Paul L. Caron
Dean




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tax Law Review Publishes New Issue

The Tax Law Review has published a new issue (Vol. 64, No. 3 (Spring 2011)):
  • Daniel Halperin (Harvard), Is Income Tax Exemption for Charities a Subsidy?, 64 Tax L. Rev. 283 (2011):  "This Article considers whether income tax exemption for charities is consistent with normal income tax. It finds that exemption for contributions is not special treatment and that exemption for income from sale of goods or performance of services related to the purpose of the charity is special treatment only if profits are used for expansion. It concludes that a subsidy for expansion can be justified. Most importantly the article finds that exemption for investment income is a subsidy. It concludes that exemption for such income depends on a value judgment as to whether public policy should favor less accumulation and more current spending by charities. It suggests that the exemption for investment income and the charitable deduction should be limited in certain circumstances."
  • Gillian Lester (UC-Berkeley), Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design, 64 Tax L. Rev. 313 (2011):  "This article explores how to build political support for law reform designed to achieve economic redistribution. Specifically, I analyze and compare reforms that aim to redistribute by targeting benefits at low-income individuals through an income or means test, versus those that emphasize “universal” allocation of benefits, not conditioned on poverty. I argue that notwithstanding that we should expect universal provision (by definition) to achieve less redistribution than means testing, universalist policies ultimately may be more effective in achieving this goal because they are likely to be more politically durable, and - more intriguingly - to create social conditions that increase toleration for redistribution. I support this argument by drawing upon the growing body of research in psychology and economics suggesting that people have a mixture of self-regarding and other-regarding impulses, and that some forms of social organization are more likely than others to elicit pro-social behavior. Universalist programs, I argue, plausibly increase preferences for redistribution by tapping social norms of reciprocity, generating group identity effects based on a sense of common vulnerability, and serving as a “policy frame” that de-emphasizes the salience of low-income people as an undeserving “out-group.” I use a case study of recent social insurance legislation as a springboard for developing an empirical research agenda that would help evaluate the strength of my thesis."
  • Daniel Shaviro (NYU), The David R. Tillinghast Lecture. The Rising Tax-Electivity of U.S. Corporate Residence, 64 Tax L. Rev. 377 (2011):  "In an increasingly integrated global economy, with rising cross-border stock listings and share ownership, U.S. corporate residence for income tax purposes, which relies on one’s place of incorporation, may become increasingly elective for new equity. Existing equity in U.S. companies, however, is effectively trapped here, given the difficulty of expatriating for tax purposes absent a bona fide acquisition by new owners. Both the prospect of rising tax electivity for new equity and the very different situation facing old U.S. equity have important implications for U.S. international tax policy. This paper therefore explores three main questions: (1) the extent to which U.S. corporate residence actually is becoming elective for new equity, (2) the implications of rising electivity for the age-old (though often mutually misguided) debate between proponents of residence-based worldwide corporate taxation on the one hand and a territorial or exemption system for foreign source income on the other, and (3) the transition issues for old equity if a territorial system is adopted."

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