TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Biggs Presents The Risk to State and Local Budgets Posed by Public Employee Pensions Today at NYU

BiggsAndrew Biggs (American Enterprise Institute) presents The Risk to State and Local Budgets Posed by Public Employee Pensions at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:

State and local government employee pension plans fund guaranteed retirement benefit using portfolios of risky assets. Plan sponsors value stable contribution rates and attempt to mitigate volatility of contribution rates using policies including smoothing of investment returns and long amortization periods for unfunded liabilities. These policies, combined with the assumption that investment returns stabilize over the long term, seemingly allow plans to offer generous, guaranteed benefits to participants funded by low, stable contributions from employers. But in many cases, plan stakeholders take this conclusion as an article of faith rather than the result of quantitative analysis. I employ a simple model of financing for a mature pension to analyze how market risk and stabilization policies interact to affect annual required contribution. The model shows that stabilization policies can reduce volatility of employer contributions over the short term. But long-term fluctuations in investment earnings ultimately express themselves in contribution rates that may vary significantly from a deterministic calculation based upon the assumption of constant returns. A plan employing typical smoothing policies has a very low probability of becoming insolvent, so long as it makes required contributions at all times. However, plans could expect that, at least once over a 100-year period, required contributions would exceed ten times the baseline rate. If a plan economically unable or politically unwilling to make any and all contributions as required, then insolvency of the fund becomes a possibility.

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

Kahng Presents The Taxation of Intellectual Capital at Florida

KahngLily Kahng (Seattle) presented The Taxation of Intellectual Capital, 66 Fla. L. Rev. ___ (2014), at Florida on Friday as part of its Graduate Tax Colloquium Series:

Intellectual capital — broadly defined to include nonphysical sources of value such as patents and copyrights, computer software, organizational processes and know-how — has a long history of being undervalued and excluded from measures of economic productivity and wealth. In recent years, however, intellectual capital has finally gained wide recognition as a central driver of economic productivity and growth. Scholars in fields such as knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting have produced a wealth of research that significantly advances our conceptual understanding of intellectual capital and introduces new methodologies for identifying and measuring its economic value.

This Article is the first to analyze and assess the taxation of intellectual capital within this broader interdisciplinary landscape. Informed by the recent research and reform efforts in knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting, the Article finds that the tax law, which allows most investments in intellectual capital to be deducted, is fundamentally flawed. This results in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues, costly misallocations of resources and a grave deviation from the accurate measure of income. The Article argues that, consistent with the prevailing view in other fields, investments in intellectual capital ought to be capitalized under the tax law. Drawing upon the work of reform proponents in other fields as well as their critics, the Article considers whether and to what extent the advances in other disciplines can be adapted to the tax system. Based on this analysis, it proposes the tax law be reformed to require businesses to capitalize and amortize over five years a broad array of intellectual capital investments including research and development, advertising, worker training and strategic planning.

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

McMahon: What Innocent Spouse Relief Says about Women and the Rest of Us

Stephanie Hunter McMahon (Cincinnati), What Innocent Spouse Relief Says about Women and the Rest of Us, 37 Harvard J.L. & Gender 141 (2014):

Every time spouses sign joint returns, they knowingly or not accept joint and several liability. Therefore, either spouse may be held liable for all of the tax due on the joint return. Joint and several liability’s more efficient tax collection procedure may conflict with a spouse’s equitable claims to have innocently signed the return while being lied to, abused, or manipulated. The question for Congress is how to balance these competing demands. Innocent spouse relief provides some tax relief for spouses Congress does not believe should be jointly and severally liable. Innocent spouse relief also offers an opportunity to explore how the government views married women, as wives have always composed the lion share of seekers and recipients of innocent spouse relief. The relief currently provided is both over- and under-inclusive by not offering relief to all spouses or former spouses who are unable to assess the validity of their returns but offering relief to some who both knew and helped orchestrate the tax evasion. This paper argues that, instead of existing innocent spouse relief, the IRS should respect joint filers’ agency when signing joint returns and grant relief only when a joint filer was unable to exercise that agency. In the event that a spouse is coerced into signing the return, relief needs to be speedier and less burdensome in application than under today’s law to increase the equity of the tax system and reduce the administrative costs on both the taxpayer and the government.

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

Fleischer: Curb Your Enthusiasm for Pigouvian Taxes

Victor Fleischer (San Diego), Curb Your Enthusiasm for Pigouvian Taxes:

Pigouvian (or "corrective") taxes have been proposed or enacted on dozens of products and activities that may be harmful in excess: carbon, gasoline, fat, sugar, guns, cigarettes, alcohol, traffic, zoning, executive pay, and financial transactions, among others. Academics of all political stripes are mystified by the public’s inability to see the merits of using Pigouvian taxes more frequently to address serious social harms.

This enthusiasm for Pigouvian taxes should be tempered. A Pigouvian tax is easy to design — as a uniform excise tax — if one assumes that each individual causes the same amount of harm with each incremental increase in activity on the margin. This assumption of uniform marginal social cost pairs well with the limited information and enforcement capacity of tax institutions. But when marginal social cost varies significantly, a Pigouvian tax will not lead to an optimal allocation of economic resources. Focusing on carbon emissions, where the assumption of uniform marginal social cost happens to be reasonable, obscures this common design flaw.

Broadly speaking, Pigouvian taxes should be employed only when (1) the harm is (or is properly analogized to) global pollution, and where the harm does not vary based on the source, or (2) the variation in marginal social cost is easily observed and categorized, as with traffic congestion charges.

Continue reading

April 1, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kleinbard: Stateless Income and Its Remedies

Edward Kleinbard (USC), Stateless Income and Its Remedies:

This outline presentation (I) quickly reviews the current status of business tax reform efforts in the United States, with particular attention to the international treatment of foreign direct investment, (II) summarizes the economic predicates required for territorial tax systems to advance economic efficiency, (III) explains why the phenomenon of stateless income means that those predicates are not met today, and are unlikely to be met in the future, and (IV) analyzes current U.S. legislative international tax proposals. In doing the last of these, the presentation points out how the legislative proposal advanced by Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, might inadvertently operate to treat “good” operating income as subpart F income in a range of plausible cases.

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Piketty: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

CapitalThomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics), Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2014):

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.

A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.

The New Yorker, Piketty’s Inequality Story in Six Charts:

In this week’s magazine, I’ve got a lengthy piece about “Capital in the Twenty-first Century,” a new book about rising inequality by Thomas Piketty, a French economist, that is sparking a lot of comment and debate. (Brad DeLong has a useful summary of some early reviews.) I’ll go further into that discussion in future posts, but first I thought it might be useful to portray the gist of Piketty’s story in a series of charts.

  Chart 1

Chart 2

New York Times:  Q&A: Thomas Piketty on the Wealth Divide, by Eduardo Porter:

Income inequality moved with astonishing speed from the boring backwaters of economic studies to “the defining challenge of our time.” It found Thomas Piketty waiting for it.

A young professor at the Paris School of Economics, he is one of a handful of economists who have devoted their careers to understanding the dynamics driving the concentration of income and wealth into the hands of the few. He has distilled his findings into a new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which is being published this week. In the book, Mr. Piketty provides a sort of unified theory of capitalism that explains its lopsided distribution of rewards.

Financial Times op-ed:  Save Capitalism From the Capitalists by Taxing Wealth, by Thomas Piketty

March 31, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Henderson Reviews The Lawyer Bubble and Tomorrow's Lawyers

BCWilliam D. Henderson (Indiana), Letting Go of Old Ideas, 112 Mich. L. Rev. ___ (2014) (reviewing Steven Harper, The Lawyer Bubble  (Basic Books 2013) and Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers (Oxford University Press 2013)):

Two recently published books apply a rigorous analytical lens to the same topic — the state of the legal profession — and come to dramatically different conclusions. Yet, what is more remarkable is the fact that the authors’ analyses neither overlap nor conflict with one another. One is backward-looking and filled with regret at the legacy we have squandered (Steven Harper’s The Lawyer Bubble); the other is forward-looking and bound to inspire a mix of fear and hope among its readers (Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers).

Similarly, there’s been a lot of public handwringing in recent years over the state of the legal industry, with some arguing that we are in crisis and others countering that the real problem is overzealous critics. Those looking for a common narrative to unify and lead law practitioners and students must grapple with these two important books. In this review, I suggest that arriving at such an understanding requires each of us to do something uncomfortable and unnatural — let go of old ideas.

Bill blogs about his review on The Legal Whiteboard.

March 31, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 30, 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 #2:

  1. [466 Downloads]  The Economics of Tax Law, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  2. [361 Downloads]  Submission to Finance Department on Implementation of FATCA in Canada, by Allison Christians (McGill) & Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's)
  3. [283 Downloads]  2012 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid & Riege, Hartford))
  4. [273 Downloads]  As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, by Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania)
  5. [170 Downloads]  Deferral and Exemption of the Income of Foreign Subsidiaries: A Review of the Basic Analytics, by Alvin C. Warren (Harvard)

March 30, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crane Presents When Is a Tax on Value (Not) a Tax on Income? at Washington University

CraneCharlotte Crane (Northwestern) presented When Is a Tax on Value (Not) a Tax on Income? An Exploration of the Puzzles in PPL v. Commissioner at Washington University yesterday as part of its International Tax Speakers Series hosted by Adam H. Rosenzweig:

This paper uses the issues raised by PPL v. United States (569 U.S. ___ (2013)) to explore whether an income tax can be distinguished from a wealth tax (or other tax on a single value) in a way that could be implemented, either for the purpose of defining those taxes for which the foreign tax credit was originally designed, or for the purpose of distinguishing income taxes from those tax instruments that remain beyond the reach of Congress even with the 16th amendment. It identifies two possible interrelated distinctions, that is, that an “income tax” must contain within its terms the criteria for ensuring that, should it be reimposed, proper allowance would be given for the initial imposition, and, if values are taxed without realization, later impositions must allow adjustment if those values will never be realized. (In simpler terms, unless a tax uses “basis” in a meaningful way, it is not an income tax.)

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

The Tax Lawyer (2013)The Tax Lawyer has published Vol. 67, No. 2 (Winter 2014):

March 28, 2014 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

March 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

March 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christians & Cockfield: The Implementation of FATCA in Canada

FATCAAllison Christians (McGill) & Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University), Submission to Finance Department on Implementation of FATCA in Canada:

The United States enacted a tax reform in 2010 known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which will impose an extensive third-party monitoring and disclosure regime on financial institutions around the world in an effort to “smoke out” American tax cheats and expose their undeclared foreign assets to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The flow of information from Canadian financial institutions directly to the IRS that is required by FATCA would violate a number of laws in Canada. Accordingly, the United States has requested changes to these laws. The Canadian government now seeks to accommodate these requests in the form of an “intergovernmental agreement” (IGA) with the United States, which will be enacted into law as the Canada–United States Enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement Implementation Act (the Implementation Act) pursuant to a proposal released for comment by the Department of Finance. The Department of Finance invited public comments on these documents. We examined the proposed Implementation Act and the IGA and we find that they raise a number of serious issues ranging from likely constitutional violations to violations of international law. We submit these comments in the hope that they will help lawmakers and the public understand that FATCA, while intended to catch tax evaders, is poised instead to impose serious and unjustified harms on people who live around the world as non-resident U.S. citizens and green card holders, as well as their family members and business associates.

March 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Caron & Repetti: Revitalizing the Estate Tax: Five Easy Pieces

TaxSymposiumHeaderPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine) & James R. Repetti (Boston College), Revitalizing the Estate Tax: Five Easy Pieces, 142 Tax Notes 1231 (Mar. 17, 2014) (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

In a previous article, we argued that contrary to the state of the law over 35 years ago — when George Cooper wrote his seminal article on the estate tax (A Voluntary Tax? New Perspectives on Sophisticated Estate Tax Avoidance, 77 Colum. L. Rev. 161 (1977)) — taxpayers today generally ‘‘can reduce the value of assets subject to transfer tax in many instances only if they are willing to assume the risk that the reduction may be economically real and reduce the actual value of assets transferred to heirs or, alternatively, in narrow situations if they are willing to incur some tax risk.’’ (The Estate Tax Non-Gap: Why Repeal a Voluntary Tax?, 20 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 153 (2009)) In another article, we documented the dramatic increase in income and wealth inequality over the past 30 years and the accompanying adverse social consequences and long-term negative effect on economic growth. (Occupy the Tax Code: Using the Estate Tax to Reduce Inequality and Spur Economic Growth, 40 Pepp. L. Rev. 1255 (2013)) We argued that tax policy historically has played an important role in reducing inequality and that the estate tax is a particularly apt reform vehicle in light of the role of inherited assets among the very rich and the adverse economic effects of that inherited wealth. In this article, we advance five estate and gift tax reform proposals that would generate needed revenue, reduce inequality, and contribute to economic growth: (1) disallow minority discounts when the transferred asset or business is controlled by family before and after the transfer; (2) maintain parity between the unified credit exemption amounts for the estate and gift taxes; (3) reduce the wealth transfer tax exemptions to $3.5 million, increase the maximum tax rate to 45 percent, and limit the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSST) exemption period to 50 years; (4) restrict the ability for gifts made in trust to qualify for the gift tax annual exclusion; and (5) impose a lifetime cap on the amount that can be contributed to a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT).

March 27, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brennan Presents Smooth Retirement Accounts at Boston College

BrennanThomas J. Brennan (Northwestern) presented Smooth Retirement Accounts at Boston College yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by James Repetti and Diane Ring and funded by the Paulus Endowment for Tax Programs:

I introduce the concept of “smooth retirement accounts” (SRAs) to provide a method for taxing retirement savings evenly over time. I contrast this with the back-loaded taxation of traditional accounts, and I use lifetime utility maximization models to demonstrate that future non-linear and uncertain tax brackets can distort savings incentives and portfolio allocations for traditional account holders. I also contrast SRAs with the front-loaded taxation of Roth accounts, and I argue that SRAs would bring a reasonable portion of retirement account taxes into the current budget window without leading to the extreme result of Roth accounts that leave no tax receipts beyond the year of contribution. Because SRAs can eliminate investment and savings distortions for taxpayers, as well as help set government budgetary incentives correctly, I recommend that they be created by Congress as a replacement for the current choices of Roth and traditional accounts.

March 27, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Soled Presents Basis, Pass-Through Entities, and Taxpayer Noncompliance Today at Duke

SoledJay A. Soled (Rutgers) presents Tax Basis Determinations, Pass-Through Entities, and Taxpayer Noncompliance (with James Alm (Tulane)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

In the United States, one of the most popular ways to conduct business is to use a pass-through entity such as a partnership, limited liability company, or S corporation. Investor taxpayers in such pass-through entities commonly hold their ownership interest for years or decades. Over this lengthy period of time, a taxpayer’s tax basis in the entity is subject to constant annual adjustments, which generally have no immediate tax consequences.

However, when the pass-through entity investment is later sold or liquidated, tax basis determinations are of critical importance, and these determinations enable taxpayers to calculate their concomitant gains or losses. At this pivotal juncture, accurately determining taxpayers’ tax bases in these investments is highly unlikely, and the IRS’s ability to detect taxpayers’ tax basis reporting inaccuracies is virtually nonexistent.

This analysis examines the phenomenon of taxpayers who do not know their tax basis in pass-through entity investments and the consequences associated with such ignorance. Also provided are projected revenue losses associated with taxpayers purposefully or inadvertently inflating the tax basis that they have in their pass-through entity investments.

Continue reading

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

Gamage Presents A Framework for Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments Today at UC-Irvine

Gamage (2014)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) presents A Framework for Analyzing the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments, 68 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2014), at UC-Irvine today as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series

What mix of policy instruments should governments employ to raise revenues or to promote distribution? The dominant answer to this question in the tax theory and public finance literatures is that (with limited exceptions) governments should rely exclusively on a progressive consumption tax. Thus, among other implications, the dominant view is that governments should not tax capital income or wealth, and that legal rules should not be designed to promote distribution.

In contrast, this Article argues that governments should make use of a number of tax and non-tax policy instruments to raise revenues and to promote distribution. Furthermore, this Article argues that governments may have much greater capacity to raise revenues and to promote distribution at lower efficiency costs than is generally recognized. Whereas the existing theoretical literature focuses on a small number of distortionary costs that result from taxation (in particular, on labor-to-leisure and saving-to-spending distortions), this Article analyzes the implications of taxpayers engaging in a diverse variety of tax-gaming responses. To the extent that taxpayers respond to different tax instruments through different forms of tax gaming, this Article demonstrates that governments can raise revenues and promote distribution more efficiently by employing a variety of different policy instruments.

Continue reading

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

Edgar Presents Corrective Taxation, Leverage, and Compensation in a Bloated Financial Sector Today at Toronto

EdgarTim Edgar (Osgoode Hall) presents Corrective Taxation, Leverage, and Compensation in a Bloated Financial Sector at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The financial crisis of 2007–2009 reinvigorated academic and policymaking interest in the design of prudential regulatory regimes governing the financial sector as a policy instrument intended to moderate financial instability. The crisis also motivated interest in the role of taxation as a complement to these regimes. Yet in practice, the use of tax instruments has been modest. This article considers three tax instruments that could serve this complementary role. Political economy considerations aside, it is suggested that the use of bank leverage taxes by policymakers as the tax instrument of choice is unsurprising. As recognized in the literature, however, a corrective taxation case can be made for an increase in the rate of such taxes as an instrument to eliminate the availability of cheap debt for systemically important institutions. Although returns to risk taking is a potentially robust tax base, the weak behavioral properties of this tax instrument have apparently diminished its appeal for policymakers, while a revenue-raising imperative that might otherwise motivate its adoption is muted considerably by the adoption of a bank leverage tax. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the tax literature does not consider the case for an excise tax on bonus and performance-based compensation as an instrument to alter the structure of compensation. This may be attributable, in part at least, to redundancy where regulatory regimes can be used to impose constraints with similar intended effects.

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

NYU Hosts Symposium on Tax and Corporate Social Responsibility

NYU Logo (2013)The NYU Journal of Law & Business and the NYU Graduate Tax Program hosted a symposium yesterday on Tax and Corporate Social Responsibility:

From the enactment of the corporate excise tax in 1909 to the present, the corporate tax in the United States has generated intense debate. Topics at the center of this debate have ranged from the fundamental purpose of the tax to moral obligations of corporations to pay tax to tax transparency and accountability. This half-day symposium will continue the discussion by addressing two questions: Should corporations pay tax? And should corporate tax returns be public?

Panel #1:  Should Corporations Pay Tax?

Panel #2:  Should Corporate Tax Returns Be Public?

  • Moderator:  David Kamin (NYU)
  • Presenter:  Joshua Blank (NYU), Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy
  • Discussants:  Allison Christians (McGill), Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Peter Barnes (Duke)

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

Yin: Reforming (and Saving) the IRS by Respecting the Public’s Right to Know

TaxSymposiumHeaderGeorge K. Yin (Virginia), Reforming (and Saving) the IRS by Respecting the Public’s Right to Know (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

The current controversy involving possible political targeting by the IRS in administering the exempt organization (EO) tax laws is simply the latest in a long succession of similar allegations spanning at least five decades. This article proposes to address the problem through increased transparency of the IRS’s administrative actions involving EOs. Greater transparency responds directly to the public’s frustration in not being able to monitor the agency and gain confidence that the laws are being applied in an even-handed manner.

Continue reading

March 26, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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

Ent496493Matthew C. Weinzierl (Harvard Business School) presents Revisiting the Classical View of Benefit-Based Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:

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

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

Brauner: What the BEPS?

BEPSYariv Brauner (Florida), What the BEPS?:

Unprecedented attention to aggressive international tax planning has shaken the earth under the most powerful players in the world of international tax policy design. The media exposure of what Bloomberg’s calls “The Great Corporate Tax Dodge,” combined with the ever-growing discontent of civil society with the magnitude of contribution of the largest multinational enterprises to the society within which they operate, has recently forced the politicians to take action. Leaders of the strongest world economies demanded a revision of the rules of the international tax regime that would generate more revenues for their challenged coffers and would restore public trust in the system. In what is now commonly known as the Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (“BEPS”) project, the OECD has established three principles: (1) promotion of collaborative rather than competition based solutions; (2) take a holistic view of the challenges and their corresponding solutions rather than an ad hoc approach; and (3) permit the consideration of innovative solutions even when they conflict with the traditional premises of the current international tax regime. This article reviews the progress of the BEPS project and its compatibility with the fundamental principles for reform set by the OECD with a view to influence the discourse and the outcome of the project. This article focuses on the importance of the paradigm shift from the current emphasis on competitiveness and the perfection of competition to a collaborative international tax regime, demonstrating the desirability of such a shift and suggesting how the OECD should go about making that shift.

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

Blank & Mason: Exporting FATCA

TaxSymposiumHeaderJoshua D. Blank (NYU) & Ruth Mason (Virginia), Exporting FATCA, 142 Tax Notes 1245 (Mar. 17, 2014) (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) represents a powerful response by the United States to flagrant offshore tax evasion. Although the new reporting regime has been criticized as unilateral and extraterritorial, this short article, prepared for a symposium hosted by Pepperdine Law Review, shows that multilateralism and cooperation so far have been the keys to implementing FATCA. In addition to spurring bilateral Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) to implement FATCA, and copycat legislation in other jurisdictions, for many countries, the FATCA reporting requirements represent an aspirational new global standard for automatic exchange of information – one that would supplement, if not replace, information exchange on request.

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

Ventry: Misinformed and Misled About the Benefits of the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Dennis J. Ventry Jr. (UC-Davis), Misinformed and Misled About the Benefits of the Mortgage Interest Deduction:

Tax experts have long indicted the mortgage interest deduction (MID) for distorting the housing and mortgage markets and for inequitably distributing its benefits. It creates a false baseline for the cost of housing, encourages taxpayers to pay for homes with debt rather than with cash or financial assets, causes wasteful and unproductive misallocation of physical and financial capital, and distributes benefits disproportionately to upper income households. Furthermore, the MID results in less economic productivity, reduced labor mobility, higher unemployment, depressed real wages, and a lower standard of living.

And yet the MID remains wildly popular among the American populace, while politicians continue to pay homage to the tax code’s “most sacred tax break.” This Article argues that the public and the pols are misinformed about the false benefits of the MID, largely because they are misled by the MID’s most resolute supporters. Proponents of the MID, principally the real estate industry, participate in an endless campaign of misinformation about the tax code’s second most expensive subsidy. This Article highlights the real estate industry’s biggest whoppers, focusing on false claims that the MID benefits taxpayers at all income levels, and contributes to wealth accumulation and financial security.

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

Lavoie: The Role of the Individual in Forging a Strong Duty to the Tax System

Richard Lavoie (Akron), Vox Clamantis in Deserto: The Role of the Individual in Forging a Strong Duty to the Tax System:

The United States is blessed with a prevailing social norm of high tax compliance. However, a number of strong forces are currently placing that norm in jeopardy. This essay reviews the process by which social norms change and the characteristics evidenced by “contagious” social norms. It then considers the important role individual action can plays in creating and maintaining a social norm of tax compliance and how individuals can be encouraged to embrace and propagate this norm. Particular emphasis is placed on 1) ways that a taxpaying social norm can be molded to make it more contagious among individuals and 2) the means of coopting important trendsetter groups into supporting the norm.

March 25, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Using SSRN to Aid and to Promote Research

SSRN LogoJohn Prebble, Julia Caldwell & Amelia Keene (all of Victoria University of Wellington), Using the Social Science Research Network to Aid and to Promote Research, 44 Victoria U. Wellington L. Rev. 631 (2013):

The Social Science Research Network is a depository for academic scholarship. SSRN allows academic papers and abstracts to be accessible worldwide. Most papers may be downloaded from the SSRN database free of charge, but some links are to commercial sites. Posting papers to SSRN and subscribing to its site are not inherently complicated. However, it is possible for academic departments, particularly law schools, to use SSRN more efficiently and more flexibly than SSRN's architects envisaged. For instance, one can establish a faculty working paper series with archived issues that are forever easily accessible, a much cheaper manner of establishing a working paper series than traditional ways, and a more permanent format than envisaged by standard SSRN systems. This article explains how SSRN works and how it can be used more effectively.

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lawsky Presents How Tax Models Work Today at Pepperdine

LawskySarah B. Lawsky (UC-Irvine) presents How Tax Models Work, 54 B.C. L. Rev. 1657 (2012), at Pepperdine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Paul Caron:

Unlike many social and physical sciences, legal scholarship includes little or no discussion of what models mean, how they are connected to the real world of law and policy, or how they should, and should not, be used by legal scholars. This void exists notwithstanding legal scholarship’s increasing reliance on explicit modeling in fields such as law and economics. This Article uses the example of economic modeling in tax scholarship to investigate how legal scholarship uses models, and how models in legal scholarship work. The Article lays out a path between two extremes. At one extreme is scholarship that employs models without either reflection or self-consciousness to make real-world recommendations; at the other is scholarship that rejects models because their assumptions are too far from reality. This Article argues that neither approach is correct. Models are useful and important for legal scholarship, but not in the way that some critics and proponents seem to believe. Drawing from literature in the philosophy of science, this Article argues that we reason from economic models through a mix of deductive and ampliative logic, through leaps, creativity, and intuition. Models cannot provide certainty about what the law should be; rather, economic models are merely one kind of voice in an ongoing and necessarily inconclusive conversation. This Article concludes by drawing on this deeper understanding of models and modeling to propose ways that legal scholarship can and should use economic models.

See also Sarah B. Lawsky, Modeling Uncertainty in Tax Law, 65 Stanford L. Rev. 241 (2013).

Update: Post-presentation lunch:

Lawsky Lunch

March 24, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Harvey Presents FATCA Background, Developments, and Key Issues Today at Baltimore

HarveyJ. Richard (Dick) Harvey, Jr. (Villanova) delivers the keynote address on Offshore Accounts: FATCA Background, Developments, and Key Issues at the tax symposium today sponsored by the University of Baltimore Graduate Tax Program and the Maryland State Bar Association Tax Section:

FATCA was unilaterally enacted by the US in March 2010 to address tax evasion by US taxpayers using offshore accounts. Much has occurred during the ensuing 4 years as the world prepares for FATCA’s July 1, 2014 effective date. Ultimately the key question is whether FATCA will be successful, and if so, how long will it take?

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

Listokin & Stegemiller: The Metric System of State Income Taxes

Yair Listokin (Yale) & Erik Stegemiller (Yale), The Metric System of State Income Taxes:

The residents of six US states (Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon) get to exclude or deduct all or part of their federal income taxes paid when they calculate their taxable income for state income tax purposes. Critics have called this deduction “costly and regressive.” The critics are probably right, but not for the reasons they think. The critics of the deduction overlook the fact that the states that allow deductibility of federal income tax for state tax purposes use a different state income “tax base” or “scale” than other states. Most state income tax regimes use a tax base that includes federal income taxes paid (we call it FTI), but the six states listed above use an income tax base that excludes federal income taxes (the FTE base). The two tax bases can translated from one to the other. Indeed, this paper provides original formulae for converting the FTE base into its FTI equivalent and vice verce. Because of this equivalence, one state income tax base is not a priori better than another. But when we convert FTE income tax bases into their FTI equivalents, we find a pervasive trend. States with FTE income tax regimes systematically have more regressive income tax regimes than states with FTI bases. We argue that taxpayers and legislators under-adjust relative to our translation formula when comparing FTE regimes to FTI regimes, causing the systematic regressive trend in states with FTE regimes.

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

Pepperdine/Tax Analysts Symposium: Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis

TaxSymposiumHeaderPaul L. Caron (Pepperdine), Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis, 142 Tax Notes 1106 (2014) (104-page pdf of all ten symposium articles):

On January 17, 2014, Pepperdine University School of Law and Tax Analysts sponsored a symposium in Malibu, California, at which 21 of the nation’s leading tax academics, practitioners, and journalists discussed the prospects for tax reform as it is affected by two crises facing Washington, D.C.: dangerously misaligned spending and tax policies, which have resulted in a crippling $17.4 trillion national debt; and the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative political organizations. This introduction to the symposium summarizes the keynote (Joseph Bankman) and luncheon (Bruce Bartlett) addresses and the three panels. 

Keynote Address (video):  Joseph Bankman (Stanford), Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis
Edward Kleinbard (USC) (commentator)

Panel #1:  Individual/Estate and Gift Tax Reform (video)

Luncheon Address (video):  Bruce Bartlett (Former Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary), The History of Tax Reform

Panel #2:  Business/International Tax Reform (video)

Panel #3:  Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis: Institutional Perspectives (video)

Closing Remarks (video):  Robert Popovich (Pepperdine), What Have We Learned Today?

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Adler: Was Delaying the Employer Mandate Legal? Did the IRS Even Check?

The Volokh Conspiracy:  Was Delaying the Employer Mandate Legal? Did the IRS Even Check?, by Jonathan H. Alder (Case Western):

The PPACA imposes a “shared responsibility requirement” on employers with more than 50 employees who fail to provide adequate and affordable health insurance to their employees. Employers who fail to comply with this “employer mandate” are required to pay a penalty (what the government calls a tax), that can reach $2,000 per employee for every employee over 30 employed by the firm (e.g. a firm with 50 employees would pay on 20).  The threat of these penalties is one reason some employers have reduced their number  of full-time employees so as to reduce their exposure.

According to the PPACA, the employer mandate was to “apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”  In other words, this provision of the law was due to take effect at the start of the year.  The Administration had other ideas, however.

In July 2013, the Administration announced that it would delay the employer mandate by a year.  As some noted at the time, this conveniently pushed enforcement of the mandate beyond the 2014 election.  Yet there was more to come. On February 10, the Administration announced further delays of the employer mandate. Specifically, the Administration announced that the mandate would be delayed until 2016 for firms with fewer than 100 employees, while those with over 100 employees would only have to provide qualifying insurance to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015.

Given the clear language of the PPACA, it was fair to wonder whether the Administration had the legal authority to make this move (and what effects it would have).  The Treasury Department claimed this was an ordinary exercise of its “longstanding authority to grant transition relief when implementing new legislation,” yet Treasury has yet to identify an applicable precedent that would justify waiving a tax liability prospectively as the Administration is purporting to do.  Treasury has noted cases in which the IRS waived potentially applicable penalties or allowed deferred payment of tax liabilities, but these are easily distinguishable.  Congress expressly provided that the mandate was to take effect this year.  Further, if the mandate penalty is a tax — as the administration currently maintains in various PPACA-related cases pending in federal court — then the employer mandate delay constitutes more than deferring payments or declining to seek penalties. Rather it constitutes a unilateral decision by the executive branch to waive an accrued tax liability.

The legal justification for the employer mandate delay offered by the Treasury Department has been exceedingly weak.  Perhaps this is because the Treasury Department never considered whether it had legal authority to delay the employer mandate until after it made the decision to delay it. ...

Continue reading

March 23, 2014 in 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 list, with some reshuffling of the order of the papers within the Top 5:

  1. [430 Downloads]  The Economics of Tax Law, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  2. [276 Downloads]  2012 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid & Riege, Hartford))
  3. [242 Downloads]  As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, by Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania)
  4. [170 Downloads]  Deferral and Exemption of the Income of Foreign Subsidiaries: A Review of the Basic Analytics, by Alvin C. Warren (Harvard)
  5. [149 Downloads]  Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, by Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh)

March 23, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tulane Hosts 4th Annual Tax Roundtable Today in New Orleans

Tulane LogoTulane hosts its 4th Annual Tax Roundtable today:

The Tulane Tax Roundtable brings together tax scholars from around the country, resident Tulane Faculty, and Tulane students for discussion and debate about important tax policy issues of our time. The roundtable showcases the drafts and works-in-progress of its participants and subjects these works to rigorous analysis in a discussant-driven workshop format.

James Alm (Tulane), Tax Basis Determinations, Pass-Through Entities, and Taxpayer Noncompliance (with Jay A. Soled (Rutgers))
Discussant:  George Yin (Virginia)

Susannah Tahk (Wisconsin), The Tax War on Poverty
Discussant:  Tessa Davis (Tulane)

Jinyan Li (Osgoode Hall), Combating BEPS through LSAs: The Approach of China and India (with Thaddeus Hwong (York))
Discussant:  Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky)

Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane), Taxing Human Equity (with Diane Ring (Boston College))
Discussant:  Philip Hackney (LSU)

George Yin (Virginia), Reforming (and Saving) the IRS by Respecting the Public’s Right to Know
Discussant:  Steven Sheffrin (Tulane)

Steven Sheffrin (Tulane), Tax Competition, Agglomeration, and the Mobility of Professional Athletes (with Grant Driessen (Tulane))
Discussant:  Jinyan Li (Osgoode Hall)

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky), Electing Fairness: A Proposal for a Check-the-Box Style Regime for Same-Sex Couples’ Filing Status
Discussant:  James Alm (Tulane)

Philip Hackney (LSU), Business Leagues, the Collective Action (Non) Problem and Tax-Exemption
Discussant:  Susannah Tahk (Wisconsin)

March 21, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Hasen: The Dividend Reinvestment Deduction

David Hasen (Santa Clara), The Dividend Reinvestment Deduction: A Modest Proposal to Reform the Taxation of Business Income:

This invited essay, scheduled to appear in the 2014 symposium issue of the Chapman Law Review, proposes enactment of a deduction to individuals for distributions received on stock in regular, or "C," corporations when the distributions are reinvested prior to the return date for the year of distribution. The proposal extends as well to gains recognized on the sale or exchange of stock in C corporations. Mechanics of the deduction and likely efficiency gains and other behavioral effects are discussed.

March 21, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Galle: Social Enterprise: Who Needs It?

Brian D. Galle (Boston College), Social Enterprise: Who Needs It?, 54 B.C. L. Rev. 2025 (2013):

State statutes authorizing firms to pursue mixtures of profitable and socially-beneficial goals have proliferated in the past five years. In this invited response essay, I argue that for one large class of charitable goals the so-called “social enterprise” firm is often privately wasteful. While the hybrid form is a bit more sensible for firms that combine profit with simple, easily monitored social benefits, existing laws fail to protect stakeholders against opportunistic conversion of the firm to pure profit-seeking. Given these failings, I suggest that social enterprise’s legislative popularity can best be traced to a race to the bottom among states competing to siphon away federal tax dollars for local businesses. Not all hybrid forms inevitably are failures, however. For example, the convertible debt instruments proposed by Dana Brakman Reiser and Steven Dean -- the inspiration for this response -- offer a promising route forward for “cold glow” firms wishing to promise to clean up some easily-measured but harmful business practices.

March 21, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Clausing Presents Lessons for International Tax Reform from Formulary Apportionment Today at UCLA

ClausingKim Clausing (Reed College) presents Lessons for International Tax Reform from the U.S. State Experience under Formulary Apportionment at UCLA today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium Series hosted by Jason Oh, Kirk Stark, and Alexander Wu:

This work undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. state experience under formulary apportionment of corporate income. While formulary apportionment eliminates the possibility of shifting income across states through accounting strategies that manipulate where income is booked, it may heighten the tax responsiveness of formula factors. The present analysis uses the substantial variation in corporate tax policy decisions of U.S. states over the period 1986 to 2012 to better understand the consequences of formulary apportionment. It examines the effects of policy choices regarding tax rates, formula weights, and other parameters on economic activity, estimating the tax sensitivity of employment, investment, and sales. With the inclusion of adequate control variables, results indicate that economic activity is not particularly sensitive to U.S. state corporate tax policy choices, especially in recent years. Still, tax policy choices have important effects on corporate tax revenues. These results suggest important lessons regarding possible international adoption of formulary apportionment.

March 20, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mann Presents International Tax Reform and the Global Environment Today at San Diego

MannRoberta Mann (Oregon) presents International Tax Reform and the Global Environment at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series:

Nearly everyone agrees that the United States’ system of taxing multinational corporations is broken. While nominal U.S. corporate tax rates rank near the top among developed countries, the taxes actually paid by U.S. corporations are the lowest among those countries. Debates over corporate reform are intensifying.

The U.S. asserts its taxing authority over all the income earned by its citizens and residents. This type of taxing system is called a “worldwide” system. The foreign income of foreign corporations and residents is not taxed unless it is repatriated to the United States, for example, by means of a dividend paid to the U.S. corporate parent by a foreign subsidiary. U.S. corporations and residents are allowed to reduce their U.S. tax liability by foreign tax credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. By holding foreign income overseas, U.S. multinationals avoid U.S. tax.

Continue reading

March 20, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Symposium on Perpetual Conservation Easements

The Utah Law Review has published a symposium on Perpetual Conservation Easements, 2013 Utah L. Rev. 687-881:

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

Missouri Symposium on Promoting Sustainable Energy Through Tax Policy

Mo 1Promoting Sustainable Energy Through Tax Policy, 20 J. Envtl. & Sustainability L. 1-103 (2013):

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

McMahon Presents Reforming Taxation of Privately Held Businesses Today at Duke

McMahon (Marty)Martin J. McMahon, Jr. (Florida) presents Reforming Taxation of Privately Held Businesses at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Recent proposals to reduce the corporate tax rate and to clean up the base by eliminating tax expenditures are appropriate, but none adequately address the differential treatment of incorporated and unincorporated businesses. Corporate tax reform that involves broadening the base and reducing the rates cannot thoughtfully be addressed without also reconsidering the taxation of unincorporated businesses, in light of the large and increasing percentage of business income realized by unincorporated businesses. Leaving business-related tax expenditures in place for unincorporated business while repealing them for corporations would increase both statutory complexity and planning complexity. Such a change would alter (in a manner that is difficult to describe precisely) the tax-induced distortions in the choice of business entity and most certainly continue the economic inefficiencies attributable to the current system.

My proposed solution would be to tax all businesses (including wholly owned corporations and limited liability companies, as well as unorganized sole proprietorships), at the entity level under a uniform rate schedule, regardless of the form of organization. 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.

March 19, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hickman: Administering the Tax System We Have

Kristin E. Hickman (Minnesota), Administering the Tax System We Have, 64 Duke L.J. ___ (2014):

Traditional perceptions of tax exceptionalism from administrative law doctrines and requirements have been predicated at least in part on the importance of the tax code’s revenue raising function. Yet, Congress increasingly relies on the IRS to administer government programs that have little to do with raising revenue and much more to do with distributing government benefits to the economically disadvantaged, subsidizing approved activities, and regulating outright certain economic sectors like nonprofits, pensions, and now health care. As the attentions of the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service shift away from raising revenue and toward these other matters, the revenue-based justification for tax exceptionalism from general administrative law norms fades. To demonstrate the shift, the Article incorporates empirical analysis of Treasury and IRS regulatory activity over time.

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

Monday, March 17, 2014

IDC Herzliya Hosts Symposium Today on A New Era in Taxation in Honor of Nancy Staudt

StaudtIDC Herzliya, Radzyner School of Law (Israel) hosts a symposium today on A New Era in Taxation in honor of Nancy Staudt (Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Edward G. Lewis Chair in Law and Public Policy, and Academic Director, The Schwarzenegger Institute, USC), organized by Rifat Azam and Ruth Zafran:

Keynote Address:  Nancy Staudt (USC), Corporate Shams around the World

Panel #1:  Tax Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

  • Dr. Rifat Azam (IDC Herzliya), Panel Chair
  • Tsilly Dagan (Bar-Ilan), Tax Policy in an Era of Globalization
  • Tamir Shanan (College of Management Academic Studies), Replacing the Transfer Pricing Regime with Formulary Apportionment Approach in the International Settings
  • Rifat Azam (IDC Herzliya), New Stage in the Multinationals v. The International Tax Regime Game: Some Thoughts on the OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

Panel #2:  Current Issues in Tax Policy

  • Adam Shinar (IDC Herzliya), Panel Chair
  • Yoram Margalioth (Tel-Aviv), Why (and how) Income Tax should be Imposed at the Household Level?
  • Sagit Leviner (Ono), Comparative Evaluation of Tax Policy-Making in Israel: Exploring the Trajectories Where are we coming from and What Lays Ahead
  • Jacob Nussim (Bar-Ilan), The Tax Treatment of Losses

Comments & Closing Remarks:  Nancy Staudt (USC)

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN, with three new papers debuting on the list at #3, #4, and #5:

  1. [399 Downloads]  The Economics of Tax Law, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  2. [267 Downloads]  2012 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law by Jeffrey A. Cooper (Quinnipiac) & John R. Ivimey (Reid & Riege, Hartford))
  3. [217 Downloads]  As American as Apple Inc.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality, by Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania)
  4. [147 Downloads]  Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, by Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh)
  5. [145 Downloads]  Deferral and Exemption of the Income of Foreign Subsidiaries: A Review of the Basic Analytics, by Alvin C. Warren (Harvard)

March 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Burke Presents Woods: A Path Through the Penalty Maze at Northwestern

BurkeKaren C. Burke (Florida) presented Woods: A Path Through the Penalty Maze, 142 Tax Notes 829 (Feb. 24, 2014) (with Grayson M.P. McCouch (Florida)), at Northwestern on Thursday as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by by Herbert Beller, Charlotte CraneDavid Cameron, Philip Postlewaite, Jeffrey Sheffield, and Robert Wootton:

The Supreme Court’s recent Woods decision answers two important questions concerning the applicability of penalties when a taxpayer reports artificial losses derived from an inflated basis in a sham partnership. One issue, which has generated a split among the circuits, is whether the 40 percent penalty can apply when the transaction lacks economic substance. The second issue is whether a court has jurisdiction in a partnership-level TEFRA proceeding2 to determine the applicability of penalties triggered by a partner’s misstatement of basis in a sham partnership. The Court has answered both questions in the affirmative, thereby overruling contrary decisions by the Fifth Circuit on the substantive issue and by the D.C. Circuit on the jurisdictional issue.

Continue reading

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

March 14, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Chapman Hosts Symposium Today on Business Tax Reform

Chapman Logo (2013)The Chapman Law Review hosts a symposium today on Business Tax Reform: Emerging Issues in the Taxation of U.S. Entities:

Panel I:  Specific Tax Issues Affecting the Business World: The Policies and Reasons Behind Certain Laws
Moderator: Bobby Dexter (Chapman)

Panel II:  Pass-Through Entity Reform: Is a Major Overhaul Necessary?
Moderator: Bahar A. Schippel (Snell & Wilmer)

Keynote Speaker:  Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)

Panel III:  How Federal Business Tax Reform Affects State and Local Tax
Moderator:  Michael Lang (Chapman)

Panel IV:  Corporate Tax Reform: How to Tax Multinational Corporations
Moderator:  Douglas A. Schaaf (Paul Hastings)

March 14, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Morse Presents The Development of Tax Anti-Avoidance Law in Australia and the United States Today at Indiana

Morse (2013)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents The Development of Tax Anti-Avoidance Law in Australia and the United States (with Robert Deutsch (University of New South Wales)) at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman

The different approaches to the development of tax anti-abuse law in Australia and the United States share the same basic building blocks: administrative leadership, legislative change, and the development of judicial case law. For reasons including path dependence and the degree of difficulty of the path to enacting a legislative change favored by the administration, statutory change is favored in Australia relative to the United States. In the U.S., administrators faced with a tough tax avoidance problem favor a strategy that combines strong elements of litigation strategy and regulatory and other guidance, as well as proposals for statutory amendment. But the differences are differences of degree, since tax administrators in both countries use all of these elements and operate in a way that acknowledges all branches of government when seeking to develop and change applicable tax anti-abuse law. In addition, based on this case study evidence, the substantive differences in Australian and U.S. anti-abuse law cannot be directly traced to institutional choice issues.

March 13, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)