Paul L. Caron
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Brooks: The Ethical Tax Judge

Kim Brooks (Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law), The Ethical Tax Judge, in Ethics and Taxation (Robert van Brederode ed., Springer 2020):

Ethics TaxThis chapter advances the claim that judges have an ethical obligation of competence that requires them to enhance their knowledge about language (in the context of statutory interpretation) and income tax law design and policy. It articulates some of the foundational understandings that support that competence and provides a simple hierarchy of approaches to interpreting income tax law. It concludes by contending that greater competence is not only more ethical but also advances other important societal goals fulfilled by the imposition of income tax systems. ...

Ultimately, judges should seek to interpret income tax legislation in a fashion that respects our interdisciplinary understanding of how words are used to express ideas and supports the effective functioning of income tax legislation.

Engaging in a process of consistent and persistent education about language and income tax law serves the ethical obligation of judicial competence and, as argued in this chapter, facilitates a robust democratic state.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/12/brooks-the-ethical-tax-judge.html

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Comments

The author states “Ultimately, judges should seek to interpret income tax legislation in a fashion that respects our interdisciplinary understanding of how words are used to express ideas and supports the effective functioning of income tax legislation.”
I read IRS regs for a living and my first thought was “English translation, please.” I was going to download the article but the footnotes give the interdisciplinary game away. How about just understanding what the statute and regs say.
The author “advances the claim that judges have an ethical obligation of competence that requires them to enhance their knowledge about language.” I must be unethical if I interpret the law as written? Who cares how often this article is downloaded or cited?? This article should be filed under “Life is too short.”

Posted by: aircav65 | Dec 5, 2019 11:43:14 AM