TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hurt Presents Using NOL Poison Pills To Ward Off Activist Investors Today At UC-Irvine

Hurt (2016)Christine Hurt (BYU) presents The Hostile Poison Pill, 50 U.C. Davis L. Rev. ___ (2016), at UC-Irvine today as part of its Business Colloquium Series hosted by Katherine Porter and Funmi Arewa:

Whether one ascribes to the agency theory of shareholder primacy or the contractarian theory of director primacy, boards of directors have great discretion in determining whether, when, and how to sell the corporation. Defensive tactics, like poison pills, can be tools in wielding that discretion in the service of creating shareholder value. However, a poison pill either to oppress a minority shareholder, as in eBay v. Newmark, or to minimize the impact of activist shareholders, as in Versata Enterprises, Inc. v. Selectica, Inc., seems to exceed the “maximum dosage” of the pill. The NOL poison pill, while facially plausible as a tool to protect tax assets from impairment caused by a Section 382 “ownership change,” may be a stepping stone to a low-trigger anti-shareholder pill. Instead of warding off uninvited potential acquirers, the pill could ward off shareholder voice. Though the original poison pills were blessed by the Delaware courts to ward off hostile bidders, now boards can use a hostile poison pill to ward off noisy shareholders.

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November 7, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goldin Presents Rethinking The Taxation Of Single Parents Today At Loyola-L.A.

GoldinJacob Goldin (Stanford) presents Beyond Head of Household: Rethinking the Taxation of Single Parents (with Zachary Liscow (Yale)) at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Under current law, unmarried taxpayers with children can take advantage of the head of household filing status (HHFS) to reduce their federal income taxes. We argue that the design of the filing status is largely obsolete, geared toward alleviating a “marriage penalty” in the tax code that is much less important than when the filing status was first established. At the same time, the growth in the fraction of Americans raising children outside of traditional two-parent households has dramatically raised the cost of the filing status to the fisc.

In this article, we highlight two features of the design of HHFS that undermine its goal of providing support to single parent households.

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November 7, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Chodorow Presents Rethinking Basis In The Age Of Virtual Currency Today At Florida

Chodorow (2014)Adam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Rethinking Basis in the Age of Virtual Currency, 35 Va Tax Rev. ___ (2016), at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

In Notice 2014-21, the IRS announced that virtual currencies like Bitcoin would be treated as property — and not foreign currency — for income tax purposes. As a result, taxpayers may owe tax each time they sell or spend such currency. The IRS also declared that the traditional “stand-alone” basis rules would apply to virtual currency. This decision permits taxpayers to manipulate their tax liability by picking and choosing which virtual coins to dispose of. In this Article, I argue that taxpayers should be required to pool the basis of their virtual currency to ensure that tax gains and losses match realized economic gains and losses.

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November 4, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Repetti Presents Tax Rates, Efficiency And Inequality Today At Boston College

Repetti (2015)James Repetti (Boston College) presents Tax Rates, Efficiency and Inequality at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Traditionally, the great democracies of the western world assigned equal weight to distributive justice and economic efficiency in designing a tax system. In the past few decades, however, economic efficiency has dominated the debate about the best design of a tax system in politics and in analysis by legal academics. Discussions of progressive tax rates often focus on the adverse efficiency effects of high rates while ignoring benefits arising from a progressive rate structure’s reduced burden on lower income individuals. For example, many advocate low tax rates on investment income to reduce the efficiency effects of taxing savings.

In an attempt to increase efficiency, individual tax rates have decreased over the past 60 years. In 1956, the maximum statutory tax rate was 91%. In 2012, the maximum statutory rate was 36%. At the same time that tax rates were reduced, inequality increased, fueled in part by the declining tax rates.

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November 4, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Clarke Presents Income Inequality And The Corporate Sector Today At Pennsylvania

ClarkeConor Clarke (Ph.D. 2017, Yale) presents Income Inequality and the Corporate Sector: 1913 - 2012 (with Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

Existing measures of income inequality that rely on tax data fail to systematically account for the corporate sector, which earns a substantial amount of income that either never appears on individual tax returns or appears with a substantial delay. To help correct for this oversight, we provide a framework for thinking about the historical and conceptual relationship between the corporate sector and income inequality. We assemble a variety of previously unused tax data on corporate income and use ownership estimates to impute this income to individual taxpayers. This exercise produces a large adjustment to both the level and trend of existing measures of income inequality. The magnitude of this adjustment also varies substantially over time: It depends on the legal incentives to report income on individual tax returns. In particular, the magnitude of the understatement was much larger before the Tax Reform Act of 1986 — which created large incentives to incorporate businesses as pass-through entities—than in the three decades since. Our baseline estimates suggest that standard measures have understated the top income shares in the U.S. by 2 to 7 percentage points before the 1980s, but much less since then. In other words, the top 1% earns a greater share of national income than previously thought — but top income shares have grown less dramatically than the existing literature indicates.

Companion Paper:  Business Income and Business Taxation in the United States since the 1950s (with Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia)):

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November 2, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blank Presents The Timing Of Tax Transparency Today At Northwestern

Blank (2016)Joshua D. Blank (NYU) presents The Timing of Tax Transparency, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Fairness in the administration of the tax law is the subject of intense debate in the United States. As recent headlines reveal, the Internal Revenue Service has been accused of failing to enforce the tax law equitably in its review of tax-exempt status applications by political organizations, the international tax structures of multinational corporations, and the estate tax returns of millionaires, among other areas. Many have argued that greater “tax transparency” would better empower the public to hold the IRS accountable and the IRS to defend itself against accusations of malfeasance. Mandatory public disclosure of taxpayers’ tax return information is often proposed as a way to achieve greater tax transparency. Yet, in addition to concerns regarding exposure of personal and proprietary information, broad public disclosure measures pose potential threats to the taxing authority’s ability to enforce the tax law.

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November 2, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seto Presents Advertising, Preference-Shifting And Optimal Tax Theory Today At Oxford

Seto (2014)Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.) presents Incorporating Advertising into the Standard Model: Some Implications of Preference-Shifting for Optimal Tax Theory today at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation as part of its Research Seminar Series on Topical Issues in Tax Policy:

This paper focuses on one of the standard model’s most glaring omissions: its failure to model the welfare effects of advertising, a central feature of modern consumer economics. Technically, the paper relaxes the standard welfarist assumption that preferences are fixed and exogenous and reflect welfare. Although this assumption is not widely accepted in other social sciences, economics generally treats situations in which it does not hold as deviations from the general rule, and therefore of limited interest. This paper offers an approach to incorporating within the standard model itself the possibility that advertising can change preferences. It then explores the consequences of this expanded model for two canonical assertions of optimal tax theory: (1) that taxes generally produce deadweight loss, and (2) that 100 percent of all taxes are borne by human beings, the only question being which.

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November 2, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Walker Presents The Practice And Tax Consequences Of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Today At Columbia

Walker (2016)David I. Walker (Boston University) presents The Practice and Tax Consequences of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Although nonqualified deferred compensation plans lack explicit tax preferences afforded qualified plans, it is well understood that nonqualified deferred compensation results in a joint tax advantage when employers earn a higher after‐tax return on deferred sums than employees could do on their own. Several commentators have proposed tax reform aimed at leveling the playing field between cash and nonqualified deferred compensation, but reform would not be easy or straightforward. This Article investigates nonqualified deferred compensation practices and shows that joint tax minimization often takes a backseat to accounting priorities and participant diversification concerns.

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November 1, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Viswanathan Presents Tax Compliance In A Decentralizing Economy Today At Loyola-L.A.

ViswanathanManoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Tax Compliance in a Decentralizing Economy at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Tax compliance in the United States depends heavily on centralized institutions acting as intermediaries between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service. Income reported on intermediary-provided forms constitutes the overwhelming majority of both reported (and taxed) income. This information reporting is the primary mechanism by which the IRS evaluates taxpayer returns for compliance.

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October 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pickett Presents The Psychological And Social Costs Of Inequality Today At NYU

PickettKate Pickett (University of York) presents Income Inequality and Health: A Casual Review and The Enemy Between Us: The Psychological and Social Costs of Inequality (both with Richard Wilkinson (University of Nottingham)) at the NYU High-End Inequality Colloquium Series (more here) hosted by Robert Frank (Cornell) and Dan Shaviro (NYU):

Income Inequality and Health: A Casual Review
There is a very large literature examining income inequality in relation to health. Early reviews came to different interpretations of the evidence, though a large majority of studies reported that health tended to be worse in more unequal societies. More recent studies, not included in those reviews, provide substantial new evidence. Our purpose in this paper is to assess whether or not wider income differences play a causal role leading to worse health. We conducted a literature review within an epidemiological causal framework and inferred the likelihood of a causal relationship between income inequality and health (including violence) by considering the evidence as a whole. The body of evidence strongly suggests that income inequality affects population health and wellbeing.

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October 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ainsworth Presents Blockchain Technology Might Solve VAT Fraud Today At Pennsylvania

AinsworthRichard T. Ainsworth (Boston University) presents Blockchain Technology Might Solve VAT Fraud, 83 Tax Notes Int'l 1165 (Sept. 26, 2016) (with Andrew B. Shact (Mimecast, Boston)), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20-23, 2016, more than 800 technology executives and observers were asked when they think governments will begin collecting taxes using blockchain, a type of cryptographic software. The average response was 2023, with 73 percent of respondents saying 2025. The survey did not ask respondents to name the tax collected or the jurisdiction that would collect it, so we do not know where they expect blockchain to be used or what they expect it to collect. This article argues that the EU VAT will be an early adopter, if not the earliest adopter, of blockchain, which will bring substantial efficiency to VAT collection and reduce costs and build trust in intergovernmental relationships.

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October 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Clemens Presents The Minimum Wage And The Great Recession Today At Columbia

ClemensPhoto2Jeffrey Clemens (UC-San Diego) presents The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession (with Michael Wither (UC-San Diego)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

We estimate the minimum wage’s effects on low-skilled individuals’ employment and income trajectories following the Great Recession. Our approach exploits two dimensions of the data we analyze. First, we compare individuals in states that were fully bound by the 2007 to 2009 increases in the federal minimum wage to individuals in states that were not. Second, we use variation in the minimum wage’s bite across skill groups to separate our samples into “target” and “within-state control” groups. Using the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Current Population Survey, we find that binding minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers.

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October 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Polsky Presents The Up-C Revolution Today At Loyola-L.A.

Polsky (2015)Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) presents The Up-C Revolution (with Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)) at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Over the past few years, a revolutionary new tax structure, known as the Up-C, has become increasingly popular, particularly in instances where an LLC is being taken public. In such an Up-C IPO, a newly formed C corporation is placed on top of the existing LLC, which continues to operate the business. Shares of the C corporation are sold to new investors, and the proceeds are used by the C corporation to buy an interest in the LLC. Meanwhile, the legacy owners of the LLC (typically, founders and private investment funds) retain their interests in the LLC, while receiving exchange rights that allow them to swap their LLC interests for equivalent-value shares of the C corporation. In addition, the legacy owners often receive the benefit of tax receivables agreements (TRAs), which provide that the owners will receive a specified percentage (usually 85 percent) of the tax benefits to the C corporation resulting from future exchanges. In combination, these features seem to provide a near-nirvana of tax efficiency. It is therefore unsurprising that the popularity of Up-Cs is growing at an exponential rate.

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October 24, 2016 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Frank Presents Papers On High-End Inequality Today At NYU

FrankRobert Frank (Cornell) presents five short articles today at the NYU High-End Inequality Colloquium Series (more here) hosted by Robert Frank (Cornell) and Dan Shaviro (NYU):

The discussant is K. Anthony Appiah (NYU).

 

October 24, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gamage Presents Tax Cannibalization And Fiscal Federalism Today At Toronto

Gamage (2017)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) presents Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States, 111 Nw. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017) (with Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)), at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The current structure of U.S. federal tax law incentivizes state governments to adopt tax policies that inflict costs on the federal government, at the expense of national welfare. We label this the “tax cannibalization problem.”

This article introduces the tax cannibalization problem to the law and policy literatures for the first time. This article also explains how U.S. federal tax law might be restructured so as to alleviate the tax cannibalization problem — to counteract the perverse incentives currently leading U.S. state governments to design their tax systems so as to, in effect, wastefully devour federal tax revenues.

October 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speck Presents Expertise And International Tax Norms Today At Northwestern

SpeckSloan Speck (Colorado) presents Expertise and International Tax Norms at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

This project explores the ways in which a particular framework for understanding international taxation—a framework driven by so-called international tax neutrality norms—developed among economists and legal academics in the 1960s and subsequently became entrenched among public-sector policymakers. The neutrality norm framework marks a turn from the instrumental use of international taxation in the 1950s toward the ostensibly objective, efficiency-driven orientation towards international taxation that dominates discussions about international tax policy today (though a growing academic literature questions the viability of this orientation). This project explores how the neutrality norm framework came into being, and how it became a durable framework for understanding international tax policy.

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October 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

McCormack Presents Postpartum Taxation: The Internal Revenue Code And The Opt Out Mom Today At Columbia

McCormackShannon Weeks McCormack (University of Washington) presents Postpartum Taxation: The Internal Revenue Code and the Opt Out Mom at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Legislation seeking to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work has been on the books for decades. Nevertheless, the average American woman still receives less than eighty cents for every dollar earned by the average American man. Happily, the gender pay gap between men and childless women is narrowing over time. Meanwhile, the gap between mothers and others continues to widen. Career interruptions contribute significantly to this disturbing trend — nearly half of mothers opt out of the workforce at some point in their lives, most often to care for young children. Faced with too-short (or non-existent) maternity leaves, inflexible work schedules and the soaring costs of childcare in the United States, this opt out phenomenon is hardly surprising. But with the decision to opt out comes grave cost. Over 90% of opt out moms want to return to the workforce several years after off ramping. Unfortunately, many discover that they are unable to do so. A mother that does manage to reenter the workforce will find that even a short off ramp results in a sizeable and disproportionate reduction in her annual earnings that will persist for every year of her remaining life.

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October 18, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Taubinsky Presents Heuristic Perceptions Of The Income Tax Today At UC-Berkeley

Taubinsky 2Dmitry Taubinsky (Dartmouth) presents Heuristic Perceptions of the Income Tax: Evidence and Implications for Debiasing (with Alex Rees-Jones (Pennsylvania)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar:

This paper reports a new survey experiment designed to directly assess misperceptions of the US Federal Income Tax, and presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the redistributive consequences of these misperceptions. Survey participants are asked a series of incentivized questions about the tax that would be owed by a hypothetical taxpayer. This taxpayer is nearly identical to the participant, but household income is varied across questions; forecasts in this setting identify perceptions of the full tax schedule. We estimate the prevalence of previously discussed heuristics for simplifying tax forecasts (Liebman and Zeckhauser, 2004), and identify the qualitative features of the remaining misperceptions that are not captured by existing models.

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October 18, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Crane Presents Integrating A Fragmented Corporate Tax Today At Boston College

Crane (2016)Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) presents Integrating a Fragmented Corporate Tax at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:

Calls for corporate tax reform are made with increasing intensity. From some perspectives, there appear to be two separate reform efforts, one focused on “integration” of the tax on the corporation itself with the tax its shareholders pay on distributions to eliminate “double taxation,” and the other focused on reform of the taxation of US-based corporations on their offshore earnings.

The problems to be addressed in these two efforts have in the past been largely treated as distinct policy problems. Solutions that integrate the corporate and individual income taxes in order to eliminate “double taxation” have ordinarily assumed that the current system of cross-border taxation remained in place, and solutions that address cross-border taxation have for the most part assumed the existing approach to taxing distributions from corporations to shareholders remains in place.

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October 17, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hoffer Presents Will Treasury's Final Regulations Fix The ABLE Act? Today At Loyola-L.A.

Hoffer (2016)Stephanie Hoffer (Ohio State) presents Will Treasury's Final Regulations Fix the ABLE Act?, 153 Tax Notes 265 (Oct. 10, 2016), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Passed as part of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE Act), section 529A allows states to build tax-preferred savings programs for individuals with qualifying disabilities. The law is similar to section 529, which governs college savings programs, and it is a game-changer for the disability community. Account principal and investment earnings can be withdrawn from the account tax free for qualified disability-related expenditures, and if used appropriately, withdrawals will not affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other federal supports for people with serious disabilities. But Treasury will determine how truly able the law is to achieve its dual goals of allowing individuals with disabilities to cover their own expenses and save for the future. The law contains both annual and aggregate contribution limits, and interpretation is up for grabs. Under one reading of the law, an account could accept no more than the annual limit, regardless of withdrawals from the account. Under an alternative reading that is more in keeping with the spirit of the law, dollars contributed and then withdrawn in the same year would not count against the annual contribution limit. 

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October 17, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mason Presents Citizenship Taxation Today At Pennsylvania

Mason (2015)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

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 migrant.

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October 12, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Zelenak Presents Tax-Free Basis Step-Up At Death And The Charitable Deduction Of Unrealized Appreciation Today At Columbia

Zelenak (2016)Lawrence Zelenak (Duke) presents The Tax-Free Basis Step-Up at Death, the Charitable Deduction for Unrealized Appreciation, and the Persistence of Error at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

This essay recounts, as a study in the remarkable persistence of some early errors even when the errors were promptly recognized and addressed, the legislative and administrative histories of the tax-free basis step-up at death and the charitable deduction for unrealized appreciation.

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October 11, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tokić Presents Taxing Greed Today At Loyola-L.A.

 (LTokicGenevieve Tokić (Northern Illinois) presents Taxing Greed at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Appeals to greed in support of various tax proposals have become increasingly commonplace in response to a populist mood in politics. References to ensuring that the greedy rich “pay their fair share” sate a populist attitude towards wealth and wealth accumulation, and may be used to garner political support for a policy or proposal. However, there has been little academic consideration of the role of greed in the law, and in the tax law in particular. This paper seeks to fill that hole by taking a close look at the concept of greed.

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October 10, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fleming Presents Defending Worldwide Taxation Today At Vienna University

FlemingJ. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) presents Defending Worldwide Taxation and Addressing Inversions with a Shareholder-Based Definition of Corporate Residence, 2016 BYU L. Rev. ___ (with Robert Peroni (Texas) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)), at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law at Vienna University of Economics and Business:

This article argues that a principled, efficient, and practical definition of corporate residence is necessary even if some form of corporate integration is adopted, and that such a definition is a key element in designing either a real worldwide or a territorial income tax system as well as a potential restraint on the inversion phenomenon. The article proposes that the United States adopt a shareholder-based definition of corporate residence that is structured as follows:

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October 6, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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

Fleischer (Miranda)Miranda Perry Fleischer presents The Libertarian Case for a Universal Basic Income (with Daniel Hemel (Chicago)) at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Imagine a society in which each member regardless of need, receives an unconditional basic income – perhaps $1,000 a month, perhaps more, perhaps less. This idea (known as a universal basic income, or “UBI”) is garnering support around the globe and across the political spectrum, from the conservative thinker Charles Murray to the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley to the social democratic state of Finland. Tax law scholars will recognize this concept as a variation of the negative income tax. Despite this obvious overlap and the UBI’s growing popularity among policymakers, the UBI has not attracted widespread attention from legal scholars in recent years. This Article begins to fill that gap by examining the theoretical underpinnings of a UBI and analyzing how those underpinnings illuminate relevant design questions.

Notably, this Article argues that a nuanced exploration of libertarian theory justifies the provision of a UBI on normative – and not simply pragmatic – grounds. We ground this argument in libertarian ideals for three reasons. ...

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October 5, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Merrill Presents Innovation Boxes: BEPS And Beyond Today At Pennsylvania

MerrillPeter Merrill (PricewaterhouseCoopers; former Chief Economist, Joint Committee on Taxation) presents Innovation Boxes: BEPS and Beyond at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

Over the last 15 years, 16 countries have adopted intellectual property (IP) or patent box regimes, including three G7 countries. This paper explains the IP box concept, outlines recent U.S. IP box proposals with a focus on the Boustany-Neal discussion draft, and explains changes adopted in 2015 to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards for determining whether IP boxes should be treated as “harmful preferential tax regimes.” \

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October 5, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fleischer Presents Taxing Wealth Today At Minnesota

Fleischer (Miranda)Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) presents Taxing Wealth at the University of Minnesota Law School Corporate Institute Forum on Taxation and Regulation today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series:

Politicians and the public frequently call for higher taxes on the wealthy to fight inequality. Although most lay discussions of wealth taxes ignore the differences among tax instruments, these differences cannot be ignored when designing a wealth tax for that purpose. Why one wishes to combat inequality—for example, to further equality of opportunity or to protect democratic institutions—influences the choice of instrument in a first-best world. In the real world, however, practical considerations—such as valuation and other administrative issues—limit our ability to pursue first-best solutions and influence the most viable second-best options.

October 3, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baugh Presents Can Taxes Shape an Industry? Evidence From The 'Amazon Tax' Today At UC-Berkeley

Baugh 2Brian Baugh (Nebraska) presents Can Taxes Shape an Industry? Evidence from the Implementation of the "Amazon Tax" (with Itzhak Ben-David (Ohio State) & Hoonsuk Park (Ohio State)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar:

For years, online retailers have maintained a price advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers by not collecting sales tax at the time of sale. Recently, several states have required that the online retailer Amazon collect sales tax during checkout. Using transaction-level data, we document that households living in these states reduce Amazon purchases by 9.4% after sales tax laws were implemented, implying elasticities ranging from –1.2 to –1.4.

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October 3, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Mason Presents Citizenship Taxation Today At Florida

Mason (2015)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016), at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

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 migrant.

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September 30, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slemrod Presents The Impact Of Public Tax-Return Disclosure Today At Pennsylvania

SlemrodJoel Slemrod (Michigan) presents The Impact of Public Tax-Return Disclosure (with Jeffrey L. Hoopes (North Carolina) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

We investigate the effect of public disclosure of information from corporate tax returns filed in Australia on consumers, investors, and the corporations themselves that were subject to disclosure. We find some evidence that, for firms subject to disclosure, consumer sentiment declines for relatively small private companies, and that investor reaction is negative for both Australian public firms and non-Australian public firms with Australian operations. Regarding firm behavior, we find evidence that some firms took action to avoid disclosure, adjusting their reported income in order to fall below the disclosure threshold. Other firms that did not avoid disclosure appear to have reported paying more in tax in the year of the disclosure.

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September 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peroni Presents Defending Worldwide Taxation Today At Loyola-L.A.

Peroni (2015)Robert J. Peroni (Texas) presents Defending Worldwide Taxation and Addressing Inversions with a Shareholder-Based Definition of Corporate Residence, 2016 BYU L. Rev. ___ (with J. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

This article argues that a principled, efficient, and practical definition of corporate residence is necessary even if some form of corporate integration is adopted, and that such a definition is a key element in designing either a real worldwide or a territorial income tax system as well as a potential restraint on the inversion phenomenon. The article proposes that the United States adopt a shareholder-based definition of corporate residence that is structured as follows:

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September 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kahng Presents Who Owns Human Capital? At Emory

Kahng (2017)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presented Who Owns Human Capital?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Emory yesterday as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series:

This Article analyzes the tax law’s capital income preference through the lens of intellectual capital, an increasingly important driver of economic productivity whose value derives primarily from workers’ knowledge, experience and skills. The Article discusses how business owners increasingly are able to “propertize” labor into intellectual capital — to control their workers and appropriate the returns on their labor through the expansive use of intellectual property laws, contract and employment laws, and other legal mechanisms. The Article then shows how the tax law provides significant subsidies to the process of propertization and thereby contributes to the inequitable distribution of returns between business owners and workers. The Article’s analysis further reveals the tax law’s fundamental capital-labor distinction to be questionable, perhaps even illusory, an insight which has profound implications for the tax law.

September 22, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Duff Presents Dworkinian Equality And Redistributive Taxation Today At Toronto

Duff (2016)David Duff (British Columbia) presents Tax Policy and the Virtuous Sovereign: Dworkinian Equality and Redistributive Taxation at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Among the purposes of a tax system, it is generally accepted that one role is to implement a society’s conception of distributive justice. Indeed, if justice is, as John Rawls famously declared, “the first virtue of social institutions,” distributive justice may properly be regarded as the first or sovereign virtue of a society’s tax system – to which a virtuous sovereign should properly attend.

This article reviews Ronald Dworkin’s theory of distributive justice as equality of resources and its implications for redistributive taxation. Part II examines the theory itself in contrast to other prominent theories of distributive justice, arguing that Dworkin’s approach provides a more compelling conception of distributive justice than welfare-based theories that do not take rights and responsibilities seriously, Rawlsian theory which is insufficiently attentive to individual rights and responsibilities, and classical libertarianism which fails to take equality seriously.

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September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Buchanan Presents Social Security, Inequality, And Younger Generations Today At Northwestern

BuchananNeil Buchanan (George Washington) presents Social Security, Inequality, and Younger Generations at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Are older generations of Americans using Social Security to enrich themselves at the expense of their children and grandchildren? To listen to the public debate in the United States, one could be forgiven for thinking so. Derogatory labels for older people, such as “greedy geezers,” have become common in the American political debate, with news commentators, politicians, and even the popular culture chiming in with claims that older Americans are the cause of otherwise-solvable budget problems, and more generally that they are a cohort of selfish retirees and near-retirees who refuse to give up their excessive government-provided benefits, which will inevitably lead to disastrous outcomes for the generations to follow.

September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Zidar Presents Business In The United States: Who Owns It And How Much Tax Do They Pay? Today At Columbia

ZidarOwen Zidar (Chicago) presents Business in the United States: Who Owns It and How Much Tax Do They Pay? (with Michael Cooper, John McClelland, James Pearce, Richard Prisinzano, Joseph Sullivan (all of the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis), Danny Yagan (UC-Berkeley), & Eric Zwick (Chicago)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

"Pass-through" businesses like partnerships and S-corporations now generate over half of U.S. business income and account for much of the post-1980 rise in the top-1% income share. We use administrative tax data from 2011 to identify pass-through business owners and estimate how much tax they pay. We present three findings. (1) Relative to traditional business income, pass-through business income is substantially more concentrated among high-earners. (2) Partnership ownership is opaque: 20% of the income goes to unclassifiable partners, and 15% of the income is earned in circularly owned partnerships. (3) The average federal income tax rate on U.S. pass-through business income is 19%--much lower than the average rate on traditional corporations. If pass-through activity had remained at 1980's low level, strong but straightforward assumptions imply that the 2011 average U.S. tax rate on total U.S. business income would have been 28% rather than 24%, and tax revenue would have been approximately $100 billion higher.

Owen Zidar (Chicago), Pass-Through Income and The Top 1%:

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September 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alstott Presents A New Deal For Old Age: Toward A Progressive Retirement Today At Loyola-L.A.

AAAnne Alstott (Yale) presents A New Deal for Old Age: Toward a Progressive Retirement at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

A growing chorus of policy analysts is calling for an increase in the Social Security retirement age. Even staunch defenders of Social Security have begun to concede that the retirement age of 66 is too low, in light of the increasing longevity, improving health, and expanding work options of older Americans. Still, some progressives worry that the only way to protect disadvantaged workers is to leave the early and full retirement ages as they are. The result is a debate that pits intergenerational fairness against intragenerational fairness: either we shortchange the young (by paying unneeded benefits to the old) or else we shortchange the disadvantaged (by raising the retirement age to levels that are unrealistic for low-earners).

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September 19, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Polsky Presents Elite Tax Professionals And The Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga Today at Florida

Polsky (2015)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at Florida today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

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 their salaries as capital gains. 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. Reports of recent audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of dollars of tax revenues have been permanently lost.

While much has been written on the substantive legal issues surrounding fee waivers, there has been no discussion of the prominent role that leading tax professionals have played in drafting, justifying, and defending fee waivers. This article discusses this sad and sordid aspect of the fee waiver saga. It is not a pretty picture.

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September 16, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lederman Presents Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? Today At Boston College

Ledderman (2016)Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents To What Extent Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:

Governments commonly use deterrence methods, such as audits and the imposition of penalties, to foster compliance with tax laws. Although this approach is consistent with economic modeling of tax compliance, some scholars caution that deterrence may backfire, “crowding out” intrinsic motivations to pay taxes and thus reducing compliance. This article analyzes the evidence to date to determine the extent of such an effect. Field studies suggest that deterrence tools, such as audits, generally are highly effective at increasing tax collections but that crowding out may occur in some contexts, with respect to certain subgroups of taxpayers. The article argues that more field studies on compliant taxpayers are needed but that the existing evidence suggests that tax collectors should be careful with the explicit and implicit messages they give taxpayers, so as not to undermine the generally positive effects on compliance of enforcement of the tax laws.

Update:  Shu-Yi Oei blogs the workshop here.

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September 15, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Presents Taxpayer Rights, Social Psychology And The EITC Today At Loyola-L.A.

BookLes Book (Villanova) presents Thinking About Taxpayer Rights and Social Psychology to Improve Administration of the EITC at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

The IRS is a reluctant but key player in delivering social benefits to the nation’s working poor. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is generally praised for its role in reducing poverty and incentivizing low-wage work. While the EITC has generally received bipartisan support, the IRS faces strong criticism over EITC compliance issues. Opponents focus on headline-generating reports of improper payments and a characterization of errors as likely due to fraud. Advocates look to the intersection of legal complexity and the characteristics of recipients as the main driver of error and the relatively low share of the tax gap that is attributable to refundable credits in general and the EITC in particular.

The current compliance challenge presents an opportunity to think about the compliance problem differently than before.

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September 12, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hackney Presents Labor Unions And Tax Exemption Today At Northwestern

HackneyPhilip Hackney (LSU) presents Subsidizing the Heavenly Chorus: Labor Unions and Tax Exemption at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Labor interests are historically politically weak in our US democracy. They face classic collective action problems. Laborers are great in number, do not have strong political skills, and are unlikely to recoup the cost of participating in labor union activity. Without assistance, we should expect labor interests to engage in limited and sporadic organized political efforts. This presents big problems for a modern democratic state that depends upon organized interests to represent the interests of its citizens. This Article examines the impact of our federal income tax system on labor interests in the context of the provision of tax exemption to labor unions and the deduction of labor union dues.

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September 7, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hemel And Maynard Push Boundaries Of Equity In Ohio State Tax Workshops

HMStephanie Hoffer (Ohio State), Hemel and Maynard Push Boundaries of Equity in Recent Workshops:

As part of its summer workshop series, Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law invites junior scholars to present works-in-progress.  This summer, we had the pleasure of hosting both Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Goldburn Maynard, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.  Both junior tax scholars are challenging the ways in which tax policy makers think about equity in the context of distributive justice.

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August 24, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Journal of Tax Administration Hosts Workshop Today On U.S. And U.K. Trends In Tax Exceptionalism And Tax Litigation

JOTAThe Journal of Tax Administration hosts a workshop today on Trends in Tax Exceptionalism and Tax Litigation (program):

In the United States, the Supreme Court's 2011 decision in the Mayo Foundation case has fundamentally changed tax litigation and tax administration. Previously, tax administration functioned with a mindset of "tax exceptionalism" from the administrative statutory requirements, legal doctrines, and norms that applied to other federal government agencies. The legal veracity of tax exceptionalism had not been tested; it was an unchallenged assumption, but one that persisted for some decades. In Mayo Foundation, the Supreme Court expressly rejected tax exceptionalism from general administrative law requirements, doctrines, and norms absent "good reason" — which is generally thought to mean unless the Internal Revenue Code provides an express exception.

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July 14, 2016 in Colloquia, Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lederman Presents Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? At Oxford And Vienna

Ledderman (2016)Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomnington) presented Does Enforcement Crowd Out Voluntary Tax Compliance? at Oxford University's Saïd Business School and Vienna University of Economics and Business:

Governments commonly use deterrence methods, such as audits and the imposition of penalties, to foster compliance with tax laws. Although this approach is consistent with economic modeling of tax compliance, some scholars caution that deterrence may backfire, “crowding out” intrinsic motivations to pay taxes and thus reducing compliance. This article analyzes the evidence to date to determine the extent of such an effect. Field studies suggest that deterrence tools, such as audits, generally are highly effective at increasing tax collections but that crowding out may occur in some contexts, with respect to certain subgroups of taxpayers.

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June 2, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blank Presents The Timing Of Tax Transparency Today In Sweden

Blank (2016)Joshua Blank (NYU) presents The Timing of Tax Transparency, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at the Stockholm Centre for Commercial Law at Stockholm University in Sweden today at an event hosted by Teresa Simon-Almendal, Peter Melz and Roger Persson-Osterman (all of Stockholm University):

Fairness in the administration of the tax law is the subject of intense debate in the United States. As recent headlines reveal, the Internal Revenue Service has been accused of failing to enforce the tax law equitably in its review of tax-exempt status applications by political organizations, the international tax structures of multinational corporations, and the estate tax returns of millionaires, among other areas. Many have argued that greater “tax transparency” would better empower the public to hold the IRS accountable and the IRS to defend itself against accusations of malfeasance. Mandatory public disclosure of taxpayers’ tax return information is often proposed as a way to achieve greater tax transparency. Yet, in addition to concerns regarding exposure of personal and proprietary information, broad public disclosure measures pose potential threats to the taxing authority’s ability to enforce the tax law.

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May 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Prasad Presents Neoliberalism And The 1981 Reagan Tax Cuts Today At NYU

PrasadMonica Prasad (Northwestern) presents The Popular Origins of Neoliberalism in the Reagan Tax Cut of 1981, 24 J. Pol'y Hist. 351 (2012), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico:

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.

The irony is that the policy that accelerated the growth of that debt was the very policy Reagan was promoting in that first address, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA). This tax cut remains the largest tax cut in American history. Of course, spending increases were also necessary to the creation of the new mountain of debt, but spending has increased many times over the course of the century. What was historically new was the policy of not raising taxes to match those spending increases.

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May 3, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Marian Presents The State Administration Of International Tax Avoidance Today At City University London

Marian (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents The State Administration of International Tax Avoidance, 7 Harv. Bus. L. Rev. ___ (2016), at a Discussion Workshop on Corruption and the Role of Tax Havens at City University London:

This Article documents a process in which a national tax administration in one jurisdiction, is consciously and systematically assisting taxpayers to avoid taxes in other jurisdictions. The aiding tax administration collects a small amount tax from the aided taxpayers. Such tax is functionally structured as a fee paid for government-provided tax avoidance services. Such behavior can be easily copied (and probably is copied) by other tax administrations. The implications are profound. On the normative front, the findings should fundamentally change our understanding of the concept of international tax competition. Tax competition is generally understood to be the adoption of low tax rates in order to attract investments into the jurisdiction. Instead, this Article identifies an intentional “bagger thy neighbor” behavior, aimed at attracting revenue generated by successful investments in other jurisdictions, without attracting actual investments. The result is a distorted competitive environment, in which revenue is denied from jurisdictions the infrastructure and workforce of which support economically productive activity. On the practical front, the findings suggest that internationally coordinated efforts to combat tax avoidance are misaimed. Current efforts are largely aimed at curtailing aggressive taxpayer behavior. Instead, the Article proposes that the focus of such efforts should be curtailing certain rogue practices adopted by national tax administrations.

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April 29, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Zelenak Presents Tax-Free Basis Step-Up At Death And The Charitable Deduction Of Unrealized Appreciation Today At Georgetown

Zelenak (2016)Lawrence Zelenak (Duke) presents The Tax-Free Basis Step-Up at Death, the Charitable Deduction of Unrealized Appreciation, and the Persistence of Error at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

This article recounts, as a study in the remarkable persistence of early error even when the error is promptly recognized and addressed, the legislative and administrative histories of the taxfree basis step-up at death and the charitable deduction for unrealized appreciation. Part I describes the early development of the basis rules for property transferred by gift or bequest, and Part II covers the early history of the charitable deduction for appreciated property. Parts III and IV are concerned with less ancient events. Part III recounts the short unhappy life of the 1976 carryover basis reform, and Part IV does the same for the 1986 AMT reform. Part V briefly concludes.

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April 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Gravelle Presents Policy Options To Address Corporate Profit Shifting: Carrots Or Sticks? Today At NYU

GravelleJane Gravelle (Congressional Research Service) presents Policy Options to Address Corporate Profit Shifting: Carrots or Sticks? at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico:

Issues surrounding the U.S. tax treatment of foreign source income, focused in large part in the past on real investment, may, to some degree, have given way to concern about tax minimization strategies that allow firms to shift profits into low and no tax countries. Firms can benefit from profit shifting because, although the United States has a worldwide income tax system with a credit for foreign taxes paid, income earned by U.S. multinationals’ foreign subsidiaries is not subject to tax until it is repatriated, that is, paid to the parent firm as a dividend. (Current law requires some income easily subject to abuse, called Subpart F income, to be taxed currently). In addition, firms can shield repatriated profits from low tax countries from U.S. tax if they have excess foreign tax credits from operations in high tax countries. Profit shifting is largely a problem of lost revenue rather than inefficient location of investment, although widespread manipulation of the tax rules to avoid taxes also may undermine voluntary compliance with the tax system by others.

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April 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kahng Presents Who Owns Human Capital? Today At Pepperdine

Kahng (2017)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presents Who Owns Human Capital?, 93 Wash. U. 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 Article analyzes the tax law’s capital income preference through the lens of intellectual capital, an increasingly important driver of economic productivity whose value derives primarily from workers’ knowledge, experience and skills. The Article discusses how business owners increasingly are able to “propertize” labor into intellectual capital — to control their workers and appropriate the returns on their labor through the expansive use of intellectual property laws, contract and employment laws, and other legal mechanisms. The Article then shows how the tax law provides significant subsidies to the process of propertization and thereby contributes to the inequitable distribution of returns between business owners and workers. The Article’s analysis further reveals the tax law’s fundamental capital-labor distinction to be questionable, perhaps even illusory, an insight which has profound implications for the tax law.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Lunch

April 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Doran Presents The Puzzle Of Non-Qualified Retirement Pay Today At Penn

Doran (2015)Michael Doran (Virginia) presents The Puzzle of Non-Qualified Retirement Pay: Optimal Contracting, Managerial Power, and Taxes at Pennsylvania today as part of its Center for Tax Law and Policy Seminar Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

Pay arrangements for managers of public corporations typically include substantial amounts of compensation deferred through non-qualified retirement plans. As a departure from the familiar baseline of current payment for current services, this presents a longstanding puzzle. The corporate-governance literature offers two explanations for the practice. The “optimal-contracting account” argues that non-qualified retirement pay represents “inside debt” that aligns the interests of managers with the interests of the corporation’s unsecured general creditors. The “managerial-power account” argues that non-qualified retirement pay represents “stealth compensation” that facilitates managers’ extraction of rents from corporate assets. In this paper, I set out a different explanation based on tax considerations.

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April 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)