TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bankman Presents Using The 'Smart Return' To Reduce Tax Evasion At Alabama

Bankman (2014)Joseph Bankman (Stanford) presented Using the 'Smart Return' to Reduce Tax Evasion (with Clifford Nass (Stanford) & Joel Slemrod (Michigan)) at Alabama yesterday as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series:

Tax evasion costs government over 400 billion dollars a year. We suggest enforcement efforts can be strengthened by redesigning the tax return to take advantage of social psychology research, and industry experience with data-driven systems. To illustrate the potential of this approach, in this paper we propose three categories of changes that merit testing through pilot studies. The first involves changing the wording on existing returns to increase the psychological cost of evasion and increase the perceived expectation of detection. The second builds appeals to morality in the return itself through the use of a short phrase containing a "self-relevant" noun. The third uses on-line "conversational agents" to ask adaptive questions.

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Prebble Presents Tax Papers In Amsterdam

Prebble (2015)John Prebble (Victoria University of Wellington) is presenting two tax papers in Amsterdam:

Aug. 27:   General Anti-Avoidance Rules and the Rule of Law at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD)

Aug. 28Kelsen, the Principle of Exclusion of Contradictions, and General Anti-Avoidance Rules in Tax Law at the University of Amsterdam as the Opening Address to inaugurate a new Advanced Master’s Degree in International Tax Law.

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Morse Presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks Today At Indiana

Morse (2015)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents Safe Harbors, Sure Shipwrecks at Indiana today as part of its Faculty Speaker Series:

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.

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Simkovic Presents The Knowledge Tax Today At Loyola-L.A.

Simkovic 2Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall) presents The Knowledge Tax, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2015), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

Labor economists struggle to explain why the rates of return to higher education have remained much higher than the rates of return to other investments. This article proposes a novel explanation: distortionary taxation.

Economic theory suggests that when investments that are substitutes for one another are taxed inconsistently, investors are less likely to choose the investment option that is taxed more heavily. Unfavorable tax treatment of higher education relative to other forms of investment could create an undersupply of educated labor. This distortion would reduce economic growth and social welfare.

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August 17, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (12)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chorvat Presents Expectations And Expatriations: A Long-Run Event Study Today at Oxford

Chorvat (Elizabeth) (2015)Elizabeth Chorvat (Illinois) presents Expectations and Expatriations: A Long-Run Event Study at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation today as part of its Research Seminar Series:

This paper represents the first event study of corporate expatriations since Desai and Hines (2002), and is the first study to link corporate expatriation behavior to intangibles. Utilizing a bootstrap methodology, the paper demonstrates that corporate expatriations – whether naked inversions or redomiciliations in the context of business combinations – generate statistically and economically significant excess returns on the order of 225% above market returns in the years following the inversion. Moreover, notwithstanding the public nature of the inversion announcement, which should be a signal of extraordinary future profits, there has historically been no price response to the signal. Because the tax cost of the inversion transaction is based on market price, their inability to send a credible signal of future profits provides corporate managers the opportunity to reorganize outside the U.S. at a reduced tax cost, if they believe that the benefits to expatriation outweigh the cost.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mason Presents Citizenship Taxation Today At Oxford

Mason (2015)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Citizenship Taxation, 88 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2015), at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation today as part of its Research Seminar Series:

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. 

Citizenship taxation was originally designed to punish “economic benedict Arnolds” who fled the United States during the Civil War to avoid Civil War taxes and the draft. In the modern era, migrating from the United States is not the disloyal act of a wealthy few. Our global economy and our increasingly interconnected world create professional and personal opportunities that Americans can only claim by moving abroad. Concerns about a few high-profile, rich tax defectors who can be sanctioned with targeted anti-abuse regimes should not drive tax policy governing seven million Americans who reside abroad.

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Polsky Presents Private Equity Tax Games Today At NYU

Polsky (2015)Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina) presents A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

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).

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Schizer Presents Energy Tax Expenditures Today at NYU

Schizer (2016)David M. Schizer (Columbia) presents Energy Tax Expenditures: Worthy Goals, Competing Priorities, and Flawed Institutional Design at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Part I outlines the environmental, national security, and economic goals of energy tax expenditures.  Part II discusses how empirical uncertainty and heterogeneity complicate efforts to pursue these objectives.  Part III considers challenges that arise because of conflicts in our goals.  Part IV canvasses the political economy advantages of subsidies over Pigouvian taxes, and offers suggestions about how to make Pigouvian taxes more politically palatable.  Part V surveys five institutional design challenges that arise under currently law – most of which are more acute with subsidies than with Pigouvian taxes – and offers suggestions about how to mitigate them.  Part VI is the conclusion.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Crane Presents Uncovering A Meaning For 'Direct Tax' Today At Ohio State

CraneCharlotte Crane (Northwestern) presents Uncovering a Meaning for “Direct Tax” at Ohio State today in a tax colloquium sponsored its Law, Finance and Governance Program:

This paper argues that the references article I to “direct taxes” (which if “layed and collected” by Congress must be apportioned among the states) is a reference to taxes the burden of which can be traced to a particular location, and thus to a particular state. The paper looks to the history of the grant of the impost to the Confederation Congress to support this argument. It demonstrates that throughout the decade before 1787, those involved in financing the War distinguished the impost (which could not appropriately be credited to the state in which it was paid when reckoning whether that state had met its fiscal obligation to the Confederation) from those “direct taxes” (which should be so credited). This same distinction was embedded in the Constitution, to provide both for the final reckoning of those obligations of the states and for the ongoing support of the United States.

Erik Jensen (Case Western) is the discussant.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Albouy Presents The Optimal Taxation Of Housing Consumption Today At NYU

AlbouyDavid Albouy (Illinois) presents Should We Be Taxed Out Of Our Homes? The Optimal Taxation of Housing Consumption at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Optimal tax theory suggests that it is more efficient to tax housing as a consumption good than other forms of consumption as it is a complement to leisure and is produced more intensively from land, an inelastic factor, than other goods. This tax rate appears to be at least 50 percent higher than other forms of consumption, justifying high rates of property taxation, particularly in areas with inelastic housing supply. It may be efficient to offer a lump sum transfer to households who choose to live close to high-paying jobs, justifying infra-marginal subsidies to housing units in some high-price areas. Proximity to amenities may also influence optimal tax rates depending on whether they are substitutes or complements to labor supply or housing consumption.

April 21, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, April 20, 2015

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

Field (2015)Heather Field (UC-Hastings) presents Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium 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).

Specifically, this paper argues that a lawyer seeking to pursue a career as an ethical tax planner should identify and implement her philosophy of lawyering to help her make difficult discretionary decisions in a principled way, and when implementing that approach to lawyering, she should work to counteract the subtle factors that can skew her professional judgment. ...

Ultimately, this paper argues that an important part of being an ethical tax planner, particularly when dealing with contestable tax positions, includes being deliberate about how one approaches the task of giving tax planning advice and being self-aware about the ways in which one exercises judgment. By fleshing out the concept of ethical tax planning, I hope to give our students confidence and guidance as they embark on (hopefully, ethical) careers as tax planners, and I hope to ease the tension between tax academics’ scholarly work condemning aggressive tax planning and their classroom work, in which they often teach students how to use those same tax planning techniques. And perhaps this limited defense of the ethics of the tax planning profession can help to rehabilitate the public image of tax lawyers.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Field

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shay Presents Designing a U.S. Minimum Tax on Foreign Business Income Today at Penn

Shay (2014)Stephen Shay (Harvard) presents Designing a U.S. Minimum Tax on Foreign Business Income (with Cliff Fleming (BYU) & Robert Peroni (Texas)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

This paper continues an exploration of second best international tax reforms, in this case, how a U.S. minimum tax on foreign income earned by a controlled foreign corporation should be designed to protect the U.S. against erosion of its corporate income tax base and combat tax competition by low-tax intermediary countries. A minimum tax should be an interim tax that preserves the residual U.S. tax on foreign income. Such a tax would more effectively limit incentives to seek low-taxed foreign income while ameliorating pressure to retain excess earnings abroad. Corresponding changes should be made to the U.S. corporate residence definition, to the residence taxation of U.S. portfolio investors in foreign corporations and to the source taxation of foreign MNCs to reduce tax advantages under current law for investments in foreign corporations. These changes would reduce tax advantages for foreign parent corporate groups and incentives for U.S. corporations to expatriate as a consequence of increased U.S. taxation of foreign income.

April 15, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eissa Presents The Technology of Tax Collection and Compliance Today at Georgetown

EissaNada Eissa (Georgetown) presents The Technology of Tax Collection and Compliance: Electronic Billing Machines and The VAT at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

The expansion of the tax base in developing countries is increasingly recognized as an important policy goal, as an increase in domestic revenue sources promises to reduce aid dependence and reduce distortionary consequences of taxes on externally traded goods. This paper analyzes the adoption rate and tax compliance impacts of an innovative program in Rwanda, which introduced Electronic Billing Machines to strengthen VAT compliance. To do so, we combine quarterly data on all VAT payments from 2012 through 2014q3 with data on EBM activation over the same period.

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April 14, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zelenak Presents The Differing Income Tax Treatments of Marriage at Different Income Levels Today at NYU

Zelenak (2014)Lawrence Zelenak, (Duke) presents For Better And Worse: The Differing Income Tax Treatments of Marriage at Different Income Levels, 93 N.C. L. Rev. 783 (2015), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Although both marriage penalties and marriage bonuses exist at all income levels under the federal income tax, the system is tilted toward penalties for lower-income couples, toward bonuses for middle-income couples, and back toward penalties for upper-income couples. This Article begins by explaining how the tax rules produce these differing treatments of marriage at different points in the income distribution. It then argues that the increase in recent decades in the social acceptability and prevalence of cohabitation makes tax marriage effects a more serious concern—in terms of both behavioral effects and fairness—than in earlier decades.

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April 14, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kahng Presents The Taxation of Women in Same-Sex Marriages Today at Fordham

Kahng (2015)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presents The Not-So-Merry Wives of Windsor: The Taxation of Women in Same-Sex Marriages, 101 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2015), at Fordham today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act definition of marriage as “between one man and one woman” and is now poised to recognize a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Windsor cleared the way for same-sex couples to be treated as married under federal tax laws, and the Obama administration promptly announced that it would recognize same-sex marriages for tax purposes. Academics, policymakers, and activists lauded these developments as finally achieving tax equality between gay and straight married couples. This Article argues that the claimed tax equality of Windsor is illusory and that the only way to achieve actual equality is to eliminate taxation on the basis of marital status.

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kane Presents A Defense of Source Rules in International Taxation Today at Penn

Kane (2015)Mitchell Kane (NYU) presents A Defense of Source Rules in International Taxation,  32 Yale J. on Reg. ___ (2015), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris William Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

The concept of “source” is central to the functioning of the current international tax system. To the extent the “source” of income is meant to reflect the spatial location of income, however, many academic commentators have come to regard the concept as completely incoherent. Further, that incoherence is viewed as a partial explanation of the perceived artificiality and frailties of current instantiations of source rules. In this essay I make three basic claims.

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April 8, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Morse Presents Tax Savings for U.S. Headquartered, Non-U.S.-Incorporated Multinational Firms Today at Georgetown

Morse (2015)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents Tax Savings for U.S. Headquartered, Non-U.S.-Incorporated Multinational Firms (with Eric J. Allen (USC)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

To summarize, we find that non-U.S.-incorporated profitable firms have better tax results compared to U.S.-incorporated profitable firms. Loss firms incorporated in tax havens tend to have worse tax results compared to U.S.-incorporated loss firms. This suggests that some non-U.S.-incorporated multinationals with efficient tax planning structures face the problem that their losses, as well as their profits, must be allocated to low-tax jurisdictions. Their transfer pricing and other tax planning strategies, in other words, may be sticky.

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April 7, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mills Presents Managerial Characteristics and Corporate Taxes Today at NYU

Mills 2Lillian Mills (Texas) presents Managerial Characteristics and Corporate Taxes at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Motivated by literature and anecdotal evidence, we identify a salient managerial characteristic that is associated with higher tax compliance. We find that managers with military experience pursue less aggressive tax planning than other managers, and pay an estimated $1-$2 million more in corporate taxes per firm-year. These managers also undertake less aggressive tax strategies with smaller reserves for uncertain tax benefits and fewer tax havens. However, they perform better in several gray areas in corporate reporting. We conclude that boards hiring these managers gain the benefit of less aggressive financial reporting that would require more governance to constrain.

April 7, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fleischer Presents Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies Today at Pepperdine

MirandaMiranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) presents Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

Although many Americans claim to subscribe to libertarian theories of justice, tax scholarship is largely silent about the interaction between libertarian principles and the structure of our tax system. This is not surprising, for what springs to mind when a legal academic hears the word “libertarianism” is Robert Nozick’s argument that taxation is slavery. If all taxation is indeed slavery, why bother analyzing libertarian principles for insights into our tax system? This dismissal, however, ignores the diversity of libertarian thought. To that end, this Article mines the nuances of libertarian theory for insights into one feature of our tax system: the charitable tax subsidies.

Exploring the nuances of libertarian theory yields some surprising results. Some strands of libertarian thought suggest that the charitable tax subsidies are in and of themselves illegitimate. These strands of libertarianism forbid not only redistribution but also anything except the most minimal provision of public goods needed to protect life and property, such as defense. Yet several other strands do see a role for the state to engage in a varying amount of redistribution or to provide varying amounts of public goods. On one spectrum are interpretations that admit that the state should play a role in providing public goods (strictly defined) and/or provide a provide a safety net to the very poorest but no more, and on the other is an interpretation of left-libertarianism that might support something akin to our current structure.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Fleischer Lunch

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hickman Presents Treasury's Retroactivity Today at Northwestern

Hickman 2014 2Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) presents Treasury's Retroactivity at Northwestern today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

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.

April 2, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lederman Presents Does the IRS Need Reform? Or Does IRS Oversight? Today at DePaul

LedermanLeandra Lederman (Indiana) presents Does the IRS Need Further Reform? Or Does IRS Oversight? at DePaul today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

The IRS has a difficult mission and sometimes has failed quite publicly. It last underwent a major structural reform in the late 1990s, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The restructuring imposed major costs on the IRS’s tax collection mission. The reform was spurred in part by horror stories solicited by Congress, to which the IRS could not respond for fear of disclosing confidential taxpayer information. More recently, the IRS did not respond effectively to accusations that it inappropriately scrutinized and delayed the tax-exemption applications of right-wing organizations. Numerous Congressional committees held hearings regarding the alleged targeting, and Congress’s rhetoric was quite partisan.

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hayashi Presents Phantom Income and the Simple Economics of Paying In Kind Today at Georgetown

HayashiAndrew T. Hayashi (Virginia) presents Taxing Committed Consumption and the Simple Economics of Paying in Kind at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John BrooksItai Grinberg, and David Schizer:

This article explores the effects of taxing committed consumption, that is, consumption which can only be adjusted at a cost. Two examples of committed consumption, housing services from homeownership and future consumption from savings, make up a significant share of many households’ consumption profile. In the presence of adjustment costs, the form in which a tax is remitted—whether the tax is paid “in kind” or not—affects both behavioral responses to and welfare effects of the tax. My analysis quantifies and evaluates these effects, which have been introduced in many tax policy contexts under the heading of taxpayer liquidity concerns. These concerns have shaped tax law and loom large in current debates about wealth taxation, tax accounting, and mark-to-market reforms, but have not been analyzed for their welfare effects.

March 31, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oei Presents Can Sharing Be Taxed? Today at NYU

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane) presents Can Sharing Be Taxed?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2016) (with Diane M. Ring (Boston College)), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

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.

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March 31, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thomas Presents User-Friendly Taxpaying Today at Indiana

Thomas (2015)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents User-Friendly Taxpaying at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Leandra Lederman:

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 30, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mehrotra Presents Corporate Taxation and the Regulation of Early 20th Century American Business Today at Indiana

MehrotraAjay K. Mehrotra (Indiana) presents Corporate Taxation and the Regulation of Early Twentieth-Century American Business (with Steven A. Bank (UCLA)) at Indiana today as part of its Ostrom Political Theory and Policy Analysis Workshop Series:

In the early twentieth century, the taxation of modern business corporations became increasingly important to the development of American democracy. During that time, governments at all levels began to view business corporations not only as sources of badly needed public revenue, but also as potentially dangerous wielders of concentrated economic power. To combat the growing dominance of corporations, many fiscal reformers sought to use corporate taxation as a mode of regulatory governance. This paper explores the motives and intentions of fiscal reformers during critical junctures in the development of early twentieth-century U.S. corporate taxation. It seeks to explain how changing historical conditions shaped corporate tax law and policy. More specifically, this paper investigates why activists at certain times turned to taxation as a mode of corporate control, and why at other times they used tax policy to promote corporate growth. By focusing on the pivotal ideas and actions of key political economists, social commentators, and lawmakers, this paper attempts to answer the question: why did reformers see taxation as a viable form of public control over corporate power?

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March 30, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.

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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)