Paul L. Caron
Dean




Friday, August 5, 2022

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Kysar’s Interpreting By The Rules

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Rebecca Kysar (Fordham; Google Scholar), Interpreting by the Rules, 99 Tex. L. Rev. 1115 (2021).

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Famed Senate Parliamentarian Floyd Riddick said that “[t]he rules of the Senate are perfect. And if they changed every one of them, the rules will be perfect.”[1] The statement shows how rules define both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Recently, scholars have turned their attention to the rules and process of the legislation as a form of pushback against strict textualist approaches to statutory interpretation. These process-based approaches are often invoked in interpreting tax and mandatory spending statutes. But as Rebecca Kysar shows in her piece, Interpreting by the Rules, such an approach requires context and caution. As Riddick’s quote notes, the rules are malleable, and furthermore, they are made to be broken.

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August 5, 2022 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, June 24, 2022

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Implicit Legislative Bias And The Mortgage Interest Deduction By Osofsky & Thomas

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina; Google Scholar) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina; Google Scholar), Implicit Legislative Bias: The Case of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, 56 U.C. Davis L. Rev. ___ (2022).

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Why do so many bad tax policies stick around for so long? The story told is often one of public choice theory and capture. Legislators optimize getting reelected and that leads toward catering to certain interest groups. To be sure, this account does have some explanatory force. But there is often more to the story. Using the mortgage interest deduction (MID) as an example, Leigh Osofsky and Kathleen DeLaney Thomas show that cognitive biases, including implicit racial assumptions and other heuristics, also play a role in keeping this problematic policy. These cognitive biases conspire to create a self-reinforcing system that perpetuates racial inequalities. The article is thus important to broader conversations on how to think about enacting tax policy and for the discussions of racial justice.

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June 24, 2022 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, April 22, 2022

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews A New Framework For Digital Taxation By Avi-Yonah, Kim & Sam

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar), Christine Kim (Utah; moving to Cardozo; Google Scholar) & Karen Sam (Michigan), A New Framework for Digital Taxation, 63 Harv. Int’l L.J. __ (2022).

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Last October, the OECD/G20 announced a global deal that sought to remake the international tax system. Key to that change was the commitment of the many nations, including the U.S. and members of the E.U., to support, in principle, two pillars. Pillar One focused on eliminating physical presence requirements thereby allowing market countries to tax digital platforms. Pillar Two created a minimum tax backstop in residence countries. But as Reuven Avi-Yonah, Young Ran “Christine” Kim, and Karen Sam, show in their article A New Framework for Digital Taxation, forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of International Law, for Pillar One, the declaration of victory is premature. And so-called Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) may not be so terrible either.

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April 22, 2022 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, February 25, 2022

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Davis’s Taxing Choices

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Tessa Davis (South Carolina), Taxing Choices, 15 Fla. Int'l U. L. Rev. __ (2022).

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Choice is often bandied about in tax discussion. Indeed, the very notion of marginal effects that taxation is based on the idea of either inducing or avoiding such inducement of choices. We also use choice as a proxy to determine what should count or not count as an item of income or deduction. But as Tessa Davis argues in her piece Taxing Choices, forthcoming in the Florida International University Law Review, there is a choice problem in taxation. Too often, we use choice and related concepts like neutrality, to hide our value judgments and normative frames. In pushing an idea called “choice as heuristic” and in drawing from some of the debates about choice in Contract Law, Davis forces us to rethink what we are doing when we use the concept of choice in our tax discussions.

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February 25, 2022 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, December 17, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Lederman’s Best Practices In Tax Rulings Transparency

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Maurer; Google Scholar), Best Practices In Tax Rulings Transparency.

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Justice Brandeis once said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Disclosure and transparency are often important for the legitimacy of government. In her article, Best Practices in Tax Rulings Transparency, Leandra Lederman not only creates a new typology for thinking about the costs of tax rulings in the dark, but also convincingly argues that many of the concerns against broader transparency of tax rulings is weak.

Tax rulings, as described by Lederman are rulings made by a tax authority or authorities to a specific taxpayer based on specific facts. For U.S. readers, the two most known in federal practice are Private Letter Rulings (PLRs), which speak to a specific taxpayer’s transaction, and Advanced Pricing Agreements (APAs), which fixes how the IRS will handle transfer pricing issues for a taxpayer over the course of about 3 to 5 years. In the U.S. context, PLRs are made public after a period with redactions of specifics regarding the taxpayer and their transactions, but APAs in the U.S. are never released widely.

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December 17, 2021 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, October 8, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Seto’s Modeling The Welfare Effects Of Advertising

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern; Google Scholar) reviews a new work by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.; Google Scholar), Modeling the Welfare Effects of Advertising: Preference-Shifting Deadweight Loss, 75 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2022).

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Advertising is ubiquitous. Ads appear in almost every form of media from newspapers to television. Today, advertising is more powerful, with large tech companies using data collected on their users to create and sell targeted ads. The question for economics, and by extension tax policy, is do these advertisements influence our consumption patterns and how does that affect optimal tax theory. Ted Seto’s new piece, forthcoming in the Tax Law Review, Modeling the Welfare Effects of Advertising: Preference-Shifting Deadweight Loss reveals how the preference-shifting forces us to change our thinking about optimal tax theory.

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October 8, 2021 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink

Friday, August 27, 2021

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Saito Reviews Administering Taxes Democratically By Wallace And Blaylock

This week, Blaine Saito (Northeastern) reviews a new work by Clint Wallace (South Carolina; Google Scholar) & Jeff Blaylock (J.D. 2019, South Carolina), Administering Taxes Democratically?, 94 Temp. L. Rev. __ (2022).

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Taxes are both the lifeblood of the state and a major power of the state. Thus, the issue of democratic values intersecting with taxation is one of cardinal import. Administering Taxes Democratically, a forthcoming piece in the Temple Law Review by Clinton Wallace and Jeff Blaylock, looks at a key aspect of that issue, the development of guidance from the Treasury and the IRS. The article adds an important contribution to the conversation regarding the unification of tax law and administrative law. In many ways, the piece is a bit of a cautionary tale of being careful what one wishes for.

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August 27, 2021 in Blaine Saito, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink