Paul L. Caron

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Constitutional Moment In Cross-Border Taxation

Steven Dean (Brooklyn), A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation, 1 J on Fin. for Dev. ___ (2021):

To show why the taxation of cross-border transactions has remained largely unaltered across a century of upheaval, this article reveals a steady hand in control. To explain how those complex rules have changed—and could change in more profound ways—it does the same. Demonstrating how cross-border taxation has been shaped by the preferences and the intellectual habits of the United States, it highlights an unexpected opportunity for marginalized states to seize control of its future.

Long-marginalized states must seize the opportunity afforded by the current moment to remake the basic law that shapes global taxation. An amendment to the Classification and Assignment Constitution authored by actors from the Global South could remake the basic law of cross-border taxation not by persuading experts but by capturing the imagination of the public. Those in control of the taxation of cross-border transactions have all but ceased attempting to articulate “a clear and consistent vision.” (Bunn, 2020, p. 1) 

That failure, at a time when the world has focused on cross-border taxation as never before, provides an extraordinary opportunity for anyone able to offer a compelling alternative to that incoherence. In tax, as everywhere else, power matters. As Marshall showed long ago, ideas have power to spare.

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