TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Glogower Presents Progressive Taxation Of Income And Wealth Today At Northwestern

Glogower (2016)Ari Glogower (Ohio State) presents Progressive Taxation of Income and Wealth today at Northwestern as as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Rising economic inequality has led commentators to reassess the base for progressive taxation, and to argue that wealth should be taxed in addition to, or instead of, income. This Article claims that, if income and wealth should both be periodically taxed as factors in economic well-being, then taxing an integrated measure of both factors is preferable to taxing income and wealth under separate instruments. Separate income and wealth taxes cannot consistently compare taxpayers on the basis of their total economic well-being during the taxing period, and will favor or disfavor taxpayers depending whether their economic well-being results from income, wealth, or a combination thereof.

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September 20, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Barry Presents Tax And The Boundaries Of The Firm Today At Columbia

Barry (2017)Jordan Barry (San Diego) presents Tax and the Boundaries of the Firm (with Victor Fleischer (San Diego)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

How does the income tax shape the boundaries of the firm? This Article goes back to foundational ground — Coase’s inquiry into the nature of the firm— to gain some traction on this elementary question. ...

Part II revisits the literature on Coase and the boundaries of the firm, setting the stage for a discussion of how transaction cost economics can inform tax policy. Part III explores some of the ways in which the income tax distorts the boundary of the firm. In doing so, it provides numerous examples of provisions that can grow or shrink firms at the margin or alter the relative size of their components. It also discusses how firms can respond to income tax law incentives without significantly changing their economic behavior by engaging in regulatory arbitrage.

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September 19, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bankman Presents The Global Battle To Capture MNE Profits Today At Loyola-L.A.

Bankman (2017)Joseph Bankman (Stanford) presents Collecting the Rent: The Global Battle to Capture MNE Profits (with Mitchell Kane (NYU) & Alan Sykes (Stanford)) at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Multinational enterprises (MNEs) earn substantial rents in the current global economy. Governments have an interest in capturing some of these rents for their citizens or national treasuries, and regularly pursue policies to that end. Some rents are realized in the country in which the MNE is headquartered and domiciled. In theory, at least, that country (the "resident country") can collect these rents through its power to tax or regulate. Other rents are realized in nations outside that of the MNE's residence. Collection of these rents by nations in which the MNE operates, but does not reside, has proven more difficult.

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September 18, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Should The United States Have A National Investment Authority?

On Tuesday, Boston College Law School welcomed Professor Saule Omarova (Cornell) as the first presenter in our inaugural Regulation and Markets Workshop Series. The paper (with Robert Hockett, also of Cornell) is entitled “Private Wealth and Public Goods: A Case for a National Investment Authority.” It’s available on SSRN.

In brief, the paper makes a two pronged contribution: First, a policy proposal for the creation of a National Investment Authority (NIA), a hybrid, public-private entity that directs private financial capital to fund long-term infrastructure and development projects; and second, a theoretical re-envisioning of what public goods are and how to provide them.

What is quite interesting from a tax and public finance perspective is that the NIA proposal aims to fill an institutional gap between the classic Treasury function and that of the central bank (the Fed). As Omarova and Hockett characterize it, the standard response to the public goods problem is to have Treasury, as the fiscal authority, collect tax payments (or borrow) and use the proceeds to finance public goods. However, they argue that political budget fights have rendered Treasury unable to advance large-scale and long-term public infrastructure investments. While the Fed has partially attempted to fill the gap and to encourage infrastructure investment using monetary policy tools, these tools are insufficient. As a result of the policy gap between the Treasury and Fed mandates, economic growth and development suffer.

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September 16, 2017 in Colloquia, Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Schmalbeck Presents Nonprofit Organizations And Political Campaigns At Northwestern

Schmalbeck (2016)Richard L. Schmalbeck (Duke) presented Nonprofit Organizations and Political Campaigns at Northwestern as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

This story involves three organizational forms, and two broad policy considerations. There are more than a score of different nonprofit organizational categories described in the IRC, but only three are relevant here: the organizations described in sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 527. All are exempt from federal income taxes on any excess of revenue over expense that they might experience in any tax year. The first category (charitable organizations under section 501(c)(3)) allows use of deductible contributions to advance its programmatic ends, and also permits anonymous donations. The second (social welfare organizations under section 501(c)(4)) allows anonymous donations (but no deduction for contributions). The third (political organizations under section 527) is subject to rules that compel disclosure of the names of contributors and amounts of their contributions.

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September 11, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hemel Presents In Defense Of The State And Local Tax Deduction Today At Boston College

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents Easy on the SALT: In Defense of the Deduction for State and Local Taxes at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu Yi Oei:

Congressional Republicans and Trump administration officials have said that they plan to repeal the deduction for nonbusiness state and local taxes (SALT) as part of a comprehensive tax reform package. This essay critically examines the major arguments for repealing the SALT deduction. Repealing the deduction and using the resulting revenues to reduce federal rates across the board would likely lead to greater tax-induced deadweight loss overall. Repealing the deduction also would distort decisions about the financing of education and health care, which together account for more than half of all state and local government spending. Repeal would further encourage a shift from nonbusiness to business taxes at the state and local level, and potentially would result in more borrowing by subnational governments in the short and medium term.

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September 7, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Turing on AI and Lawyer-Automatons

As I've mentioned previously, the Savannah Law Review is hosting a colloquium on September 15, 2017 entitled The Rise of the Automatons, examining the legal implications of automation.  Ominous predictions like "the Singularity is coming" usually provoke me, and this one prompted my project for this summer, Halting, Intuition, Heuristics, and Action: Alan Turing and the Theoretical Constraints on AI-Lawyering, now available.  

I'm unimpressed with frenzied reactions generally and in this area particularly. Here's the abstract:

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August 5, 2017 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Holderness Presents Questioning Quill At Ohio State

Holderness (2017)Hayes R. Holderness Jr. (Richmond) presented Questioning Quill yesterday at Ohio State as part of its Summer Faculty Workshop Series:

The physical presence rule of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota is under increasing attack from the Kill Quill movement. This rule prohibits states from requiring remote vendors to collect use taxes on goods sold into the states. As a petition to the Supreme Court for certiorari in a case directly challenging the rule grows closer, the case for certiorari remains cloudy. Technology and the economy have changed in the 25 years since Quill was decided, but are these changes enough to convince the Court to rehear the case?

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August 3, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Marian Presents The Making Of International Tax Law: Empirical Evidence From Natural Language Processing Today In Germany

Marian (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents The Making of International Tax Law: Empirical Evidence from Natural Language Processing (with Elliott Ash (Princeton)) at the University of Heidelberg today:

We offer the first attempt at empirically testing the level of transnational consensus on the legal language controlling international tax matters. We also investigate the institutional framework of such consensus-building. We build a dataset of 4,052 bilateral income tax treaties, as well as 16 model tax treaties published by the United Nations (UN), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United States. We use natural language processing to perform pair-wise comparison of all treaties in effect at any given year. We identify clear trends of convergence of legal language in bilateral tax treaties since the 1960s, particularly on the taxation of cross-border business income.

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June 12, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2017)

Thanks to the faculty and students who made our Spring 2017 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series such a rousing success:

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May 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vann Presents International Tax Post-BEPS — Is The Corporate Tax Really All That Bad? Today At NYU

VannRichard Vann (University of Sydney) presents International Tax Post-BEPS: Is the Corporate Tax Really All That Bad? (with Ray Rees (University of Oslo)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

The corporate income tax has been getting a particularly bad press from academic economists for over three decades, as one of the most inefficient tax instruments currently used by governments. The criticism of the corporate income tax has been matched by a similar bad press for taxation of capital income generally. More recently these views have come to be accepted both at the national and international levels by government policy makers, who indeed have become strong advocates of such changes.

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May 1, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Slemrod Presents Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences Of U.S. Enforcement Initiatives On Evasive Foreign Accounts At NYU

Slemrod (2017)Joel Slemrod (Michigan) presented Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of U.S. Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts (with Niels Johannesen (Copenhagen), Patrick Langetieg (IRS), Daniel Reck (UC-Berkeley) & Max Risch (Michigan)) at NYU yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

Beginning in 2009, the IRS initiated a series of enforcement efforts to curb the use of offshore accounts to facilitate tax evasion, along with a voluntary disclosure program to encourage individuals with foreign accounts to become compliant with tax law. This paper examines the impact of increased enforcement activity on U.S. taxpayers’ statements of foreign accounts and reported income on tax returns. We find that enforcement initiatives increased the number of individuals reporting foreign accounts to the IRS by at least 19 percent, and they increased total wealth disclosed by at least $75 billion.

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April 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At Pepperdine

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation, 93 NYU L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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April 24, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Galle Presents Design And Implementation Of A Charitable Regulation Regime Today At Georgetown

Galle (2016)Brian Galle (Georgetown) presents Design and Implementation of a Charitable Regulation Regime at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

Charitable organizations are often billed as private alternatives to the governmental provision of public goods (Weisbrod 1975). Yet in developed countries many aspects of charities are subject to government dictate, or at least oversight. Government rules may circumscribe, or at least incentivize, the organizational structure of the firm, the rights and obligations of its stakeholders, what activities it will engage in or not, how much it will spend or save, even to whom it will communicate and the content of those communications. In a federated system such as the United States, a single multi-state firm might be answerable to literally dozens of separate regulators.

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April 18, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Perry Fleischer Presents The Libertarian Case For A Universal Basic Income Today At NYU

Fleischer (Miranda)Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) presents Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Universal Basic Income (with Daniel Hemel (Chicago)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler: :

Proposals for a universal basic income are generating interest across the globe, with pilot experiments underway or in the works in Finland, Kenya, the Netherlands, and the city of Oakland, California. Surprisingly, many of the most outspoken supporters of a universal basic income have been self-described libertarians — even though libertarians are generally considered to be antagonistic toward redistribution and a universal basic income is, at its core, a program of income redistribution. What explains such strong libertarian support for a policy that seems so contrary to libertarian ideals?

This Article seeks to answer that question. We first show that a basic safety net is not only consistent with, but likely required by, several strands of libertarianism. We then explain why libertarians committed to limited redistribution and limited government might support a system of unconditional cash transfers paid periodically. Delivering benefits in cash, rather than in-kind, furthers autonomy by recognizing that all citizens —  even poor ones — are the best judges of their needs. Decoupling such transfers from a work requirement acknowledges that the state lacks the ability to distinguish between work-capable and work-incapable individuals. Providing payments periodically, rather than through a once-in-a-lifetime lump sum grant, ensures that all individuals can receive a minimum level of support over lifespans of variable lengths, while also allowing individuals to adjust payment flows through financial market transactions.

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April 17, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hanna Presents The Theory And Reality Of Business Tax Reform Today At Georgetown

HannaChristopher Hanna (SMU; Senior Policy Advisor for Tax Reform, Senate Finance Committee) presents The Theory and Reality of Business Tax Reform at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

The last several years has seen a lot of discussion among policymakers as to reforming the tax code. On the individual side, there is very little agreement on what form tax reform should take. For example, some policymakers would like to eliminate a number of exclusions, deductions and credits thereby broadening the income tax base and coupling that with a reduction in the individual statutory tax rates. Others would like to shift the current tax system to a consumption-based tax system through, for example, enactment of a value-added tax or an exemption of capital income from the tax base. Some policymakers would simply like to retain the current individual income tax system, particularly after the enactment of a higher individual statutory tax rate as part of the fiscal cliff deal in early 2013.

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April 13, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gamage & Ross Present At Final Indiana Tax Policy Workshop Of The Semester

Indiana (2016)Two Indiana-Bloomington faculty are presenting papers today at the final Indiana Tax Policy Workshop of the semester:

David Gamage, Tax Cannibalization and State Government Tax Incentive Programs, 82 State Tax Notes 197 (Oct. 17, 2016) (with Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)):

States and localities offer businesses an enormous amount of tax incentives to locate within their jurisdictions despite: 1) the mass of evidence that suggests that these incentives are not particularly effective and, 2) substantial doubts about their constitutionality.

In this essay, we develop a new critical perspective on state tax incentives. We argue that offering these incentives permits states to offer lower taxes to more mobile businesses while keeping their overall corporate tax rates high. This is arguably not the best choice for the states, but it is definitely not the best choice for the federal government. Because the states share the corporate income tax base with the federal government, higher overall state corporate income tax rates results in more cannibalization of federal corporate income tax revenue.

Justin Ross, The Impact of State Taxes on Pass-Through Businesses: Evidence from the 2012 Kansas Income Tax Reform (with Jason DeBacker (Middle Tennessee State), Bradley Heim (Indiana) & Shanthi Ramnath (U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis)):

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April 13, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Shaviro Presents The Relationship Between 'Legally Defensible' Tax Planning And Social Justice Today At Northwestern

Shaviro (2015)Daniel Shaviro (NYU) presents Interrogating the Relationship between 'Legally Defensible' Tax Planning and Social Justice at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

This article, prepared for presentation on September 23, 2016 at a conference at NYU Law School, organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and entitled Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World, mainly takes the form of a dialogue between two fictional individuals. The conclusions that the discussants reach (insofar as they are able to agree) can be summarized as follows:

Large-scale tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and large companies that is legally defensible under relevant national tax laws can nonetheless have major adverse effects on social justice and/or public morale. However, its legal defensibility complicates analyzing its ethical implications, as compared to the more straightforward case of committing tax fraud. Legal defensibility also complicates the analysis of the extent to which human rights advocates should focus on such desiderata as “good corporate tax behavior” and the ethics of tax professionals.

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April 11, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kleinbard Presents Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality Today at Pepperdine

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presents Capital Taxation In An Age Of Inequality, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

The standard view in the U.S. tax law academy remains that capital income taxation is both a poor idea in theory and completely infeasible in practice. But this ignores the first-order importance of political economy issues in the design of tax instruments. The pervasive presence of gifts and bequests renders moot the claim that the results obtained by Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976) counsel against taxing capital income in practice.

Taxing capital income is responsive to important political economy exigencies confronting the United States, including substantial tax revenue shortfalls relative to realistic government spending targets, increasing income and wealth inequality at the top end of distributions, and the surprising persistence of dynastic wealth. It also responds to a new strand of economic literature that argues that “inclusive growth” leads to higher growth.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cullen Presents Political Alignment And Tax Evasion Today At NYU

CullenJulie Berry Cullen (UC-San Diego), presents Political Alignment and Tax Evasion at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

We explore whether the decision to evade federal personal income taxes depends on the taxpayer’s level of approval of government. We first demonstrate using survey data the positive association between political alignment with the current president and the respondent’s trust in the administration and support for government taxation and spending. We then show using IRS tax return data and county-level fixed effects regressions that the larger the typical share of county residents who vote for the president’s party the smaller the tax gap across a variety of tax gap measures. Responses are concentrated in income components that are more likely to be invisible to the government, such as small business income. Our results provide realworld evidence that a positive outlook on government lowers tax evasion.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawsky Presents Formalizing The Tax Code Today At UC-Irvine

Lawsky (2017)Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presents Formalizing the Code, 70 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2017), at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

The Internal Revenue Code is notoriously complex, both substantively and structurally. This article examines one source of structural complexity in the Internal Revenue Code: dependency among sections that stems from defined terms. In particular, the article examines what it describes as the problem of “definitional scope”: when the structure of the Code leaves unclear to what a term refers. The article provides examples of problematic definitional scope and then suggests a general solution: that those who draft tax legislation should “formalize” the proposed statutory language—translate it into logical terms—prior to its enactment. To illustrate this proposal, the article provides formalizations of two provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi Presents A Theory Of Facts And Circumstances Today At UNLV

HayashiAndrew Hayashi (Virginia) presents A Theory of Facts and Circumstances at UNLV today as part of its Faculty Enrichment Series:

The legal consequences of an action often depend on information that only the actor knows, such as her intentions. This information is often inferred from the observable “facts and circumstances” attending the actor’s conduct, which creates a seemingly unresolvable tension in legal design. On the one hand, the unstructured nature of these analyses gives free rein to the factfinder’s judgment about which facts justify an inference to the hidden information. On the other hand, if the law were to specify in advance the facts that would be used to draw that inference it would provide a roadmap for actors to strategically adjust their conduct to manipulate the factfinder’s conclusions. I argue that this tension can be resolved by applying insights from the economics literature on asymmetric information.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Polsky Presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly Today At Washington & Lee

Polsky (2015)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at Washington & Lee today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

For at least the past 15 years, many private equity fund managers have used a technique—known as a management fee waiver—to try to claim what is effectively their weekly paycheck as a capital gain. Recently, the Treasury and IRS explained that, at least in the government’s view, the vast majority of fee waivers do not actually provide the claimed tax result. Recent reports of significant audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of tax revenues that are beyond the statute of limitations have been lost forever.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson Presents Who Wins A Tax Case If There Is A Tie: The Taxpayer Or The Revenue Authority? Today At Minnesota

Johnson (Steve)Steve R. Johnson (Florida State) presents Who Wins If There’s A Tie: The Taxpayer or the Revenue Authority? at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series:

In baseball, if the runner touches the base at the same time as the baseman catches the ball or tags the runner, the runner is safe. In other words, a tie goes to the runner. State and federal tax controversies also can involve close calls, either because the facts supporting the two sides are balanced or because the law is unsettled. When that happens, when the case is close, should the court hold for the taxpayer or the revenue bureau? Courts have answered this question differently in different eras and in different jurisdictions.

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fleischer Presents Tax Reform: The State of Play Today At UCLA

Fleischer (2016)Victor Fleischer (San Diego; Co-Chief Tax Counsel, Senate Finance Committee Democrats) presents Tax Reform: The State of Play at UCLA today as part of its Business Law Breakfast Series.  Vic's talk will discuss several aspects of the House Republicans' tax reform blueprint, A Better Way for Tax Reform:

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April 10, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At Duke

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation, 93 NYU L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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April 7, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Oh Presents Are Progressive Tax Rates Progressive Policy? Today At Indiana

OhJason Oh (UCLA) presents Are Progressive Tax Rates Progressive Policy?, 92 NYU L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Why do income tax systems across the world consistently feature progressive marginal rates? The existing literature tells a political story focusing on the top of the rate schedule and the preferences of the poor and middle class. According to this standard view, higher rates at the top result from the poor and middle class using the political process to “soak the rich.” However, this explanation is inconsistent with research showing that public policy is generally more responsive to the preferences of the rich. Explaining marginal rate progressivity as a universal (and exceptional) triumph of the poor and middle class rings hollow.

This Article resolves this tension in the extant literature by showing how progressive marginal rates are in fact consistent with the preferences of the rich.

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April 6, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Devereux & Vella Present Destination-Based Cash Flow Taxation Today At Georgetown

DVMichael Devereux & John Vella (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation) present Destination-Based Cash Flow Taxation (with Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) & Michael Keen (International Monetary Fund)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

This paper sets out a possible approach to the international taxation of corporate profit: a destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT). This option is one of a number that have been considered over the last three years by a group of economists and lawyers, chaired by Michael Devereux. The other current members of the group are Alan Auerbach, Michael Keen, Paul Oosterhuis, Wolfgang Schön and John Vella. ...

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April 4, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Thomas Presents Taxing The Gig Economy Today At NYU

Thomas (2017)Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents Taxing the Gig Economy at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

Due to advances in technology like mobile applications and online platforms, millions of American workers now earn income through “gig” work, which allows them the flexibility to set their own hours and choose which jobs to take. To the surprise of many gig workers, the tax law considers them to be “business owners,” which subjects them to onerous recordkeeping and filing requirements, along with the obligation to pay quarterly estimated taxes. This Article proposes two reforms that would drastically reduce tax compliance burdens for this new generation of small business owners, while simultaneously enhancing the government’s ability to collect tax revenue.

First, Congress should create a “non-employee withholding” regime that would allow online platform companies such as Uber to withhold taxes for their workers without being classified as employers. Second, the Article proposes a “standard business deduction” for gig workers equal to 80 percent of their gross receipts, which would eliminate the need to track and report business expenses.

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April 3, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kane Presents The Global Battle To Capture MNE Profits At British Columbia

Kane (2015)Mitchell Kane (NYU) presented The Global Battle to Capture MNE Profits (with Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Alan O. Sykes (Stanford)) at University of British Columbia Allard School of Law last Friday as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series:

This paper explores the various tools available to jurisdictions in their quest to capture MNE rents, including various forms of income and consumption taxation, government purchasing programs, price regulation, antitrust, and common trade instruments such as tariffs or quotas. Although the jurisdictional goal of rent capture might well be constant across the use of this vast array of instruments, the legal regulation of such actions is anything but that. Instead, there would appear to be important fissures in the tapestry of legal regulation.

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April 3, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Batchelder Presents Accounting For Behavioral Biases In Business Tax Reform Today At Duke

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presents Accounting for Behavioral Biases in Business Tax Reform: The Case of Expensing at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

One of the fundamental questions in business tax reform is whether to allow firms to immediately expense investments or require economic cost recovery. The conventional view is that expensing would generate stronger growth effects holding revenues constant. This view is rooted in traditional models of corporate finance that assume firms look at the net present value of expected tax payments when incorporating taxes into investment decisions. But this traditional view ignores the possibility that firms focus on more salient measures of taxes as well. If so, they may respond less to expensing than this theory suggests because expensing does not lower their financial accounting tax liability and, all else equal, requires a higher statutory rate.

This paper considers whether firms undervalue expensing due to a focus on these non-economic tax metrics and, if so, what this implies about business tax reform if the goal is to increase US investment. It develops a framework for what cost recovery rules are optimal, and then uses new and existing data to parameterize this framework, holding constant long-run revenues and the relative tax treatment of debt and equity. 

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March 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Roberts Presents A Structural Examination Of Energy Tax Subsidies At Vanderbilt

RobertsTracey M. Roberts (Cumberland) presented Picking Winners and Losers: A Structural Examination of Tax Subsidies to the Energy Industry, 41 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 63 (2016), at Vanderbilt yesterday as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

The shibboleth that “government should not be picking winners and losers” has dominated the public discourse over renewable energy subsidies. This way of framing the debate ignores the nation’s long history of support for fossil fuels and obscures the economic theory behind the subsidies. This article contributes to the discussion in four ways.

First, the article examines the situations in which government intervention in a market economy may be justified and then evaluates the tax subsidies to both fossil fuels and renewable energy resources in light of that theory.

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March 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

O’Brien Presents Canada’s International Investment Agreements and Direct Taxation Today At Toronto

O'BrienMartha O’Brien (University of Victoria Faculty of Law) presents Canada’s International Investment Agreements and Direct Taxation at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The General Framework
The promotion of international trade and investment has been a central policy goal of Canadian federal and provincial governments for many years. From the signing of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) in 1988, the inclusion of Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, and the conclusion of numerous BITs and other free trade agreements that include investment chapters (referred to as international investment agreements or “IIAs”) through the 1990s and 2000s, Canada has a record of actively pursuing bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements.

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March 29, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Yale Presents Mutual Fund Tax Overhang Today At Georgetown

Yale (Ethan) (2017)Ethan Yale (Virginia) presents Mutual Fund Tax Overhang at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

The built-in-gain in a mutual fund’s portfolio is referred to as “tax overhang.” Tax is imposed on investors who buy shares in mutual funds with tax overhang even though the gain accrued before their investment. The consequence is accelerated tax, increasing the shareholders’ effective tax rate. This article (1) explains why this occurs and why it is a problem, (2) describes the magnitude of the problem, (3) describes and illustrates avoidance strategies funds use to avoid the bad effects of tax overhang, (4) argues that reform is warranted, and (5) describes and evaluates the options for reform.

March 28, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mason Presents A U.S. Perspective On State Aid Today In Luxembourg

Mason (2016)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents A U.S. Perspective on State Aid at the University of Luxembourg today:

Tax Rulings as State Aid FAQ, 154 Tax Notes 451 (Jan. 23, 2017):

In this report, the first in a series of reports on EU state aid, Mason provides background on state aid law as it applies to income taxes, including the legal standard, recovery mechanism, and case selection by the Commission.

State Aid Special Report — Part 2: Legitimate Expectations, 154 Tax Notes 615 (Jan. 30, 2017):

In this report, the second in a series of reports on EU state aid, Mason evaluates the claims Treasury’ made in its White Paper that recovery in the recent tax ruling cases would violate taxpayers’ legitimate expectations that those rulings did not constitute state aid.

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March 28, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Viswanathan Presents Tax Compliance In A Decentralizing Economy Today At Pepperdine

Viswanathan (2017)Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Tax Compliance in a Decentralizing Economy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Tax compliance in the United States has long relied on information from centralized intermediaries—the financial institutions, employers, and brokers that help ensure income is reported and taxes are paid. Yet while the IRS remains tied to these centralized entities, consumers and businesses are not. New technologies, such as the on-demand sharing platform economy (companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Instacart) and the blockchain (the platform on which Bitcoin is based) are providing new, decentralized options for exchanging goods and services. Without legislative and agency intervention, these technologies pose a critical threat to the reporting system underlying domestic and international tax compliance.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Burman Presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? Today At NYU

Burman (2016)Leonard E. Burman (Tax Policy Center) presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? (with Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

Every public finance student learns that corporations are subject to two levels of taxation—at the company level through the corporate income tax and the individual level through taxation of dividends and capital gains. Though observers frequently lament this double taxation of equity-financed corporate investment, double taxation is not important per se; the issue is the overall level of tax. (Most investors would prefer two 10 percent taxes to a single 30 percent tax.) Still, the overall effective tax rate depends on both corporate and individual income taxes.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Buchanan Presents Social Security Is Fair To All Generations Today At UC-Irvine

BuchananNeil Buchanan (George Washington) presents Social Security is Fair to All Generations: Demystifying the Trust Fund, Solvency, and the Promise to Younger Americans at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

The birth of the Baby Boom generation created a profound policy challenge for the Social Security system: Should the system continue to be run as a pay-as-you-go system, or should the large new cohort of workers be forced to save for their own future retirements? Although the outward structure of the Social Security system was not changed, the Baby Boomers were, in fact, required to save for their own retirements. They did so by paying higher taxes than would otherwise have been necessary, thus contributing to total national saving in a way that allowed the economy to grow more quickly than it would have otherwise. In turn, Boomers bequeathed to their children the economic wherewithal to support their parents in retirement, even while the post-Boomers will enjoy higher living standards during both their working lives and in their retirements. It is possible, however, that this supposed generational sacrifice was illusory, that the Baby Boomers were otherwise impoverishing their children and grandchildren, even as they paid extra money into the Social Security system each year.

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March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schenk Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On Horizontal Equity Redux

Schenk (2017)Deborah Schenk (NYU) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Horizontal Equity Redux:

For many decades, tax policy scholars have defined “equity” in terms of “horizontal equity” and “vertical equity.” In recent years the concept of horizontal equity has come under attack on two grounds: first, that it has no content independent of vertical equity, and second, that its classic definition preferences pretax income without any justification. Yet, the concept has remarkable staying power. All major law casebooks reference horizontal equity, as do many scholarly articles. This lecture explores why that is so and offers both an explanation and a justification for its continued use as a principle of tax policy.

March 27, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hickman Presents Restoring The Lost Anti-Injunction Act At British Columbia

Hickman (2017)Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) presented Restoring the Lost Anti-Injunction Act, 103 Va. L. Rev. __ (2017) (with Gerald Kerska (J.D. 2017, Minnesota)), yesterday at University of British Columbia Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series:

Should Treasury regulations be eligible for pre-enforcement review? The D.C. Circuit’s recent decision in Florida Bankers Association puts its interpretation of the Anti-Injunction Act at odds with both general administrative law norms in favor of pre-enforcement review of final agency action and also the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the nearly identical Tax Injunction Act in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. In fact, cases interpreting the Anti-Injunction Act more generally are fragmented and inconsistent.

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March 25, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Robinson Presents State Income Tax Law In The Shadow Of The Internal Revenue Code Today At Indiana

Robinson (2017)Mildred Robinson (Virginia) presents Irreconcilable Differences?: State Income Tax Law in the Shadow of the Internal Revenue Code at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

[T]his paper will proceed in four parts. Part I provides a brief history of states’ experience with taxing incomes beginning prior to the enactment of the 16th amendment to the United States constitution and ending with the present. I will touch upon early individual state efforts to tax personal incomes. A salient part of this discussion will highlight the political factors likely to have contributed to states’ decisions to conform to (and not piggy-back onto) the federal internal revenue code. This part will also highlight the ways in which state codes began to depart from the federal code with emphasis on those differences contributing even early on to the regressive effect captured by data currently analyzed by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

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March 23, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ring Presents Leak-Driven Law Today At Boston College

Ring (2017)Diane Ring (Boston College) presents Leak-Driven Law, 65 UCLA L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2018) (with Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane; moving to Boston College)) at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Over the past decade, a number of well-publicized data leaks have revealed the secret offshore holdings of high-net-worth individuals and multinational taxpayers, leading to a sea change in cross-border tax enforcement. Spurred by leaked data, tax authorities have prosecuted offshore tax cheats, attempted to recoup lost revenues, enacted new laws, and signed international agreements that promote “sunshine” and exchange of financial information between countries.

The conventional wisdom is that data leaks enable tax authorities to detect and punish offshore tax evasion more effectively, and that leaks are therefore socially beneficial from an economic welfare perspective. This Article argues, however, that the conventional wisdom is too simplistic.

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March 22, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske Presents Equitable Apportionment And The State Corporate Income Tax Today At Duke

Shanske (2017)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents Equitable Apportionment and the State Corporate Income Tax: Past, Present and Possible Future at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

What a tough break for formulary apportionment. We are at a moment when there is apparently a real interest in reforming the federal corporate income tax in a way that, at least in theory, would broaden the base of the tax and encourage exporters. Shifting to the use of formulary apportionment with a single sales factor (SSF) could theoretically achieve these goals and there is at least one well-developed reform proposal to that end on the table. Moreover, over 40 states impose a corporate income tax and they have used formulas for a very long time, and so there is a track record and case law to work with. But this is not — yet — formulary apportionment’s moment.

This is the moment for the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax (DBCFT), which relies on border tax adjustments (BTAs).

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March 22, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At Georgetown

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg.

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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March 21, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kleinbard Presents The Economic And Social Consequences Of Tax Reform At Loyola

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard (USC) presented The Economic and Social Consequences of Tax Reform last night at Loyola Marymount University College of Business Administration's Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest's Distinguished Speaker Series (flyer):

Wide-ranging tax reform is a tax priority for Congressional Republican leaders and President Trump. Professor Kleinbard will discuss the implications of proposed tax changes for the economy, social programs, and inequality.

March 21, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hemel Presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation Today At NYU

HemelDaniel Hemel (Chicago) presents The Federalist Safeguards of Progressive Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Rosanne Altshuler:

This essay considers the distributional consequences of the Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence over the past quarter century, focusing specifically on the anticommandeering, anti-coercion, and state sovereign immunity doctrines. The first of these doctrines prevents Congress from compelling the states to administer federal programs; the second prevents Congress from achieving the same result through offers that for practical purposes the states cannot refuse; the third prohibits Congress from abrogating state sovereign immunity outside a limited class of cases. These doctrines vest the states with valuable entitlements and allow the states to sell those entitlements back to Congress for a price. In this respect, the doctrines have an intergovernmental distributional effect, shifting wealth from the federal government to the states.

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March 20, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Smart Presents Why The Dividend Tax Credit? Today At Toronto

Smart 2Michael Smart (Toronto) presents Why the Dividend Tax Credit? at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

In this paper, I discuss the tax treatment of personal dividend income in Canada. Incorporating the changing parameters of the dividend gross-up-and-credit system since 1972, including provincial credits, I estimate the effective tax rate on eligible and ordinary dividend income of taxable investors, and compare it to that applying to other income sources. The effective tax rate on dividend income has decreased substantially and, since the 2006 enhancement of the dividend tax credit, dividend taxes in Canada have been fully integrated or overintegrated for taxable investors. Based on a new methodology, I estimate the fiscal cost of the system to federal and provincial governments. The cost of the DTC has increased markedly since the 2006 reform and is large. About 70 per cent of the tax benefit accrues to taxpayers in the top 10 per cent of the income distribution and, for shareholders in this group, the impact on overall progressivity of the tax system is substantial.

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March 15, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kamin Presents Getting Americans To Save: In Defense Of (Reformed) Tax Incentives Today At Tulane

KaminDavid Kamin (NYU) presents Getting Americans to Save: In Defense of (Reformed) Tax Incentives, 70 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Tulane today as part of its Workshop on Regulation and Coordination Series:

According to the most recent literature, one of the primary systems for getting Americans to save more — a system of tax-preferred retirement accounts — is fundamentally broken and should be abandoned. This system of 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and other tax-preferred accounts cost the government about $80 billion per year, and influential new research by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and co-authors — among others — suggests that tax incentives like these are unable to substantially increase private saving. However, this case against tax incentives is overstated.

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March 14, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shanske Presents Equitable Apportionment And The State Corporate Income Tax Today At UC-Irvine

Shanske (2017)Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents em>Equitable Apportionment and the State Corporate Income Tax: Past, Present and Possible Future at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

What a tough break for formulary apportionment. We are at a moment when there is apparently a real interest in reforming the federal corporate income tax in a way that, at least in theory, would broaden the base of the tax and encourage exporters. Shifting to the use of formulary apportionment with a single sales factor (SSF) could theoretically achieve these goals and there is at least one well-developed reform proposal to that end on the table. Moreover, over 40 states impose a corporate income tax and they have used formulas for a very long time, and so there is a track record and case law to work with. But this is not — yet — formulary apportionment’s moment.

This is the moment for the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax (DBCFT), which relies on border tax adjustments (BTAs).

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March 13, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Shay Presents 'A Better Way' Business Tax Reform Today At Duke

Shay (2014)Stephen E. Shay (Harvard) presents “A Better Way” Business Tax Reform: From Theory to Practical Complications (with J. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) & Robert J. Peroni (Texas)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

This article critically reviews the House GOP proposal to replace the income tax on corporate and individual business income with a hybrid consumption tax in the form of a subtraction method VAT. The proposal would constitute a radical change to the U.S. federal, state and local tax system, which would, as discussed below, (a) be highly regressive and worsen inequality; (b) be vulnerable to attack under international trade law by U.S. trading competitors (with unprecedented potential penalties), (c) be less advantageous for small and medium businesses than for large businesses, and (d) open substantial opportunities for avoidance.

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March 9, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)