Paul L. Caron

Thursday, October 8, 2020

McMahon: Tax As Part Of A Broken Budget

Stephanie McMahon (Cincinnati), Tax as Part of a Broken Budget: Good Taxes are Good Cause Enough, 2018 Mich. St. L. Rev. 513:

The federal budget is a myth. Despite being a myth, Congress uses the budget to limit its choices by linking its revenue-raising and spending powers under a federal debt ceiling. Through its self-imposed limits, Congress puts tremendous pressure on how it calculates its budget, and that calculation generally assumes any tax provisions will raise revenue when the law becomes effective. However, many tax provisions require additional direction to ensure they operate as the budgetary process expects. That task falls to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a bureau of the Department. Consequently, limiting the production of tax rules that implement, interpret, and sometimes limit possible interpretations of tax statutes is problematic because their projected revenue is used to balance the budget. Nevertheless, these Treasury Department rules are under attack on the grounds that their issuance fails to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA generally requires notice and comment for the promulgation of rules, a costly process in terms of time and agency resources.

This Article argues that there should be a wider acceptance of the good cause exception for the speedier issuance of tax regulations and other IRS-level implementing materials in order to satisfy Congress’s revenue expectations.

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