Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Grewal Presents Billionaire Taxes And The Constitution Today At Georgetown

Andy Grewal (Iowa; Google Scholar) presents Billionaire Taxes and the Constitution at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop hosted by Emily Satterthwaite and Dayanand Manoli:

Andy grewalThe holistic approach advanced in this Article has everything going for it – except scholarly opinion and Supreme Court jurisprudence. However, the piecemeal approach embraced by those authorities has led to incoherence, instability, and interpretive chaos. Few, if any, would look admirably at the current doctrine.

The piecemeal approach could be tolerated in the early days of the income tax because Congress hewed closely to “income” whenever it amended the tax code. So, outside of Macomber, the distinction between a piecemeal approach and a holistic approach generally made no difference. But in recent decades, Congress has adopted more aggressive definitions of income, often to pursue social policies beyond revenue collection.

The stakes over whether Congress has properly imposed “taxes on incomes” under the Sixteenth Amendment have never been higher. 

A defective interpretive approach is no longer tolerable, if it ever was. A judicial shift to the holistic approach, and scholarly acceptance of it, would contribute to sound development of the tax law.

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