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Monday, October 6, 2014

Galle Presents The Price of Knowledge: Regulatory Design in an Uncertain World Today at Florida

GalleBrian Galle (Boston College) presents The Price of Knowledge: Regulatory Design in an Uncertain World at Florida today as part of its Graduate Tax Program Colloquium Series:

I examine a regulator’s choice of how and when to regulate when marginal costs and marginal social benefits of compliance vary across regulated parties and are costly to observe. Recent commentary suggests that heterogeneity of marginal cost favors “carrots” over “sticks.” Other commentary argues that heterogeneity of marginal social benefit may favor ex post over ex ante regulation, or may weigh in favor of “command and control” regulation rather than either sticks or carrots. While these recent papers add important nuance to the regulatory design literature, I argue here that their analysis overlooks several other critical factors that may alter their final policy recommendations. For example, I show that when marginal cost varies and moral hazard is possible, optimal government policy is a mix of stick and carrot, much as the optimal insurance contract provides for some co-payment by the insured. Ex post regulation does provide useful additional information when regulated parties are heterogeneous, but also carries significant and sometimes prohibitive social cost, especially when externalities are produced by limited-liability firms. Further, drawing on results from mathematical simulations, I show that the costs of heterogeneity can be sharply reduced even with a small degree of government flexibility. I apply these insights to a series of examples, including the pending U.S. cap-and-trade regulations, fat taxes, and the regulation of systemic risk in the banking sector.

October 6, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

McMahon Presents Reforming Taxation of Privately Held Businesses Today at Loyola-L.A.

McMahon (Marty)Martin J. McMahon Jr. (Florida) presents Reforming Taxation of Privately Held Businesses at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

This article proposes the repeal of current Subchapters K and S, as well as the removal from the ambit of Subchapter C of all privately held corporations and the replacement of the current tax regime for privately held business with a new regime under which all privately held businesses (including wholly owned corporations and limited liability companies, and unorganized sole proprietorships) would be taxed at the entity level under a uniform rate schedule, regardless of the form of organization. (All publicly traded companies, and their controlled corporate subsidiaries, would continue to be governed by all of the structural rules of Subchapter C (and any other relevant Code sections outside of Subchapter C.))

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October 6, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wells: Pass-Through Entity Taxation -- A Tempest in the Tax Reform Teapot

Bret Wells (Houston), Pass-Through Entity Taxation: A Tempest in the Tax Reform Teapot, 14 Hous. Bus. & Tax L.J. 1 (2013):

Pass-through entities represent a major conceptual challenge for policy-makers today. But, pass-through entities did not occupy its dominant position with respect to growth-oriented small businesses prior to 1986, and the exponential growth in the importance of pass-through entity taxation since 1986 creates an impressive backdrop for the current business tax reform discussion. However, if tax reform proceeds along the path where corporate tax rates are significantly lower than individual tax rates, then small business taxpayers will be provided with a compelling economic incentive to exit pass-through entity structures in favor of C corporate entities. Tax reform that creates a monumental paradigm shift in the business planning premises of closely-held businesses will bring about transformative reactive tax planning on the part of the business community. Consequently, before enacting such a significant paradigm shift, Congress should clearly articulate the policy goals of this tax rate paradigm so that taxpayers will know which attempts to utilize C corporation vehicles as a mechanism to avoid the higher individual tax rate are acceptable and which such attempts cross the line. Where to draw the line is the historic challenge of the pre-1980 paradigm, but this reality has been shielded from our view due to the inverted rate structure that has existed since 1986.

October 6, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blanchard: Notice 2014-52 and the New Anti-Inversion Rules

Tax Analysys Logo (2013) Kimberly S. Blanchard (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York), Extensive New Anti-Inversion Rules Issued, 145 Tax Notes 89 (Oct. 6, 2014):

Blanchard summarizes the provisions of anti-inversion guidance Notice 2014-52 and suggests some practical tips for what it might mean in the future.

October 6, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Larson: The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789

My friend and colleague Ed Larson has published his latest book, The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789 (2014):

ReturnPulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson [Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (2006)] recovers a crucially important—yet almost always overlooked—chapter of George Washington’s life, revealing how Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.

After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington shocked the world: he retired. In December 1783, General Washington, the most powerful man in the country, stepped down as Commander in Chief and returned to private life at Mount Vernon. Yet as Washington contentedly grew his estate, the fledgling American experiment floundered. Under the Articles of Confederation, the weak central government was unable to raise revenue to pay its debts or reach a consensus on national policy. The states bickered and grew apart. When a Constitutional Convention was established to address these problems, its chances of success were slim. Jefferson, Madison, and the other Founding Fathers realized that only one man could unite the fractious states: George Washington. Reluctant, but duty-bound, Washington rode to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to preside over the Convention.

Although Washington is often overlooked in most accounts of the period, this masterful new history from Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward J. Larson brilliantly uncovers Washington’s vital role in shaping the Convention—and shows how it was only with Washington’s support and his willingness to serve as President that the states were brought together and ratified the Constitution, thereby saving the country.

Wall Street Journal, George Washington’s Years of Retirement Shaped the Republic as Much as the Victories He Won on the Battlefield, by Richard Snow:

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October 5, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN is the same as last week's. The #1 paper is now #19 in all-time downloads among 10,351 tax papers:

  1. [3247 Downloads]  'Competitiveness' Has Nothing to Do with it, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)
  2. [334 Downloads]  2013 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law, by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid and Riege, Hartford)
  3. [264 Downloads]  Public Pressure and Corporate Tax Behavior, by Scott Dyreng (Duke), Jeffrey Hoopes (Ohio State) & Jaron Wilde (Iowa)
  4. [208 Downloads]  The OECD'S Flawed and Dated Approach to Computer Servers Creating Permanent Establishments, by Monica Gianni (Florida)
  5. [129 Downloads]  Rights Without Remedies, by Matthew L. M. Fletcher (Michigan State)

October 5, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are College Football Coaches Overpaid?

Randall S. Thomas (Vanderbilt) & R. Lawrence Van Horn (Vanderbilt), Are Football Coaches Overpaid? Evidence from Their Employment Contracts:

SabanThe commentators and the media pay particular attention to the compensation of high profile individuals. Whether these are corporate CEOs, or college football coaches, many critics question whether their levels of remuneration are appropriate. In contrast, corporate governance scholarship has asserted that as long as the compensation is tied to shareholder interests, it is the employment contract and incentives therein which should be the source of scrutiny, not the absolute level of pay itself. We employ this logic to study the compensation contracts of Division I FBS college football coaches during the period 2005-2013. Our analysis finds many commonalities between the structure and incentives of the employment contracts of CEOs and these football coaches. These contracts’ features are consistent with what economic theory would predict. As such we find no evidence that the structure of college football coach contracts is misaligned, or that they are overpaid.

October 4, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (13)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

October 3, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Weekly RoundupChristopher Weeg (J.D. 2015, Florida), Starting with the [Tax] Man in the Mirror: Asking the IRS to Change its Ways of Valuing Postmortem Publicity Rights (Second Place, 2014 Federal Bar Association’s Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition):

Legal issues often arise at the intersection between a new legal right and an existing legal framework. In the estate tax world, the relatively new right of publicity clashed with the well-settled statutory language defining the value of a gross estate. In 1994, the court in Estate of Andrews v. United States, addressed the “issue of first impression” of the value of an author’s name as part of her estate for federal tax purposes. Andrews’ ruling demonstrated that publicity rights are (1) includible in a decedent’s gross estate and (2) valued based on a hypothetical sales transaction between a buyer and a seller.

Even after Andrews, the inclusion and valuation of these descendible rights for federal estate tax, as well as the liquidity issues they pose to cash-strapped estates, have continued to be debated by highly regarded scholars and practitioners. Mitchell M. Gans, Bridget J. Crawford, and Jonathan G. Blattmachr advocated for a legislative solution to this problem [Postmortem Rights of Publicity: The Federal Estate Tax Consequences of New State-Law Property Rights, 117 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 203 (2008)]. They proposed a modification to state law, whereby a decedent’s publicity rights automatically pass to a designated statutory heir and, thus, are excluded from the gross estate.6 In response to the proposal, Joshua C. Tate argued that the publicity rights, through the supposed restriction on testamentary control by automatic vesting in the statutory heir, are nonetheless includible in a decedent’s estate because the celebrity enjoyed a property interest in them at the date of death [Marilyn Monroe’s Legacy: Taxation of Postmortem Publicity Rights, 118 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 38 (2008)]. Following Tate’s article, Gans, Crawford, and Blattmachr defended their position that post-death control is a requirement for estate tax inclusion [The Estate Tax Fundamentals of Celebrity and Control, 118 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 50 (2008)]. Tate replied that, in effect, their proposal was an estate tax free lunch for celebrities and, thus, did not serve the broader policy justifications and normative goals of the federal estate tax [Immortal Fame: Publicity Rights, Taxation, and the Power of Testation, 44 Ga. L. Rev. 1 (2009)].

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October 3, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

4th Annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

NYU UCLAThe Fourth Annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century takes place today at UCLA:

The day-long event will consist of five panels featuring leading scholars who will analyze the book from economic, legal, historical, political science and philosophical perspectives. Thomas Piketty will participate in the discussion and deliver responses to each of the papers presented.

  • Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU), moderated by Eric Zolt (UCLA)
  • Gregory Clark (UC-Davis), moderated by Joshua Blank (NYU)
  • Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia), moderated by David Kamin (NYU)
  • Suzanne Mettler (Cornell), moderated by Jason Oh (UCLA)
  • Liam Murphy (NYU), moderated by Kirk Stark (UCLA)

All papers will be published in the Tax Law Review in 2015.

October 3, 2014 in Book Club, Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Washington Hosts 2014 Tax Symposium

UW 3The University of Washington hosts the 2014 Tax Symposium today:

Panel #1:  Neil Buchanan (George Washington) (moderator)

Panel # 2:  Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) (moderator)

  • Andrew Blair-Stanek (Maryland), Crisis-Proofing Tax Law
  • Michelle Drumbl (Washington & Lee), Beyond Polemics: Poverty, Taxes, and Noncompliance
  • Michael Hatfield (Washington), Privacy and IRS Surveillance: An Agenda

Panel #3:  Jasper Smith (Tax Analysts) (moderator)

Incubator Sessions:

  • Neil Buchanan (George Washington), The Impact of Piketty's Bestseller on Tax Policy and Scholarship
  • Heather Field (UC Hastings), The Rhetoric of Tax Loopholes & The Possibility of Meaningful Tax Reform
  • Steve Johnson (Florida State), Is a Value Added Tax Inevitable?
  • Rebecca Morrow (Wake Forest), Accelerating Depreciation in Recession
  • Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.), Encouraging Performance and Functional Review of Tax Expenditures

October 3, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bilgel & Galle: Tax Incentives and Organ Donation

Firat Bilgel (Okan University, Istanbul) & Brian D. Galle (Boston College), Paying for Altruism: The Case of Organ Donation Revisited:

DOnateAlthough many commentators have called for increased efforts to incentivize organ donations, theorists and some evidence suggest these efforts will be ineffective or even could perversely crowd out altruistic efforts. Prior papers examining the impact of tax incentives for donations generally report zero or negative coefficients. We argue these studies incorrectly define their tax variables, and rely on difference-in-differences methods despite likely failures of the requisite parallel trends assumption. We therefore aim to identify the causal effect of tax incentive legislation to serve as an organ donor on living related and unrelated kidney donation rates in the U.S states using more precise tax data and allowing for heterogenous and time-variant causal effects. Employing a synthetic control method, we find that the passage of tax incentive legislation increased living unrelated kidney donation rates by about 52 percent in New York relative to a comparable synthetic New York in the absence of legislation. We show that this causal effect is robust to the exclusion of any particular state as well as to the use of a very small number of comparison states.

October 2, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leff: Preventing Private Inurement in Tranched Social Enterprises

Benjamin M. Leff (American), Preventing Private Inurement in Tranched Social Enterprises, 41 Seton Hall L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Social Enterprises are organizations that are operated for the dual purpose of engaging in profit-making activity and furthering a social good. Because of their “hybrid” nature, social enterprises are perceived to be stymied by a legal system that is overly devoted to defining organizations as either businesses or nonprofits. Legal academics and legislatures have been hard at work trying to make room for social enterprises by experimenting with modifications the laws that constrain both businesses and nonprofits. One significant sector of this reform movement is devoted to making it easier for social enterprises to receive funding from both for-profit investors and charitable non-profits. They argue that social enterprises will not flourish until charitable non-profits are permitted make below-market investments in social enterprises for the purpose of subsidizing the return expected by for-profit investors. This combination of below-market charitable investments and market-rate for-profit investments is generally called a “tranched investment structure.” It is not impossible under current law, but reformers argue that it is unnecessarily difficult, primarily because of federal laws restricting nonprofit activities.

This article addresses the specific legal issues raised by a tranched investment structure. Previous scholarship (and legislative reform) has focused on specific rules that apply only to “private foundations,” a subcategory of § 501(c)(3) organizations, the general federal classification of charities. But, surprisingly, commentators have largely ignored the laws that apply to tranched investment structures involving any § 501(c)(3) organization. This article fills that gap.

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October 2, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah: Reflections on the 'New Wave' Inversions and Notice 2014-52

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), A World Turned Upside Down: Reflections on the 'New Wave' Inversions and Notice 2014-52, 145 Tax Notes 95 (Oct. 6, 2014):

On September 22, 2014, the Treasury issued Notice 2014-52 (the “Notice”). The Notice was intended to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to use executive actions to the extent possible to block the new wave of corporate inversions. To what extent can the Notice succeed?

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October 2, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zolt Presents Fiscal Contracting in Latin America Today at Harvard

Zolt (2014)Eric M. Zolt (UCLA) presents Fiscal Contracting in Latin America (with Richard M. Bird (Toronto)) at Harvard today as part of its Tax Law, Policy and Practice Workshop Series hosted by Daniel Halperin and Stephen Shay:

Latin America has long been characterized as a region of high income inequality. In recent years, however, many countries have seen a decrease in income inequality and poverty levels and an increase in economic mobility. Fiscal policies have played a role in achieving these results. One important explanation for changing fiscal policies is the increasing economic and political role played by the growing middle class in shaping the level and quality of collective goods and services and the types of taxes and relative tax burdens to fund these expenditures. Through a process we call “fiscal contracting,” less unequal societies may be willing to pay more in taxes for expanded, relatively universal public services.

October 1, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schön Presents International Taxation of Risk Today at Toronto

SchoenWolfgang Schön (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance) presents International Taxation of Risk at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The allocation of risk and of the income from risky investment and activities belongs to the central topics of international tax policy today. This fact is highlighted by the current BEPS initiative of G20 and OECD which casts doubt on the recognition of contractual risk allocation within multinational groups and its impact on profit allocation between separate entities within these groups. It is largely felt that “risk shifting” provides the basis for “profit shifting” by multinationals to the detriment of states and domestic competitors.

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October 1, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Singhal Presents Firm Misreporting Behavior and Tax Evasion Substitution Today at Columbia

8171Monica Singhal (Harvard) presents Dodging the Taxman: Evidence on Firm Misreporting Behavior and Evasion Substitution (with Paul Carrillo (George Washington) & Dina Pomeranz (Harvard)) at Columbia today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov, David Schizer, and Wojciech Kopczuk:

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

September 30, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bird & Zolt: Fiscal Contracting in Latin America

Richard M. Bird (Toronto) & Eric M. Zolt (UCLA), Fiscal Contracting in Latin America:

Latin America has long been characterized as a region of high income inequality. In recent years, however, many countries have seen a decrease in income inequality and poverty levels and an increase in economic mobility. Fiscal policies have played a role in achieving these results. One important explanation for changing fiscal policies is the increasing economic and political role played by the growing middle class in shaping the level and quality of collective goods and services and the types of taxes and relative tax burdens to fund these expenditures. Through a process we call “fiscal contracting,” less unequal societies may be willing to pay more in taxes for expanded, relatively universal public services.

September 30, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jellum: Codifying and 'Miscodifying' Judicial Anti-Abuse Tax Doctrines

Linda Jellum (Mercer), Codifying and 'Miscodifying' Judicial Anti-Abuse Tax Doctrines, 33 Va. Tax Rev. 579 (2014):

As former President George W. Bush said once, “the tax code is a complicated mess . . . [and] a million pages long.” The length and complexity of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) is largely the result of the U.S. government’s rule-based approach to curtail tax abuse. Taxpayers, aided by literalism, have long found and used language in the tax laws to avoid or minimize their tax obligations. Although complying with the language of the law, abusive tax transactions are nevertheless at odds with the law’s spirit. Historically, the government, specifically Congress and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), has responded by crafting new rules to stem the abuse.

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September 30, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Barry Presents The Foreign Tax Credit and the Limits of Substance Today at Loyola-L.A.

BarryJordan Barry (San Diego) presents The Foreign Tax Credit and the Limits of Substance at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

The foreign income tax credit is a major component of U.S. economic policy and a key provision of the U.S. tax code. Accordingly, when the Supreme Court took up PPL v. Commissioner, which turned on whether a particular tax qualified for the foreign income tax credit, economists and tax experts nationwide paid close attention. Because the Supreme Court decides foreign income tax credit cases so rarely, the Court’s reasoning in PPL will likely influence courts’ thinking—and taxpayers’ pocketbooks—for many years to come. Unfortunately, the Court’s decision in PPL does little to clarify the law and guide taxpayers. Instead, it reveals the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the foreign income tax credit.

The Court justifies its ruling as a triumph of substance over form. But the Court’s opinion itself demonstrates how two taxes can be the same in substance, yet be treated quite differently for purposes of the foreign income tax credit. The Court describes a specific hypothetical tax that would not be creditable—yet there are multiple taxes that are substantively identical to the Court’s hypothetical tax, but qualify for significant foreign income tax credits.

This Article explores these conceptual problems with the foreign income tax credit, as demonstrated by PPL, and suggests several steps that Congress and the IRS might wish to take to ameliorate these problems.

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September 29, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium on Tax System Complexity Today in Italy

MonashMonash University hosts a two-day symposium beginning today on Tax System Complexity in Prato, near Florence, Italy convened by Chris Evans (University of New South Wales, Australia) and Rick Krever (Monash University. The symposium proceedings will be published by Kluwer in early 2015 in a book edited by Professors Evans and Krever. Speakers include Joel Slemrod (Michigan), Judith Freedman (Oxford), Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia), Philip Baker (London), Francois Vaillancourt (Montreal), Sharon Smulders (Pretoria), Kristin Hickman (Minnesota), John Hasseldine (New Hampshire), Michael Walpole (UNSW Australia), Lynne Oats (Exeter), Pasquale Pistone (Vienna), Cliff Fleming (Brigham Young) and David Ulph (Edinburgh).

 There are three broad themes within which papers will be situated:

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September 29, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Law Schools Adopt the Montessori Method?

Emily Grant (Washburn), The Pink Tower Meets the Ivory Tower: Adapting Montessori Teaching Methods for Law School, 66 Ark. L. Rev. ___ (2014):

MontessoriSome principles of teaching are timeless. Maria Montessori developed a methodology for teaching children over 100 years ago, nearly the same time Christopher Columbus Langdell was adapting the Socratic Method for teaching law students. Law school professors can incorporate Montessori’s ideas to foster a more robust educational environment for law students as they join a profession of life-long self-directed learners.

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September 29, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shay Presents Tax Inversions -- The Problem and Possible Solutions Today at San Diego

Shay (2014)Stephen E. Shay (Harvard) presents Mr. Secretary, Take the Tax Juice Out of Corporate Expatriations, 144 Tax Notes 473 (July 28, 2014), at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series:

This article describes the principal tax benefits companies seek from expatriating and outlines regulatory actions that can be taken without legislative action to materially reduce the tax incentive to expatriate. These proposals for regulations are supported by existing statutory authority. They would be good policy and consistent with, or easily integrated with, publicly proposed tax reform proposals.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

September 26, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blair-Stanek Presents Crisis-Proofing Tax Law Today at Michigan State

Blair-Stanek (2013)Andrew Blair-Stanek (Maryland) presents Crisis-Proofing Tax Law at Michigan State today as part of its Junior Faculty Workshop:

Tax law should borrow from tort law’s doctrine of necessity to respond better to future financial crises. Tort law gives dock owners a “property rule” right to exclude unwanted boats. But when storms arise, dock owners are protected by only a “liability rule”: they cannot exclude an unwanted boat, but the boat’s owner must compensate the dock owner. This rule creates optimal incentives to minimize storm damage, while also preventing windfalls to boat owners.

Tax law also has both property rules and liability rules. When a taxpayer violates a tax-law requirement, the result is either additional tax proportionate to the harm (a liability rule) or a draconian penalty such as losing a favorable tax status entirely (a property rule).

During the 2008-09 financial crisis, a number of financially-distressed taxpayers found themselves unable to meet tax-law requirements protected by property rules. Failing these requirements would have pushed the taxpayers into financial death spirals. Several of the IRS’s ad hoc responses to the crisis unwittingly borrowed from tort law’s doctrine of necessity, moving from a draconian property rule to a proportional liability rule to prevent tax law from worsening the taxpayer’s situation. But other IRS responses simply moved from property rules to non-enforcement, resulting in large windfalls to some taxpayers, to the Treasury’s detriment. Counterintuitively, because non-enforcement created such windfalls, the IRS kept such responses so narrowly tailored that many taxpayers got no relief at all.

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September 26, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

September 26, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Tax Papers: Summer 2015 SEALS Annual Conference

SEALs Logo (2013)Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky) has issued a call for tax papers for the 2015 SEALS Annual Conference to be held July 27 - August 2 in Boca Raton, Florida:

Although summer 2015 seems miles away, it is already time to submit proposals for the next SEALS conference, to be held July 27 - August 2, 2015. As I have done in years past, I am happy to organize and submit for consideration panels and discussion sessions on tax topics. For the past several years we have had successful Tax Policy Discussion groups, consisting of 10 to 12 tax scholars presenting for only 5 to 10 minutes each, but then participating as a group in a larger discussion of issues in tax policy, broadly defined. In addition, there have been several tax panels each year, consisting of 4 to 5 panelists discussing a more narrow tax topic. If you are interested in participating in a Tax Policy Discussion Group, or if you have a paper you’d like to present as part of a panel, but are looking for others to join with you, please let me know. Proposals are due at the end of October, so if you could let me know of your potential interest by Friday, October 10, that would be great.

September 26, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Columbia Journal of Tax Law Publishes New Issue

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published  Vol. 5, No. 2:

September 25, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kahng: Tax, Incest, and Big (Gay) Love

Lily Kahng (Seattle), Next Up, Incest (Jotwell) (reviewing Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, 92 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum ___ (2014)):

Big LoveGay marriage opponents love to fear monger about the slippery slope of extending marriage beyond the legal union between one man and one woman. They prophesy that if we allow marriage between two men or two women, we will descend into a Gomorrah of incest, adultery, polygamy, and animal love. In his essay, Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, Anthony Infanti makes subversive use of this repugnant meme to advance his view that tax results should not depend on marriage in the first place. ...

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September 25, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

McMahon: Rethinking Taxation of Privately Held Businesses

Martin J. McMahon Jr. (Florida), Rethinking Taxation of Privately Held Businesses:

This article proposes the repeal of current Subchapters K and S, as well as the removal from the ambit of Subchapter C of all privately held corporations and the replacement of the current tax regime for privately held business with a new regime under which all privately held businesses (including wholly owned corporations and limited liability companies, and unorganized sole proprietorships) would be taxed at the entity level under a uniform rate schedule, regardless of the form of organization. (All publicly traded companies, and their controlled corporate subsidiaries, would continue to be governed by all of the structural rules of Subchapter C (and any other relevant Code sections outside of Subchapter C.)) Nevertheless, the profits of privately held companies subject to the entity level tax would not be double taxed upon distribution. Rather, a single level tax, at the owners’ tax rates would be achieved by applying the imputation-credit model for corporate tax integration to all distributions (including profits of a sole proprietorship that have not been reinvested) to the equity owners of the entity. As a consequence of the abolition of pass-through taxation and the imposition of an entity-level tax, entity losses no longer could be passed through to the entity’s owners to offset positive income from other sources. This proposal emanates from decades-long problems with the administration of Subchapter K, governing the taxation of partnerships, and the incoherence of having three separate regimes—Subchapter C, Subchapter K, and Subchapter S—apply to closely held businesses depending of the form of organization and available elections. While it does not originate as a refinement of recent proposals to reduce the corporate tax rate and to clean up the base, its adoption would facilitate such a move. Because such a high percentage of U.S. business income is now earned by unincorporated business it would avoid increased distortions in the choice of business entity due solely to tax planning.

September 25, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Columbia Journal of Tax Law's Tax Matters: Tax Inversions

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published a new issue of its Tax Matters feature, with three short pieces by tax practitions responding to a specific cutting-edge tax law issue posed by a tax academic.  This issue's prompt is by Robert Scarborough (Columbia):

United States taxation of worldwide income combined with a high corporate tax rate disadvantages US-headed multinational groups compared with groups with the same income mix but a non-US parent. The disadvantage has become more pronounced in recent years as more countries move to territorial systems and lower rates.

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September 24, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lederman: Restructuring the U.S. Tax Court

Leandra Lederman (Indiana), Restructuring the U.S. Tax Court: A Reply to Stephanie Hoffer & Christopher Walker's 'The Death of Tax Court Exceptionalism', 99 Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes ___ (2014):

Stephanie Hoffer and Christopher Walker’s excellent Minnesota Law Review article, The Death of Tax Court Exceptionalism, analyzes the topical and important question of whether the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) governs the standard and scope of review the Tax Court applies to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decisions. The APA contains provisions for court review of agency decisions but the Tax Court has repeatedly stated that the APA does not apply to it. As a result, the Tax Court has accorded less across-the-board deference to the IRS than APA standards call for.

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September 24, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnston Reviews Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This

David Cay Johnston (Syracuse), Book Review: Edward D. Kleinbard, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, 2014), 144 Tax Notes 1465 (Sept. 22, 2014):

KleinbardWe Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, 2014) by Edward D. Kleinbard is a comprehensive, thoughtful, and informed volume on taxation and government spending.

This masterpiece of tax, fiscal, and economic policy is richly endowed with philosophical insights from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and holds the potential to change our often dogmatic and sometimes toxic public debate over how we tax ourselves and spend our tax dollars into a conversation about how to raise more money with less pain and spend in ways that will produce a happier America.

Kleinbard's book is especially useful in proposing a new way to measure capital incomes and a much smarter way to tax corporate profits. ...

The book challenges bedrock tax policy assumptions -- the marginal utility of income theory; the value of progressive taxation; the idea that regressive taxes are bad and should not be used to fund universal services like healthcare, education and infrastructure; the way we tax capital incomes, especially now that most businesses are pass-through entities, which he calls incoherent.

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September 24, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Schön Presents International Taxation of Risk Today at Columbia

SchoenWolfgang Schön (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance) presents International Taxation of Risk at Columbia today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov, David Schizer, and Wojciech Kopczuk:

The allocation of risk and of the income from risky investment and activities belongs to the central topics of international tax policy today. This fact is highlighted by the current BEPS initiative of G20 and OECD which casts doubt on the recognition of contractual risk allocation within multinational groups and its impact on profit allocation between separate entities within these groups. It is largely felt that “risk shifting” provides the basis for “profit shifting” by multinationals to the detriment of states and domestic competitors.

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September 23, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Journal of Tax Law's Tax Matters: FATCA

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published a new issue of its Tax Matters feature, with three short pieces by tax practitions responding to a specific cutting-edge tax law issue posed by a tax academic.  This issue's prompt is by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown):

In 2010 the United States Congress enacted sections 1471 to 1474 of the Internal Revenue Code, commonly known as “FATCA”.  Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) are generally required to report information on financial accounts of U.S. persons and foreign entities with significant U.S. ownership (“U.S. accounts”) to the IRS beginning in 2015, or be subject to a withholding tax on the gross amount of certain payments from U.S. sources and the proceeds from the disposition of certain U.S. investments. Compliance under FATCA regulations is complex and raises a series of conflict of law issues. To mitigate these conflict of law issues and facilitate FATCA implementation, the Treasury has held discussions with dozens of countries and entered into a series of intergovernmental agreements (“IGAs”).  So-called “Model I IGAs” allow the agreeing government to adopt its own rules requiring financial institutions within their jurisdiction to identify and report information relating to U.S. accounts.  Other IGAs require compliance with Treasury regulations, but with specified modifications (“Model II IGAs”).  Some countries will not enter into an IGA, and therefore, FFIs in those countries will be subject to FATCA as administered under Treasury regulations without any modification. Although IGAs facilitate FATCA implementation within specific jurisdictions by removing domestic legal impediments and simplifying other aspects of compliance for institutions in a given jurisdiction, they also may complicate compliance for multinational FFIs by giving rise to a patchwork of differing FATCA regimes.

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September 23, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boston College and Tax Analysts Host Conference on Reforming Entity Taxation

BCTABoston College and Tax Analysts are hosting a conference on Reforming Entity Taxation at Boston College on Friday, October 10:

Keynote Speaker:  Lee Sheppard (Tax Analysts)

Panel #1: Reforming Entity Taxation: Corporations

  • Papers: Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama), Deborah Schenk (NYU), Dan Shaviro (NYU)
  • Moderator:  Jeremy Scott (Tax Analysts)
  • Commentator:  Brian Galle (Boston College)

Panel #2:  Reforming Entity Taxation: Partnerships

  • Papers:  Karen Burke (Florida), Andrea Monroe (Temple), Gregg Polsky (UNC)
  • Moderator:  Amy Elliot (Tax Analysts)
  • Commentator:  James Repetti (Boston College)

Panel #3: Reforming Entity Taxation: International

  • Papers:  Allison Christians (McGill), Robert Peroni (Texas), Martin Sullivan (Tax Analysts)
  • Moderator:  Sam Young (Tax Analysts)
  • Commentator:  Diane Ring (Boston College)

The conference is free and open to the public. To register, contact Ryan Hynes.

September 23, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oei Presents Human Equity? Regulating the New Income Share Agreements Today at Loyola-L.A.

OeiShu-Yi Oei (Tulane) presents Human Equity? Regulating the New Income Share Agreements (with Diane M. Ring (Boston College)) at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

A controversial new financing phenomenon has recently emerged. New “income share agreements” (“ISAs”) enable an individual to raise funds by pledging a percentage of her future earnings to investors for a certain number of years. These contracts, which are offered by entities such as Fantex, Upstart, Pave, and Lumni, raise important questions for the legal system: Are they a form of modern-day indentured servitude or an innovative breakthrough in human financing? How should they be treated under the law?

This Article constitutes the first real attempt in the legal literature to comprehensively address the public policy and legal issues raised by ISAs and to articulate an analytical approach to evaluating and regulating them.

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September 22, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zwick Presents The Effect of Temporary Tax Incentives on Equipment Investment Today at UC-Berkeley

ZwickEric Zwick (Chicago) presents Do Financial Frictions Amplify Fiscal Policy? Evidence from Business Investment Stimulus (with James Mahon (Harvard)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar:

We estimate the effect of temporary tax incentives on equipment investment using shifts in accelerated depreciation. Analyzing data for over 120,000 firms, we present three findings. First, bonus depreciation raised investment 17.3 percent on average between 2001 and 2004 and 29.5 percent between 2008 and 2010. Second, financially constrained firms respond more than unconstrained firms. Third, firms respond strongly when the policy generates immediate cash flows but not when benefits only come in the future. Implied discount rates are too high to match a frictionless model and cannot be explained entirely by costly finance, unless firms neglect future financial constraints.

September 22, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson Presents Recent Developments Involving Circular 230 and Tax Practitioner Regulation Today at FBA Tax Section Monthly Roundtable

Johnson (Steve)Steve R. Johnson (Florida State) presents Recent Developments Involving Circular 230 and Tax Practitioner Regulation at the Federal Bar Association Tax Section's Federal Tax Practice & Procedure Monthly Roundtable:

The past six months have produced a flood of judicial and agency action involving regulation of tax practitioners by the Service. The courts have suggested substantial limitations upon the Service’s regulatory authority in two recent decisions, and several other cases are pending in which practitioners are challenging other aspects of the Service’s authority. At the same time, the Service has initiated several regulatory efforts to govern practitioners. Professor Johnson, a nationally recognized scholar on tax litigation and procedure, including legislative and administrative law topics in tax, will apprise us of all these developments.

September 22, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5.  The #1 paper is now #20 in all-time downloads among 10,321 tax papers:

  1. [2997 Downloads]  'Competitiveness' Has Nothing to Do with it, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)
  2. [332 Downloads]  2013 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law, by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid and Riege, Hartford)
  3. [230 Downloads]  Public Pressure and Corporate Tax Behavior, by Scott Dyreng (Duke), Jeffrey Hoopes (Ohio State) & Jaron Wilde (Iowa)
  4. [170 Downloads]  The OECD'S Flawed and Dated Approach to Computer Servers Creating Permanent Establishments, by Monica Gianni (Florida)
  5. [121 Downloads]  State Law Reporting and Disclosure Mandates Under ERISA, by Albert Feuer

September 21, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tax Papers at Canadian Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting

Toronto

The two-day Annual Meeting of the Canadian Law and Economics Association concludes today at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Here are the tax papers:

  • Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama), Downscaling Regulatory Barriers
  • Wei Cui (British Columbia), Understanding Tax Litigation in China: A Systematic Content Analysis of Published Case Law
  • Richard Kaplan (Illinois), Change and Continuity in Fringe Benefit Taxation: Seeking Sense and Sensibility
  • Tak-kei Lai (Copenhagen Business School), Do Treasure Islands Create Firm Value?
  • Adam Michael Lavecchia (Toronto), Does Raising Contribution Limits Lead to More Saving? Evidence from the ‘Catch-up Limit’ Reform
  • Theodore Seto (Loyola-L.A.), Some Implications of Preference-Shifting for Optimal Tax Theory

September 20, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

September 19, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gale & Samwick: The Effects of Income Tax Changes on Economic Growth

William G. Gale (Brookings) & Andrew A. Samwick (Dartmouth), Effects of Income Tax Changes on Economic Growth:

This paper examines how changes to the individual income tax affect long-term economic growth. The structure and financing of a tax change are critical to achieving economic growth. Tax rate cuts may encourage individuals to work, save, and invest, but if the tax cuts are not financed by immediate spending cuts they will likely also result in an increased federal budget deficit, which in the long-term will reduce national saving and raise interest rates. The net impact on growth is uncertain, but many estimates suggest it is either small or negative. Base-broadening measures can eliminate the effect of tax rate cuts on budget deficits, but at the same time they also reduce the impact on labor supply, saving, and investment and thus reduce the direct impact on growth. However, they also reallocate resources across sectors toward their highest-value economic use, resulting in increased efficiency and potentially raising the overall size of the economy. The results suggest that not all tax changes will have the same impact on growth. Reforms that improve incentives, reduce existing subsidies, avoid windfall gains, and avoid deficit financing will have more auspicious effects on the long-term size of the economy, but may also create trade-offs between equity and efficiency.

Figure 4

Al Jazeera:  Tax Cuts Can Do More Harm Than Good, by David Cay Johnston (Syracuse):

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September 18, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas: The Psychic Cost of Tax Evasion

Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), The Psychic Cost of Tax Evasion, 56 B.C. L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Each year, the government loses hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue due to underreporting by individual taxpayers. According to standard deterrence theory, policymakers should be able to reduce tax evasion by increasing tax penalties, raising the audit rate, or some combination of the two. This Article refers to these strategies as increasing the “monetary cost” of tax evasion. To date, budgetary limitations and political hurdles have made these strategies difficult for the government to employ.

There is, however, another potential means by which the government can improve tax compliance, apart from raising the monetary cost of evasion. Empirical evidence shows that people experience some form of psychological discomfort when they are dishonest, which may deter them from cheating. This Article proposes employing subtle behavioral interventions that encourage more honest tax reporting by raising the level of psychological discomfort experienced from underreporting. I refer to this approach as increasing the “psychic cost” of tax evasion.

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September 18, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Freedman: Designing a General Anti-Abuse Rule: Striking a Balance

Judith Freedman (Oxford), Designing a General Anti-Abuse Rule: Striking a Balance:

This article argues that statutory general anti-avoidance or anti-abuse provisions (GAARs) are an essential part of a modern tax system, since specific legislation will not catch every abuse. Properly drafted GAARs with appropriate protections can give administrators and courts an important tool to use in cases of egregious abuse, but the use must be within a legitimate framework suitable for the jurisdiction in question. GAARs are not the appropriate mechanism for a fundamental rewriting of domestic or international tax law, but they are a valuable element of the statute book in the fight to combat artificial tax arrangements.

September 18, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Public Finance Textbooks and the Excess Burdens of Taxation

Public FinanceCecil Bohanon, John Borowitz & James McClure (all of Ball State), Saying Too Little, Too Late: Public Finance Textbooks and the Excess Burdens of Taxation, 11 J. Econ. Watch 277 (2014):

Taxation has several significant excess burdens, including enforcement costs, compliance costs, and deadweight losses. Most estimates find that raising a dollar of tax revenue costs much more than a dollar. Unfortunately, commonly used public finance textbooks do not integrate these costs into discussions of public goods or cost-benefit analyses. Not including these costs means that the optimal levels of public goods will be overestimated. Textbooks say too little, too late about the excess burdens of taxation. They could easily introduce excess burdens early, represent them in public goods diagrams, and integrate them throughout public finance instruction.

September 18, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More on Faculty Development, Faculty Incentives, and Law School Innovation

Following up on my previous post,  Faculty Development, Faculty Incentives, and Law School Innovation:  American Bar Foundation, Analyzing Carnegie's Reach: The Contingent Nature of Innovation:

ABF 3Analyzing Carnegie’s Reach: The Contingent Nature of Innovation, a recent article published in the Journal of Legal Education [63 J. Legal Educ. 585 (2014)] by ABF Research Professor Stephen Daniels (with Martin Katz and William Sullivan), explores curricular innovation and institutional change in American law schools between 2001 and 2011. Since the economic downturn of 2008–09 and the related contraction of the legal market, lawyers, journalists, legal educators and pundits have written and debated about the state of legal education and the need for change. Given rising levels of student debt, and shrinking job prospects, is law school “worth it”? Are law students well prepared to enter the market? Are the schools too beholden to the ranking system of US News and World Report, and other similar outlets? There has been discussion of “failing law schools,” even an influential book by that title by Brian Tamanaha, of Washington University School of Law (University of Chicago Press, 2012), but far too little systematically collected and analyzed data on what efforts law schools have or have not made to change the status quo.

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September 17, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Aprill: Reconciling Nonprofit Self-Dealing Rules

Ellen P. Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Reconciling Nonprofit Self-Dealing Rules, 48 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 411 (2014):

Charities must serve public rather than private interests. Much of the enforcement effort in this area of the law tries to ensure that such organizations do not engage in impermissible self-dealing, that is, in providing unreasonable benefits to insiders. That is, limits on self-dealing are crucial to regulation of this section. Both state law and federal tax law include provisions designed to prevent such behavior. These laws, however, often exhibit inefficiencies and differences that impose unnecessary burden on organization seeking to comply with applicable law.

State law regulates both trusts and nonprofit corporations. If the organization is formed as a trust, the “no further inquiry rule” of common law applies. Under this rule, a trustee, whether of a charitable trust or a private trust, is per se liable so long as a beneficiary shows that the trustee had a personal interest in the transaction; harm to the trust is irrelevant. If the organization is formed as a corporation, nonprofit corporation statutes generally include requirements as to the procedures for board approval of self-dealing transactions, procedures that, in practice, are usually easy to meet.

Tax law supplies self-dealing rules for organizations exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Under federal tax law, public charities must satisfy the so-called intermediate sanction rules, which impose excise taxes on transfers between the organization and an insider that confer an “excess benefit” on the insider. Private foundations, which are section 501(c)(3) organizations that, in general, receive their support from a single individual or corporate source or family group and make grants to other charitable organizations, face stricter rules than public charities regarding self-dealing. They face two-tier excise taxes that in practice prohibit transactions between the private foundation and certain specified insiders, even when the transaction would benefit the organization.

This article uses both the economic theory of deterrence and norms theory to argue for a change to both state law and federal tax law. Using the California nonprofit corporation statute and the availability of individual exemptions from the prohibited transactions rules of ERISA, it argues for advance approval procedures. Making state and federal self-dealing rules as similar as possible would best carry out the rules’ shared purpose. Reconciling these rules would aid nonprofit charitable organizations in adopting a set of operating procedures to ensure compliance with the various laws applicable to them. Similar rules would also render state and federal enforcement easier and more efficient.

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September 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blank Presents Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy Today at UC-Irvine

BlankJoshua D. Blank (NYU) presents Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy, 11 N.Y.U. J. L. & Bus. ___ (2014), at UC-Irvine today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

For over a century, politicians, government officials and scholars in the United States have debated whether corporate tax returns, which are currently subject to broad tax privacy protections, should be publicly accessible. The ongoing global discussion of base erosion and profit shifting by multinational corporations has generated calls for greater “tax transparency.” Throughout this debate, participants have focused narrowly on potential reactions of a corporation’s managers, shareholders and consumers to a requirement that the corporation publish its own tax return information. There is, however, another perspective: how would the ability of a corporation’s stakeholders and agents to observe other corporations’ tax return information affect the corporation’s compliance with the tax law?

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September 16, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 944 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through September 1, 2014) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

40,041

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

6669

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

26,595

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

4504

3

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

22,889

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2695

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

20,320

Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 

2627

5

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,071

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

2509

6

James Hines (Michigan)

19,825

Omri Marian (Florida)

1977

7

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

19,186

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1949

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19.073

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1915

9

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

16,168

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1801

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

15,859

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1794

11

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,397

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1588

12

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

15,140

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1558

13

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

14,418

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1497

14

David Weisbach (Chicago)

14,359

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1436

15

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

14,253

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1434

16

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

14,065

James Hines (Michigan)

1407

17

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

13,974

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1375

18

David Walker (BU)

13,935

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1348

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

13,921

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1335

20

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

13,883

David Gamage (UCBerkeley)

1313

21

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

13,853

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1276

22

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,507

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1251

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

12,101

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1186

24

Ed McCaffery (USC)

11,748

Gregg Polsky (North Carolina)

1167

25

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

11,733

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1129

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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September 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Benzarti Presents How Taxing is Tax Filing? Today at UC-Berkeley

UC Berkeley Primary Logo Berkeley BlueYoussef Benzarti (UC-Berkeley, Department of Economics) presents How Taxing is Tax Filing? Leaving Money on the Table Because of Compliance Costs at UC-Berkeley today as part of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar:

I use a quasi-experimental design to estimate the burden of complying with the tax code. Employing a sample of US income tax returns, I observe the preferences of taxpayers over itemizing deductions or claiming the standard deduction. Treated taxpayers forgo $800 on average to avoid the cost of itemizing. A revealed preference argument implies that itemizing deductions is as painful as working more than 17 hours at one’s regular job. The amount of foregone benefits is larger for richer households, consistent with the fact that the value of time increases with income. I explore two explanations of the magnitude of the estimates. First, it could be due to an extreme aversion to filing taxes. Such aversion implies that itemizing deductions imposes an aggregate compliance cost of 0.24% of GDP and an extrapolation to filing federal taxes implies that the overall cost of compliance is 1.55% of GDP. Second, if taxpayers are time-inconsistent the revealed preference argument fails, introducing a wedge between foregone benefits and compliance costs. Being present-biased leads taxpayers to forego large benefits even when compliance costs are relatively small. I provide evidence of taxpayers being present-biased. Both explanations - whether driven by preferences or mistakes - suggest that the burden imposed on society by tax compliance is significantly larger than previously estimated. I discuss policy implications of the result.

September 15, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)