TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tax Foundation Analyzes Clinton, Sanders Tax Plans

Hillary BernieKyle Pomerleau & Michael Schuyler (Tax Foundation), Details and Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Tax Proposals:

Key Findings:

  • Hillary Clinton would enact a number of tax policies that would raise taxes on individual and business income.
  • Hillary Clinton’s plan would raise tax revenue by $498 billion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up collecting $191 billion over the next decade when accounting for decreased economic output in the long run.
  • A majority of the revenue raised by Clinton’s plan would come from a cap on itemized deductions, the Buffett Rule, and a 4 percent surtax on taxpayers with incomes over $5 million.
  • Clinton’s proposals to alter the long-term capital gains rate schedule would actually reduce revenue on both a static and dynamic basis due to increased incentives to delay capital gains realizations.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would reduce GDP by 1 percent over the long-term due to slightly higher marginal tax rates on capital and labor.
  • On a static basis, the tax plan would lead to 0.7 percent lower after-tax income for the top 10 percent of taxpayers and 1.7 percent lower income for the top 1 percent. When accounting for reduced GDP, after-tax incomes of all taxpayers would fall by at least 0.9 percent.

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January 29, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting

ABA LAThe ABA Tax Section Midyear meeting continues today in Los Angeles. The full program is here. Today's highlight is the Teaching Taxation Program:

Inequality and Taxation. The debate over the nature of inequality and social mobility in the United States, and the corresponding role of taxation, continues to be at the center of public discourse. Potential tax reform will remain a major topic in political conversations in the coming year. Panelists will debate and discuss both the underlying issues and possible responses from the tax system, including redistribution and taxation, wealth concentration and estate and gift taxation, creative tax reform, and the legal and practical limits on a tax response to inequality.

  • Chair:  Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh)
  • Moderator:  Kerry Ryan (St. Louis)
  • Panelists:  Neil Buchanan (George Washington), Goldburn Maynard, Jr. (Louisville), Miranda Fleischer (San Diego)

Other Tax Profs with speaking roles today include:

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January 29, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 995

IRS Logo 2The Daily Caller, California AG Threatens Non-Profit Donors' First Amendment Rights:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is being deluged with requests from non-profit officials to withdraw her “unconstitutional” demand for public disclosure of donor names because it creates a “back door” around the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

Harris’ critics claim her demand violates the First Amendment and privacy laws, compromises donor privacy and security, and makes it easier for government officials and agencies to pressure dissenting groups challenging particular policies and programs. ...

“This is a back-door way these liberal Democrats to get around the Citizens United decision,” Mark Fitzgibbons, a Northern Virginia lawyer who represents individuals and businesses against government abuses, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Nonprofit groups with a 501(c)4 status already have to submit the names of people who donate more than $5,000 on Schedule B of their annual 990 filings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Fitzgibbons said. When those groups submit tax paperwork at the state level, they redact those names. Harris wants to see those names.

A former FEC commissioner agreed with Fitzgibbons.

“It’s very clear that groups on the left, particularly the Democratic Party, they hated the Citizens United decision,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation, told TheDCNF.

“Their way around it is to force donor disclosure, so they can scare off donors and dry up the resources these organizations use to get their messages out the way they are entitled to under Citizens United. So I think this is a backdoor way of getting around that case,” said von Spakowsky, who served on the FEC via a recess appointment by President George W. Bush in 2006. ...

“It has a big chilling effect,” von Spakovsky said. “You can pull up all kinds of articles about the Tea Party organizations who were subjected to the scrutiny by Lois Lerner and the IRS, and many of them talk about how their donors started drying up.”

Critics worry that if state officials obtain donor names, it could lead to another scandal like the IRS targeting violations.

“What happens is, you get what the IRS did with Lois Lerner, where they started targeting conservative organizations and conservative donors, and I bet that is what Harris is doing,” von Spakovsky said. “She is one of the most political attorneys general in the country.”

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January 29, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gergen Presents Taxing Capital Today At Colorado

GergenMark Gergen (UC-Berkeley) presents Taxing Capital at Colorado today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Hasen and Sloan Speck:

It is well known that the existing system in the U.S. for taxing capital income is a mess. It collects a small amount of revenue relative to capital income with high administrative and compliance costs while distorting the behavior of owners and users of capital on numerous margins. This paper proposes a system for taxing capital that can collect the same amount of revenue with much lower public administrative and private compliance costs, and with significantly less distortionary impact. The pillar of the system is a flat annual tax assessed on the market value of publicly traded securities. I estimate the securities tax will cover around 60 percent of the wealth of U.S. households and around 75 to 80 percent of income producing capital that is presently subject to the individual and corporate income taxes. Income producing capital that is not subject to the securities tax, such as equity in closely held businesses and real estate held for investment, will be covered by a complementary tax that is designed to have a similar incidence in order to minimize distortions from having two systems for taxing capital. Equity in owner-occupied housing and consumer durables will not be subject to the tax, though equity in housing could easily be included in the complementary tax. ...

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January 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Presents User-Friendly Taxpaying Today At Duke

Thomas (2015)Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents User-Friendly Taxpaying at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Technology is revolutionizing many aspects of our lives. With the touch of a button or a simple voice command, we can instantly order groceries, get directions, or find the nearest sushi restaurant. Sensibly, the private sector has capitalized on these recent innovations to drive up profits. To sell more laundry detergent, Amazon now enables consumers to order refills by simply pressing the “dash button” mounted above their laundry machines. Starbucks lures more customers by allowing them to pre-order online and have their drink waiting when they arrive at the store. The theory behind this approach is simple: if you want someone to use your product or service, you should make it as quick and easy as possible for them to do so.

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January 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Rates, Tax Reform And Tax Revenues

Alan Reynolds (Cato Institute), Tax Rates, Tax Reform and Tax Revenues: Part One:

As the graph shows, the U.S. has had considerable experience with top tax rates as high as 91-92%, as low as 28%, and everything in between. The individual income tax averaged 7.7% of GDP since 1946.

Top Tax Rates and Revenues as % of GDP

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January 28, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senate Holds Hearing Today On Tax-Favored Retirement Plans

Senate LogoThe Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing today on Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement: Increasing Access, Participation and Coverage in Retirement Savings Plans:

  • Alicia Munnell (Boston College)
  • John J. Kalamarides (Prudential Financial)
  • Thomas Barthold (Joint Committee on Taxation)

In connection with the hearing, the Joint Committee on Taxation has released Present Law And Background Relating To Tax-Favored Retirement Saving And Certain Related Legislative Proposals (JCX-3-16):

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January 28, 2016 in Congressional News, 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 January 3, 2016) 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 (Michigan)

52,118

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

8947

2

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

30,103

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

4604

3

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall)

30,085

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3880

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

25,319

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2617

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

25,252

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2150

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

21,835

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2073

7

James Hines (Michigan)

21,344

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1845

8

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,482

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1825

9

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

20,115

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

1816

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

19,193

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

1722

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

18,223

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1539

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

16,883

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

1499

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,537

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1480

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

16,210

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1471

15

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,094

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1460

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,010

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1396

17

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,855

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1389

18

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

15,821

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1349

19

David Weisbach (Chicago)

15,727

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1333

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

15,471

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1229

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,000

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1186

22

David Walker (BU)

14,708

Ruth Mason (Virginia)

1167

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

14,237

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1125

24

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,009

James Hines (Michigan)

1083

25

Steven Bank (UCLA)

12,592

Dick Harvey (Villanova)

1068

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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January 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Marian Reviews The Hidden Wealth Of Nations

WealthOmri Marian (UC-Irvine), Tax Havens and the Rise on Inequality (reviewing Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley), Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (University of Chicago Press, 2015)):

Tax literature is bitterly divided on the role that tax havens play in global economy. The negative view of tax havens paints them as parasitic, poaching revenue from other jurisdictions. The positive view suggests that tax havens facilitate low-cost capital mobility, mitigating some of the distortive effects of taxation.

To date, this extensive scholarly debate has produced very little information on tax havens themselves. This is hardly surprising, since tax havens are well known to be secrecy jurisdictions. This aspect of tax havens forces scholars who write about them to resort to financial modeling or available country data – data which is rarely on point. Zucman’s book is a unique breed in this context. In order to address the role of tax havens in global economy, Zucman actually collects and interprets the necessary data. Zucman assesses the wealth held in tax havens based on a long lasting anomaly in public finance: that in the aggregate, more liabilities than assets are recorded on national balance sheets, as if a portion of global assets simply vanishes into thin air, or as Zucman put it: “were in part held by Mars.” Zucman meticulously collected macro-economic data of multiple jurisdictions, and discovered that roughly the same amount of assets missing from national balance sheets shows up as ownership interest in investment pooling vehicles (such as mutual funds) organized in tax havens.

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January 28, 2016 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 994

IRS Logo 2The Fiscal Times, Here We Go Again … IRS Destroys Another Hard Drive:

The Internal Revenue Service appears to have violated a court order once again requiring the preservation of evidence needed by investigators looking into questionable practices at the agency. In a case sure to stir up memories of the Lois Lerner investigation, which saw IRS Commissioner John Koskinen dragged before Congress for multiple hearings, the agency destroyed a computer hard drive belonging to an IRS official connected to the subject of a Congressional query.

Earlier this year, the IRS was ordered by a federal judge to preserve documents – including electronic documents – that were possibly related to an ongoing dispute between the agency and Microsoft. ...

The computer hard drive the IRS destroyed belonged to Samuel Maruca, who oversaw the transfer pricing section at the agency’s Large Business and International division. ...

The revelation that the agency had destroyed a hard drive that Congressional investigators viewed as central to an ongoing inquiry infuriated House Oversight and Investigations Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

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January 28, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Eyal-Cohen Presents The Hidden Price Of Regulation Today At St. Louis

Eyal-Cohen-MiritMirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) presents The Hidden Price of Regulation at St. Louis today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

Rules and regulations inflict costs on regulated parties differently. This Article is the first to explore this discriminatory effect. It reveals that entities that lack economies of scale, scope, and age are disadvantaged. To address this discriminatory effect, governments enact various size-based exclusionary rules. The article reveals, however, that these regulatory exclusions do not solve the problem. Rather, they create more harm. These exemptions often exacerbate the impact of the very regulation whose cost they seek to reduce. The Article makes the following additional three contributions to the current literature. First, it demonstrates that the relationship between size and regulatory effects is non-exclusive and also extends to scope and age. Second, it illustrates some overlooked effects of regulations on certain entities and the latent externalities imposed on their unregulated affiliates. Lastly, it provides policymakers with mechanisms to alleviate regulatory burdens.

January 27, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Clinton, Sanders Would Bypass Congress To Tax The Rich Via Executive Action

Hillary BernieBloomberg:  Clinton, Sanders Would Bypass Congress to Tax the Rich—a Bit, by Lynnley Browning:

Most of the proposals that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have pitched for taxing the rich won’t go anywhere if Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives, as expected.

But spokesmen for both of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination said this week that they could take executive action, bypassing Congress, to go after a shorter list: the carried-interest tax advantage that investment-fund managers receive, corporate inversions that companies use to move their tax addresses offshore and -- in Sanders’s case, at least -- a few other parts of the tax code that benefit high-income taxpayers.

Their larger plans for individual income taxes include Sanders’s proposal to increase income-tax rates to levels unseen since 1981 and Clinton’s pitch for a 4 percent surcharge on the nation’s 34,000 or so highest-income taxpayers. Those are almost certainly dead on arrival. Without them, neither candidate could raise enough to finance their most expensive programs.

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January 27, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is The United States

Tax HavenBloomberg:  The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States, by Jesse Drucker:

Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, a managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes. His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments. Some are calling it the new Switzerland.

After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

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January 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Income Inequality In America's 50 Largest U.S. Cities

Alan Berube & Natalie Holmes (Brookings Institution), Some Cities Are Still More Unequal Than Others — An Update:

This report updates a 2014 analysis that looked at levels of income inequality in the 50 largest U.S. cities, and examines in particular trends between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Like the earlier analysis, it focuses on incomes among households near the top of the distribution—those earning more than 95 percent of all other households—and households closer to the bottom of the distribution—those earning more than only 20 percent of all other households. It then measures the gap between the two, or the “95/20 ratio.” All dollar amounts are adjusted for inflation to 2013 levels.

Table 3

Interestingly, nine of the ten cities with the most income inequality have Democratic mayors; five of the ten cities with the least income inequality have Republican mayors.

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January 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 993

IRS Logo 2Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW Names IRS Commissioner John Koskinen 2015 Porker of the Year:

Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the results of its online poll for the 2015 Porker of the Year.  Last year produced a wealth of ludicrous moments in taxpayer gouging and government overreach, but in the end, the “winner” was never in doubt.  The dishonor went to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen with 43 percent of the vote.

Commissioner Koskinen’s sins against taxpayers have been well-publicized, which makes his receiving this award all the more appropriate.  CAGW named Koskinen Porker of the Month in August 2015 for his long litany of incompetence and obstruction as head of the reviled agency.  Over the course of several hearings investigating the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Commissioner Koskinen repeatedly stonewalled and mislead members of Congress during the search for Lois Lerner’s emails, while refusing to ensure that IRS targeting would never happen again.  His agency, in the face of a congressional subpoena, erased backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails from Lerner.  Worse yet, a July 23, 2015 Government Accountability Office report found that more than two years after the scandal gained national attention, “the IRS has not taken sufficient steps to prevent targeting Americans based on their personal beliefs.”  On October 27, 2015, 19 members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), introduced a resolution to impeach the commissioner for his conduct during the investigation.  ...

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “While I did not envy the choice online voters had to make, I believe they picked the most deserving Porker.  Commissioner Koskinen’s extensive and dubious track record of evasive, incompetent, and hostile behavior to taxpayers and their representatives has been unmistakable and unacceptable.  It is long past time that Commissioner Koskinen be replaced with an individual who respects taxpayers and their interests.”

For his dreadful tenure as head of the IRS, CAGW names John Koskinen its 2015 Porker of the Year.

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January 27, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Simkovic Presents The Knowledge Tax Today At NYU

Simkovic 2Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall) presents The Knowledge Tax, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2015), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico:

Labor economists struggle to explain why the rates of return to higher education have remained much higher than the rates of return to other investments. This article proposes a novel explanation: distortionary taxation.

Economic theory suggests that when investments that are substitutes for one another are taxed inconsistently, investors are less likely to choose the investment option that is taxed more heavily. Unfavorable tax treatment of higher education relative to other forms of investment could create an undersupply of educated labor. This distortion would reduce economic growth and social welfare.

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January 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The ‘Tampon Tax’ Fraud

Following up on last week's post, President Obama Blames Male Legislators For The ‘Tampon Tax’ In 40 States:  Catherine Rampell (Washington Post), The ‘Tampon Tax’ Fraud:

Maybe this makes me a traitor to my sex, but I support the tampon tax.

Mostly because it’s not actually a tampon tax.

For those unaware, “tampon tax” is shorthand for the fact that menstrual products are subject to sales taxes in most states, even though other products considered necessities (such as food and medicine) are often exempted.

In recent months, this has spawned a legion of articles suggesting that squeamish, old, predominantly male politicians are punishing half of humanity for the crime of having a period. Some offer stories about poor women who say “tampon taxes” are cutting into money they desperately need for groceries or other bills.

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January 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Johnson Controls To Renounce U.S. Corporate Citizenship In Tax-Driven Inversion With Tyco

Call for Business Tax Papers:  Oxford University Symposium

OxfordThe Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation has issued a call for papers for its annual symposium:

We invite you to submit a paper for the tenth annual symposium of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation to be held June 28 - July 1, 2016.  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.

Submissions can either be completed but unpublished papers, or extended abstracts of work in progress (at least two pages) which must be completed in time for the conference. The deadline for submissions is Monday 29 February 2016 and papers should be submitted using the electronic form.

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January 26, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jellum:  Why The Treasury's Anti-Abuse Regulation Is Unconstitutional

Linda Jellum (Mercer), Dodging the Taxman: Why the Treasury's Anti-Abuse Regulation Is Unconstitutional, 70 U. Miami L. Rev. 152 (2015):

To combat abusive tax shelters, the Department of the Treasury promulgated a general anti-abuse regulation applicable to all of subchapter K of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The Treasury targeted subchapter K because unique aspects of the partnership tax laws - including its aggregate-entity dichotomy - foster creative tax manipulation. In the anti-abuse regulation, the Treasury attempted to “codify” existing judicially-created anti-abuse doctrines, such as the business-purpose and economic-substance doctrines. Also, and more surprisingly, the Treasury directed those applying subchapter K to use a purposivist approach to interpretation and to reject textualism.

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January 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shanske:  Local Government Finance As Integrated System

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Local Government Finance as Integrated System: The Uneasy Case for Using Special Districts in Real Estate Finance (A Response to Odinet's Super-Liens to the Rescue? A Case Against Special Districts in Real Estate Finance), 72 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 191 (2015):

Local governments have long used special financing districts to build infrastructure. If a local project, say building a pocket park, is likely to increase the values of properties very close to the park, then why should those properties not pay for the park in the first place? Though efficient and fair in many cases, the use of these districts can also be problematic. For instance, it seems likely that wealthier residents, with higher property values to leverage, are especially likely to use these districts effectively. It has also been the case that developers have used these districts speculatively, which had serious repercussions during the last recession. Christopher Odinet develops an additional, and important, critique of these districts. Odinet observes that these districts obtain a lien on benefiting properties, and that this lien takes priority over the liens of conventional lenders. Odinet then argues that this super-priority should only be honored if the district has served some substantial public purpose.

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January 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 992

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  IRS Lax Controls Enable Targeting Based On Religion + Politics, Claims Report, by Robert W. Wood:

Everyone seems to agree that you should not be audited based on your religion or political beliefs, nor based on which charities you support. Yet there are still questions about how our tax system measures up. Despite all the protestations that there was never any IRS targeting (even some that Republicans made it up), the weak response to the last two years remains disquieting. There seemed to be bonuses and rewards, not discipline or prosecution.

Now, a new government report says lax IRS controls of audit criteria mean the agency is still able to target based on religious and political views. This time, it is a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, stating that: “The control deficiencies increase the risk of selecting organizations for audit in an unfair manner — for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.” Precisely how much such inappropriate criteria are being used is being debated, as the IRS scandal reaches day 982Some Republicans have assumed the worst, while naysayers claim there is still no scandal and still no targeting. ...

The GAO identified what it calls control deficiencies within the IRS system. These flaws open the system to risk that the IRS uses political and religious beliefs as selection criteria for audit. There was already concern about tax exempt organizations, and it could extend to who gets audited too. The GAO concluded that the lack of strong control procedures increases the risk of targeting. The IRS, however, responded in a statement that ... The IRS stresses that audits of tax returns are based on the information contained on the taxpayer’s return and the underlying tax law – nothing else. Politics play no factor in audit selection. ...

This seems to echo The Daily Show appearance by President Obama when he denied any targeting. At the very least, some of the denials have been dissembling. If there was any targeting, we heard, it was rogue IRS employees in Cincinnati. Besides, emails showed there was no directive about targeting. The emails are missing? Hard drives crash and must be quickly recycled. There’s no smidgen of corruption. Cash bonuses? Unrelated.

And the top of the IRS has remained elusive, despite calls to impeach the IRS Chief from Republicans. ...

The IRS is one of most important agencies there is. Our tax system still runs primarily by self-assessment, and taxpayer faith in the system is key. The vast majority of its employees are fair and doing their best. But the agency needs real accountable leadership to get the government’s work done.

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January 26, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Marian Presents The State Administration Of International Tax Avoidance Today At Pepperdine

Marian (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents The State Administration of International Tax Avoidance at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series:

This Article documents a process in which a national tax administration in one jurisdiction, is consciously and systematically assisting taxpayers to avoid taxes in other jurisdictions. The aiding tax administration collects a small amount tax from the aided taxpayers. Such tax is functionally structured as a fee paid for government-provided tax avoidance services. Such behavior can be easily copied (and probably is copied) by other tax administrations. The implications are profound. On the normative front, the findings should fundamentally change our understanding of the concept of international tax competition. Tax competition is generally understood to be the adoption of low tax rates in order to attract investments into the jurisdiction. Instead, this Article identifies an intentional “bagger thy neighbor” behavior, aimed at attracting revenue generated by successful investments in other jurisdictions, without attracting actual investments. The result is a distorted competitive environment, in which revenue is denied from jurisdictions the infrastructure and workforce of which support economically productive activity. On the practical front, the findings suggest that internationally coordinated efforts to combat tax avoidance are misaimed. Current efforts are largely aimed at curtailing aggressive taxpayer behavior. Instead, the Article proposes that the focus of such efforts should be curtailing certain rogue practices adopted by national tax administrations.

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January 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mitt Romney Calls On Presidential Candidates To Release Tax Returns: Wonder Whose Yuuuge Tax Returns He Has in Mind

Huffington Post:   Mitt Romney Calls On Presidential Candidates To Release Tax Returns: Wonder Whose Yuuuge Tax Returns He Has in Mind:

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday called on 2016 presidential candidates to release their tax returns ahead of the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Romney

Forbes:  Trump Is Unapologetically Aggressive On Taxes, Like Buffett And Bono, by Robert Wood:

Donald Trump unapologetically boasts that he fully exploits the tax code. He wants to pay as little as possible to the government. “I mean, I pay as little as possible. I use every single thing in the book. And I have great people,” he said. Trump has not released his tax returns, though now he says he is “working on” it.

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January 25, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

SoCal Law Students Invited To ABA Tax Section Careers In Tax Law Dinner On Jan. 28

ABAThe ABA Tax Section invites all Southern California area law students to attend a Careers in Tax Law Dinner this Thursday, Jan. 28, at the J.W. Marriott L.A. Live at 7:00 p.m.:

The ABA Section of Taxation cordially invites you to the Careers in Tax Law Dinner at the 2016 Midyear Meeting. A dynamic panel of tax practitioners will speak about the nature of their jobs, what they do, and how students might best prepare for and pursue careers in this field. Dinner will be provided.

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January 25, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Law School Rankings, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avi-Yonah & Xu Post Tax Papers On SSRN

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Haiyan Xu (S.J.D. 2016, Michigan) have posted two tax papers on SSRN:

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January 25, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ventry Named To IRS Advisory Council

VentryIR-2016-8 (Jan. 22, 2016), IRS Selects New Advisory Council Members:

The Internal Revenue Service today announced the selection of five new members to the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC), which provides an organized public forum for IRS officials and representatives of the public to discuss key tax administration issues.

The IRSAC, established in 1953, selects members to represent the taxpaying public, tax professionals, small and large businesses, academia and the payroll community. The council provides the IRS Commissioner and division leadership with important feedback, observations and suggestions. ... IRSAC meets periodically and will submit a report to the agency in November 2016 at a public meeting. IRSAC members generally serve three-year terms. The new members will join 13 returning members in 2016.

The following persons were appointed to serve on the committee beginning in 2016: ...

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January 25, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 991

IRS Logo 2House Ways & Means Committee Press Release, Brady, Roskam Demand Answers After IRS Admits to Destroying More Hard Drives:

After recent news that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has destroyed more protected documents, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) sent a letter today to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The Chairmen called for information regarding the IRS’s document retention policies and its troubling record of destroying protected records. They also requested documents about the IRS’s alarming admission that it erased a hard drive that contained information relevant to an ongoing lawsuit against the agency:

This is not the first time the IRS has lost key records that were subject to a document hold.  In the course of this Committee’s investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations, the IRS disclosed that it had destroyed backup tapes containing thousands of Lois Lerner’s records.  Furthermore, the IRS did not inform Congress of the destruction for several months.  In the Microsoft case, the IRS discovered the loss of records in December 2015, but did not disclose the loss until January 19, 2016.

“In order for taxpayers to trust the IRS, they need to know that the IRS is dealing with them fairly and playing by the rules.  The IRS, however, has demonstrated now at least twice that it is either unwilling or unable to obey basic rules of discovery before federal courts and before Congress.”

Click here to view the letter.

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January 25, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tax Policy Roundtable Today At Netanya College School Of Law (Israel)

The 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:

  1. [346 Downloads]  The Three Causes of Inversions: Reflections on Pfizer/Allergan and Notice 2015-79, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)
  2. [288 Downloads]  Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, by Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)
  3. [145 Downloads]  Are Corporate Inversions Good for Shareholders?, by Anton Babkin (Wisconsin), Brent Glover (Carnegie Mellon) & Oliver Levine (Wisconsin)
  4. [123 Downloads]  Inversions and Competitiveness: Reflections in the Wake of Pfizer/Allergan, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)
  5. [118 Downloads]  Profit Shifting Of U.S. Multinationals, by Tim Dowd (Joint Committee on Taxation), Paul Landefeld (Joint Committee on Taxation) & Anne Moore (Joint Committee on Taxation)

January 24, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The IRS Scandal, Day 989

IRS Logo 2Washington Examiner editorial, The Dog Keeps Eating IRS Hard Drives:

In Oscar Wilde's comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest," Lady Bracknell is indignant to hear that Jack Worthing is an orphan. "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

If only one could enjoy a similar belly laugh over President Obama's IRS repeatedly losing hard drives loaded with data related to scandals at the agency. To lose one might be regarded as suspicious happenstance; to lose two looks like conspiracy.

The most famous case is that of Lois Lerner, whose division became notorious for targeting conservative groups applying for nonprofit status. Her computer hard drive malfunctioned before that scandal broke, around the same time Congress was looking for information on a separate IRS targeting scheme aimed at conservative donors.

One of Lerner's emails to colleagues, which was finally retrieved from data tapes after roughly two years of congressional demands, stated, "No one will ever believe that both your hard drive and mine crashed within a week of each other."

The newest case of IRS hard drive trouble happened last April, but came to light only this month. Law 360, a subscription-based trade publication, reported this week that the IRS has notified the Justice Department that it erased a hard drive after being ordered not to do so by a federal judge.

In this case, the missing communications are those of a former IRS official named Samuel Maruca in the Large Business and International division. He is believed to have been among the senior IRS employees who made the unusual and possibly illegal decision in May 2014 to hire the outside law firm Quinn Emanuel to help conduct an audit of Microsoft Corporation. ...

Another reason Congress is upset about this law firm's $2.2 million contract is that it came at the expense of IRS customer service. Ever since the Lerner scandal, IRS leadership has moaned incessantly about cuts to their budget. In an effort to gain public sympathy, they made a big deal of the fact that the cuts would diminish the agency's capacity to provide taxpayer assistance during spring 2015.

But at the same time, the IRS was using funds to pay executive bonuses and to hire this outside law firm, even though the agency has many qualified tax attorneys and auditors on staff capable of investigating Microsoft

House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Press Release, Chaffetz, Jordan Letter to IRS Commissioner Regarding Destroyed Documents:

Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen after learning the IRS destroyed documents covered by a federal district court’s preservation order. The preservation order was issued in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Microsoft relating to the potentially wasteful hiring of an outside law firm by the IRS to assist in auditing Microsoft.

Key excerpts from the letter:

“The destruction of evidence subject to preservation orders and subpoenas has been an ongoing problem under your leadership at the IRS. …

“It is stunning to see that the IRS still does not take reasonable care to preserve documents that it is legally required to protect. …

 “It is now apparent that the IRS has not solved the management problems that have led once again to the destruction of documents in contravention of its legal obligations.”

The letter requests documents from the IRS so that the Committee can better understand the IRS’s policies.

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January 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, January 22, 2016

An Ode To Tax Season: How To Bid Farewell To Your Family

Tax SeasonAnthony Nitti (Forbes), An Ode To Tax Season: How To Bid Farewell To Your Family:

Tax season is here. Tax season is the worst. But don’t just abandon your family for the next three months with no explanation; make them aware of the series of mistakes that were set into motion long ago that led you to this self-imposed hell. And tell them with rhymes! It will make your prolonged absence less painful.

Daddy, he chose accounting,
For reasons that he can’t explain.
And here we are two decades later,
And this choice still drives Daddy insane.

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January 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Tax Roundup

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January 22, 2016 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

Bernie Sanders Releases Tax Plan: 54% Top Rate On Income, Capital Gains & Dividends, Double The Estate Tax

Feel the BernBernieSanders.com, Medicare for All: Leaving No One Behind:

How Much Will It Cost and How Do We Pay For It?

How Much Will It Cost?
This plan has been estimated to cost $1.38 trillion per year.

The Plan Would Be Fully Paid For By:

A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
Revenue raised: $630 billion per year.

A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
Revenue raised: $210 billion per year.

This year, a family of four taking the standard deduction can have income up to $28,800 and not pay this tax under this plan.

A family of four making $50,000 a year taking the standard deduction would only pay $466 this year.

Progressive income tax rates.
Revenue raised: $110 billion a year.

Under this plan the marginal income tax rate would be:

  • 37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
  • 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
  • 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, the top 0.08 percent of taxpayers, had income between $2 million and $10 million.)
  • 52 percent on income above $10 million. (In 2013, only 13,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.)

Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
Revenue raised: $92 billion per year.

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January 22, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (19)

Highest State And Local Tax Burdens Are In Blue States, Lowest Are In Red States

Tax Foundation, State-Local Tax Burden Rankings FY 2012:

During the 2012 fiscal year, state-local tax burdens as a share of state incomes decreased on average across the U.S. Average income increased at a faster rate than tax collections, driving down state-local tax burdens on average.

New Yorkers faced the highest burden, with 12.7 percent of income in the state going to state and local taxes. Connecticut (12.6 percent) and New Jersey (12.2 percent) followed closely behind. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska (6.5 percent), South Dakota (7.1 percent) and Wyoming (7.1 percent) had the lowest burdens.

Map

Interestingly, the ten states with the highest per capita tax burden voted for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, and eight of the ten states with the lowest per capita tax burden voted for Mitt Romney.

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January 22, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (9)

The IRS Scandal, Day 988

IRS Logo 2Senate Finance Committee Press Release, Hatch, Wyden Press IRS on Record Keeping Practices; Tax Agency Erased Hard Drive Despite Litigation Hold:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) today sent a letter to Internal Revenue Commissioner (IRS) John Koskinen asking for answers regarding the agency’s recordkeeping practices after it was revealed the agency erased a former employee’s hard drive and destroyed electronic records subject to a litigation hold and potentially responsive to a  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  The documents related to the agency’s use of outside law firms to conduct examinations of taxpayers.   
 
“This disclosure comes months after the IRS deleted electronic evidence related to a Finance Committee investigation,” Hatch and Wyden wrote. “During the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into the treatment of tax-exempt organizations, the IRS accidentally destroyed 422 back-up tapes and up to 24,000 emails subject to our document requests. The IRS’s missteps in preserving documents – whether they be the subject of a congressional investigation, court order, or FOIA request – are concerning, and necessitate further oversight into the agency’s document preservation practices."

The text of the letter is below. 

Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS Wipes Another Hard Drive Defying Court Order...But You Must Keep Tax Records:

Talk about Déjà vu. Despite a court order to preserve documents, the IRS wiped the hard drive of an important IRS official, Mr. Samuel Maruca. Controversially, Mr. Maruca helped the IRS hire Quinn Emanuel, an outside law firm tasked with pursuing Microsoft. Hiring outsiders at over $1,000 an hour (!) angered Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, who wrote a letter to the IRS complaining about strange deal and the $2.2 million fee.

Sen. Hatch pointed out that this was work the IRS and Justice Department should do. A federal judge was also troubled. And when the questions were too probing, oops, the hard drive was wiped. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, of course, you have to keep all your receipts and tax records! Imagine if the IRS found out that you deleted emails or destroyed records? The fact that the IRS–accidentally–wiped Mr. Maruca’s hard drive reminds everyone of Lois Lerner, the key IRS official who refused to testify about targeting conservatives. ...

It was no surprise that the Justice Department wrote a letter to members of Congress announcing that Lois Lerner will face no criminal charges. What about emails sent from Ms. Lerner’s dog’s email account? The dog is safe too. The DOJ said there was no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives.

Let’s see, is the IRS likely to accept similar taxpayer arguments? 

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January 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gamage Presents Tax Cannibalization And Fiscal Federalism Today At Duke

Gamage (2016)David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) presents Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States (with Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

The design of federal tax law strongly influences the tax policy choices of the individual U.S. states. This article argues that under the current structure of U.S. federal tax law these influences are often perverse. Specifically, the current structure of U.S. federal tax law incentivizes state governments to adopt tax policies that inflict costs on the federal government, at the expense of national welfare. We label this the “tax cannibalization” problem.

This article introduces the tax cannibalization problem to the legal literature for the first time.

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January 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oei Presents The Tax Lives Of Uber Drivers Today At Indiana

OeiShuyi Oei (Tulane) presents The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Leandra Lederman:

In this Article, we investigate the tax issues and challenges facing Uber and Lyft drivers by studying their interactions in three internet discussion forums: Reddit.com, Uberpeople.net, and Intuit TurboTax AnswerXchange. Using descriptive statistics and content analysis, we examine four research questions: (1) the substantive tax concerns facing forum participants, (2) how taxes factor into driving and profitability decisions, (3) forum participants’ understandings of and attitudes towards worker classification issues (i.e., independent contractor vs. employee), and (4) user sophistication, attitudes towards compliance, and other cultural features of the forums.

We find that while forum participants displayed generally accurate understandings regarding tax filing and income inclusion obligations, their approaches to expenses and deductions were less accurate and more varied in terms of sophistication and willingness to comply with tax law. Forum participants also engaged in frequent discussions about whether driving was ultimately profitable and exhibited a range of awareness of how taxes affected such profitability. They also displayed heterogeneous understandings and preferences regarding worker classification questions (i.e., independent contractors versus employees). Finally, while the forums contained a surprising degree of sophisticated and accurate tax advice, they also contained a good amount of inaccurate, confusing, or misleading information. It is thus uncertain whether forum readers are able to successfully distinguish between accurate and inaccurate advice dispensed in the forums. 

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January 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wilson Presents Corporate Inversions Update Today At Colorado

Wilson_John_John R. Wilson (Denver) presents  Corporate Inversions Update at Colorado today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Hasen and Sloan Speck:

The presentation examines the evolution of inversions from the single-company transactions of the 1990’s to the real business combinations of today. It considers the various legislative and regulatory moves that have been designed to make such transactions less appealing, and why such measures haven’t succeeded. The presentation concludes with an examination of the current state of play and possible further legislative, treaty and regulatory responses that could be undertaken short of fundamental international tax reform.

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January 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hackney:  Charitable Organization Oversight — Rules v. Standards

Philip Hackney (LSU), Charitable Organization Oversight: Rules v. Standards, 13 Pitt. Tax Rev. ___ (2015):

Congress has traditionally utilized standards as a means of communicating charitable tax law in the Code. In the past fifteen years, however, Congress has increasingly turned to rules to stop fraud and abuse in the charitable sector. I review the rules versus standards debate to evaluate this trend. Are Congressional rules the best method for regulating the charitable sector?

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January 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walker:  Reconsidering Realization-Based Accounting For Equity Compensation

David I. Walker (Boston University), Reconsidering Realization-Based Accounting for Equity Compensation:

The U.S. equity compensation landscape continues to evolve. Recent innovations have improved the linkage between pay and firm-specific performance, but have added complexity. Against that backdrop, this Article urges reconsideration of the accounting rules for equity pay. Under current rules, most equity pay awards are expensed based on grant date valuation with no updating for changes in value post grant. This Article advocates the adoption of a mark-to-market or realization-based approach under which the expense recorded for all equity pay awards would ultimately be trued to the value received by employees.

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January 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Profit Shifting Of U.S. Multinationals

Tim Dowd, Paul Landefeld & Anne Moore (Joint Committee on Taxation), Profit Shifting of U.S. Multinationals:

We analyze the profit shifting behavior of U.S. multinational firms using a unique panel data set of U.S. tax returns over the period 2002-2012. Prior research has found significant effects of tax rates in affiliate and parent countries on the profit shifting behavior of multinational entities, with semi-elasticities ranging from close to zero to well above one. We build on this prior work by allowing more heterogeneity in response across the distribution of tax rates and by including affiliates located in tax havens around the world. Our findings suggest that elasticities based on a log-linear specification may severely understate the sensitivity of profits to tax in low-tax jurisdictions while simultaneously overstating this elasticity in high-tax jurisdictions. Accounting for this type of nonlinearity appears crucial in considering how the global allocation of firm profits might change in response to tax rate changes.

2010

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January 21, 2016 in Gov't Reports, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Miller & Stroud:  Medicaid Planning For Long Term Care — California Style

John A. Miller (Idaho) & Vanessa S. Stroud (Law Office of Vanessa Stroud, Petaluma, CA), Medicaid Planning for Long Term Care: California Style:

California’s Medicaid program, “Medi-Cal”, differs significantly from programs in other states. This article sets out the major distinctions between California's program and other state programs as applied to long term care for disabled seniors. It illustrates the major planning techniques that are employed throughout the country and also those techniques that are available only in California.

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January 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 987

IRS Logo 2Americans for Tax Reform, IRS Erases Hard Drive Despite Court Order:

The IRS erased a hard drive belonging to a former top employee involved in the agency’s controversial, taxpayer-funded hiring of elite trial law firm Quinn Emanuel.

Although there was a court preservation order on all documents related to the IRS hiring of the outside firm, the hard drive was erased anyway. The order was borne of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by Microsoft.

Even though the white shoe law firm has zero experience handling sensitive tax data, taxpayers have been footing bills of over $1,000 per hour for its services.

The deleted hard drive belonged to the agency’s former director of transfer pricing operations at the IRS Large Business and International Division, likely a key employee involved in the controversy. It is not known if there is any way to recover documents belonging to the employee. ...

This is not the first time the agency has failed to preserve key information. The IRS also “accidentally” destroyed the hard drive belonging to Lois Lerner during investigations into the targeting of conservative groups. As many as 24,000 emails were lost forever when 422 backup tapes were wiped clean despite an agency-wide preservation order and congressional subpoena.

In the Lerner case, the IRS failed to take simple steps to ensure compliance with the order, according to a report by the House Oversight Committee.

Now, it appears that important information has once again disappeared because of IRS corruption, incompetence, or both.

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January 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2016)

Here is the schedule for my Spring 2016 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series:

  • Jan. 25    Omri Marian (UC-Irvine), The State Administration of International Tax Avoidance
  • Feb. 8     Adam Chodorow (Arizona State), Bitcoin, Foreign Currency, and the Case for Basis Pooling
  • Feb. 22   John Brooks (Georgetown), Quasi-Public Spending
  • Mar. 7    Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.),  The Section 527 Obstacle to Meaningful Section 501(c)(4) Regulation
  • Mar. 28  Shuyi Oei (Tulane), The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums
  • Apr. 11   Jason Oh (UCLA), How the Rich Drive Progressive Tax Rates
  • Apr. 25   Lily Kahng (Seattle), Who Owns Human Capital?

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 Law School (2016)

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January 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chodorow & Hackney:  Post-Graduate Legal Training — The Case For Tax-Exempt Programs

ASUAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) & Philip Hackney (LSU), Post-Graduate Legal Training: The Case for Tax-Exempt Programs, 65 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2016):

The challenging job market for recent law school graduates has highlighted a fact well known to those familiar with legal education: A significant gap exists between what students learn in law school and what they need to be practice-ready lawyers. Legal employers historically assumed the task of providing real-world training, but they have become much less willing to do so. At the same time, a large numbers of Americans — and not just those living at or below the poverty line — are simply unable to afford lawyers. In this Article, we argue that post-graduate legal training, similar to post-graduate medical training, is a good way to address these market failures and reduce the gap in both skills and legal services.

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January 20, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Shelters Or Efficient Tax Planning? A Theory Of The Firm Perspective On The Economic Substance Doctrine

T. Christopher Borek (Analysis Group, Inc.) & Angelo Frattarelli (U.S. Department of Justice) & Oliver Hart (Harvard University, Department of Economics), Tax Shelters or Efficient Tax Planning? A Theory of the Firm Perspective on the Economic Substance Doctrine, 57 J.L. & Econ. 975 (2014):

Courts have articulated a number of legal tests to distinguish corporate transactions that have a legitimate business or economic purpose from those carried out largely, if not solely, for favorable tax treatment. We outline an approach to analyzing the economic substance of corporate transactions based on the property rights theory of the firm, and describe its application in two recent tax cases.

January 20, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)