Sunday, August 25, 2019
Daniel Hemel (Chicago), A Place for Place in Federal Tax Law, 45 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. ___ (2019):
This essay — which is based on remarks at the 42nd annual Ohio Northern University Law Review Symposium — examines the place of place-based provisions in federal tax law. It uses the opportunity zone provisions in the December 2017 tax law as a springboard for considering the successes and (mostly) failures of previous efforts at place-based taxation, and then goes on to imagine possibilities for more productive place-based tax policies. One possibility is to use past location as an indicator for ability to pay. A second is to set different rate structures in different geographic areas (i.e., more progressive rate structures in high-income areas and less progressive rate structures in low-income areas) in order to encourage residential integration. A third is to treat place of upbringing as an asset in a comprehensive inheritance tax regime.
Although the opportunity zone provisions show place-based taxation at its worst, the essay concludes that the promise of place-based taxation should not yet be written off entirely.