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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ryan: Valuation Lessons From Estate of Adell

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Kerry A. Ryan (St. Louis), Valuation Lessons From Estate of Adell, 144 Tax Notes 1455 (Sept. 22, 2014):

In Estate of Adell [T.C. Memo. 2014-155], the Tax Court determined that the correct value of a decedent’s interest in a closely held corporation was the figure reported on the original estate tax return. The court rejected alternative values as either using the incorrect valuation method or failing to account for the significant value of a key employee’s personal goodwill. 

October 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Brooklyn Hosts 2014 Scholar’s Roundtable Today

Brooklyn Logo 1Brooklyn hosts the 2014 Scholar’s Roundtable today with this tax panel:

October 10, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

October 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boston College and Tax Analysts Host Conference Today on Reforming Entity Taxation

BCTABoston College and Tax Analysts host a conference today on Reforming Entity Taxation at Boston College:

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)

October 10, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Call for Tax Papers: Michigan Young Scholars’ Conference

The organizers of the 2015 Michigan Law School Young Scholars' Conference are seeking submissions for a tax panel:

MichiganThe University of Michigan Law School is pleased to invite submissions for its 2015 Young Scholars’ Conference to be held on March 27-28, 2015, at the University of Michigan Law School.

The conference is designated to provide aspiring doctoral students and recent graduates with a forum to present and discuss their work among academic peers from different nationalities and legal disciplines. The conference aims to promote fruitful research collaboration between its participants, and to encourage their integration in a community of legal scholars. ...

We welcome applications from current doctoral students, both in law and law-related disciplines, and from recent graduates of doctoral programs. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 2, 2014.

October 9, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abreu & Greenstein: The Rule of Law as a Law of Standards -- Interpreting the Internal Revenue Code

Alice Abreu (Temple) & Richard K. Greenstein (Temple), The Rule of Law as a Law of Standards: Interpreting the Internal Revenue Code, 63 Duke L.J. Online ___ (2014):

Although fields of law ordinarily comprise both rules and standards, and foundational tax scholars such as Professors Surrey, Warren, and Bittker understood the importance of standards in tax law, many tax scholars and professionals have come to regard federal tax law as “the paradigmatic system of rules.” The vision of tax-as-rules is particularly alluring because rules have been associated with rule-of-law values, and it seems that the rule of law might be especially important in the field of taxation. The rule of law constrains the coercive power of government, and perhaps few powers are viewed with as much suspicion as the taxing power. Our claim that the existence of many rules in the tax law does not dictate the interpretation of all tax formulations as rules seems to threaten critical rule-of-law values. Nevertheless, we believe with Surrey and Warren that tax, like other areas of law, can flourish only if the IRS and the courts are able to respond to “unforeseen cases as they arise” and that this flexibility demands that many Code provisions be interpreted as standards. We also believe that this use of standards does not threaten rule-of-law values. In this essay we defend both propositions.

To do so we engage pointedly with Professor Larry Zelenak’s critique of the position we took in our earlier article, Defining Income [11 Fla Tax Rev. 295 (2011)], where we claimed that the category of “gross income” in the Internal Revenue Code is best understood as a standard, not a rule. In Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax, Professor Zelenak worried that our position threatened the rule of law by “stretch[ing] beyond the breaking point” the concept of interpretation [Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax, 62 Duke L.J. 855 (2012)].

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October 9, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Tax Lawyer Publishes New Issue

The Tax Lawyer (2013)The Tax Lawyer has published Vol. 67, No. 4 (Summer 2014):

October 8, 2014 in ABA Tax Section, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Smith: Changes in Agencies’ Interpretations of Their Own Regulations and Auer Deference

Patrick J. Smith (Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Washington, D.C.), Changes in Agencies’ Interpretations of Their Own Regulations and Auer Deference:

Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, a case that is currently pending before the Supreme Court, involves the validity of a D.C. Circuit rule relating to the Administrative Procedure Act notice-and-comment requirements for rulemaking. Under the APA, substantive rules are subject to the notice and comment requirements but interpretative rules are not. Under this D.C. Circuit rule, if an agency has adopted an interpretation of one of its own substantive regulations in a guidance document that would not itself otherwise be a substantive rule, the agency must nevertheless use notice-and-comment procedures to change the interpretation. Although the D.C. Circuit has not done so, this rule can be justified based on the Auer deference principle under which agency interpretations of their own regulations are given deference similar to the deference that is given under Chevron to agency statutory interpretations. Under Auer, an agency interpretation of its own regulation can be viewed as having the force of law, and as a result should be viewed as itself a substantive rule, since a substantive rule is a rule with the force of law. As a substantive rule, notice-and-comment procedures are required.

October 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schizer: The Influence of Tax on Managerial Agency Costs

David Schizer (Columbia), Tax and Corporate Governance: The Influence of Tax on Managerial Agency Costs:

OxfordThis chapter of the Oxford Handbook on Corporate Law and Governance canvasses a broad range of ways that tax influences managerial agency costs, focusing especially on the United States. In doing so, this chapter has two goals. The first is to help corporate law experts target managerial agency costs more effectively. The analysis here flags when tax is likely to exacerbate agency costs, and when it is likely to mitigate them. Armed with this information, corporate law experts have a better sense of how vigorous a contractual or corporate law response they need. In some cases, a change in the tax law may also be justified. This chapter’s second goal, then, is to enhance our understanding of tax rules, shedding light on a set of welfare effects that are important but understudied. After all, tax policy is more likely to enhance welfare if policymakers weigh all possible welfare effects, including managerial agency costs.

Overall, the U.S. tax system’s record in influencing agency costs is not encouraging. After all, a tax system’s priority is not to reduce agency costs, but to raise revenue efficiently and fairly. Government tax experts do not usually have the expertise or motivation to tackle corporate governance problems. Tax also is a poor fit because it typically applies mandatorily and uniformly, while responses to agency cost should be molded to the context. For example, promoting stock options or leverage will be valuable in some settings, but disastrous in others. There also are political hurdles to be overcome. Accordingly, when tax rules target agency costs, the results often are poorly tailored or even counterproductive.

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October 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

ATPI Hosts Conference on Taxation and Migration

ATPI Logo (2015)The American Tax Policy Institute hosts a conference on Taxation and Migration organized by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Joel Slemrod (Michigan) in Washington, D.C. (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, 1441 New York Avenue, N.W.) on October 17 (free registration here):

The conference assesses the effects of taxation on the migration across national and state boundaries of individuals at various stages of their lives. It will also evaluate whether corporate migrations (such as "inversions") involve migration of individuals, and what are the tax policy implications for the US and other jurisdictions. 

October 8, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Afield: Harnessing Taxpayer Choices to Improve Educational Quality

W. Edward Afield III (Ave Maria), Winning the Crowd: Harnessing Taxpayer Choices to Improve Educational Quality, 63 Cath. U. L. Rev. 297 (2014):

This article presents a novel approach to the debate over the best way to improve educational policy. Building off of research showing that decisions made by groups can be superior to those made by even the smartest members of those groups, this piece shows how this concept of a "wise crowd" can be applied to improve outcomes even in a complex policy debate like educational policy. Educational policy currently exhibits a host of competing ideas for the best mechanism to improve student outcomes. These competing ideas can be seen in the wide variety of schools that exist and that compete for resources to implement their approaches. Public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, International Baccalaureate programs, secular private schools, religious private schools, home schooling — all of these and more offer unique approaches to education. Even within these types of schools, different educational teaching philosophies abound. Although some schools unquestionably have better outcomes for students than others, there is not universal agreement about how to measure the quality of any particular school because of the host of factors involved in educating a student. In other words, some schools are likely better than others, but separating good schools from weak ones is difficult.

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October 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Winchester: Obama's Gift to the Rich: A Permanent Payroll Tax Holiday

Richard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson),  Obama's Gift to the Rich: A Permanent Payroll Tax Holiday, 48 Val. U. L. Rev. 83 (2013):

President Obama made a concerted effort to enact tax legislation that benefited middle and lower income individuals over the rich. The temporary payroll tax cut in effect during 2011 and 2012 is a case in point. However, many high-income individuals enjoyed an even greater measure of payroll tax relief as a result of legislation that he signed. But instead of being granted directly under the terms of a bill, this relief was made possible because the tax legislation that he signed perpetuated what had been only a temporary incentive for individuals to avoid the payroll tax entirely when they work for a corporation that they also own or otherwise control. Simply put, these individuals can take a payroll tax holiday by substituting a dividend for any wages they could otherwise receive. What’s more, this tax dodge operates in a way that favors the rich far more than anyone else. This tax dodge would have died after Mr. Obama’s second year in office. However, the legislation he signed gave it perpetual life, reinforcing the need to address the multiple defects in the nation’s employment tax system.

October 8, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shackelford Presents The Taxation of Foreign Investors in U.S. REITs Today at Columbia

ShackelfordDouglas Schackelford (North Carolina) presents Taxes, Investors, and Managers: Exploring the Taxation of Foreign Investors in U.S. REITs (with Margot Howard (North Carolina) & Katherine Pancak (Connecticut)) at Columbia today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex RaskolnikovDavid Schizer, and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Exploiting a 2004 reduction in a unique capital gains withholding tax for foreign investors in U.S. REITs, this paper explores both the sensitivity of real estate investors to changes in their own taxes and the reaction of real estate managers to changes in their investors’ taxes. We find that both foreign investors and REIT managers responded to the tax change. This is consistent with taxes both restricting the flow of foreign capital into U.S. REITs and affecting the management of their real estate properties. To our knowledge, this is the first paper documenting that U.S. managers change their U.S. operations in response to the tax positions of foreign investors. This work should spur further study of the interplay between real estate and income taxes, the role of taxes on foreign portfolio investment, and the role of taxes on real managerial decisions. It also should aid policymakers who are considering further relaxing the discriminatory tax treatment for foreign investors in U.S. real estate.

October 7, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gamage: On Double-Distortion Arguments, Distribution Policy, and the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments

David Gamage (UC-Berkeley), On Double-Distortion Arguments, Distribution Policy, and the Optimal Choice of Tax Instruments:

There are both administrative and political constraints on the extent to which real-world tax systems might plausibly be reformed. No one seriously suggests that tax avoidance and evasion could be completely eliminated in real-world contexts. To better cope with tax avoidance and evasion, and to complement attempts to reform existing tax systems, this research project argues that governments should also raise revenues and promote distribution through a number of supplementary policy instruments. Among other applications, this research project argues that governments should probably: (a) levy both personal labor-income taxes and value-added consumption taxes, (b) tax both capital income and wealth, and (c) make use of a number of other tax and non-tax legal rules for distributive purposes.

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October 7, 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, 100 Va. L. Rev. 1115 (2014):

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.

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October 7, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Norman Presents Corporate Tax and Beyond: Compliance Norms Today at McGill

Norman 2Wayne Norman (Duke University, Department of Philosophy) presents Corporate Tax and Beyond: Compliance Norms at McGill today as part of its Spiegel Sohmer Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Allison Christians and Daniel Weinstock:

Using the media's recent coverage of Apple's tax avoidance strategies as a case study, Professor Norman will discuss how we ought to understand and rationalize corporate social responsibility and self-regulation norms emerging around the taxation of multinationals, and whether these rationalizations are, or should be, different than the rationalization of corporate tax regulation.

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

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.

Continue reading

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