TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Zelenak Presents The Intersection Of College Sports And The Federal Income Tax Today At Indiana

Zelenak (2016)Larry Zelenak (Duke) presents The NCAA and the IRS: Life at the Intersection of College Sports and the Federal Income Tax, 92 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2019) (with Richard Schmalbeck (Duke)) (reviewed by Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) here) at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Gamage:

Few organizational acronyms are more familiar to Americans than those of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although neither organization is particularly popular, both loom large in American life and popular culture. Because there is a tax aspect to just about everything, it should come as no surprise that the domains of the NCAA and the IRS overlap in a number of ways. For many decades, the strong tendency in those areas has been for college athletics to enjoy unreasonably generous tax treatment—sometimes because of the failure of the IRS to enforce the tax laws enacted by Congress, sometimes because Congress itself has conferred dubious tax benefits on college sports. In just the past year, however, there have been signs of what may be a major attitudinal shift on the part of Congress—although so far there have been no signs of a corresponding change at the IRS. This article offers an in-depth look at the history and current status of four areas of intersection between the federal tax laws and college sports.

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February 14, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

LaLumia Presents Tax-Motivated Timing Of Charitable Giving Today At UCLA

LaLumia PhotoSara LaLumia (Williams College) presents Tax-Motivated Timing of Charitable Giving at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh:

Gifts to charity are tax deductible for filers who itemize but not for filers who take the standard deduction. This paper investigates whether households that are likely switching from taking the standard deduction to itemizing change the timing of charitable donations, postponing gifts from December of the year in which they take the standard deduction to January of the year in which they newly itemize.

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February 13, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Roemer Presents Cooperation, Socialism, Altruism, And Economic Theory Today At NYU

RoemerJohn Roemer (Yale) presents A Theory of Cooperation in Games With an Application to Market Socialism and Cooperation, Altruism and Economic Theory at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

A Theory of Cooperation in Games With an Application to Market Socialism:

Economic theory has focused almost exclusively on how humans compete with each other in their economic activity, culminating in general equilibrium (Walras-ArrowDebreu) and game theory (Cournot-Nash). Cooperation in economic activity is, however, important, and is virtually ignored. Because our models influence our view of the world, this theoretical lacuna biases economists’ interpretation of economic behavior. Here, I propose models that provide micro-foundations for how cooperation is decentralized by economic agents. It is incorrect, in particular, to view competition as decentralized and cooperation as organized only by central diktat. My approach is not to alter preferences, which is the strategy behavioral economists have adopted to model cooperation, but rather to alter the way that agents optimize. Whereas Nash optimizers view other players in the game as part of the environment (parameters), Kantian optimizers view them as part of action. When formalized, this approach resolves the two major failures of Nash optimization from a welfare viewpoint — the Pareto inefficiency of equilibria in common-pool resource problems (the tragedy of the commons) and the inefficiency of equilibria in public-good games (the free rider problem). An application to market socialism shows that the problems of efficiency and distribution can be completely separated: the dead-weight loss of taxation disappears.

Cooperation, Altruism and Economic Theory:

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grewal Presents The Charitable Contribution Strategy Is An Ineffective SALT Substitute Today At Georgetown

Grewal (2019)Andy Grewal (Iowa) presents The Charitable Contribution Strategy: An Ineffective SALT Substitute, 38 Va. Tax Rev. 203 (2018), at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

Various states have proposed or enacted laws designed to circumvent the new $10,000 federal limit on state and local tax deductions. The new laws generally contemplate that taxpayers will substitute their tax payments with charitable contributions to state-controlled funds. This Article explores whether that strategy works and concludes that it does not.

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty At Duke

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presented Unravelling the Tax Treaty at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties likely lose significant U.S. revenues. Additionally, they enable taxpayer abuse, stagnate domestic policy, and thwart reforms of the antiquated international tax system. These consequences are particularly problematic for the United States. Other nations, after all, have been able to supplement their revenues and pursue destination-based taxation through treaty-friendly VATs.

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February 12, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Moreno Presents Indirect Transfers Of Resident Companies Today At Florida

MorenoAndrés Báez Moreno (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain) presents Indirect Transfers of Resident Companies: The Problems of Taxing Who Is Not Here on Something That Is (Not) Here at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

A significant amount of recent scholarly work has considered the appropriateness from a policy perspective of taxing capital gains realized by non-resident on alienation of domestic sources and, in this context, almost by implication also the opportunity of taxing ITRC [indirect transfers of resident companies]. However, this article will consider taxation of capital gains realized by non-residents and ITRC as a given fact; there are two reasons for this: 1) Despite good policy reasons for a different approach –as regards particularly assets different from real property — the truth is that a significant amount of (developing) countries do tax these gains; 2) The review of the existing work on ITRC demonstrates a significant attention on policy issues frequently at the expense of legal and technical matters.

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February 8, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Goldin Presents Sharp Lines And Sliding Scales In Tax Law Today At Toronto

Goldin (2017)Jacob Goldin (Stanford) presents Sharp Lines and Sliding Scales in Tax Law (with Edward Fox (Michigan)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The law is full of sharp lines, where small changes in one’s circumstances lead to significant changes in legal treatment. In many cases, a sharp line can be smoothed out by replacing it with a sliding scale. Under a sliding scale, small changes in one’s circumstances lead to small changes in legal treatment. In this paper, we study the policy choice between sharp lines and sliding scales in the tax law, focusing particularly on concerns related to efficiency, complexity, and administration. Sliding scales are common for tax provisions that depend on income, but relatively uncommon for provisions that depend on non-income factors. We argue that sliding scales merit more consideration than they typically receive, and set out several principles for choosing between the two designs.

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February 6, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hackney Presents Section 501(C)(4) Social Welfare Organizations And Tax Exemption Today At UCLA

Hackney (2019)Philip Hackney (Pittsburgh) presents Dark Democracy? Section 501(C)(4) Social Welfare Organizations and Tax Exemption at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Jason Oh:

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, The AARP, and the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. all take advantage of the tax benefits of a “social welfare organization” as defined in Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4). Though often referred to as “dark money” organizations, because these ideologically active organizations need not publicly disclose their donors, many large health insurance organizations and homeowner’s associations use this tax-exempt structure as well. A social welfare organization must be “operated exclusively” for the “promotion of social welfare.” In 2016, more than 80,000 of these organizations were registered with the IRS, and as an aggregate they earned over $86 billion in revenue. Should we exempt these organizations from the corporate income tax?

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February 6, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mason Presents Benchmarking Illegal Subsidies Today At Georgetown

Mason (2016)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents Benchmarking Illegal Subsidies at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

The United States vigorously contests the EU Commission’s recent decisions that U.S. multinationals received illegal tax subsidies from EU Member States, including its decision that Apple must pay a staggering $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland. The controversy involves the Commission’s departure from a traditional tax-expenditure approach to identifying subsidies.Under the traditional approach—employed in EU, U.S., and WTO law—a state confers a tax subsidy only when it deviates from its own regularly applicable tax law to relieve a company of taxes normally due. Because the recent EU cases involved “structural mismatches” that are not susceptible to reference-law benchmarking, however, the Commission advanced a radical normative approach , under which a state confers an illegal subsidy when it deviates from ideal tax rules to favor companies.

This Article argues that rather than turning to normative benchmarking, the Commission could have made structural mismatches tractable under a reference-law benchmark by borrowing the “internal consistency test,” an approach developed by the U.S. Supreme Court to analyze tax discrimination under the dormant Commerce Clause.

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February 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Oh Presents The Effects Of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty On Realization Today At Pepperdine

OhJason Oh (UCLA) presents The Effects of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty on Realization (with David Kamin (NYU)) at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Taxpayers should expect capital gains rates to fluctuate in light of frequent historical changes and the current divergence of rates preferred by Democrats and Republicans. This paper is the first to model the effect of such rate uncertainty on the realization incentives of asset holders and finds those effects to be potentially large. There are several implications. First, rate uncertainty may alleviate the lock-in effect of the realization rule when rates are low and exacerbate lock-in when rates are high. Second, there could be significant inaccuracies extrapolating the elasticity of capital gains realizations measured at one rate to another. Third, some policy solutions aimed at addressing distortions created by the realization rule may not work as well as expected.

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February 4, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 1, 2019

Toder Presents Distributional Effects Of Individual Income Tax Expenditures After The 2017 Tax Act Today At Boston College

Toder (2017)Eric Toder (Tax Policy Center) presents Distributional Effects of Individual Income Tax Expenditures After the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (with Daniel Berger (Tax Policy Center)) at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

After taking account of interactions among provisions, non-business tax expenditures will reduce tax liability by $1.2 trillion in 2019, about 5 percent more than the sum of the costs of the separate provisions. Tax expenditures, on average, reduce taxes as a share of income more for upper-income than for lower-income taxpayers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TJCA) of 2017 reduced and eliminated some tax expenditures, increased others, and introduced a new preference for business income of individual taxpayers. Changes in tax rates and the standard deduction also reduced tax expenditures.

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February 1, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thomas Presents The Modern Case For Withholding Today At Duke

Thomas (2017)Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents The Modern Case for Withholding at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Who is responsible for paying taxes to the government? Currently, the answer depends on one’s employment status. Employees enjoy the luxury of not having to think about tax remittance during the year because their employers withhold taxes from their paychecks. Non-employees, on the other hand, face a much more onerous system. They must keep track of and budget for taxes during the year, make quarterly remittances to the IRS, and may face penalties for failing to do so. Although this regime has been in place for many decades, there are several reasons why reform may be in order.

First, the rise of the Internet and other advances in technology have made withholding taxes by third parties more efficient and less costly than was historically the case. Second, advances in the social sciences have shed new light on why many taxpayers appear to prefer withholding and why it may serve to enhance overall welfare. Finally, the independent contractor workforce is expanding, propelled in large part by the growth of the gig economy. This means an increasing number of taxpayers are earning income outside of employment that is not captured by withholding, which imposes social costs and facilitates tax evasion.

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January 31, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Batchelder Presents Optimal Tax Theory As A Theory Of Distributive Justice Today At Indiana

Lily Batchelder (NYU) presents Optimal Tax Theory as a Theory of Distributive Justice at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Gamage.

January 31, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty Today At NYU

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Unravelling the Tax Treaty at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties likely lose significant U.S. revenues. Additionally, they enable taxpayer abuse, stagnate domestic policy, and thwart reforms of the antiquated international tax system. These consequences are particularly problematic for the United States. Other nations, after all, have been able to supplement their revenues and pursue destination-based taxation through treaty-friendly VATs.

Continue reading

January 29, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Lawsky Presents Form As Formalization Today At Wayne State

Lawsky (2017)Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presents Form as Formalization at Wayne State today as part of its Charles H. Gershenson Faculty Workshop Series:

There are, roughly speaking, two approaches to applying computing to law, which can be thought of as a bottom up approach and a top down approach. The bottom up approach uses large amounts of data in some way—to make predictions, for example. Machine learning is one such approach; neural nets are another. This is generally seen to be the approach with the most potential, the one that leads to the “data driven future” of legal practice. The “top down” approach would derive conclusions from the law itself, after making the law legible to the computer in some way, perhaps through hand-encoding, perhaps through natural language processing or some similar approach to read the actual text of a statute or regulation.

The top-down approach, also sometimes called computational law, is generally considered to have much less potential. But even those whose dismiss computational law point to one example of success in encoding the law: TurboTax and similar tax compliance programs. Thus one finds enthusiastic references to creating “TurboTax for police complaints,”“TurboTax for copyright,” “TurboTax for immigration,” and so forth.

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January 28, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Raskolnikov Presents Distributional Ignorance Today At Duke

Raskolnikov (2018)Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) presents Distributional Ignorance at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

No modern government can ignore distribution with impunity, and the U.S. government is no exception. Yet in all likelihood, U.S. policymakers did ignore large and widespread distributional effects of their policies ranging from trade to immigration, competition, capital market regulation, environmental protection, and others. Although each of these policies affected many people, it just so happened that most of them likely disadvantaged a particular group of Americans consisting of low-skill, low-education, pre-retirement-age workers. These workers are the likely casualties of distributional ignorance. Not surprisingly, they are also some of the most ardent opponents of many U.S. policies adopted over the past several decades.

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January 24, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ring Presents Tax Law's Workplace Shift Today At Ohio State

Ring (2017)Diane Ring (Boston College) presents Tax Law's Workplace Shift (with Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)) at Ohio State today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Ari Glogower:

In December 2017, Congress passed major tax reform, including new § 199A of the Internal Revenue Code. This new provision grants independent contractors and other passthrough taxpayers—but not employees or corporations—a potential deduction equal to 20% of their qualified business income. This deduction will affect tens of millions of taxpayers and may be a significant boon to those eligible. Critics argue that the deduction may cause a large-scale workplace shift in favor of independent contractor jobs, as workers seek to take the new deduction. Such a shift could cause workers who leave traditional employment to lose important employee protections and benefits, leaving them more vulnerable.

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January 24, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Kleiman Presents Tax Limits And Public Control Today At Pepperdine

KleimanAriel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Tax Limits and Public Control at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron:

Local governments are severely restricted in their ability to raise tax revenue, in part by state-level statutes that place caps on local tax rates and revenue. Many attribute the proliferation of these local tax limitations to entrenched antitax sentiment among U.S. taxpayers. This antitax narrative is attractive for its simplicity and explanatory power. It provides a clear mandate for those enacting tax limiting laws as well as a simple fiscal rubric for those evaluating the success of such limits—namely, lower taxes equals success. However, the explanatory power of the antitax narrative is limited. Perhaps most notably, it fails to explain why voters regularly approve tax increases, even in places with strict tax limitations. Using the lens of the 1970s Tax Revolt, this Article complicates the traditional antitax narrative surrounding tax limitations, offering evidence that voters also supported tax limits in order to increase public control and oversight of local government fiscal decisions.

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January 23, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty Today At Toronto

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Unravelling the Tax Treaty at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties likely lose significant U.S. revenues. Additionally, they enable taxpayer abuse, stagnate domestic policy, and thwart reforms of the antiquated international tax system. These consequences are particularly problematic for the United States. Other nations, after all, have been able to supplement their revenues and pursue destination-based taxation through treaty-friendly VATs.

Continue reading

January 23, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Stantcheva Presents Taxation And Innovation In The 20th Century Today At NYU

StanchevaStefanie Stantcheva (Harvard) presents Taxation and Innovation in the 20th Century (with Ufuk Akcigit (Chicago), John Grigsby (Chicago) & Tom Nicholas (Harvard)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

This paper studies the effect of corporate and personal taxes on innovation in the United States over the twentieth century. We use three new datasets: a panel of the universe of inventors who patent since 1920; a dataset of the employment, location and patents of firms active in R&D since 1921; and a historical state-level corporate tax database since 1900, which we link to an existing database on state-level personal income taxes. Our analysis focuses on the impact of taxes on individual inventors and firms (the micro level) and on states over time (the macro level).

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January 22, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Chodorow Presents The Parsonage Exemption Today At Florida

ChodorowAdam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents The Parsonage Exemption, 51 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 849 (2018), at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

The parsonage exemption allows “ministers of the gospel” to exclude the value of housing benefits from income, whether received in-kind or as a cash allowance. Critics argue that the provision violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, while supporters contend that it does not single religion out for a cognizable benefit. Alternately, supporters claim that it is a permissible accommodation for religion under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. This Article fills an important gap in the debate by offering a nuanced explanation of how the parsonage exemption and other housing provisions function within the tax code.

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January 18, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lawsky Presents Form As Formalization Today At Duke

Lawsky (2017)Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presents Form as Formalization at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

There are, roughly speaking, two approaches to applying computing to law, which can be thought of as a bottom up approach and a top down approach. The bottom up approach uses large amounts of data in some way—to make predictions, for example. Machine learning is one such approach; neural nets are another. This is generally seen to be the approach with the most potential, the one that leads to the “data driven future” of legal practice. The “top down” approach would derive conclusions from the law itself, after making the law legible to the computer in some way, perhaps through hand-encoding, perhaps through natural language processing or some similar approach to read the actual text of a statute or regulation.

The top-down approach, also sometimes called computational law, is generally considered to have much less potential. But even those whose dismiss computational law point to one example of success in encoding the law: TurboTax and similar tax compliance programs. Thus one finds enthusiastic references to creating “TurboTax for police complaints,”“TurboTax for copyright,” “TurboTax for immigration,” and so forth.

Continue reading

January 17, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi Presents Countercyclical Tax Bases Today At Indiana

Hayashi (2019)Andrew Hayashi (Virginia) presents Countercyclical Tax Bases at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Gamage:

Tax scholarship has tended to focus on the efficiency properties of different tax bases under assumptions about the macroeconomy that only sometimes hold, and has paid relatively little attention to how those bases operate in recessions. I show how different tax bases interact with household credit constraints and adjustment costs to either stabilize or aggravate economic shocks.

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January 17, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mann Presents How Corporate Tax Rates Affect Corporate Environmental Social Responsibility Today In Australia

Mann (2018)Roberta Mann (Oregon) presents How Corporate Tax Rates Affect Corporate Environmental Social Responsibility at the Australasian Tax Teachers Association's 31st Annual Conference Tax on Innovation and Education: Tax in a Changing World (with Bill Butcher and Fiona Martin (University of New South Wales) (full conference program) today in Perth, Australia:

A growing literature has developed on the topic of enforcement crowding out altruism. This literature may apply to the idea of corporate social responsibility. If the government requires social responsibility, by imposing a carbon price or by otherwise increasing tax liabilities to pay for social goods, does that reduce the corporate social response? Similarly, would reducing regulations and corporate tax liability increase the social response?

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January 16, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Leviner Presents Public Opinion And Tax Justice Today At Hebrew University

Leviner (2018)Sagit Leviner (Ono Academic College, Israel) presents In the Eye of the Beholder: Public Opinion on Tax Justice at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law today as part of its Tax Law Colloquium Series:

The tax system is one of the most influential of civic institutions of our time. Taxes often detract at least one third of our income and they present an immediate and consequential effect with respect to a broad array of actions we make daily, when we choose to get married, have kids, go to college, or buy a loaf of bread. And, even though tax cuts and reforms are accordingly appealing to many people, it is worth taking time to ponder over the consequences of such cuts and reforms.

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January 14, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Brennan Presents Distributed Deferral Today At Toronto

Brennan (2017)Thomas J. Brennan (Harvard) presents Distributed Deferral (with Daniel I. Halperin (Harvard)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

We show that a current tax on income is equivalent to a future tax levied on both the original income and the investment returns it earns, provided that the tax rate is constant and that neither the taxpayer nor the government is subject to certain investment or borrowing constraints. We then show that instead of deferring a tax to a single future point in time, the tax may be broken into components that are distributed periodically over time. There is not a unique method for distributing deferral, but we introduce examples of particular methods, including a “non-increasing” deferral method that taxes returns to the original income periodically but does not tax the original amount itself until it is no longer invested.

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January 9, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series (Spring 2019)

Pepperdine Law LogoHere is the schedule for the Spring 2019 Pepperdine Tax Policy Workshop Series I am co-hosting with Dorothy Brown, our Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, funded in part with a generous gift from Scott Racine:

I will of course blog each professor's paper on the day of their presentation. Southern California professors and practitioners are welcome to attend any of the sessions (10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.), as well as lunch with our speaker and students (12:00 pm - 1:15 pm) — just let me know.

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January 7, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Oei Presents Beyond Notice-And-Comment: The Making Of The § 199A Regs At Northeastern

Oei (2018)Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College) presented Beyond Notice-and-Comment: The Making of the § 199A Regulations (with Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)) at Northeastern as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

Congress passes a highly transformative but hastily drafted legal reform. Who comments in the regulatory process, when, and what are the implications? In this Article, we study these questions by examining how the regulatory process has unfolded in the case of § 199A, one of the central provisions from the monumental 2017 tax reform.

We document the comments that went into making the § 199A regulations from the time of legislative enactment through the hearing on the proposed regulations. We show that many comments were made before the proposed regulations were issued and the official administrative law notice-and-comment period had even opened. We examine how Treasury explicitly considered these comments in the proposed regulations. And we explore how these comments and other engagements—which were not wholly transparent to the public—shaped the proposed regulations and the subsequent conversation in the actual notice-and-comment period. We also investigate the role of indirect public dialogue and comments received after the official close of the notice-and-comment period.

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December 17, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Shaviro Presents The New Non-Territorial U.S. International Tax System Today At Bar-Ilan

Shaviro (2018)Daniel N. Shaviro (NYU) presents The New Non-Territorial U.S. International Tax System, Part 1, 160 Tax Notes 57 (July 2, 2018), and Part 2, 160 Tax Notes 171 (July 9, 2018) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya) here), at Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law in Tel Aviv, Israel:

These papers, published in Tax Notes, examine and analyze the three main international provisions in the 2017 tax act. Part 1 of this report discusses how one could more crisply, comprehensively, and accurately conceptualize international tax policy than through the outdated and unhelpful language of “worldwide versus territorial.” It also explores the reasons for several key margins’ normative ambiguity, which include the tension between what I call unilateral and strategic approaches to international tax policymaking. Only the latter involves considering how a given country’s international tax policy choices might subsequently affect other countries’ behavior. Thus, for example, engaging in tax competition is not inherently strategic in my sense of the term. Indeed, tax competition fails to be strategic if it involves overlooking how one’s own tax law changes might affect what other countries later do. Unfortunately, although all sophisticated actors in international tax policy should consider the strategic aspect, it tends to make the underlying policy choices even harder to parse confidently. Strategic interactions are often unpredictable, and even more so when they involve government actors who are subject to the vagaries of domestic politics.

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December 11, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Liscow Presents Moral Commitments And Inequality At Michigan

Liscow (2017)Zachary Liscow (Yale) presented Moral Commitments & Inequality: A Dilemma at Michigan on Wednesday as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Reuven Avi-Yonah:

The standard approach in law and economics is to ignore lay moral commitments to fairness and instead focus on adopting efficient policies to maximize the size of the economic pie and then redistributing with cash taxes and transfers. But many ordinary people do not think that way. Rather, they have policy-specific moral commitments. This Article discusses the dilemma these moral commitments create for policy to address income inequality. Many traditions suggest the importance of considering fairness in policy design. This Article argues that there are many reasons that law and economics, as economics, should consider moral commitments in policy design.

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December 7, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Faulhaber Presents The Changing International Tax Landscape Today At Pennsylvania

Faulhaber (2017)Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown) presents Is Digital Different?: Economic Nexus and Other Efforts to Respond to the Changing International Tax Landscape at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

In October of 2018, lawmakers in the United States issued a series of press releases that focused on certain new developments in the international tax world. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin argued that these developments were “unilateral and unfair” and stated that they were “singl[ing] out a specific industry for taxation under a different standard.” Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee stated that the developments were “designed to discriminate against U.S. companies and undermine the international tax treaty system.” And House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady charged that one of these developments was “inconsistent with international norms” and a “blatant revenue grab.”

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December 5, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Meyer Presents The Use And Misuse Of Income Data And The Rarity Of Extreme Poverty In The U.S. Today At UC-Berkeley

MeyerBruce D. Meyer (Chicago) presents The Use and Misuse of Income Data and the Rarity of Extreme Poverty in the United States (with Victoria Mooers (Chicago) & Derek Wu (Chicago)) at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

Recent research suggests that rates of extreme poverty, defined as living on less than either $2 or $4 per-person per-day, are high and rising in the United States. Meyer re-examines the rate of extreme poverty using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), generally thought to have the most accurate survey income data in the U.S. In addition to income, the SIPP provides information on hours worked, assets, hardships, and other household characteristics. He links these data to IRS tax records and administrative program data on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), public and subsidized housing benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI). He finds that more than 90% of the 3.6 million households with survey-reported cash income below $2/person/day are misclassified once we account for in-kind transfers, errors in earnings reports, errors in transfer reports, and substantial assets. Several of the largest misclassified groups appear to be at least middle class based on material hardship, housing characteristics, tax data, and other variables. More than two-thirds of all misclassified households are initially categorized as extreme poor due to errors in cash reports of earnings, asset income, and retirement income. Of the households remaining in extreme poverty, 90% consist of a single individual. An implication of the low recent level of extreme poverty is that it cannot have risen substantially over time or due to welfare reform.

Meyer 2

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December 3, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mason Presents The Illegality Of Digital Services Taxes Under EU Law Today At McGill

Mason (2016)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents The Illegality of Digital Services Taxes Under EU Law: Size Matters (with Leopoldo Parada (Turin)) at McGill today as part of its Spiegel Sohmer Tax Policy Colloquium Series (more here):

This Article uses the example of company-size classifications to explore the role of disproportionate impact and legislative intent in judicial review of Member State laws for nationality discrimination. Our discussion of disproportionate impact is mostly descriptive—we explore how the Court has resolved questions of quantum and proof in the cases. Our discussion of intent is mostly normative—we argue, contrary to current doctrine, that courts should consider the legislature’s intentions as probative, but not dispositive, of discrimination.

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December 3, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Raskolnikov Presents Distributional Ignorance At Georgetown

Raskolnikov (2018)Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) presented Distributional Ignorance at Georgetown on Friday as part of its Law & Economics Workshop Series:

No modern government can ignore distribution with impunity, and the U.S. government is no exception. Yet in all likelihood, U.S. policymakers did ignore large and widespread distributional effects of their policies ranging from trade to immigration, competition, capital market regulation, environmental protection, and others. Although each of these policies affected many people, it just so happened that most of them likely disadvantaged a particular group of Americans consisting of low-skill, low-education, pre-retirement-age workers. These workers are the likely casualties of distributional ignorance. Not surprisingly, they are also some of the most ardent opponents of many U.S. policies adopted over the past several decades.

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December 3, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Oh Presents The Effects Of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty On Realization Today At Pennsylvania

OhJason Oh (UCLA) presents The Effects of Capital Gains Rate Uncertainty on Realization (with David Kamin (NYU)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Taxpayers should expect capital gains rates to fluctuate in light of frequent historical changes and the current divergence of rates preferred by Democrats and Republicans. This paper is the first to model the effect of such rate uncertainty on the realization incentives of asset holders and finds those effects to be potentially large. There are several implications. First, rate uncertainty may alleviate the lock-in effect of the realization rule when rates are low and exacerbate lock-in when rates are high. Second, there could be significant inaccuracies extrapolating the elasticity of capital gains realizations measured at one rate to another. Third, some policy solutions aimed at addressing distortions created by the realization rule may not work as well as expected.

November 28, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Satterthwaite Presents Entrepreneurs' Legal Status Choices And The C Corporation Penalty At Boston College

SatterthwaiteEmily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Entrepreneurs' Legal Status Choices and the C Corporation Penalty today at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu-Yi Oei:

Foundational to the American Dream is the ability to easily and rapidly start a new business. Over the past quarter century, the introduction of the limited liability company (LLC) has dramatically shifted the choice-of-legal-status calculus, and in its wake a consensus against the use of traditional C corporations by non-venture-backed start-ups has emerged.  The C corporation, scholars argue, has fatal drawbacks: tax disadvantages as well as governance inflexibility.  Due to historically limited sources of data, there has been little empirical research on choice-of-entity generally and none that explores the anti-C corporation thesis in particular.  Do C corporations under-perform as compared to similarly-situated businesses with alternative legal statuses?  This paper exploits a large panel dataset that contains legal status, owner, business, financing, and other firm-specific information collected from an eight-year panel survey of nearly five thousand enterprises that were formed in 2004.  The paper presents four main results. 

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November 27, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Satterthwaite Presents Entrepreneurs' Legal Status Choices And The C Corporation Penalty At UC-Irvine

SatterthwaiteEmily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presented Entrepreneurs' Legal Status Choices and the C Corporation Penalty at UC-Irvine yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Josh Blank, Vic Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Foundational to the American Dream is the ability to easily and rapidly start a new business. Over the past quarter century, the introduction of the limited liability company (LLC) has dramatically shifted the choice-of-legal-status calculus, and in its wake a consensus against the use of traditional C corporations by non-venture-backed start-ups has emerged.  The C corporation, scholars argue, has fatal drawbacks: tax disadvantages as well as governance inflexibility.  Due to historically limited sources of data, there has been little empirical research on choice-of-entity generally and none that explores the anti-C corporation thesis in particular.  Do C corporations under-perform as compared to similarly-situated businesses with alternative legal statuses?  This paper exploits a large panel dataset that contains legal status, owner, business, financing, and other firm-specific information collected from an eight-year panel survey of nearly five thousand enterprises that were formed in 2004.  The paper presents four main results. 

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November 20, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Shobe Presents Economic Segregation, Tax Reform, And The Local Tax Deduction Today At Loyola-L.A.

Shobe (2018)Gladriel Shobe (BYU) presents Economic Segregation, Tax Reform, and the Local Tax Deduction at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katie Pratt: 

Economic segregation has increased over the past half century. The trend of rich neighborhoods getting richer while poor neighborhoods get poorer is particularly concerning because it limits upward mobility for children and perpetuates intergenerational income inequality. Although scholars and governments have studied the effects and consequences of economic segregation, they have overlooked the connection between economic segregation and the federal deduction for local taxes.

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November 19, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Barry Presents The Transition (Under-) Tax Today At Northwestern

Barry (2017)Jordan Barry (San Diego) presents The Transition (Under-) Tax at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

One of the most significant effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) was shifting the United States from a worldwide tax system to a territorial one: Before the TCJA, U.S. corporations were subject to tax on all of the income they earned, regardless of where they earned it; after the TCJA, U.S. corporations generally will not have to pay U.S. federal income tax on profits earned outside of the United States. The TCJA coupled this permanent shift with a one-time transition tax (the “Transition Tax”). The Transition Tax taxes the trillions of dollars of income that U.S. corporations earned outside of the United States, but which had not yet been subjected to U.S. tax, at a rate of either 8% or 15.5%, depending on how the income was invested. There is much to criticize about the Transition Tax.

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November 15, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fox Presents Ironing Out The Tax Law At Michigan

FoxEdward Fox (Michigan) presented Ironing Out the Tax Law (with Jacob Goldin (Stanford)) yesterday at Michigan as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Reuven Avi-Yonah:

The law is full of sharp lines, where small changes in one’s circumstances lead to significant changes in legal treatment. In many cases, a sharp line can be smoothed out — or “ironed” — by replacing it with a sliding scale. Under a sliding scale, small changes in one’s circumstances lead to small changes in legal treatment. In this paper, we study the policy choice between sharp lines and sliding scales in the tax law, focusing particularly on concerns related to efficiency, complexity, and administration. Sliding scales are common for tax provisions that depend on income, but relatively uncommon for provisions that depend on non-income factors.

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November 15, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rosenbloom Presents The BEAT And The Treaties Today At Pennsylvania

RosenbloomDavid Rosenbloom (NYU)  presents The BEAT and the Treaties, 92 Tax Notes Int'l 53 (Oct. 1, 2018) with Fadi Shaheen (Rutgers)), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

In this article, the authors discuss the base erosion and antiabuse tax [BEAT] implemented under the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, focusing on its relationship with U.S. tax treaties currently in force. The first relevant provision in the U.S. Model Income Tax Convention is the commitment in article 23 (relief from double taxation), paragraph 2, of an FTC for income tax of the treaty partner “in accordance with the provisions and subject to the limitations of the law of the United States (as it may be amended from time to time without changing the general principle hereof).” It is possible to ponder the precise meaning of the quoted words, but there is no need to do that for the BEAT.

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November 14, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fleming Presents Real Worldwide v. Territorial Taxation After The TCJA Today At Boston College

FlemingJ. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) presents An Early Look at Real Worldwide v. Territorial Taxation After the TCJA (with Robert Peroni (Texas) & Stephen Shay (Harvard) today at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu-Yi Oei:

In the run up to enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) one of the principal U.S. tax policy issues was how foreign source active business income of U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) should be taxed by the United States if the system of deferring U.S. tax on active income of a foreign subsidiary was ended. Should active foreign income be taxed under a territorial or exemption system—i.e. bear no residual U.S. tax—or should it be subjected to real worldwide taxation—i.e. current taxation at regular U.S. rates coupled with a credit for foreign income tax paid limited to the U.S. tax on the foreign-source income as measured for U.S. tax purposes.

The opposing sides were not without common ground. Both agreed that the existing U.S. system for taxing the foreign-source active-business income of U.S. MNEs was bad because it generally did not impose U.S. tax until the active income of foreign subsidiaries was repatriated, either through dividends or by sale of subsidiary stock at a price reflecting accumulated foreign-source income.

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November 13, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elkins Presents The Case Against Income Taxation Of Multinational Enterprises Today At Hebrew University

Elkins (2018)David Elkins (Netanya) presents The Case Against Income Taxation of Multinational Enterprises, 36 Va. Tax Rev. 143 (2017), today at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law:

Probably the most uncontroversial thing that one can say about international taxation is that it is a mess. Sophisticated planning techniques, which seem beyond the power of taxing authorities to control, enable highly profitable multinational enterprises (MNEs) to pay little or no tax on their income. Efforts by transnational organizations to coordinate action in an attempt to rescue the international tax regime from collapse have hitherto proven ineffective. Some commentators have speculated that any attempt to impose tax on MNEs in a globalized economy is doomed to failure.

The focus of this article is in the taxation of foreign MNEs by the countries in which they operate, and its thesis is that the choice of income as a base for taxing foreign MNEs is inappropriate both normatively and practically.

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November 13, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Marron Presents Designing A Carbon Tax Dividend Today At Loyola-L.A.

MarronDonald Marron (Urban Institute) presents Designing a Carbon Tax Dividend at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katie Pratt: 

A robust carbon tax would generate considerable revenue. Some carbon tax advocates have suggested returning those revenues to Americans through direct payments, often called carbon dividends. We examine how to design these dividends considering two, sometimes conflicting principles. Carbon dividends can be viewed as shared income from a communal property right, much as Alaskans share in income from the state’s oil resources. Dividends can also be viewed as rebating the carbon tax back to consumers. These views often have different implications for designing carbon dividends.

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November 12, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bakija Presents Would A Bigger Government Hurt The Economy? Today At Pennsylvania

HowJon Bakija (Williams College) presents Would a Bigger Government Hurt the Economy?, in How Big Should Our Government Be? (University of California Press 2016) (with Lane Kenworthy (UC-San Diego), Peter Lindert (UC-Davis) & Jeff Madrick (Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, Century Foundation)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

If the United States is going to meet the rising costs of promised government retirement benefits and health care for the elderly while doing more to promote economic security, equality of opportunity, and shared prosperity, it will eventually need to increase taxes. Is this the best solution, or should we scale back government and cut taxes, thereby improving incentives for productive economic activity? This is the fundamental political dilemma of our times. A thoughtful answer ought to depend on many different considerations, but one of the most critical is the long-run economic costs and benefits of larger government and the taxes that go with it. I begin by briefly reviewing some theory that helps to put the debate into perspective. Then I consider evidence on three key empirical questions:

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November 7, 2018 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Unravelling The Tax Treaty Today At Michigan

Kysar (2018)Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Unravelling the Tax Treaty at Michigan today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Reuven Avi-Yonah:

Coordination among nations over the taxation of international transactions rests on a network of some 2,000 bilateral double tax treaties. The double tax treaty is, in many ways, the roots of the international system of taxation. That system, however, is in upheaval in the face of globalization, technological advances, taxpayer abuse, and shifting political tides. In the academic literature, however, scrutiny of tax treaties is largely confined to the albeit important question of whether tax treaties are beneficial for developing countries. Surprisingly little consideration has been paid to whether developed countries, like the United States, should continue to sign tax treaties with one another, and no formal revenue or economic analyses of the treaties has been undertaken by the United States government. In fact, little evidence or theory exists to support entrance into tax treaties by the United States, and examination of investment flows indicates the treaties likely lose significant U.S. revenues. Additionally, they enable taxpayer abuse, stagnate domestic policy, and thwart reforms of the antiquated international tax system. These consequences are particularly problematic for the United States. Other nations, after all, have been able to supplement their revenues and pursue destination-based taxation through treaty-friendly VATs.

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November 7, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crawford Presents Tax Talk And Reproductive Technology Today At Chicago

Crawford (2018)Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) presents Tax Talk and Reproductive Technology, 98 B.U. L. Rev. ___ (2018), at Chicago as part of its Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender Workshop Series:

The tax system both reacts to and helps create attitudes about the value of certain behaviors and choices. This Article makes three principal claims — one empirical, one normative, and one interpretative.

The Article demonstrates empirically that a representative sample of fertility clinics in the United States do not make publicly available information about the tax consequences of compensated human egg transfers — commonly called egg “donation.” The United States Tax Court recently decided in a case of first impression, Perez v. Commissioner, that a compensated egg transferor must report as income any amount she receives for her eggs. Although the Tax Court missed an opportunity to clarify further complex questions about the tax consequences of transfers of human bodily materials, the basic holding of Perez was clear.

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November 7, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Goldin Presents Ironing Out The Tax Law Today At San Diego

Goldin (2017)Jacob Goldin (Stanford) presents Ironing Out the Tax Law (with Edward Fox (Michigan)) at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series hosted by Jordan Barry and Miranda Perry Fleischer: 

The law is full of sharp lines, where small changes in one’s circumstances lead to significant changes in legal treatment. In many cases, a sharp line can be smoothed out — or “ironed” — by replacing it with a sliding scale. Under a sliding scale, small changes in one’s circumstances lead to small changes in legal treatment. In this paper, we study the policy choice between sharp lines and sliding scales in the tax law, focusing particularly on concerns related to efficiency, complexity, and administration. Sliding scales are common for tax provisions that depend on income, but relatively uncommon for provisions that depend on non-income factors.

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November 6, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi Presents Countercyclical Tax Bases Today At Boston College

HayashiAndrew Hayashi (Virginia) presents Countercyclical Tax Bases at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu-Yi Oei:

Tax scholarship has tended to focus on the efficiency properties of different tax bases under assumptions about the macroeconomy that only sometimes hold, and has paid relatively little attention to how those bases operate in recessions. I show how different tax bases interact with household credit constraints and adjustment costs to either stabilize or aggravate economic shocks. I argue that the choice of the local tax base should consider the effect that the base has on the resilience of the economy by stabilizing government spending and household consumption expenditures.

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November 6, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Kleven Presents The EITC And The Extensive Margin Today At UC-Berkeley

KlevinHenrik J. Kleven (Princeton) presents The EITC and the Extensive Margin: A Reappraisal at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

This paper reconsiders the impact of the EITC on the extensive margin of labor supply, combining evidence from all EITC reforms at the federal and state level in the United States. Starting from long-run evidence, I show that the labor supply of women who are eligible and ineligible for the EITC have evolved in a strikingly similar fashion over half a century, except for a unique period in the late 1990s. During this period, single women with children dramatically increased labor supply at the extensive margin, closing the entire gap between women with and without children. These patterns suggest that the only place for finding potential EITC effects is the 1993-expansion of the program. However, studying the 1993-reform is complicated due to the confounding effects of the strong economy, welfare reform and — potentially — changing social norms in the 1990s. Based on an event study analysis of the 1993-reform, it is argued that the data is consistent with no effect of the EITC. 

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November 5, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)