Today's Law, Society, and Taxation panels at the Law & Society Association Annual Meeting in Chicago:
Charities and Tax Exemption: The rules applying to charitable activities have been in great flux over the last decade. The interactions of private benefits with charitable purposes, the increase in corporate charitable behavior, and charities' interventions into the political process have all put a spotlight on the subsidy created by the rules for tax-exempt organizations. Papers on this panel will discuss those issues from both theoretical and practical perspectives.
- Kristin Hickman (Minnesota) (Chair/Discussant)
- Roger Colinvaux (Catholic), The Pension Protection Act of 2006: The Beginning or the End of Reform of the Tax Status of Charitable Organizations
- James Fishman (Pace), Stealth Preemption: The IRS’s Corporate Governance Initiative
- Terri Helge (Texas-Wesleyan), The Limitless Private Benefit Doctrine
- Richard Schmalbeck (Duke), Differential Subsidies Among Charities and Their Relation to Worthiness
Tax Policy and Economic Theory: The use of economic theory to inform tax policy debates among legal scholars is hardly new, but it has become more spirited in recent years. In particular, scholars are increasingly questioning the validity of the economic theories that have been imported into legal tax scholarship, and they are casting doubt on the wisdom of applying even logically-consistent theories to the real world. Papers in this panel discuss a number of different angles on the question of whether "efficiency" is a sensible and appropriate measure of a tax system. Specific issues include whether efficiency should trump equity, whether efficiency analysis conclusively pushes us toward a consumption tax, whether corporate behavior meets the assumptions of economic theory, and whether and how to affect behavior through specific types of taxes.
- Neil Buchanan (George Washington) (Chair/Discussant)
- Katherine Pratt (Loyola-LA), The Role of Food Taxes in Health Care Reform
- Chris Sanchirico (Penn), Tax Base Eclecticism and the Taxation of Labor and Capital Income
- Ted Seto (Loyola-LA), Toward a Just World: Fairness Versus Welfare Revisited
Individual Filers, Preparation Services, and Strategies for Reform: There has been a growing use of paid preparers in income tax preparation by individual filers. This trend has applied to all levels of taxpayers, and it applies with special force to low-income taxpayers. One of the papers on this panel will address the use of paid preparers generally, while a second will address the use of paid preparers by low-income taxpayers. A third paper turns the focus onto the use of broader tax strategies to help the poor. The fourth and final paper looks at examples of states that have done a better job, as well as those that have done a worse job, of achieving progressivity even as they face a global economic crisis and the concomitant need to increase spending and revenues.
- Brad Borden (Washburn; moving to Brooklyn) (Chair/Discussant)
- Danshera Cords (Capital; moving to Albany), Increasing the Productivity of Critiques Leveled at Free Tax Preparation Services
- Reginald Mombrun (North Carolina Central), Shifting the Paradigm by Bringing Tax Arbitrage to the Lower Income Separated Family--Why Should the Middle to Upper Class Family Have All the Fun?
- Nancy Shurtz (Oregon), State Tax Policy and The Great Recession
Compliance, Interpretation, and Administration: Tax scholars must look beyond the specific tax issues that confront taxpayers and their advisors. In this panel, the participants will discuss the broad issues of statutory interpretation and administrative procedures that create the framework within which we can understand the notion of tax compliance and, ultimately, the legitimacy of the tax system.
- Francine Lipman (Chapman) (Chair/Discussant)
- Linda Beale (Wayne State), Statutory Interpretation and Tax
- Heather Field (UC-Hastings), Taxed by Default
- Kristin Hickman (Minnesota), Intention versus Reality in U.S. Tax Administration
Deductions, Gender Issues, and Tax Expenditures: Tax expenditure analysis has become a hot topic in legal tax scholarship. This panel combines two papers that discuss tax expenditure analysis from a systemic perspective with two papers that discuss how the tax system does (or could) affect the lives of women in the society. The methods that we use to address those issues inevitably must be scored on the "tax expenditure" budget, making their potential adoption both interesting on their own and important from a broader policy perspective as well.
- Heather Field (UC-Hastings) (Chair/Discussant)
- Joseph Cordes (George Wasshington), The Role of Formal Analysis of Tax Expenditures as a Mechanism for Facilitating GreaterTransparency, and Accountability in State Level Fiscal Policy (with Lori Metcalf)
- Steven Dean (Brooklyn), Compliance Spirals, Fiscal Arbitrage and Tax Deregulation
- Francine Lipman (Chapman), All the Married Ladies: Married Filing Separately (Or Reasons Not to Put a Ring on It)
- Claire Young (University of British Columbia), Tax Expenditures for Retirement Savings: Some Inequities in the Canadian Context