TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Drennan: Conspicuous Philanthropy — Reconciling Contract And Tax Laws

William A. Drennan (Southern Illinois), Conspicuous Philanthropy: Reconciling Contract and Tax Laws, 66 Am. U. L. Rev. 1323 (2017):

It sold for $15 million, and the IRS treated it as worthless. Avery Fisher, a titan of industry and a lover of classical music, made a generous contribution to renovate a charity’s building, and in exchange the charity agreed to name the building after Fisher in perpetuity. Forty years later, the Fisher family sold the naming rights back to the charity for $15 million in cash. The IRS treats these publicity rights as worthless when charities grant them, and this generates substantial tax benefits for the donor and the donor’s family. In contrast, the common law can treat these publicity rights as valuable consideration supporting an enforceable contract, and a charity may be liable for damages if it renames a building. Why the contradiction? What are the consequences? Should we reconcile these positions? How?

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Games They Will Play: An Update On The Conference Committee Tax Bill

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Lily Batchelder (NYU), Cliff Fleming (BYU), David Gamage (Indiana), Ari Glogower (Ohio State), Daniel Hemel (Chicago), David Kamin (NYU), Mitchell Kane (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn), David Miller (Proskauer), Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Dan Shaviro (NYU) & Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings), The Games They Will Play: An Update on the Conference Committee Tax Bill:

Earlier this month, we posted a report identifying key weaknesses in the Senate and House tax legislation, titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Based on the conference bill released last week, this report updates our analysis describing some of the major games, legal roadblocks, and glitches in the legislation. This represents the continued work of a group of legal experts from across the country.

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December 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chen: The Mathematics Of Law School Merit Scholarships

Jim Chen (Michigan State), Scholarships at Risk: The Mathematics of Merit Stipulations in Law School Financial Aid, 7 UC Irvine L. Rev. 43 (2017):

Many law schools in the United States condition financial aid grants on the recipients’ maintenance of a certain grade point average. These merit stipulations require students to meet or exceed minimum academic standards in order to keep all or part of their financial aid. Law students should take merit stipulations into account when they decide whether to accept an offer of admission paired with a conditional grant of financial aid. By all accounts, they do not. Law schools should transparently disclose the likely effect of merit stipulations on their financial aid awards. By all accounts, law schools do no such thing. Absent external coercion, they are unlikely to change their current practices. In the absence of industry-wide standards counseling full disclosure of financial aid practices, this article will try to equip law school applicants with the mathematical tools to assess the real impact of merit stipulations on their financial well being.

This article first presents very simple models for discounting financial aid awards for the risk of failure to uphold a merit stipulation. It outlines a simple methodology for calculating the expected value of a financial aid award subject to a merit stipulation. The article also evaluates one extraordinary circumstance in which a law school has implicitly revealed its break-even point — the amount of aid that the school would award if it did not impose any merit stipulations.

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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Revenue Aspects Of Carbon Taxation

Shi-Ling Hsu (Florida State), A Complete Analysis of Carbon Taxation: Considering the Revenue Side, 65 Buff. L. Rev. 857 (2017):

Climate policy in the United States always seems to face strong political headwinds. It is not so much that voters dismiss the threat of climate change, or that they believe climate change is a “hoax,” but coming up with a fair and effective policy has always seemed so daunting. This Article argues that the simplest answer is not, contrary to initial appearances, daunting at all. The most effective and most efficient climate policy at the federal, state, and local level is a carbon tax.

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December 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pepperdine Symposium: Spiritual Leadership

Graziadio

GBR Special Issue:  Spiritual Leadership
Living in a complex world and moving into the smart machine age, the need for good leadership is even greater; spiritual leadership provides a compass to navigate through difficult decisions.

Spiritual Leadership:  Embedding Sustainability in the Triple Bottom Line
Often, a company’s competitive advantage depends on how intelligent the firm is at observing and interpreting the dynamic world context in which it operates.

Editorial:  Research and Teaching on Spirituality and Spiritual Leadership in Management
Research and teaching in the field will help future managers and organization leaders cope with the stress and anxiety and sometimes rancor that organizations may be experiencing.

Ecologically Conscious Leadership:  Spiritual Convictions that Achieve Sustainability
Spiritual convictions may help business leaders to develop ecological consciousness required for achieving sustainability in business functioning.

Leadership “Jesus Style”:  3 Narratives from the Gospel Accounts of Jesus’ Life
Jesus of Nazareth manifests character traits in His speech and actions that transcend time and culture and offer insights into leadership practices and priorities worth serious consideration.

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December 19, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThere is a quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #1 and #5.  The #1 paper is already #1 (by over 20,000 downloads) among 13,183 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. [31,359 Downloads]  The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches Under the New Legislation, by Ari Glogower (Ohio State), David Kamin (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) et al.
  2. [436 Downloads]  The Senate Introduced a Pragmatic and Geopolitically Savvy Inbound Base Erosion Rule, by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  3. [408 Downloads]  Tax Reform: Process Failures, Loopholes and Wealth Windfalls , by Stephen Shay (Harvard)
  4. [261 Downloads]  Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan)
  5. [176 Downloads]  Heading Off a Cliff?, by Michael Graetz (Columbia)

December 17, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Guide To Election Year Activities Of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations

PLI LogoSteven H. Sholk (Gibbons, Newark, NJ), A Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations (PLI 2017) (460 pages).

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hasen: How Should Gifts Be Treated Under The Federal Income Tax?

David Hasen (Florida), How Should Gifts Be Treated Under the Federal Income Tax?, 2018 Mich. St. L. Rev. ___:

No consensus exists regarding the proper income tax treatment of gifts. Some commentators believe the tax should fall on the donor only; others believe it should fall on the donee only; and still others believe it should fall on both the donor and the donee.

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December 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

State-of-The-Art Federal Marijuana Tax Bills

Pat Oglesby (Center for New Revenue), State-of-The-Art Federal Marijuana Tax Bills:

Recent federal marijuana tax bills address these questions:

  1. What should we tax? What should be the “base” or bases of a cannabis tax? (Possible bases include: price; weight of various product types [like flower, trim, and concentrate]; and THC content.) 
  2. Given any base, what should the tax rate be?
  3.  Should medical cannabis bear full tax? 
  4. Should marijuana advertising and selling expenses become deductible for federal income tax purposes? (That would treat cannabis businesses like other businesses; current Internal Revenue Code section 280E bars such deductions.)

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December 14, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers: University of North Carolina Tax Symposium

North Carolina Tax SymposiumThe University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business has issued a call for papers for its Twenty-First Annual Tax Symposium to be held April 21-22, 2018. The symposium "is designed to bring together leading tax scholars from economics, accounting, finance, law, political science, and related fields." The deadline for the call for papers is December 15, 2017:

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December 14, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How Prestige And Rankings Can Help Law Schools Avoid The Same Fate As The 12% Of Dental Schools That Closed In 1986-1997

Dental SchoolFollowing up on my previous posts:

Eric A. Chiappinelli (Texas Tech), Like Pulling Teeth: How Dental Education's Crisis Shows the Way Forward for Law Schools, 48 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (2017) 

Nearly all observers of the current law school crisis treat legal education as a unique discipline. In their view, legal education as a whole, and individual law schools, have nothing to learn from outsiders that would be useful in reacting to, or thriving in the face of, the radical changes in legal education that have resulted from the collapse of the admissions market.

I take an entirely different approach. I believe legal education is not sui generis. In fact, another profession faced a similar crisis. Its schools’ admissions market collapsed because of a fundamental change in the profession itself. Twelve percent of those schools were closed. That profession was dentistry, and the lessons from its crisis are the way forward for legal education and for law schools.

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December 13, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thomas Presents Taxing The Gig Economy At Minnesota

Thomas (2017)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) presented Taxing the Gig Economy, 166 U. Pa. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Minnesota as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series hosted by Kristin Hickman:

Millions of Americans now earn income through “gig” work, which allows them to set their own hours and choose which jobs to take. To the surprise of many gig workers, the tax law considers them to be “business owners” and subjects them to onerous recordkeeping and filing requirements along with the obligation to pay quarterly estimated taxes. Professor Thomas will discuss two possible reforms aimed at reducing the tax compliance burdens of gig workers while enhancing the government’s ability to collect tax revenue from them: a “non-employee withholding” regime that would allow online platform companies to withhold taxes for their workers without being classifed as employers; and a “standard business deduction” for gig workers that would eliminate the need for those workers to track and report business expenses.

December 12, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Soda Taxes As A Legal And Social Movement

David A. Dana (Northwestern) & Janice Nadler (Northwestern), Soda Taxes as a Legal and Social Movement:

In the last few years, several local governments have adopted new soda taxes. Other localities currently are considering adopting such a tax. In this Article, we consider whether soda taxes are becoming a more common local policy throughout the country — like local smoking restrictions — or whether, instead, they will remain a limited legal phenomenon. We focus on two potential obstacles to the widespread adoption of local soda taxes: (1) policy-based objections to the taxes as regressive and unduly paternalistic, which could undermine political support for their adoption at the local level; and (2) state preemption of local taxes, often achieved at the behest of the beverage industry.

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Johnson: Tax Policy For The Coming Bitter Hard Times

BookCalvin H. Johnson (Texas), Winter is Coming: Tax Policy for the Coming Bitter Hard Times, 157 Tax Notes 851 (Nov. 6, 2017) (reviewing Robert J. Gordon (Northwestern), The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton University Press 2017)):

The United States has always defined itself in terms of great optimism and progress. For long periods, that self-definition was accurate. It no longer is. Robert J. Gordon’s magisterial economic history, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, describes 1870-1970 as the miracle century that improved the real standard of living tenfold. For the future, says Gordon, the United States faces an anemic growth rate of less than a third of a percent per year, and — even worse — only the richest tier will see growth.

For tax, the realistic expectations of slow future growth mean a high danger of collapse in our ability to run deficits or borrow money well within the decade. Federal creditors have been extraordinarily generous to the U.S. government, accepting interest below the expected rate of inflation. They have assumed that federal debt is risk free. If our creditors lose faith in our ability to repay debt, or believe that we will just pay it off with inflated paper, then the debt will no longer be treated as risk free. The loss of faith will probably not be just a squeeze but a collapse.

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December 11, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Aprill: Amending The Johnson Amendment In The Age Of Cheap Speech

Ellen P. Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Amending the Johnson Amendment in the Age of Cheap Speech, 2018 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online ___:

On November 2, 2017, the House Ways and Means Committee released its proposed tax reform legislation. It includes a provision amending the provision of the Internal Revenue Code, sometimes called the Johnson Amendment, that prohibits charities, including churches, from intervening in campaigns for elected office, at risk of loss of their exemption under section 501(c)(3). Under the Ways and Means proposal, as later revised and passed by the House, organizations exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) would be permitted to engage in campaign intervention if “the preparation and presentation of such content . . . is in the ordinary course of the organization’s regular and customary activities in carrying out its exempt purpose and . . . results in the organization incurring not more than de minimis incremental expenses.”

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

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. [447 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA and CRS, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  2. [393 Downloads]  The Senate Introduced a Pragmatic and Geopolitically Savvy Inbound Base Erosion Rule, by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  3. [374 Downloads]  Tax Reform: Process Failures, Loopholes and Wealth Windfalls , by Stephen Shay (Harvard)
  4. [233 Downloads]  Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan)
  5. [169 Downloads]  Brigham Young vs. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, by Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago)

December 10, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: 12 Tax Profs Highlight Flaws Of GOP Tax Plan

This week, David Gamage (Indiana) discusses a new report, The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches Under the New Legislation

Gamage (2019)The House and Senate Republicans’ tax bills are now headed to conference.  This may well turn out to be the most substantial new tax legislation since 1986. It threatens to be overwhelming to even list the ways in which these bills might transform important aspects of the U.S. economy. 

Given the massive scale and importance of this legislative effort, it is imperative that the new legislation be considered carefully and deliberately. Unfortunately, Republican leadership is currently rushing to meet a self-imposed deadline of passing this legislation before December 22nd.

I agree with some of the policy goals underlying these bills, and disagree with others. Yet whatever one thinks of these broad policy goals, draftsmanship is also important. Without careful drafting, tax law provisions can easily have numerous unintentional harmful effects.

Led by the primary drafters of Ari Glogower (Ohio State), David Kamin (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn), and Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), this new report explains some of the “games, roadblocks, and glitches” in these bills.  Nine other signatories also joined as signatories and secondary drafters of this report, and—full disclosure—I am one of these additional co-drafter/signatories.

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December 8, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thompson: Taxing Trump And Curry Under The Republican Plan

Following up on my previous post, The Only Person Mentioned In The Republican Tax Bill Is ... Steph Curry:  Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. (Penn State), Taxing Trump and Curry under the Republican Plan, 157 Tax Notes 1149 (Nov. 20, 2017):

It looks like the Republicans will be successful in enacting the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCAJA). The House Republican version of the TCAJA would adopt a maximum 25% rate on certain business income of pass-through entities. In attempting to sell this provision, the House Republicans have compared Stephen Curry, a star professional basketball player, who would not qualify for the 25% rate, to Steve of “Steve’s Bike Shop,” who would be entitled to the 25% rate. Apparently, the House Republicans used Curry because he got into a fight with President Trump over Curry’s decision not to visit the White House in connection with a celebration of his team’s NBA championship. ...

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December 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gergen Presents A Securities Tax And The Problems Of Taxing Global Capital Today At Penn

Gergen (2017)Mark P. Gergen (UC-Berkeley) presents A Securities Tax and the Problems of Taxing Global Capital at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

An earlier paper by the same author [How to Tax Capital, 70 Tax L. Rev. 1 (2016)] proposed a new approach to taxing capital that is owned by U.S. households and nonprofits. The cornerstone of the new approach would be a flat annual tax on the market value of U.S. publicly traded securities. A security issuer would remit the tax based on the market value of its securities and would receive a credit for U.S. publicly traded securities it holds. Income producing capital that is not subject to the securities tax, such as an interest in a closely held business or an interest in a private equity fund, would be covered by a complementary tax that would be at the same rate as the securities tax. The securities tax and the complementary tax are intended to replace the entire existing patchwork system for taxing capital income in the U.S., and would eliminate many of the distortionary features of the existing U.S. system, including the realization requirement, the distinction between debt and equity, and the double-taxation of corporate income.

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

Roberts: The Constitutional Grounding For Environmental Taxation In The U.S.

Tracey M. Roberts (Cumberland), The Constitutional Grounding for Environmental Taxation in the United States:

This chapter of Constitutional Aspects of Environmental Taxation discusses the basis in the U.S. Constitution for the federal use of Pigouvian taxes and subsidies to manage natural resources and the environment. First, the chapter provides an overview of the dual system of state and federal governments, the state delegation of limited authority to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution, and the limitations on federal power under the Bill of Rights. Second, it outlines the role of the Commerce Clause as authority for Congress to enact environmental regulation and discusses the limits on that authority based on Tenth Amendment federalism concerns and the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause. Third, the chapter identifies a second source of constitutional authority for Congress to use environmental taxation: the Taxing Power.

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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Boustan Presents Immigration In American Economic History Today At Columbia

BoustanLeah Boustan (Princeton) presents Immigration in American Economic History (with Ran Abramitzky (Stanford)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

The United States has long been perceived as a land of opportunity for immigrants. Yet, both in the past and today, US natives have expressed concern that immigrants fail to integrate into US society and lower wages for existing workers. This paper reviews the literatures on historical and contemporary migrant flows, yielding new insights on migrant selection, assimilation of immigrants into US economy and society, and the effect of immigration on the labor market.

Figure 1

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December 5, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Shay: Tax Reform – Process Failures, Loopholes And Wealth Windfalls

Stephen E. Shay (Harvard), Tax Reform – Process Failures, Loopholes and Wealth Windfalls:

This paper argues that the rushed legislative consideration of tax reform proposals without adequate time to review and analyze bill text has left open unintended loopholes. The paper identifies a loophole that would benefit multinationals in the proposals’ “repatriation holiday” provisions that if not fixed could result in large revenue losses. This loophole is illustrative of the pervasive failure in the proposals to incorporate guardrails around substantial rate reductions that would effectively police the many new boundaries between rate differences that the bill creates. Loopholes like that described in this paper are a sideshow compared to the proposals’ wealth windfall to the already wealthy from business tax rate reductions, but, incredibly, they would enhance it.

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December 4, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

California State University Issues Call For Tax Papers

Cal StateThe Bookstein Institute for Higher Education in Taxation at California State University, Northridge, in collaboration with the College of Business at Central Washington University, has issued a Call for Papers for The 2018 Tax Development Conference to be held at California State University, Northridge on Friday, May 4, 2018:

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December 4, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Call for Papers: Michigan Young Scholars’ Conference

Young 2Michigan Law School has issued a  call for papers for its Third Annual Young Scholars' Conference:

The University of Michigan Law School invites junior scholars to attend the 4th Annual Junior Scholars’ Conference which will be held on April 13th–14th, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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December 3, 2017 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #2 and #4:

  1. [435 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA and CRS, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  2. [301 Downloads]  The Senate Introduced a Pragmatic and Geopolitically Savvy Inbound Base Erosion Rule, by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  3. [229 Downloads]  Slicing and Dicing: The Structural Problems of the Tax Reform Framework, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [171 Downloads]  Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan)
  5. [164 Downloads]  Brigham Young vs. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, by Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago)

December 3, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Erin Scharff (Arizona State) reviews a recent working paper by Scott Dyreng (Duke), Martin Jacob (WHU- Otto Beisheim School of Management), Xu Jiang (Duke), and Maximilian A. Müller (WHU- Otto Beisheim School of Management), Tax Avoidance and Tax Incidence:

Scharff (2017)I’m writing this week’s SSRN Update with my browser open, constantly refreshing newspaper websites.  I assume I’m not alone.  I feel grateful to so many members of the tax community who have spoken and written about the current tax reform proposals and attempted to shed light on the myriad of changes (and tax avoidance strategies) likely to be created by the tax bills working their way through Congress at lightning speed. 

So much of our focus in the past weeks has been understanding what’s in the proposed legislation, and I assume there will be much more to be learned and written should some version of the current proposals become law, as is looking increasingly likely (or maybe not, as more news breaks).

In the meantime, as we ponder the potential impact of large corporate tax cuts and new opportunities for tax avoidance, a new paper by Scott Dyreng, Martin Jacob, Xu Jiang, and Maximilian A. Müller offers new insight on corporate decision making.  Their findings suggest that for at least some firms, the ability to shift the tax incidence away from shareholders reduces the incentive to engage in tax avoidance.

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December 1, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hasen: Accretion-Based Progressive Wealth Taxation

Florida Tax Review  (2015)David Hasen (Florida), Accretion-Based Progressive Wealth Taxation, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. 227 (2017) (reviewed here):

A large literature has compared the efficiency properties of income and consumption tax bases. Its general conclusion is that a consumption base dominates an income base, except to the extent that practical compliance and administrative problems create opportunities for avoidance and evasion under a consumption tax that are absent under an income tax. An apparent corollary is that the same superiority holds in the comparison of an ideal accretion wealth tax and an ideal consumption tax, because an accretion wealth tax seems not to differ in relevant ways from an ideal income tax.

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

Columbia Journal Of Tax Law Publishes New Issue

Columbia Journal of Tax Law LogoThe Columbia Journal of Tax Law has published Vol. 9, No. 1:

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

Holderness:  The Unexpected Role Of Tax Salience In State Competition For Businesses

Hayes R. Holderness Jr. (Richmond),  The Unexpected Role of Tax Salience in State Competition for Businesses, 84 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1091 (2017):

Competition among the states for mobile firms and the jobs and infrastructure they can bring is a well-known phenomenon. However, in recent years, a handful of states have added a mysterious new tool to their kit of incentives used in this competition. Unlike more traditional incentives, these new incentives — which this Article brands “customer-based incentives” — offer tax relief to a firm’s customers rather than directly to the firm. The puzzle underling customer-based incentives is that tax relief provided to the firm’s customers would seem more difficult for the firm to capture than relief provided directly to the firm — strange, as a state’s primary goal is to subsidize the firm’s investment in the state.

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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ring Presents Leak-Driven Law Today At The London School Of Economics

Ring (2017)Diane Ring (Boston College) presents Leak-Driven Law, 65 UCLA L. Rev. __ (2018) (with Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)) today at the London School of Economics:

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

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

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November 30, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through November 1, 2017) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

73,183

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

12,822

2

Michael Simkovic (USC)

37,730

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

5530

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

33,777

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3753

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

32,255

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

3501

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

28,745

Michael Simkovic (USC)

3430

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

24,117

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

2995

7

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

23,699

David Gamage (Indiana)

2948

8

James Hines (Michigan)

23,265

Andy Grewal (Iowa)

2905

9

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

22,337

Hugh Ault (Boston College)

2709

10

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

22,449

David Weisbach (Chicago)

2648

11

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

22,301

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2410

12

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

20,647

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2222

13

David Weisbach (Chicago)

19,926

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

2050

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

19,589

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)

2038

15

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

18,735

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

2007

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

18,463

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1862

17

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

18,446

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

1761

18

Francine Lipman (UNLV))

18,078

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1661

19

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

17,986

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1579

20

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

17,792

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1574

21

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

17,781

Stephen Shay (Harvard)

1558

22

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,662

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

1544

23

Steven Bank (UCLA)

15,957

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1519

24

David Walker (BU)

15,827

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1496

25

Gregg Polsky (Georgia)

14,344

Cliff Fleming (BYU)

1483

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

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November 30, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sanchirico Presents Expensing And Interest In The GOP Tax Blueprint Today At Penn

SanchiricoChris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) presents Expensing and Interest in the GOP Blueprint: Good Deal? Good Idea?, 155 Tax Notes 339 (Apr. 17, 2017), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

November’s election thrust to the fore the tax reform Blueprint released last June by House GOP leaders. One of the plan’s key features, which has received surprisingly little attention, is its treatment of business investment. Outlays for plant, equipment and other business assets would be immediately deductible, rather than depreciated over time, while interest costs would be deductible only to the extent of interest income. This plan to replace net interest deductions with expensing of capital outlays is likely to hurt most businesses — some significantly — and so is likely to face a growing chorus of objections in coming months as this becomes clear to business leaders.

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November 29, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Grinberg: A Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax And The WTO

Itai Grinberg (Georgetown), A Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax Can Be Structured to Comply With World Trade Organization Rules, 70 Nat'l Tax J. 803 (2017):

This paper briefly outlines alternative approaches to enacting a destination-based cash flow tax that are more clearly compatible with the World Trade Organization rules than the approach that has previously been described in the literature. The first structural alternative involves expanding the universe of businesses subject to the tax by clearly defining both the base of the new U.S. business tax and its tax nexus requirement as domestic consumption, and thereafter treating foreign importers and other sellers equivalently, rather than imposing a deduction disallowance or an import tax.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Batchelder Presents Improving Retirement Savings Choices Through Smart Defaults Today At Boston College

BatchelderLily Batchelder (NYU) presents Improving Retirement Savings Choices Through Smart Defaults at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu Yi Oei:

Many Americans are not financially prepared for retirement. One of the most powerful levers for influencing their retirement savings choices is defaults. Yet despite the overwhelming evidence of defaults’ power and new research on optimal retirement savings strategies, there have been relatively few reforms to leverage their influence over the past decade.

Making defaults “smarter”—including by taking the novel step of adjusting defaults based on socio-economic characteristics of savers—is a simple way that policymakers could dramatically improve retirement preparedness at little cost to taxpayers. This is true both in the employer plan context and as part of any reforms, such as new state-based auto-IRAs, that expand easy access to tax-preferred retirement savings vehicles outside of employer plans.

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November 28, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Gottlieb Presents The Spillover Effects Of Top Income Inequality Today At Columbia

GottleibJoshua Gottlieb (British Columbia) presents The Spillover Effects of Top Income Inequality (with Jeffrey Clemens (UC-San Diego), David Hemousat (Zurich) & Morten Olsen (Copenhagen)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Top income inequality in the United States has increased considerably within occupations as diverse as bankers, managers, doctors, lawyers and scientists. The breadth of this phenomenon has led to a search for a common explanation. We show instead that increases in income inequality originating within a few occupations can “spill over” into others, driving broader changes in income inequality.

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

Galle: The Dark Money Subsidy? Tax Policy And Donations To 501(c)(4) Organizations

Brian D. Galle (Georgetown), The Dark Money Subsidy? Tax Policy and Donations to 501(c)(4) Organizations:

This Article presents the first empirical examination of giving to § 501(c)(4) organizations, which have recently become central players in U.S. politics. Although donations to a 501(c)(4) are not legally deductible, the elasticity of c(4) giving to the top-bracket tax-price of charitable giving is - 1.24, very close to the elasticity for charities. 501c(4) donations also correlate with changes in the tax savings from in-kind gifts. These responses could be driven either by donor-side behavior, such as misunderstandings or intentional over-claiming, or by firm-side fundraising.

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

An Empirical Analysis Of Law School Learning Strategies

Jennifer M. Cooper (Tulane) & Regan A. R. Gurung (Wisconsin), Smarter Law Study Habits: An Empirical Analysis of Law Learning Strategies and Relationship with Law GPA, 62 St. Louis. L.J.  ___ (2018):

Non-empirical law school study advice that emphasizes reading and briefing cases, memorizing rules, and outlining without frequent self-testing and formative self-assessment is contrary to cognitive science and leads to a "law school learning trap." Law students fall into a "law school learning trap" by focusing on memorization of cases and rules for "class prep," putting off practice application of the law as "exam prep." Law students and legal educators misjudge the power of testing as a learning tool, instead relying on non-empirical, anecdotal resources to guide law student study methods.

Empirical research from a Law Student Study Habit Survey shows that practice application of the law through self-testing, self-quizzing, and elaborative strategies positively correlates with academic success in law school, while reading and briefing cases, weak critical reading skills, and rote memorization of rules without practice applying the law negatively correlates with academic success in law school.

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November 28, 2017 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Herzfeld: A New Direction For U.S. International Tax Policy

Mindy Herzfeld (Florida), A New Direction for U.S. International Tax Policy:

These slides were prepared for lectures I gave at law schools in Shanghai and in Israel the week of November 13, while the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (H.R.1) was under active consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dimick: The Law And Economics Of Redistribution

Matthew Dimick (SUNY-Buffalo), The Law and Economics of Redistribution:

Should legal rules be used to redistribute income? Or should income taxation be the exclusive means for reducing income inequality? This article reviews the legal scholarship on this question. First, it traces how the most widely-cited argument in favor of using taxes exclusively — Kaplow & Shavell’s (1994) “double-distortion” argument — evolved from previous debates about whether legal rules could even be redistributive and whether law and economics should be concerned exclusively with efficiency or with distribution as well.

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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Top Five New Tax Papers

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

  1. [418 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA and CRS, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  2. [302 Downloads]  The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States, by Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)
  3. [217 Downloads]  Slicing and Dicing: The Structural Problems of the Tax Reform Framework, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [195 Downloads]  Exploiting the Medicare Tax Loophole (review here), by Karen C. Burke (Florida)
  5. [162 Downloads]  Brigham Young vs. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, by Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago)

November 26, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Avi-Yonah & Fishbien: The 'Tax Cuts And Jobs' Act And The Original Intent Of Subpart F

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan), Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F:

For the first time since 1913, Congress is considering abandoning the principle that US residents should be subject to tax on all income “from whatever source derived.” Specifically, the House proposed tax reform legislation, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, would completely exempt from US taxation dividends from “Controlled Foreign Corporations”. This is therefore a good occasion for considering the reasons we tax such dividends in the first place.

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

Michigan International Tax Symposium

Michigan Law Logo (2015)Tax Symposium, 38 Mich. J. Int'l L. 161-285 (2017):

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November 24, 2017 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cato Institute Reviews Hatfield's Cybersecurity And Tax Reform

CatoChris Edwards (Cato Institute), Tax Reform, the IRS, Cybersecurity, and Privacy (reviewing Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Cybersecurity and Tax Reform, 93 Ind. L.J. ___ (2018)):

The current tax reform debate has focused on economic growth and the value of cuts to different groups of taxpayers. Tax simplification has received less attention, and Republican bills would only make modest gains in that regard.

Yet a major tax code simplification would not only save time on administration, it would increase financial privacy and deter cyberattacks on the Internal Revenue Service. A new study by Michael Hatfield of the University of Washington looks at the risks posed by the IRS’s vast data collection on 290 million Americans. The more micromanagement there is in the tax code, the more information the IRS collects on our finances, lifestyles, and activities. ...

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

Dimick: Better Than Basic Income? Liberty, Equality, And The Regulation Of Working Time

Matthew Dimick (SUNY-Buffalo), Better than Basic Income? Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working Time, 50 Ind. L. Rev. 473 (2017):

Basic income has attracted the attention of academics, policy makers, and politicians around the globe. Basic income — a no-strings-attached cash transfer made to all citizens of a country, rich or poor — has been lauded as a plan to eliminate poverty, reduce income inequality, redress imbalances in the labor market, remedy the impending problem of mass technology-induced unemployment — the “robot apocalypse” — and make possible meaningful lives for those otherwise dependent on menial work in the labor market. It has also been proposed as an efficient, nonpaternalistic, and stigma-free alternative to existing welfare state policies. This Article compares basic income to an alternative policy proposal: the regulation of maximum working hours in the labor market.

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Williamson Presents Why Americans Are Proud To Pay Taxes Today at Columbia

Read My LipsVanessa S. Williamson (Brookings Institution) presents Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes (Princeton University Press 2017) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Conventional wisdom holds that Americans hate taxes. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Bringing together national survey data with in-depth interviews, Read My Lips presents a surprising picture of tax attitudes in the United States. Vanessa Williamson demonstrates that Americans view taxpaying as a civic responsibility and a moral obligation. But they worry that others are shirking their duties, in part because the experience of taxpaying misleads Americans about who pays taxes and how much. Perceived "loopholes" convince many income tax filers that a flat tax might actually raise taxes on the rich, and the relative invisibility of the sales and payroll taxes encourages many to underestimate the sizable tax contributions made by poor and working people.

Americans see being a taxpayer as a role worthy of pride and respect, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and the nation. For this reason, the belief that many Americans are not paying their share is deeply corrosive to the social fabric. The widespread misperception that immigrants, the poor, and working-class families pay little or no taxes substantially reduces public support for progressive spending programs and undercuts the political standing of low-income people. At the same time, the belief that the wealthy pay less than their share diminishes confidence that the political process represents most people.

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November 21, 2017 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

NYU Tax Law Review Publishes Symposium Issue: Tax Policy And Upward Mobility

NYUUCLAThe Tax Law Review has published a new issue (Vol. 70, No. 3 (Spring 2017)) on the NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium, Tax Policy and Upward Mobility, 70 Tax L. Rev. 409-543 (2017):

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Eyal-Cohen Presents The Cost Of Inexperience Today At Loyola-L.A.

Eyal-Cohen (2017)Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) presents The Cost of Inexperience at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Free market entry is vital in preventing concentration of market power and eliminating large deadweight losses. Yet, in recent years, studies show that newcomers are less successful than existing firms that have diversifies their products in the market. What might explain this phenomenon?

This Article unveils a regulatory catch 22. It reveals that although a regulation may be efficient in correcting a certain market failure, its distributional effects may create another. It exposes the degree to which “economies of experience” in regulation create significant disadvantages to newcomers and provide substantial advantages to oldtimers. Being well-versed in their marketplace, old-timers possess knowledge, familiarity, and influence over the rulemaking process. New or “green” entities entering regulated market or dealing with a new rule face proportionally larger costs to obtain regulatory insight. Consequently, an anomaly exists when government choice may de facto hamper innovation and survival of newcomers, the same goals it seeks to promote.

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November 20, 2017 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wells: International Tax Reform By Means Of Corporate Integration

Florida Tax Review  (2015)Bret Wells (Houston), International Tax Reform By Means of Corporate Integration, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. 70 (2016):

This Article focuses on a single organizing question, namely how should a dividend paid deduction regime be designed so that it achieves acceptable international tax outcomes. By focusing on the international tax implications attendant with a dividend paid deduction regime, the author is not attempting to minimize the broader benefits of achieving shareholder-corporate integration. The dividend paid deduction proposal, as to distributed earnings, would equate the tax treatment of debt and equity, and in so doing it would reduce distortions that current law creates with respect to debt and equity in the corporate context. Furthermore, recent economic works suggest that the incidence of the corporate income tax burden is partially shifted to labor and away from shareholders whereas a properly designed integration proposal puts the incidence of business taxation squarely on shareholders. Furthermore, shareholder-corporate integration for C corporations harmonizes the divergent tax treatment that currently exists between C corporations and pass-through entities. Thus, a corporate integration proposal provides a broad spectrum of potential benefits, and so not surprisingly significant scholarship has been dedicated towards how to best achieve shareholder-corporate integration. But, in today’s era, the overwhelming tax policy problem that must be solved rests on finding a solution to the systemic international tax challenges that face the country, and so that is where this Article will focus.

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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list:

  1. [402 Downloads]  Background and Current Status of FATCA and CRS, by William Byrnes (Texas A&M)
  2. [295 Downloads]  Rejecting Charity: Why the IRS Denies Tax Exemption to 501(C)(3) Applicants, by Terri Lynn Helge (Texas A&M)
  3. [294 Downloads]  The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States, by Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)
  4. [201 Downloads]  Slicing and Dicing: The Structural Problems of the Tax Reform Framework, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  5. [182 Downloads]  Exploiting the Medicare Tax Loophole (review here), by Karen C. Burke (Florida)

November 19, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Colon: ETFs And In-Kind Redemptions

Jeffrey M. Colon (Fordham), The Great ETF Tax Swindle: The Taxation of In-Kind Redemptions, 122 Penn St. L. Rev. ___ (2017):

Since the repeal of the General Utilities doctrine over 30 years ago, corporations must recognize gain when distributing appreciated property to their shareholders. Regulated investment companies (RICs), which generally must be organized as domestic corporations, are exempt from this rule when distributing property in kind to a redeeming shareholder.

In-kind redemptions, while rare for mutual funds, are a fundamental feature of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Because fund managers decide which securities to distribute, they distribute assets with unrealized gains and thereby significantly reduce the future tax burdens of their current and future shareholders. Many ETFs have morphed into investment vehicles that offer better after-tax returns than IRAs funded with after-tax contributions.

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