that some treaties warrant special interpretive rules is also widely accepted by courts, states, and scholars. Thus far, however, efforts to justify differentiated treaty interpretation based on subject matter or treaty purpose have proven inadequate. A more promising avenue is the examination of the objective characteristics shared within a treaty type. One such characteristic, I contend, is the treaty’s degree of completeness. Specifically, all else being equal, standalone instruments call for less reliance upon extrinsic materials; interstitial instruments demand more.

Continue reading

March 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hickman Presents Treasury's Retroactivity Today at Iowa

Hickman 2014 2Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) presents Treasury's Retroactivity at Iowa today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

In Bowen v. Georgetown University Hospital, the Supreme Court described retroactivity as "not favored in the law" and generally rejected allowing federal administrative agencies to adopt regulations "altering the past legal consequences of past actions."  Unlike most regulatory agencies, Treasury and the IRS are expressly authorized by Congress to adopt regulations with precisely such primary retroactive effect.  Specifically, IRC § 7805(b) grants Treasury and the IRS the power to backdate tax regulations under a variety of circumstances.  Preliminary analysis shows that Treasury and the IRS utilize this authority regularly with little judicial oversight for abuse of discretion.  Using empirical data, this article will explore more fully Treasury and IRS utilization of the authority to adopt retroactively effective regulations interpreting the Internal Revenue Code.

March 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mason Presents Citizenship Taxation Today at NYU

Mason (2015)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Citizenship Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrants.

March 3, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weinzierl Presents Revisiting the Classical View of Benefit-Based Taxation Today at Georgetown

Weinzierl (2016)Matthew Weinzierl (Harvard Business School) presents Revisiting the Classical View of Benefit-Based Taxation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

This paper explores how the persistently popular "classical" logic of benefit-based taxation, in which an individual's benefit from public goods is tied to his or her income-earning ability, can be incorporated into modern optimal tax theory. If Lindahl's methods are applied to that view of benefits, first-best optimal policy can be characterized analytically as depending on a few potentially estimable statistics, in particular the coefficient of complementarity between public goods and innate talent. Constrained optimal policy with a Pareto-efficient objective that strikes a balance–controlled by a single parameter– between this principle and the familiar utilitarian criterion can be simulated using conventional constraints and methods. A wide range of optimal policy outcomes can result, including those that match well several features of existing policies. To the extent that such an objective reflects the mixed normative reasoning behind prevailing policies, this model may offer a useful approach to a positive optimal tax theory.

March 3, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oei Presents Can Sharing Be Taxed? Today at Pepperdine

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane) presents Can Sharing Be Taxed? (with Diane M. Ring (Boston College)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The past few years have seen the rise of a new model of production and consumption of goods and services, often referred to as the “sharing economy.” Fueled by startups such as Uber and Airbnb, sharing enables individuals to obtain rides, accommodations, and other goods and services from peers via the Internet or mobile application in exchange for payment. The rise of sharing has raised questions about how it should be regulated, including whether existing laws and regulations can and should be enforced in this new sector or whether new ones are needed.

In this Article, we explore those questions in the context of taxation. We argue that, contrary to the claims of some commentators, the application of substantive tax law to sharing is mostly (though not completely) clear, because current law generally contains the concepts and categories necessary to tax sharing. However, tax enforcement and compliance may present challenges, as a result of two distinctive features of sharing. First, some sharing businesses tend to opportunistically pick the more favorable regulatory interpretation if there is ambiguity regarding which rule applies or whether a rule applies. This leads to compliance and enforcement gaps. Second, the “microbusiness” nature of sharing raises unique compliance and enforcement concerns. We suggest strategies for addressing these dual challenges, including lower information reporting thresholds, safe harbors and advance rulings to simplify tax reporting, and targeted enforcement efforts.

Jordan M. Barry (San Diego) is the commentator.  For more, see Jordan M. Barry & Paul L. Caron, Tax Regulation, Transportation Innovation, and the Sharing Economy, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue ___ (2015).

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

 

March 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weisbach Presents The New View, the Traditional View, and Capital Gains Taxes on Stock Today at UCLA

WeisbachDavid Weisbach (Chicago) presents The New View, the Traditional View, and Capital Gains Taxes on Stock at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

The sale of stock cum dividend generates a gain to the seller and a dividend and capital loss to the buyer. The longer the time between the gain from sale cum dividend and the loss from disposition of the stock ex dividend, the greater then net effective tax due to the time value of money. Payment of a dividend prior to the original sale avoids these offsetting capital gains and losses and, therefore, can lower overall taxes. Neither the new view nor the traditional view models of the corporate tax incorporate this effect. This paper modifies new and traditional view models and shows that the combination of dividend and capital gains taxes can generate incentives to pay dividends sooner rather than later, contrary to the conclusions of either view. It also considers how clientele effects may change these incentives, sometimes creating incentives to pay dividends after sales and sometimes before.

February 26, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Field Presents Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer Today at Toronto

Field (2015)Heather Field (UC-Hastings) presents Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

[H]ow should a tax planner, who wants to engage in “permissible tax planning” but not cross the line over into “unethical loophole lawyering,” exercise her discretion and judgment? This paper seeks to answer this question by drawing on both (a) the extensive literature on lawyering and professionalism and (b) the social science literature regarding factors that contribute to biased decision-making and unintentional lapses in judgment. The explicit incorporation of these strands of literature into the discourse on tax ethics helps each tax planner operationalize, on an individual basis and in a way that aligns with her values, both the general and tax-specific rules of professional conduct. The existing tax ethics literature primarily focuses either on how to comply with the rules governing practice or on how the rules should be improved. Thus, this paper contributes to the literature by focusing on the issues that the rules leave to the discretion of the tax practitioner (rather than on the issues that the rules address) and by approaching the discussion from a lawyering perspective20 (rather than from a policymaking perspective).

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February 25, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hickman Presents Treasury's Retroactivity Today at Chicago

Hickman 2014 2Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) presents Treasury's Retroactivity at Chicago today as part of its Public Law & Legal Theory Workshop Series:

In Bowen v. Georgetown University Hospital, the Supreme Court described retroactivity as "not favored in the law" and generally rejected allowing federal administrative agencies to adopt regulations "altering the past legal consequences of past actions."  Unlike most regulatory agencies, Treasury and the IRS are expressly authorized by Congress to adopt regulations with precisely such primary retroactive effect.  Specifically, IRC § 7805(b) grants Treasury and the IRS the power to backdate tax regulations under a variety of circumstances.  Preliminary analysis shows that Treasury and the IRS utilize this authority regularly with little judicial oversight for abuse of discretion.  Using empirical data, this article will explore more fully Treasury and IRS utilization of the authority to adopt retroactively effective regulations interpreting the Internal Revenue Code.

February 24, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leff Presents A New Method for Funding Law School Education Today at Georgetown

LeffBenjamin M. Leff (American) presents The Income-Based Repayment Swap: A New Method for Funding Law School Education (with Heather Hughes (American)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

The high cost of legal education and corresponding student debt levels is a subject of robust debate. Yet too few critics of degree cost show creativity in thinking about the optimal mechanism for funding a legal education. The traditional model for financing a legal education is that students borrow with (mostly) fixed-rate loans repayable soon after graduation. The federal government supplements loans with income-based repayment and loan forgiveness programs to protect students who have borrowed more than they can afford to pay back. The reach of these programs has expanded dramatically in recent years, with the programs covering 1.3 million graduates owing around $72 billion as of the first quarter of 2014, with every indication that those figures will grow dramatically unless the programs are modified. A significant segment of those who depend on income-based repayment and loan forgiveness programs will be law students, because those are among the students with the highest levels of qualifying debt.

Continue reading

February 24, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sugin Presents Invisible Taxpayers Today at NYU

SuginLinda Sugin (Fordham) presents Invisible Taxpayers at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

The invisibility of taxpayers in the legal system creates a substantial problem for tax justice, both substantive and procedural. The courts’ application of standing doctrine, as well as its conceptualization of tax expenditures as not involving state action, has narrowed the opportunity for judicial review for tax-reducing actions taken by both Congress and the IRS. These developments fail to protect individuals, even when they have substantial individual rights claims under the Constitution.

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February 24, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Burman Presents Taxes and Inequality in a Changing Economy Today at Florida

BurmanLeonard Burman (Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University Maxwell School), delivers the Fifth Annual Ellen Bellet Gelberg Tax Policy Lecture at Florida today on Taxes and Inequality in a Changing Economy: (webcast):

Rising economic inequality is arguably the economic challenge that will define the United States in the 21st century. Technology, which historically made workers more productive and boosted wages, is increasingly substituting for low- and middle-class labor. As a result, virtually all of the gains from rising productivity have accrued to households at the top of the income distribution. Median wages have been stagnant for a generation and there’s no sign that trend will abate any time soon. This lecture discusses historical trends in economic inequality, its likely causes, and the role of the tax system in mitigating income disparities. [The lecture is based on Taxes and Inequality, 66 Tax L. Rev. 563 (2014).]

February 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gamage Presents Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments Today at Northwestern

Gamage (2014)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) presents Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments: The Case for Levying (all of) Labor-Income Taxes, Value-Added Taxes, Capital-Income Taxes, and Wealth Taxes, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014), at Northwestern yesterday as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Economics-oriented analyses of tax policy have primarily focused on the problems of labor-to-leisure and saving-to-spending distortions. By implication, this prior literature has thus generally treated: (a) labor-income taxes and (b) consumption taxes, as being essentially equivalent. Similarly, this prior literature has generally treated: (i) capital-income taxes and (ii) wealth taxes, as being essentially equivalent. Based on these notions of equivalency, the dominant view about the policy implications that follow from these economic analyses has been that neither capital income nor wealth should be taxed.

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February 19, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Winer Presents The Tension Between Tax Design and the Political Economy of Taxation Today at UCLA

WinerStanley Winer (Carleton University) presents On the Tension Between Tax Design and the Political Economy of Taxation at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

Background paper:  Wealth Transfer Taxation: An Empirical Investigation, 21 Int'l Tax & Pub. Fin. 720 (2014):   We present an empirical model of wealth transfer taxation in the revenue systems of the G7 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U. K. and the U. S. - over the period from 1965 to 2009. Our model emphasizes the influences of population aging and of the stock of household wealth in an explanation of the past and likely future of this tax source. Simulations with the model using U.N. demographic projections and projections of household wealth suggest that even in France and Germany where reliance on wealth transfer taxation has been increasing for part of the period studied, wealth transfer taxes can be expected to wither away as population aging deepens over the next three decades. Our results indicate that recent tax designs that rely upon the taxation of wealth transfers to preserve equity in the face of declining taxation of capital incomes may be, in this respect, politically infeasible for the foreseeable future. We conclude by using the case of wealth transfer taxation to raise the general question of the extent to which the consistency of a proposed reform with expected political equilibria ought to play a role in the design of a normative policy blueprint.

February 19, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kleinbard Presents We Are Better Than This Today at Pepperdine

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presents We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

We Are Better Than This fundamentally reframes budget debates in the United States. Author Edward D. Kleinbard explains how the public's preoccupation with tax policy alone has obscured any understanding of government's ability to complement the private sector through investment and insurance programs that enhance the general welfare and prosperity of our society at large.

He argues that when we choose how government should spend and tax, we open a window into our "fiscal soul," because those choices are the means by which we express the values we cherish and the regard in which we hold our fellow citizens. Though these values are being diminished by short-sighted decisions to starve government, strategic government spending can directly make citizens happier, healthier, and even wealthier.

Expertly combining the latest economic research with his insider knowledge of the budget process into a simple yet compelling narrative, he unmasks the tax mythologies and false arguments that too often dominate contemporary discourse about budget policies. Large quantities of comparative data are succinctly distilled to situate the United States among its peer countries, so that readers can judge for themselves whether contemporary budget choices really reflect our aspirational fiscal soul,

Kleinbard's presentation takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, finance, law, political science and moral philosophy. He uniquely weaves economic research and moral philosophy together by emphasizing our welfare, not just our national income, and by contrasting the actual beliefs of Adam Smith, a great moral philosopher, with the cartoon version of the man presented by proponents of the most extreme forms of private market triumphalism.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Photo 2

 

February 18, 2015 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marian Presents Home-Country Effects of Corporate Inversions Today at Penn

Marian (2015)Omri Marian (Florida) presents Home-Country Effects of Corporate Inversions, 90 Wash. L. Rev. ___ (2015), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

This article develops a framework for the study of the unique effects of corporate inversions (meaning, a change in corporate residence for tax purposes) in the jurisdictions from which corporations invert (“home jurisdictions”). Currently, empirical literature on corporate inversions overstates its policy implications. It is frequently argued that in response to an uncompetitive tax environment, corporations may relocate their headquarters for tax purposes, which, in turn, may result in the loss of positive economic attributes in the home jurisdiction (such as capital expenditures, research and development activity, and high-quality jobs). The association of tax-residence relocation with the dislocation of meaningful economic attributes, however, is not empirically supported and is theoretically tenuous. The article uses case studies to fill this gap. Based on observed factors, the article develops grounded propositions that may describe the meaningful effects of inversions in home jurisdictions. The case studies suggest that whether tax-relocation is associated with the dislocation of meaningful economic attributes is a highly contextualized question. It seems, however, that inversions are more likely to be associated with dislocation of meaningful attributes when non-tax factors support the decision to invert. This suggests that policymakers should be able to draft tax-residence rules that exert non-tax costs on corporate locational decisions in order to prevent tax-motivated inversions.

February 18, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Peroni Presents Getting Serious About Cross-Border Earnings Stripping Today at Minnesota

Peroni (2015)Robert Peroni (Texas) presents Getting Serious About Cross-Border Earnings Stripping: Establishing an Analytical Framework today at Minnesota as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series hosted by Kristin Hickman:

Earnings stripping the U.S. corporate tax base is a major objective of U.S. corporations that engage in “inversion” transactions to become a subsidiary in a foreign-parented group. Prof. Peroni will discuss how the earnings stripping problem extends beyond corporate inversions to U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-parent groups regardless of how the groups were formed, and also how this problem is independent of the debate over whether the U.S. should adopt a territorial approach. He will share his theoretical framework, developed with Steve Shay (Harvard) and Cliff Fleming (BYU), for analyzing earnings stripping and identifying the scope of an appropriate response. He will also address these issues in context of international tax reform more broadly.

February 17, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lawsky Presents Statutory Reasoning at Northwestern

LawskySarah B. Lawsky (UC–Irvine) presented Statutory Reasoning at Northwestern yesterday as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Sarah Lawsky examines the structure of statutory reasoning after ambiguities are resolved and the meaning of the statute’s terms established. For statutory reasoning is not best understood as merely deductive.  And while statutory reasoning can be fruitfully modeled using formal logic, standard formal logic is not the best approach for modeling statutory reasoning. Rather, this paper argues, using the Internal Revenue Code and accompanying regulations, judicial decisions, and rulings as its primary example, that at least some statutory reasoning is best characterized as defeasible reasoning—reasoning that may result in conclusions that can be defeated by subsequent information—and is best modeled using default logic.

February 13, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Seto Presents Preference-Shifting and Optimal Tax Theory Today at UCLA

Seto (2014)Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) presents Some Implications of Preference-Shifting for Optimal Tax Theory at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

This paper is part of a larger project: to explore the extent to which the claims of optimal tax theory are sensitive to the assumptions that underlie them. The paper focuses on two canonical assertions of the standard model: (1) that taxes produce deadweight loss (Harberger 1964), and (2) that 100 percent of all taxes are borne by human beings, the only question being which. The assumption it relaxes is the standard welfarist assumption that preferences are fixed and exogenous and reflect welfare. Although this assumption is not widely accepted in other social sciences, economists generally treat situations in which it does not hold (situations involving “internalities”) as limited exceptions, and therefore of limited interest.

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February 12, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Yin Presents Protecting Taxpayers from Congressional Lawbreaking Today at Georgetown

Yin (2015)George K. Yin (Virginia) presents Protecting Taxpayers from Congressional Lawbreaking at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks, Itai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

This paper describes how the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee broke the law in 2014 when it approved public release of the confidential tax return information of 51 taxpayers. Because the Speech or Debate Clause insulates the legislators and their staff from prosecution if they carry out their violation in the context of a protected legislative act, to prevent a future violation, the paper recommends a new restriction on the access of the tax committees to tax return information.

February 10, 2015 in Colloquia, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Toder Presents U.S. Lessons From Other Countries' Taxation of Multinational Corporations Today at NYU

ToderEric Toder (Tax Policy Center) presents Lessons the United States Can Learn From Other Countries' Territorial Systems for Taxing Income of Multinational Corporations (with Rosanne Altshuler (Rutgers) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

The United States has a worldwide system that taxes the dividends its resident multinational corporations receive from their foreign affiliates, while most other countries have territorial systems that exempt these dividends. This report examines the experience of four countries – two with long-standing territorial systems and two that have recently eliminated taxation of repatriated dividends. We find that the reasons for maintaining or introducing dividend exemption systems varied greatly among them and do not necessarily apply to the United States. Moreover, classification of tax systems as worldwide or territorial does not adequately capture differences in how countries tax foreign-source income.  

February 10, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 9, 2015

NYU Hosts Book Discussion With Eugene Steuerle on How to Restore Fiscal Freedom and Rescue Our Future

DeadThe NYU Graduate Tax Program hosts a discussion today with C. Eugene Steuerle (Urban Institute) on his book, Dead Men Ruling: How to Restore Fiscal Freedom and Rescue Our Future (2014):

Eugene Steuerle argues that these seemingly separable economic and political problems are actually symptoms of a common disease, one unique to our time. Unless that disease and the history of how it spread over time is understood, Steuerle says, it is easy for politicians and voters alike to fall prey to believing in simple but ineffective nostrums, hoping that a cure lies merely in switching political parties or reducing the deficit or protecting and expanding our favorite program.

Despite the despairing claims of many, Steuerle points out that we no more live in an age of austerity than did Americans at the turn into the twentieth century with the demise of the frontier. Conditions are ripe to advance opportunity in ways never before possible, including doing for children and the young in this century what the twentieth did for senior citizens, yet without abandoning those earlier gains. Recognizing this extraordinary but checked potential is also the secret to breaking the political logjam that —as Steuerle points out —was created largely by now dead (or retired) men.

February 9, 2015 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Caron Presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success Today at Pepperdine

Caron 2012 PhotoPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine) presents Faculty Scholarship Rankings and Law School Success at Pepperdine today:

In What Law Schools Can Learn From Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483 (2004), Rafael Gely and I argued that legal education must use technology to develop more sophisticated measures of law school success and faculty contributions to law school success.  Here, I use existing measures of faculty scholarly output (publications) and influence (law review citations, Google Scholar citations (H-Index and M-Index), and SSRN downloads) both to chart how Pepperdine's faculty compares with our competitors and to detail individual Pepperdine faculty contributions in these measures.  I then offer some thoughts on what these existing ranking methodologies leave out in measuring faculty contributions to law school success.  I argue that religious law schools are uniquely positioned to thrive in the midst of the law school crisis because our faith-fueled commitment to our students and to each other empowers us to better define the pathways to success for our schools, our students, and our faculties and equips us to make that journey together.

February 6, 2015 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Raskolnikov Presents Rational Decisions Under Legal Uncertainty Today at Virginia

Raskolnikov (2015)Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) presents Rational Decisions Under Legal Uncertainty at Virginia today as part of its Law & Economics Workshop Series:

Law is full of rules that are neither clear nor socially optimal. How do rational actors respond to these rules? What are the implications of these responses? These deceptively simple questions have no answers in law and economics. This paper offers a model of rational decisionmaking under legal uncertainty and explores its implications by combining formal economic analysis with a practical understanding of the market for legal advice. The model produces a number of intuitive, realistic results. It demonstrates why rational actors take uncertain positions even if these positions are highly likely to be detected. It suggests that most of these positions will have a better than a fifty-fifty chance of being sustained. And it allows us to investigate a popular but controversial view that greater legal certainty does not necessarily lead to greater compliance. The model’s analysis both refutes the obvious explanation for this view and offers an alternative one. When detection uncertainty is taken into account, the model confirms that the standard damages multiplier works when legal rules are ambiguous. At the same time, the model raises difficult questions about the meaning of compliance when rules are uncertain, the normative significance of various types of uncertainty, and the challenges of assessing private responses to legal uncertainty outside of the familiar confines of the optimal deterrence theory. ;

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Morse Presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks Today at UCLA

Morse (2015)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh and Alexander Wu:

Safe harbors and sure shipwrecks are rule-standard hybrids that appear throughout statutory, regulatory and case law. Safe harbors guarantee compliance, and also leave open the question of compliance for fact situations not described by the safe harbor. Sure shipwrecks provide a conclusive noncompliance result and also leave open the question of compliance outside the sure shipwreck. Safe harbors and sure shipwrecks produce asymmetric behavioral incentives for persons subject to them. Like bright-line rules, safe harbors encourage behavior to converge from both sides of the line drawn by the safe harbor. This is because of the advantage of a zero chance of liability within the safe harbor. Sure shipwrecks generally encourage convergence only from the noncompliant side of the line. Ex ante versus ex post policy making, overinclusion and underinclusion, interest group influence, and other factors also affect safe harbor and sure shipwreck policy making.

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stark Presents Tax Policy in the Super Zips Today at Northwestern

Stark (2014)Kirk Stark (UCLA) presents Tax Policy in the Super Zips at Northwestern today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

As the distribution of income and wealth has grown more skewed, households have increasingly sorted into income homogenous neighborhoods. The rise of income segregation entails increased fiscal segregation as well, as the operation of federal tax law becomes more differentiated across space. This paper concerns one dimension of the tax law’s disparate geographical impact—i.e., the operation of the federal income tax in the nation’s wealthiest communities, or “Super ZIPs.” Using IRS zip code level data for tax year 2012, the paper examines several key federal income tax characteristics for these zip codes (e.g., AGI, income composition, itemized deductions), comparing these figures to the same data for the nation as a whole as well as select neighboring zip codes on the opposite end of the income distribution. The resulting analysis reveals a stark perspective on income segregation in the United States through the lens of the federal tax system.

February 5, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blanchard Presents The Tax Significance of Legal Personality at NYU

BlanchardKimberly Blanchard (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York) presented The Tax Significance of Legal Personality: A U.S. View at NYU yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Whereas the fiction of legal personality is often used outside the United States to distinguish partnerships from corporations, U.S. tax rules have never made the distinction on that basis. Although the factors employed by the now-withdrawn Kintner regulations to make that distinction were derived from the same legal tradition, those factors were applied only after it was determined that a legal entity, assumed to have legal personality, existed. The eventual abandonment of those factors and their replacement with the check-the-box regime finally eliminated any vestige of this legal fiction from relevance to the U.S. tax classification of entities.

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February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Graetz Delivers Delivers Pugh Lecture Today at San Diego on Tax Reform Beyond the Headlines

Graetz (2015)Michael J. Graetz (Columbia) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Tax Reform Beyond the Headlines:

The United States has traveled a unique tax policy path, avoiding value added taxes (VATs), which have now been adopted by every OECD country and 160 countries worldwide. Moreover, many U.S. consumption tax advocates have insisted on direct personalized taxes that are unlike taxes used anywhere in the world. This article details a tax reform plan that uses revenues from a VAT to substantially reduce and reform our nation’s tax system. The plan would (1) enact a destination-based VAT; (2) use the revenue produced by this VAT to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income and to lower income tax rates on income above that amount; (3) lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent; and (4) protect low and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax credits and expanded refundable child tax credits. This revenue and distributionally neutral plan would stimulate economic growth, free more than 150 million Americans from having to file income tax returns, solve the difficult problems of international income taxation, and remove the temptation for Congress to use tax benefits as if they are solutions to the nation’s pressing social and economic problems.

February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanchirico Presents International Tax and Ownership Nationality Today at Penn

SanchiricoChris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) presents As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

The ownership nationality of large US multinational companies plays an implicit but important role in the current debate over how such companies should be taxed. This paper identifies that role and investigates what is actually known about where these companies’ shareholders reside.

February 4, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cohen Presents 'Seg Academies,' Taxes, and Judge Ginsburg Today at Georgetown

Cohen (2015)Stephen Cohen (Georgetown) presents 'Seg Academies,' Taxes, and Judge Ginsburg at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series:

On the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg authored an opinion with profound implications not only for the law of taxation but also for the role of courts in ending racial discrimination in education. The case, Wright v. Regan, involved the intersection of the income tax law and equal protection obligations of federal authorities under the Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The issue was whether parents of black schoolchildren had standing to challenge the grant of federal tax-exempt status to racially segregated private schools. In affirming that standing existed, Judge Ginsburg opined that the tax benefits of exempt status constituted significant financial assistance and that the provision of such assistance to racially segregated private schools violated equal protection obligations of the Constitution. Although her decision was unfortunately reversed on appeal by a divided Supreme Court, she provided a persuasive defense of the right of victims of racial discrimination in education to seek redress in the courts and created a benchmark that future Supreme Courts may use to revise a Supreme Court majority decision that appears, at least to this observer, as fundamentally wrong and fundamentally flawed. [The paper is copyrighted by Cambridge University Press and is a chapter in The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jan. 26, 2015) (Scott Dodson, editor)].

February 3, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Graetz Presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet Today at Pepperdine

Graetz (2015)Michael J. Graetz (Columbia) presents The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet, 67 Nat'l Tax J. 419 (2014), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The United States has traveled a unique tax policy path, avoiding value added taxes (VATs), which have now been adopted by every OECD country and 160 countries worldwide. Moreover, many U.S. consumption tax advocates have insisted on direct personalized taxes that are unlike taxes used anywhere in the world. This article details a tax reform plan that uses revenues from a VAT to substantially reduce and reform our nation’s tax system. The plan would (1) enact a destination-based VAT; (2) use the revenue produced by this VAT to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income and to lower income tax rates on income above that amount; (3) lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent; and (4) protect low and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax credits and expanded refundable child tax credits. This revenue and distributionally neutral plan would stimulate economic growth, free more than 150 million Americans from having to file income tax returns, solve the difficult problems of international income taxation, and remove the temptation for Congress to use tax benefits as if they are solutions to the nation’s pressing social and economic problems.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

IMG_1191

February 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slack Presents The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform Today at Toronto

Enid SlackEnid Slack (Toronto) presents The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Property taxes are generally considered by economists to be good taxes, and many countries are being advised to increase and improve their property taxes. In practice, however, property tax reforms have often proved to be difficult to carry out successfully. This paper discusses why property taxes are particularly challenging to reform and suggests several ways in which efforts to reform this tax may become more successful in the future. After a brief introductory section on the ‘disconnect’ between the economics and the politics of property tax reform, Section 2 summarizes recent experiences in five OECD countries with property tax reform. Against this background, Section 3 sets out the key elements of a good property tax reform and Section 4 discusses several aspects of property tax reform that seem to have derailed or distorted reforms in practice. Unfortunately, some of the solutions countries have adopted to deal with such problems are themselves problematic, either because they do not really solve the problem or because they hamper rather than work towards the establishment of a good property tax. Fortunately, as Section 5 outlines, it is possible to devise strategies for property tax reform that incorporate more acceptable solutions to most problems. As Section 6 concludes, good property tax reform is not easy. But it can definitely be achieved if an appropriately designed reform package is properly introduced and implemented.

January 28, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kamin Presents Designing Legislation That Responds to Fiscal Uncertainty Today at NYU

Kamin (2015)David Kamin (NYU) presents In Good Times and Bad: Designing Legislation That Responds to Fiscal Uncertainty at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Congress often moves slowly to change tax and spending laws when circumstances change, but there are ways to design legislation to anticipate and prevent the tendency towards “policy drift.”

Enactment of major pieces of legislation tends to be followed by periods of legislative stasis, even when economic conditions change. Policies during the Great Recession are an example of this. The Great Recession proved significantly deeper than forecasters had predicted, when the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act was enacted, but but as new information became available, Congress did little to alter the fiscal stimulus in response, other than to continue some expiring provisions.

There are ways to design legislation to anticipate and prevent the tendency towards “policy drift.” This paper identifies four mechanisms: delegation of legislative authority to administrative agencies, triggers that either automatically adjust policy for changed circumstances or try to force an issue onto Congress’s agenda, expirations of legislation that sunset laws on a predetermined date, and indexing to adjust policy in discrete increments in response to changes in conditions.

 
Responsive to Economic Conditions
Easy for Congress to Initiate
Reduces Uncertainty
Holds Congress Accountable
1. Delegation of legislative authority
2a. Automatic-adjustment triggers
2b. Alarm Bell Triggers
3. Expiration Dates for Legislation
4. Indexing
= Yes     = No     = Mixed    

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January 27, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Knoll Presents Balancing State Sovereignty and Interstate Commerce Today at Northwestern

KnollMichael Knoll (Pennsylvania) presents Striking a Balance Between State Sovereignty and Interstate Commerce, 75 State Tax Notes ___ (2015) (with Ruth Mason (Virginia)), at Northwestern today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

This Article discusses Wynne v. Comptroller, a dormant Commerce Clause case against Maryland pending before the Supreme Court. We use economic analysis to rebut Maryland’s claim that its tax regime does not discriminate against interstate commerce. We also argue that the parties’ framing of the central issue in the case as whether the Constitution requires states to relieve double taxation draws focus away from the discrimination question, and therefore could undermine the Wynnes’ case and lead to unjustified narrowing of the dormant Commerce Clause. We also show how our approach to tax discrimination resolves many of the issues that seemed to trouble the Justices at oral argument.

January 22, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Leviner Presents Tax Policy Making in Israel at Hebrew University Law School

Leviner (2015)Sagit Leviner (Ono) presented Comparative Evaluation of Tax Policy-Making in Israel: Exploring the Trajectories on Monday at the Hebrew University Law School Tax Colloquium:

This project explores the transformation of Israel’s tax policy over the years while placing it within Israel’s broader economic and social context and unique characteristics. To better evaluate the merit and trajectory of this transformation, the project positions the Israeli tax experience under a comparative lens. In other words, the project evaluates whether the Israeli experience brings Israel closer to, or further from, its counterparts in the developed world.

January 21, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Madrian Presents The Roth 401(k): Does Front-Loading Taxation Increase Savings? Today at NYU

MadrianBrigitte Madrian (Harvard) presents Does Front-Loading Taxation Increase Savings? Evidence from Roth 401(k) Introduction (with John Beshears (Harvard), James Choi (Yale) & David Laibson (Harvard)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Can governments increase private savings by taxing savings up front instead of in retirement? Roth 401(k) contributions are not tax-deductible in the contribution year, but withdrawals in retirement are untaxed. The more common before-tax 401(k) contribution is tax-deductible in the contribution year, but both principal and investment earnings are taxed upon withdrawal. Using administrative data from eleven companies that added a Roth contribution option to their existing 401(k) plan between 2006 and 2010, we find no evidence that total 401(k) contribution rates differ between employees hired before versus after the Roth introduction, which means that the amount of retirement consumption being purchased by 401(k) contributions increases after the Roth introduction. A survey experiment suggests two behavioral factors play a role in the unresponsiveness of contribution rates to their tax treatment: (1) employee confusion about or neglect of the tax properties of Roth balances and (2) partition dependence.

January 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Freedman Presents Tax Avoidance and the Proposed Google Tax Today at Florida

FreedmanJudith Freedman (Oxford) presents Tax Avoidance and the Proposed U.K. Diverted Profits Tax (Google Tax) at Florida today as part of its Graduate Tax Program Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

This paper aims to inform the important debate on tax avoidance by exploring the language used and setting this in context. Tax avoidance is something that needs to be tackled with vigour and public confidence that the tax system treats people equitably is vital. Yet the actors concerned ‐ taxpayers, advisers and revenue authorities ‐ operate within a complex domestic and international tax environment. Many of the complexities and flaws in the system can only be tackled by radical structural changes, which will require fundamental policy thinking and change and international co‐operation. Oversimplifying the debate and searching for individual or corporate villains will not assist in remedying the underlying problems. Even if public naming and shaming influences a few taxpayers in the public eye to impose their own voluntary constraints, it will not necessarily affect the worst avoiders, and may even encourage some non‐compliance from those who feel that “everyone is at it”. Only understanding the flaws in the tax system and working on serious changes can give long‐term results.

Ana Paula Dourado (University of Lisbon) is the discussant.

January 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)