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Pepperdine University School of Law

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Madrian Presents The Roth 401(k): Does Front-Loading Taxation Increase Savings? Today at NYU

MadrianBrigitte Madrian (Harvard) presents Does Front-Loading Taxation Increase Savings? Evidence from Roth 401(k) Introduction (with John Beshears (Harvard), James Choi (Yale) & David Laibson (Harvard)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Viard:

Can governments increase private savings by taxing savings up front instead of in retirement? Roth 401(k) contributions are not tax-deductible in the contribution year, but withdrawals in retirement are untaxed. The more common before-tax 401(k) contribution is tax-deductible in the contribution year, but both principal and investment earnings are taxed upon withdrawal. Using administrative data from eleven companies that added a Roth contribution option to their existing 401(k) plan between 2006 and 2010, we find no evidence that total 401(k) contribution rates differ between employees hired before versus after the Roth introduction, which means that the amount of retirement consumption being purchased by 401(k) contributions increases after the Roth introduction. A survey experiment suggests two behavioral factors play a role in the unresponsiveness of contribution rates to their tax treatment: (1) employee confusion about or neglect of the tax properties of Roth balances and (2) partition dependence.

January 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Freedman Presents Tax Avoidance and the Proposed Google Tax Today at Florida

FreedmanJudith Freedman (Oxford) presents Tax Avoidance and the Proposed U.K. Diverted Profits Tax (Google Tax) at Florida today as part of its Graduate Tax Program Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner:

This paper aims to inform the important debate on tax avoidance by exploring the language used and setting this in context. Tax avoidance is something that needs to be tackled with vigour and public confidence that the tax system treats people equitably is vital. Yet the actors concerned ‐ taxpayers, advisers and revenue authorities ‐ operate within a complex domestic and international tax environment. Many of the complexities and flaws in the system can only be tackled by radical structural changes, which will require fundamental policy thinking and change and international co‐operation. Oversimplifying the debate and searching for individual or corporate villains will not assist in remedying the underlying problems. Even if public naming and shaming influences a few taxpayers in the public eye to impose their own voluntary constraints, it will not necessarily affect the worst avoiders, and may even encourage some non‐compliance from those who feel that “everyone is at it”. Only understanding the flaws in the tax system and working on serious changes can give long‐term results.

Ana Paula Dourado (University of Lisbon) is the discussant.

January 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marian Presents A Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies Today at Tulane

MarianOmri Marian (Florida) presents A Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies, 81 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue ___ (2015), at Tulane today as part of its Regulation and Coordination Workshop Series hosted by Adam FeibelmanShu-Yi Oei, and Steve Sheffrin:

This Essay proposes a conceptual framework for the regulation of transactions involving cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies offer tremendous opportunities for innovation and development, but at the same time are uniquely suited to facilitate illicit behavior. The suggested regulatory framework is intended to support (or, at the least, not impair) cryptocurrencies’ innovative potential. At the same time, the aim is to disrupt cryptocurrencies’ utility for criminal activities. To achieve such purposes, this Essay suggests a regulatory framework that imposes costs on the characteristics of cryptocurrencies that make them particularly useful for criminal behavior (in particular, anonymity), but does not impose costs on characteristics that are at the core of the generative potential (in particular, the decentralization of value-transfer processes). Using a basic utility model of criminal behavior as a benchmark, the Essay explains how regulatory instruments can be so designed. One such regulatory instrument is proposed as an example – an elective anonymity tax on cryptocurrency transactions in which at least one party is not anonymous. 

January 20, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Watson: SFRs and Problems in Tax Administration and Enforcement

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Camilla E. Watson (Georgia), SFRs and Problems in Tax Administration and Enforcement, 146 Tax Notes 363 (Jan. 20, 2015):

When the IRS prepares substitutes for returns (SFRs) for a married couple, it prepares separate returns for each of the parties and considers them married filing separately. It will then send separate notices of deficiency to the parties. If only one of the spouses petitions the Tax Court, this could be problematic for both, even if the court’s decision is favorable to the petitioner. The problems identified in this report, while narrow in scope, highlight broader issues in the administration of the tax system. This report proposes reforms to correct the problems in the SFR process, but these proposals apply more broadly to address general problems in the administration of the tax system.

January 20, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mehrotra Reviews Zelenak's Learning to Love Form 1040

Learning to Love 1040Ajay K. Mehrotra (Indiana), Reviving Fiscal Citizenship, 113 Mich. L. Rev. ___ (2015) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax (University of Chicago Press, 2013)): 

In recent years, numerous lawmakers, policy analysts, and scholars have been decrying the many defects of the present U.S. income tax system. Few have attempted to defend our return-based mass income tax. This essay reviews Learning to Love Form 1040, Lawrence Zelenak’s stirring and persuasive defense of a simplified version of our present federal income tax system. In contrast to the conventional economic critiques, Zelenak explores the underappreciated social, cultural, and political benefits of a return-based, mass income tax. Chief among these, he argues, is the existing regime’s potential to raise the tax consciousness of the average citizen and to enhance modern notions of fiscal citizenship.

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January 19, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Reviews of Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Mark W. Hendrickson (Grove City College), Problems with Piketty: The Flaws and Fallacies in Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014):

HendricksonIf you have read or even heard about Capital in the Twenty-First Century—economist Thomas Piketty’s egalitarian treatise—you owe it to yourself to read Hendrickson’s powerful critique. Hendrickson combines extensive knowledge, mature wisdom, common sense, and a rare ability to render complex subjects clear and easily understood. Problems with Piketty shows us the grim consequences of egalitarian policies; exposes the flaws and explodes the fallacies in Piketty’s book; and presents a stirring defense of free enterprise.

Far more than just a corrective to Capital’s many errors, Problems with Piketty works well as a stand-alone teaching tool. Thanks to a detailed Table of Contents, its multiple lessons are easy to find. You may find yourself referring to this book for years to come.

Michael Potter (Australian National University), Capital in the Twenty-First Century: A Critique of Thomas Piketty’s Political Economy, 21 Agenda 91 (2014):

PikettyThe argument by Piketty and others that there is growing inequality and this is causing damage is not new. But regardless of who is running this argument, it is significantly flawed. The poor have definitely improved their situation, especially if taxes and income support are included, in many countries in the developing world and the US. A focus on inequality to the exclusion of poverty glosses over the large successes over recent decades. It paints a false picture of decline when large improvements have occurred.

To the extent there have been increases in executive wages, this has probably been driven by technology and globalisation, not by poor corporate governance. And the returns to wealth being (relatively) high should be expected given the riskiness of owning wealth, and is actually necessary to ensure that investment occurs. Piketty’s (implied) argument that investment is bad should be dismissed out of hand, as should his argument that high taxes are required on wealth. Instead, the problems generated by ‘unfairly’ acquired wealth should be addressed by removing rents. Policymakers should consider broadening the ownership of capital and assisting those who are in genuine need, and reject proposals that pander to envy.

For my perspective, see Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015):

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January 19, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list.  The #1 paper is now #69 in all-time downloads among 10,644 tax papers:

  1. [1631 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [223 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  3. [192 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (2014), by Edward A. Morse (Creighton)
  4. [149 Downloads]  Do Audits Matter?: A Parallax Theory of the Relation between Tax Enforcement and Underreporting, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)
  5. [126 Downloads]  Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, by Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

January 18, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Student Writing Competition

ACBThe American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is sponsoring its 11th Annual Employee Benefits Writing Competition on any topic in the field of employee benefits law. The competition is open to any J.D. and graduate (L.L.M. or S.J.D) law students enrolled at any time between August 14, 2014 and August 15, 2015. Two $1,500 prizes will be awarded. The submission deadline is June 2, 2015.

January 17, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

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January 16, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Winter Of Our Discontent: Legal Practice, Legal Education, and the Culture of Distrust

WinterAlfred S. Konefsky (SUNY-Buffalo) & Barry Sullivan (Loyola-Chicago), In This, the Winter of Our Discontent: Legal Practice, Legal Education, and the Culture of Distrust, 62 Buff. L. Rev. 659 (2014):

This essay seeks to situate the challenges facing legal education within the broader context of professional culture — a context that seems to us to have been neglected in the present debates. In a sense, the “market reformers” have been swept up, consciously or not, in a wider movement that elevates markets over other forms of social analysis and therefore asserts and takes for granted what is in fact deeply contested. More specifically, they have pushed to the side the public-serving dimension of the lawyer’s role because it allegedly conflicts with the psychology of classical economic liberalism. Our aim, then, is to restore the concept of the public domain to a discussion now dominated by mere considerations of costs and a belief in the inevitable triumph of a narrowed sense of professional culture. Before we can begin to reform the infrastructures of legal education, we need to identify the function of the legal profession in a democratic society and the role that a legal education might play in preparing men and women for service in a profession so conceived. In that sense, cost is not an independent variable, and any judgment about the cost-effectiveness of legal education necessarily depends on a decision concerning the purposes to be served by a legal education.

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January 15, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kirsch: The Tax Treatment of Citizens Abroad

Florida Tax ReviewMichael S. Kirsch (Notre Dame), Revisiting the Tax Treatment of Citizens Abroad: Reconciling Principle and Practice, 16 Fla. Tax Rev. 117 (2014):

In an increasingly mobile world, the taxation of citizens living abroad has taken on increased importance. Recent international administrative developments — most notably, the weakening of foreign bank secrecy and expansion of global information sharing norms — have further raised the profile of this issue. While U.S. law traditionally has taxed U.S. citizens living abroad in the same general manner as citizens living in the United States, a number of scholars have proposed abandoning the use of citizenship as a jurisdictional basis to tax. In its place, they would apply residence-based principles — i.e., exercising full taxing rights over U.S. citizens only if the citizens reside in the United States. Citizens residing outside the United States would be taxed in the same limited manner as non-citizens residing outside the United States.

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January 15, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brunson: It Is Time for the IRS to Enforce the Prohibition on Campaigning by Churches

CHurchSamuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), Dear IRS, It Is Time to Enforce the Campaigning Prohibition. Even Against Churches:

In 1954, Congress prohibited tax-exempt public charites, including churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates for office. To the extent a tax-exempt public charity violated this prohibition, it would no longer qualify as tax-exempt, and the IRS was to revoke its exemption.

While simple in theory, in practice, the IRS rarely penalizes churches that violate the campaigning prohibition, and virtually never revokes a church’s tax exemption. And, because no taxpayer has standing to cuhallenge the IRS’s inaction, the IRS has no external imperative to revoke the exemptions of churches that do campaign on behalf of or against candidates for office.

This argment makes the normative case that, notwithstanding the IRS’s administrative discretion and the inability of taxpayers to challenge its nonenforcement in court, the time has come for the IRS to begin enforcing the campaigning prohibition.

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January 15, 2015 in IRS News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chodorow Presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy Today at Pepperdine

ChodorowAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

  1. What does the Bible actually say, either directly about taxes and tax-like institutions or indirectly about principles that should guide policymakers, regarding an appropriate tax system?
  2. To what extent should the Bible or religious views guide votes or opinions on such secular policy matters?

Biblical Tax Systems and the Case for Progressive Taxation, 23 J.L. & Relig. 53 (2008):

With the political rise of the religious right, American policymakers have increasingly looked to religion for guidance on important policy issues, including questions of distributive justice and how best to allocate tax burdens. While many claim that Judeo-Christian values require progressivity, the examples of taxation found in the sacred texts apparently refute this claim. This article examines four examples of taxation found in the Bible and Talmud to determine whether it is appropriate to infer from them a Judeo-Christian principle of tax fairness that should apply in a modern, secular tax system. I find that, not only do these examples use different methods for allocating tax burdens, making it impossible to identify one principle, but, more important, each example bears the stamp of its religious purpose or historical circumstances, making it inappropriate to rely on these examples as evidence of a divinely-sanctioned principle of tax justice.

Adam's visit is sponsored by Pepeprdine's Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies.

Update:  Post-presentation lunch:

Adam

January 14, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judicial Misconceptions About Domestic Violence and Innocent Spouse Relief

Jacqueline Clarke, (In)equitable Relief: How Judicial Misconceptions About Domestic Violence Prevent Victims From Attaining Innocent Spouse Relief Under I.R.C. Section 6015(f), 22 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 825 (2014):

Although innocent spouse relief has been in existence for a number of years, judges are still grappling with many of the intricacies of the factors promulgated by Revenue Ruling 2003-61. Domestic abuse is a concept not normally addressed by Tax Court judges and tax practitioners alike. Even the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the IRS, and various Tax Court judges have acknowledged that they are not well-versed in the complexities of domestic violence.165 Thus, more needs to be done to ensure that requesting taxpayers who are victims of domestic abuse have the ability to attain equitable relief or, perhaps more significantly, that these individuals are not barred from relief simply because the presiding judge does not understand the intricacies of a relationship plagued by domestic violence. 

January 14, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Virginia Tax Review Publishes New Issue

Virginia Tax Review (2014)The Virginia Tax Review has published Vol. 34, No. 1 (Summer 2014):

January 13, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

49th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning

Heckerling Cover_Page_1Tax Prof speakers at this week's 49th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in Orlando:

  • Sam Donaldson (University of Washington), Recent Developments 2014
  • David Herzig (Valparaiso), The Most Important Elements, Clauses and Ideas for Trust Design
  • Susan Gary (Oregon), Restricted Charitable Gifts: Drafting Agreements that Stand the Test of Time
  • Tom Gallinas (Iowa), A Closer Look at Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment
  • Mary Radford  (Georgia State), Case Studies in the Ethical Considerations in Acting as an Executor or Trustee

January 13, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Occupy Wall Street, Distributive Justice, and Tax Scholarship

OccupyPatrick Crawford (Crawford Tax Law Group, Los Angeles), Occupy Wall Street, Distributive Justice, and Tax Scholarship: An Ideology Critique of the Consumption Tax Debate, 12 U. N.H. L. Rev. 137 (2014):

This Article argues that the pro-consumption tax literature is wrong to claim that no legitimate fairness objections to the consumption tax exist. It argues that the persistent and widespread wariness about replacing our current hybrid consumption tax/income tax system with a pure consumption tax is, contrary to what the pro-consumption tax literature asserts, completely justified. In fact, our reservations about the consumption tax’s fairness reflect legitimate concern about the role of capitalist power in America, particularly over the past thirty years. Indeed, the more the nation continues to experience the social welfare effects of increased capitalist power, the more compelling these objections become. History proves these concerns not just legitimate, but paramount. A full account, not a dismissal, of how capitalist power might benefit from a consumption tax is what would be required to meet these fairness objections.

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January 13, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Luttmer & Singhal: Tax Morale

Erzo F. P. Luttmer (Dartmouth) & Monica Singhal (Harvard), Tax Morale, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 149 (Fall 2014):

There is an apparent disconnect between much of the academic literature on tax compliance and the administration of tax policy. In the benchmark economic model, the key policy parameters affecting tax evasion are the tax rate, the detection probability, and the penalty imposed conditional on the evasion being detected. Meanwhile, tax administrators also tend to place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of improving "tax morale," by which they generally mean increasing voluntary compliance with tax laws and creating a social norm of compliance. We will define tax morale broadly to include nonpecuniary motivations for tax compliance as well as factors that fall outside the standard, expected utility framework. Tax morale does indeed appear to be an important component of compliance decisions. We demonstrate that tax morale operates through a variety of underlying mechanisms, drawing on evidence from laboratory studies, natural experiments, and an emerging literature employing randomized field experiments. We consider the implications for tax policy and attempt to understand why recent interventions designed to improve morale, and thereby compliance, have had mixed results to date.

January 13, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2015)

Here is the schedule for my Spring 2015 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series:

  • Jan. 14    Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy
  • Feb. 2     Michael Graetz (Columbia), The Tax Reform Road Not Taken -- Yet
  • Feb. 18   Ed Kleinbard (USC), We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money
  • Mar. 2    Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane), Human Equity? Regulating the New Income Share Agreements
  • Mar. 23  Gregg Polsky (North Carolina), Private Equity Tax Games
  • Apr. 6     Miranda Fleischer (San Diego), Libertarianism and the Charitable Tax Subsidies
  • Apr. 20   Heather Field (UC-Hastings), Aggressive Tax Planning and the Ethical Tax Lawyer

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation.  Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) -- just let me know.

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2014)

Pepperdine 2015 (2)

January 13, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson: The Circular 230 Regulations May Be Invalid

Tax Analysys Logo (2013) Steve Johnson (Florida State), How Far Does Circular 230 Exceed Treasury's Statutory Authority?, 146 Tax Notes 221 (Jan. 12, 2015):

In this report, Johnson discusses the future of Circular 230 and argues that if the approach of recent cases is confirmed by litigation and if Congress chooses not to act, significant portions of the circular may be at risk of invalidation.

January 13, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Armstrong: The Overreaction to Codification of the Economic Substance Doctrine

Monica D. Armstrong (Mercer), OMG! ESD Codified!: The Overreaction to Codification of the Economic Substance Doctrine, 9 Fla. A&M U. L. Rev. 113 (2013):

Section 7701(o) is not inherently flawed as the critics suggest. The decision not to provide further guidance with respect to the application of the economic substance test will not result in taxpayer uncertainty and a halt in normal business practices. If nothing else, it brings about certainty to the taxpayer, as well as to the government and the courts as to how to apply the proper test. Taxpayers engaging in legitimate transactions should feel comfortable continuing with such transactions. The questions that the critics demand from the government such as what constitutes a “meaningful change” and “substantial,” will be answered by the proper authority--the courts.

January 13, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Contemporary Tax Journal Publishes New Issues

Contemporary Tax JournalsThe San Jose State University Masters of Science in Taxation Program in the Lucas Graduate School of Business has published the fourth (Volume 3, No. 2 (Spring 2014)) and fifth (Volume 4, No. 1 (Fall 2014)) issues of The Contemporary Tax Journal.

January 12, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #3, #4, and #5.  The #1 paper is now #71 in all-time downloads among 10,625 tax papers:

  1. [1587 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [207 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  3. [154 Downloads]  Important Developments in Federal Income Taxation (2014), by Edward A. Morse (Creighton)
  4. [112 Downloads]  Do Audits Matter?: A Parallax Theory of the Relation between Tax Enforcement and Underreporting, by J. T. Manhire (U.S. Treasury Department)
  5. [110 Downloads]  Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, by Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

January 11, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Drumbl: Protecting Taxpayers from Tax Preparers

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Michelle Drumbl (Washington & Lee), When Helpers Hurt: Protecting Taxpayers from Preparers, 145 Tax Notes 1365 (Dec. 22, 2014):

How and whether the tax return preparer industry can or should be regulated is a fiercely debated question and has been the subject of recent litigation. This article explores return preparer regulation as a policy matter. It argues that an extensive regulation scheme will not provide meaningful protection to taxpayers. There are more effective ways to curb unscrupulous return preparation. Nonetheless, there is meaningful expressive value in subjecting return preparers to the ethical standards of Circular 230. Doing so may instill a greater professional pride in those return preparers who are not unscrupulous, and this benefits the system and the taxpayers served.

January 10, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Kamin: How to Tax the Rich

Tax Analysys Logo (2013) David Kamin (NYU),  How to Tax the Rich, 146 Tax Notes 119 (Jan. 5, 2015):

In this article, Kamin reviews options for increasing tax liabilities for the richest Americans. He concludes that several options that have received considerable attention and support are not viable as a practical matter -- taking into account amounts of revenue raised and administrative considerations. Those options include taxing capital gains as ordinary income, annual wealth taxes, and broad mark-to-market accounting. Kamin identifies more viable options, including substantially expanding transfer taxes, increasing the tax rate on ordinary income, and taxing -- at least partially -- unrealized gains at death or gift, which may be the most promising.

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January 9, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Evolution of Legal Careers: The Case of Big Law Associates

Christine Riordan (MIT), The Evolution of Legal Careers: The Case of Big Law Associates:

The legal profession, long an example of a well established professional occupation, has been remade by a combination of technology, which permits outsourcing of work, as well as changing economics within Big Law as customers become more sophisticated and demanding regarding staffing a billing. As a consequence the careers of young associates have been transformed with the probability of making partner diminished. At the same time outsourcing of low level work, such as document review, has the potential for enabling associates to do more interesting work that better develops their skills. This paper, based on interviews with a sample of Big Law associates, will explore the changing nature of legal careers and the implications of these changes for the life chances of young lawyers.

January 9, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske: The Federal Role in Municipal Debt Finance

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), The Feds Are Already Here: The Federal Role in Municipal Debt Finance, 33 Rev. Banking & Fin. L. 795 (2014):

Should the federal government be involved in the regulation of municipal debt finance? The answer is arguably not. But this theoretical dispute is not the focus of this Article because, in fact, the federal government already regulates municipal debt finance extensively, generally much more extensively than the states regulate their municipalities’ use of debt. The primary source of federal regulation is the securities laws. Less well-known is that federal tax law also serves as an important constraint. This Article surveys and critically evaluates these federal laws, and comes to three tentative conclusions. First, the current federal oversight “system,” unplanned and ad hoc as it is, has been effective. Second, in part because the current system has never been thought of as a comprehensive system, there are low-hanging fruit in terms of making the system work better. To the extent the federal government does not put these reforms in place, states should. Third, even an optimally operating federal overlay does not absolve the states from more careful regulation of the financial affairs of their localities, particularly as to the use of debt. Above all, what the federal government does not — and ought not — do is provide localities with the expertise to use debt optimally; this is another area where the states should focus their reform efforts.

January 9, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hasen: Income Taxation and Risk-Taking

David Hasen (Colorado), Income Taxation and Risk-Taking:

The literature on income taxation and risk-taking has tended toward the view that a true, or “normative,” income tax is ineffective at taxing the returns to risk-taking. The theory is that investors increase the size of their portfolios in response to the tax, because the tax causes the government both to absorb a portion of the gains realized from risk-based investment and to subsidize in analogous fashion any losses sustained. When the increased investment makes money, the larger return covers the associated tax liability, and when it loses money, the deduction for the enlarged loss compensates for the excess over the loss that would have been realized in a world without the tax. At the end of the day, the investor is mostly returned to the position he occupied in the non-tax world.

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January 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Houston Business & Tax Journal Publishes New Issue

HB&TJ The Houston Business & Tax Law Journal has published Vol. 14, Part 1 (2014):

January 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Measuring Faculty Scholarly Impact Through 'Citation Wake' Analysis

Citation WakePhys.org, Assessing Scientific Research by 'Citation Wake' Detects Nobel Laureates' Papers:

Ranking scientific papers in order of importance is an inherently subjective task, yet that doesn't keep researchers from trying to develop quantitative assessments. In a new paper, scientists have proposed a new measure of assessment that is based on the "citation wake" of a paper, which encompasses the direct citations and weighted indirect citations received by the paper. [Stefan Bornholdt & David F. Klosik, The Citation Wake of Publications Detects Nobel Laureates' Papers] The new method attempts to focus on the propagation of ideas rather than credit distribution, and succeeds by at least one significant measure: a large fraction (72%) of its top-ranked papers are coauthored by Nobel Prize laureates. ...

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January 8, 2015 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Goldberg and the Federal Tax Law

William D. Elliott, Judge Irving L. Goldberg and the Federal Tax Law, 46 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 849 (2014):

From 1966 to 1995, Irving Goldberg served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. ... This Article concerns Goldberg's tax opinions. ... Like Henry Friendly of the Second Circuit, Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, and a few other circuit judges who have developed a unique reputation and perhaps even a close identity with a certain area of law, Irving Goldberg placed his personal stamp on federal tax law.

January 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shapiro: Anatomy of a Special Tax Break and the Case for Corporate Tax Reform

Robert J. Shapiro (Georgetown), Anatomy of a Special Tax Break and the Case for Broad Corporate Tax Reform:

This essay provides a case study of the difficulties entailed in reforming the corporate tax code by examining the costs and distortions associated with one large special tax preference, Section 199 of the corporate code. Enacted in 2005, this provision provides a special deduction for some of the profits arising from certain designated “domestic production activities.” Our analysis shows that while the provision was originally intended to help manufacturing, it now provides tax benefits for a number of other, selected industries, including the information industry (including film production), mining, and construction. In many cases, eligibility is arbitrary: For example, food processing qualifies but not retail food businesses – unless the food establishment roasts beans used to brew coffee. At the same time, vital areas such as health care, finance, insurance, and educational services receive no benefit, and neither do many labor-intensive industries such as transportation and warehousing, administration and support, retail trade, and accommodations and food services. From 2005 to 2009, for example, Section 199 provided the information and movie industry, on average, 60 times the benefits received by these other vital and job-intensive industries. And within the manufacturing sector, Section 199 provided by far the greatest benefits, relative to the size of manufacturing sub-industries, to beverage and tobacco producers, followed by chemicals, and then by computer and electronic products. Traditional manufacturing industries such as textiles, apparel, wood products, leather products, printing, and furniture cannot claim significant benefits from Section 199. We also show that that while these allocations distort investment, there is no evidence that the provision promotes job creation in those industries that use it most.

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January 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hill: Citizens United and § 501(c)(4) Organizations -- Guidance, Compliance, and Enforcement

Frances R. Hill (Miami), Citizens United and Social Welfare Organizations: The Tangled Relationships Among Guidance, Compliance, and Enforcement, 43 Stetson L. Rev. 539 (2014):

This Article explores the roles of the IRS and the Supreme Court in creating the conditions for the redesign of § 501(c)(4) organizations as campaign finance vehicles, which resulted in the current crisis. Part II discusses the long-term failure of the IRS to issue guidance relating to § 501(c)(4), including its failure to issue any guidance in response to Citizens United. Part III discusses the impact of Citizens United on the structure and operation of § 501(c)(4) organizations. Part IV examines the impact of the Court's insistence in Citizens United that regulatory agencies play a limited role in campaign finance regulation and that tests based on facts and circumstances are themselves constitutionally impermissible burdens on political speech. Part V discusses the response of the reconstituted but not yet reformed IRS. Part VI offers a brief conclusion focused on the challenges going forward.

January 8, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cauble Presents Taxing Publicly Traded Entities Today at Toronto

Cauble (2015)Emily Cauble (DePaul) presents Taxing Publicly Traded Entities at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Publicly traded entities are generally treated as corporations for U.S. tax purposes. Under various exceptions, however, publicly traded entities may obtain special treatment if they earn predominately certain specified types of qualifying income. This Article examines potential rationales for granting special tax treatment to certain publicly traded entities. As the analysis in this Article will show, many of the potential rationales are unconvincing. In addition, to the extent that some rationales may be persuasive, the current rules are not designed in a way that best comports with these potential justifications. Therefore, reform is needed.

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January 7, 2015 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Miller: Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate and Income Inequality

 David S. Miller (Cadwalader, New York), Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate and Income Inequality:

There is broad consensus about the need to reform the international tax system and reduce the corporate tax rate, but great political difficulty in doing so, largely because of the insistence that any changes be revenue neutral, with the offsetting revenue arising from a repeal of tax expenditures that would disproportionately affect purely domestic corporations and require small businesses to fund the corporate tax reduction.

At the same time, the realization requirement allows the very wealthiest individuals to defer or avoid income tax on their investments and contributes significantly, if not overwhelmingly, to income inequality.

Solving the second problem allows a solution to the first.

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January 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beyond Homo Economicus: The Prosocial Brain & The Charitable Tax Deduction

Ryan S. Keller (Ph.D. 2015, Cambridge), Beyond Homo Economicus: The Prosocial Brain & The Charitable Tax Deduction, 34 Va. Tax Rev. ___ (2014):

Charitable tax policy is at an impasse. Historically, citizens have overwhelmingly supported the charitable tax deduction as a means of fostering diversity, encouraging donations and supporting the nonprofit sector. Yet various policymakers and academics have increasingly disputed the deduction’s cogency and justifiability. In response, legal scholars and economists have offered various defenses and assessments of the deduction, but these have not convinced skeptics or placed the deduction on sufficiently solid theoretical and policy footing. The article adopts a novel approach by instead employing recent research in the neuroscience and psychology of prosocial behavior and charitable giving. Specifically, it identifies structural advantages specific to the deduction, rather than to charity or nonprofits more broadly. It then delineates key neural mechanisms and psychological functions that provide evidence linking dimensions of the deduction to distinct, previously neglected positive externalities. Amidst growing skepticism, developing a more capacious understanding of the deduction’s worth to society is essential. Indeed, failure to consider more robust, innovative analyses of the deduction compels authorities to craft policy without adequate information, and leaves the deduction and thus many philanthropic endeavors needlessly vulnerable.

January 7, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Villanova Symposium: Selective Issues in Tax Administration

Villanova Law LogoSymposium, Selective Issues in Tax Administration, 59 Vill. L. Rev. 409-648 (2014):

The Increasing Importance of the Whistleblower Provisions in U.S. Tax Administration

The IRS's Efforts to Regulate Unlicensed Tax Return Preparers

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January 6, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Discussion of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century

PikettyAllied Social Science Associations Annual Meeing (Boston Jan 3-5, 2015), A Discussion of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard University Press, 2014):

New York Times, Talk Turns to Inequality at Annual Meeting of Economists.  For my perspective, see Thomas Piketty and Inequality: Legal Causes and Tax Solutions, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015):

Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century has acted as an accelerant fueling the fiery public debate over increasing inequality in America and around the world. Piketty makes the provocative empirical claim that the rate of return to private capital inevitably exceeds the rate of economic growth (r > g) and thus leads to growing concentrations of wealth among the richest members of society. Piketty has spawned heated debates in newspapers, magazines, and blogs, which soon will continue in academic journals and law reviews. Shi-Ling Hsu is one of the first out of the gate with The Rise and Rise of the One Percent: Considering Legal Causes of Wealth Inequality, 64 Emory L.J. Online ___ (2015).

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January 6, 2015 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kahng: The Taxation of Intellectual Capital

Lily Kahng (Seattle), The Taxation of Intellectual Capital, 66 Fla. L. Rev. 2229 (2014):

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

This Article is the first to analyze and assess the taxation of intellectual capital within this broader interdisciplinary landscape.

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

January 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?

Henrik Jacobsen Kleven (London School of Economics), How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 77 (Fall 2014):

American visitors to Scandinavian countries are often puzzled by what they observe: despite large income redistribution through distortionary taxes and transfers, these are very high-income countries. They rank among the highest in the world in terms of income per capita, as well as most other economic and social outcomes. The economic and social success of Scandinavia poses important questions for economics and for those arguing against large redistribution based on its supposedly detrimental effect on economic growth and welfare. How can Scandinavian countries raise large amounts of tax revenue for redistribution and social insurance while maintaining some of the strongest economic outcomes in the world? Combining micro and macro evidence, this paper identifies three policies that can help explain this apparent anomaly: the coverage of third-party information reporting (ensuring a low level of tax evasion), the broadness of tax bases (ensuring a low level of tax avoidance), and the strong subsidization of goods that are complementary to working (ensuring a high level of labor force participation). The paper also presents descriptive evidence on a variety of social and cultural indicators that may help in explaining the economic and social success of Scandinavia.

Table 1

January 6, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list. The #1 paper is now #72 in all-time downloads among 10,616 tax papers:

  1. [1543 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [294 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  3. [195 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [189 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions -- Background, Causes, and Policy Options, by J. Richard (Dick) Harvey (Villanova)
  5. [152 Downloads]  California Dreamin': Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

January 4, 2015 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Osofsky Reviews Zelenak's Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax

JotwellLeigh Osofsky (Miami), The IRS as Tax Law Nonenforcer (Jotwell) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Custom and the Rule of Law in the Administration of the Income Tax, 62 Duke L.J. 829 (2012)):

Zelenak laments the difficulty in challenging customary deviations. He usefully explores how the pro-taxpayer nature of customary deviations and limitations on third-party taxpayer standing leave little room for outsiders to step in and prevent customary deviations from going too far. Zelenak leaves the reader with the sense that customary deviations can in some cases be desirable, in some cases problematic, but in all cases difficult to do anything about as a result of limitations on taxpayer standing and the real threat that allowing standing to challenge the deviations may pose to the administrability of the tax system. Zelenak’s most concrete proposal is for “Congress to enact a new Code provision specifically authorizing the Treasury Department to issue regulations narrowing the statutory definition of gross income with respect to non-cash benefits received outside of an employment context, whenever the IRS decides that administrative concerns make such a narrowing advisable,” and that “Congress might decide to give the Treasury Department similar authority to revise by regulation other specified Code sections”  

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December 31, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Do Colleges (and Law Schools) Need a Business Productivity Audit?

College TuitionWall Street Journal op-ed:  Colleges Need a Business Productivity Audit, by Frank Mussano & Robert Iosue (authors, College Tuition: Four Decades of Financial Deception (2014)):

College tuition rates are ridiculously out of hand. Since the late 1970s, tuition has surged more than 1,000%, while the consumer-price index has risen only 240%. ...

[T]hree quarters of a typical college budget is spent on personnel expenses, including benefits. Yet the average professor spends much less time in the classroom today than two decades ago. In 2010 44% of full-time faculty reported that they spent nine or more hours a week in the classroom, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. In 1989 more than 60% said they did. The traditional 12-15 hours a week teaching load is changing into a six-to-nine-hour workweek, a significant decrease in productivity.

The typical defense of the reduced workload goes something like this: Professors have increased research demands, more extensive classroom preparation and committee work, as well as additional administrative and student-counseling responsibilities. Except for a handful of elite researchers, this argument doesn’t add up. ...

There’s another problem: The number of college administrators has increased 50% faster than the number of instructors since 2001, according to the Education Department. Administrative costs have far outpaced other college expenses during the past two decades. ...

All the while, colleges launched a prestige arms race, dropping millions on extravagant buildings. Higher-education construction spending has doubled since 1994, with a peak of $15 billion in 2006 that has leveled off at $11 billion in recent years. Adding to the frenzy are the various magazine rankings that base much of their quality-assessment formula on the amount of money spent on student services and facilities, even if the funds are wasted. Campuses have everything from lazy rivers to climbing walls to luxury dormitories.

On top of that, student-loan debt has skyrocketed to $1.2 trillion. Easy access to government loan money has given colleges license to boost tuition with no motivation to keep costs down. ...

[C]olleges and universities engaged in a spending spree because they can. But there’s one simple idea that might start to reverse the spending spree: audits of higher education. ...

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December 30, 2014 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

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 December 1, 2014) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

41,740

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

6701

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

27,185

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

5227

3

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

23,266

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

2863

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

21,236

Paul Caron (Pepperdine) 

2655

5

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

20,333

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2546

6

James Hines (Michigan)

20,177

Gregg Polsky (North Carolina)

2332

7

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

19,426

Omri Marian (Florida)

1984

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

19.234

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1944

9

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

16,991

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1791

10

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

16,621

David Gamage (UCBerkeley)

1673

11

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,510

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1559

12

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

15,404

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1532

13

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

14,801

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1531

14

David Weisbach (Chicago)

14,683

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1513

15

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

14,594

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1450

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

14,551

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1381

17

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

14,340

James Hines (Michigan)

1353

18

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

14,240

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1317

19

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

14,206

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1308

20

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

14,100

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1240

21

David Walker (Boston Univ.)

14,065

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1234

22

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

12,575

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1210

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

12,541

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1183

24

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

11,875

Christopher Hoyt (UMKC)

1107

25

Ed McCaffery (USC)

11,844

Steve Willis (Florida)

1104

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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December 30, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Call for Business Tax Papers: Oxford University Symposium

OxfordCall for Papers: Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation 9th Annual Symposium:

We invite you to submit a paper for the ninth annual symposium of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation. The symposium will take place at the Saïd Business School in Oxford, from Monday 22 – Thursday 25 June 2015. As ever, we welcome research on any topics related to business taxation in its broadest sense, including papers from economics, law and other disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary contributions. The programme from last year’s symposium can be found here.

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5. The #1 paper is now #76 in all-time downloads among 10,606 tax papers:

  1. [1487 Downloads]  A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, by Gregg D. Polsky (North Carolina)
  2. [274 Downloads]  Piketty in America: A Tale of Two Literatures, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  3. [176 Downloads]  The Rise and Fall of the Consumption Tax: A Historical Perspective, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  4. [173 Downloads]  Corporate Inversions -- Background, Causes, and Policy Options, by J. Richard (Dick) Harvey (Villanova)
  5. [146 Downloads]  California Dreamin': Tax Scholarship in a Time of Fiscal Crisis, by Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Paul L. Caron (Pepperdine)

December 28, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hatfield: Taxation and Surveillance -- An Agenda

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington), Taxation and Surveillance: An Agenda:

Among government agencies, the IRS likely has the surest legal claim to the most information about the most Americans: your hobbies; your religious affiliation; your reading; your travel; and your medical information are all potentially tax relevant. Privacy scholars have studied the arrival of Big Data, the internet-of-things, and the surveillance joint venture of government and private companies, but neither privacy nor tax scholars have considered how these technological advances could improve tax administration. As government agencies and private companies increasingly pursue what has been described as the “growing gush of data,” the use of these technologies in tax administration will become increasingly important to consider. This Essay provides an agenda of items for discussion, debate, and research related to the development, implementation, and effects of moving towards a surveillance-facilitated tax system.

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

The Economics of Guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie (University of Cambridge), The Economics of Guilds, 28 J. Econ. Perspectives 169 (Fall 2014):

Occupational guilds in medieval and early modern Europe offered an effective institutional mechanism whereby two powerful groups, guild members and political elites, could collaborate in capturing a larger slice of the economic pie and redistributing it to themselves at the expense of the rest of the economy. Guilds provided an organizational mechanism for groups of businessmen to negotiate with political elites for exclusive legal privileges that allowed them to reap monopoly rents. Guild members then used their guilds to redirect a share of these rents to political elites in return for support and enforcement. In short, guilds enabled their members and political elites to negotiate a way of extracting rents in the manufacturing and commercial sectors, rents that neither party could have extracted on its own. First, I provide an overview of where and when European guilds arose, what occupations they encompassed, how large they were, and how they varied across time and space. I then examine how guild activities affected market competition, commercial security, contract enforcement, product quality, human capital, and technological innovation. The historical findings on guilds provide strong support for the view that institutions arise and survive for centuries not because they are efficient but because they serve the distributional interests of powerful groups.

December 23, 2014 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)