Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hasen Presents Debt And Taxes Virtually Today At Florida

David Hasen (Florida) presents Debt And Taxes at Florida today as part of its Summer 2020 Virtual Faculty Workshop Series:

Hasen (2020)The federal income tax conceptualizes loans as an exchange of cash for promises to pay interest and to repay the cash by the term. This formulation is subtly wrong and has resulted in a weaker foundation for the existing rules, which are mostly correct, than they in fact enjoy. Conceptualizing loans as closely akin to rental arrangements places the existing rules on sounder conceptual footing. One exception, however, to the support for current law that the loan-as-rent arrangement provides is in the area of partnership tax. If loans are like cash rentals, the payment of interest is what supports both the borrower’s non-inclusion of loan proceeds and the borrower’s basis credit for them. Consistent with the loan-as-rent formulation, Treasury should provide for allocation of basis credit among partners for the partnership’s recourse debt based on who pays interest, not under the “catastrophe theory” of the current regulations.

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July 14, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Blank Presents Automated Legal Guidance Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Blank520Joshua D. Blank (UC-Irvine) presents Automated Legal Guidance (with Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)) today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Through online tools, virtual assistants and other technology, governments increasingly rely on artificial intelligence to help the public understand and apply the law. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions through its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.” The U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star.” And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.” Through such automated legal guidance, the government seeks to provide advice to the public at a fraction of the cost of employing human beings to perform these same tasks.

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July 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons And Risks Online Today At Ohio State

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons and Risks online at Ohio State today as part of its Summer Workshop Series:

BearerFriend (2020)This Article examines non-cash remittance of tax obligations (ie; paying taxes "in-kind"). It begins by defining in-kind taxpaying, describing the early roots of in-kind taxpaying, and documenting the broad variety of inkind taxpaying in the US. It then discusses the lessons and risks of in-kind taxpaying. In doing so, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of taxpaying by identifying the wide variety of inkind remittances that already occur in our current tax system, offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within a modern economy that relies primarily on cash taxes. Second, it refutes the presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices. Third, it confronts the substantial dangers of in-kind taxpaying, using these risks to propose new principles for limiting the design and administration of in-kind taxpaying.

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July 8, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Christians Presents Rethinking Tax for the Digital Economy After COVID-19 Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Allison_christians_2019Allison Christians (McGill) presents Rethinking Tax for the Digital Economy After COVID-19 (with Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (McGill)) today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Before COVID-19 arrived, policymakers from around the world were busy working on the makings of a new global tax consensus to reflect structural changes in the world economy as a result of the rise of digitalization. COVID-19 disrupted this process by delivering a shock that resulted in major contractions for most firms even as it created enormous windfalls for others, prompting some to call for excess profits taxes, usually associated with wartime economies, as a corrective. Yet the contemporary context for excess profits taxes is fundamentally global today, in a way that excess profit taxation during the world war period was not. As such, to effectively address the fiscal crisis brought on by COVID-19, the world needs a “global excess profits tax”—a GEP tax. This article argues that the vocabulary, the technical tools, and the political determination that were being built for the digital economy can and should be adapted to formulate a GEP tax.

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July 2, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Turksen Presents Human Factors In Tax Compliance And Tax Crimes Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

DownloadUmut Turksen (Coventry) presents The Role of Human Factors in Tax Compliance and Countering Tax Crime today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

The term ‘human factors’ covers extra-legal, social, psychological, institutional and organisational aspects affecting the behaviour of tax payers and the enforcement of tax laws, including the fight against tax crime by competent authorities. While legal analysis can proceed along abstract criteria, considering consistency, coherence, clarity of legal regulations, research on human factors has to look at empirical evidence of real-world behavior of citizens as tax payers. When investigating tax crimes, the problem is, that no reliable data exist about tax evasion, tax fraud or asset recovery from such crimes. Most research on tax payers’ behavior uses models of individuals as utility-maximising rational actor as developed in economic theory. Hypotheses derived from these models are then either tested in psychological experiments or used to interpret whatever evidence about tax compliance and tax evasion are available. Two principal approaches can be distinguished in research on tax evasion and compliance focusing on deterrence and motivation respectively.

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June 25, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Oei & Ring Present Economic And Financial Policy Responses To COVID-19 Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College) & Diane Ring (Boston College) present Regulating In Pandemic: Evaluating Economic And Financial Policy Responses To The Coronavirus Crisis today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Oei ringIn March of 2020, the United States began to confront a fast-moving public health crisis. Over the next two and a half months, the COVID-19 pandemic killed more than one hundred thousand Americans and wrought unprecedented economic damage across the country. Some forty million U.S. workers filed for unemployment between mid-March, when the first stay-at-home orders were issued, and the end of May, by which point every U.S. state had begun to “reopen” in some capacity.

In responding to the economic aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. policymakers confronted three interrelated but potentially conflicting policy priorities: (1) providing social insurance and a social safety net to individuals and families in need; (2) managing systemic economic and financial risk; and (3) encouraging critical spatial behaviors to help contain COVID-19 transmission.

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June 18, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2020

Morse Presents Modern Custom in Tax At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Susan C. Morse (Texas) presented Modern Custom In Tax as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Sm55475-largeSometimes we think of custom as old news. But instead custom is alive and well. In nearly every area of modern life, including tax, it provides rules that people follow, unless and until positive law requires otherwise. Tax customs generally arise when private ordering responds to positive tax law. This happens in markets, in the programming of machines, and in compliance advisors’ practices. One example is the historic rule of thumb that valued startup company preferred and common stock using a 10:1 ratio. This custom supported low compensation income inclusions for company founders.

The fact that tax customs are the on-the-ground reality of tax law means that legal scholars and legal policymakers can and should assess these customs. This is a legal process question about institutional competence. When can tax custom competently make the rules that people follow? When, in contrast, should institutions of positive law intervene? 

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June 15, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 12, 2020

Repetti Presents Equity And Efficiency In A Progressive Income Tax At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

ProfileImage.img James R. Repetti (Boston College) presented The Appropriate Roles for Equity and Efficiency in a Progressive Income Tax yesterday as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Increased focus on economic efficiency in formulating tax policy, at the expense of achieving equity, has resulted in decreased rate progressivity in our individual income tax. This decrease has exacerbated inequality.

There are several explanations for the intense focus on efficiency and reduced emphasis on equity. Predictions of efficiency gains from low individual income tax rates appear more certain than equity gains from progressive tax rates. Efficiency gains seem measurable, while equity gains appear intangible and unquantifiable. In addition, distributive justice, which underlies and shapes tax equity, exists in many abstract forms, some of which may not require progressive tax rates.

This article argues, however, that the emphasis on efficiency is misplaced. Inequality imposes measurable costs on the health, social wellbeing and intergenerational mobility of our citizens, as well as on our democratic process, which are corroborated by significant empirical analysis.

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June 12, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Allen Presents The Information Content Of The Tax Return Online Today At Toronto

Eric Allen (USC) presents The Information Content Of The Tax Return (with Aydin Uysal (Senior Quantitative Portfolio Manager and Researcher, Charles Schwab)) online at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Allen Eric1-1

Turkey is the only jurisdiction in which firms with exchange traded securities are required to publicly disclose the income statement from their tax return. We show that the change in tax earnings incrementally predicts the subsequently released change in book earnings, and is positively related to abnormal returns on the tax return disclosure date. However, these results are weaker when the difference between prior-period book and tax earnings is higher. Furthermore, we show that the change in tax earnings is negatively related to abnormal returns on the book earnings announcement date, suggesting that investors overreact to the initial disclosure tax return information. Our study presents the most comprehensive test to date of the information content of the tax return, and suggests that while its disclosure provides useful information about firms’ performance, differences in the measurement systems prevent investors from fully impounding that information into prices.

June 10, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Daly Presents Trust, Tax Administration And State Aid Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Stephen Daly (King’s College London) presents Trust, Tax Administration and State Aid today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Daly 2

The European Commission’s rulings investigations are predicated on a lack of trust in the tax authorities of certain Member States. The solution to this problem lies not in second-guessing the work of tax authorities, but in ensuring that each is subject to intelligent accountability.

Conclusion
Trust is both inevitable and desirable in life. That we must somehow put trust in those who collect taxes is no different. But in order to know who and whether and how much to trust, we must establish the trustworthiness of those who are empowered. O’Neill suggests that a system of intelligent accountability — informed and independent judgement communicated intelligibly — provides a framework for assessing trustworthiness. It is posited in this article that the Commission’s investigations into tax ruling practices are founded on a lack of trust in the relevant tax authorities. To alleviate (or perhaps justify) these concerns, intelligent accountability is required. What must be established first is whether there are forms of accountability which are sufficiently intelligent in EU Member States, and if not, what steps should be taken in order to establish such accountability. Different Member States have different institutional arrangements for the collection of taxes and to this end, it would be wrong to assume that there is a one-size-all solution to accountability which can be imposed. This article has assessed three different means by which accountability can take place: bottom-up, top-down and internal.

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May 28, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mason Presents The Transformation Of International Tax Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents The Transformation of International Tax, 114 Am. J. Int'l L. ___ (2020), today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Mason (2019)The recession of 2008 precipitated a political crisis that motivated an unprecedented international project to curb corporate tax dodging. This Article argues, contrary to dominant scholarly views, that this effort transformed international tax — changing its participants, agenda and institutions, norms, and even its legal forms. Perhaps most important, efforts to close corporate tax loopholes opened a rift over the resulting revenues that threatens a hundred-year-old tax treaty framework. This Article identifies and critically evaluates these changes from the perspectives of revenue, inclusivity, legitimacy and accountability, innovation, and durability.

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May 21, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Call For Papers: Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Indiana LeedsFrom Leandra Lederman:

This summer, the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and the University of  Leeds School of Law will run a new Summer Tax Workshop Series. Dr. Leopoldo Parada from the University of Leeds and I will host it. It will meet online via Zoom on Thursdays from 10:30 am-noon Eastern time (3:30-5:00 pm British Summer Time).

The Call for Papers opens today and will close on May 10, 2020 at midnight British Summer Time (7:00 pm Eastern Time). If you are interested in presenting in the Workshop, please send the following before then to llederma@indiana.edu and L.Parada@leeds.ac.uk:

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April 29, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Field Presents Allocating Tax Transition Risk Online Today At Georgetown

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings) presents Allocating Tax Transition Risk, 73 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2020), online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

Field (2015)The enactment of sweeping tax changes in late 2017 by Republicans without any bipartisan support and the calls by Democrats to reverse those changes (and make more) when they regain political power create an unstable tax landscape that is challenging for taxpayers who are trying to make economic decisions that are affected by tax law. One strategy for grappling with this instability and uncertainty is for taxpayers to use contracts to allocate the economic benefits and burdens of a possible future tax law change among themselves. The literature says almost nothing about this contract-based strategy for managing tax transition risk. This gap is surprising because (a) the leading view on tax transition policy argues that taxpayers should account for the risk of tax law changes the same way they take other market risks into account when making decisions, and (b) private contracting is a well-accepted method for addressing market risks.To fill this gap, this Article uses four case studies—involving derivatives, credit agreements, municipal bonds, and merger agreements—to demonstrate that taxpayers are using tax transition risk-shifting contracts and to illustrate how this risk-management strategy varies.

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April 21, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bird-Pollan And Ehrke-Rabel Present Tax Papers Online Today At Indiana

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (University of Kentucky, United States) and Tina Ehrke-Rabel (University of Graz, Austria) present tax papers online at Indiana today as part of the concluding session of the Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Taxing the Ivory Tower: Against the Income Tax Exemption for Universities:

Bird-Pollan (2020)Non-profit organizations in the United States are eligible to apply for exemption from the federal income tax. This tax benefit is distinct from the charitable contribution deduction, which is often the focus of tax policy work on non-profit tax law. However, the exemption from the income tax is actually a broader provision, providing a tax benefit to a wider group of entities than are eligible to receive tax deductible contributions. Halperin’s work on the income tax exemption for non-profit entities raises important considerations that are particularly relevant today, as the investment portfolios of certain non-profits dramatically expand. In this essay, I consider the particular situation of colleges and universities and the accumulation of income in the endowments of those institutions. I argue that, allowing unlimited accumulation of income without the imposition of tax creates the wrong incentives for universities, motivating universities to hoard their income for investment purposes, rather than using income to pursues additional educational activities. This essay proceeds as follows: Part I explains the current operation of the income tax exemption for non-profit entities, as well as the rationale for that exemption; Part II identifies objections to that exemption model; Part III focuses on the problems particular to institutes of higher education; Part IV concludes.

Tina Ehrke-Rabel (University of Graz), Big Tax Brother Watching You?–Defining the Lines Between Efficiency and Personal Autonomy:

EhrkeOur modern societies are founded on the idea of individuals being free and of the state intervening only where it is necessary for the functioning of our society. This freedom has been acquired in hard struggles, wars, revolutions. And in this concept of individual freedom society and the State have accepted that people have secrecies that nobody knows, under the assumption of freedom we even accepted that people cheat the laws. As long as information is analog and local, the laws of the physics create an automatic zone of privacy.

Data analytics allow to combine the huge mass of data on a human being available out there and “stored”/ “held” by different places/institutions in a way a single human being would not be able of. Everyone needs to accept that people watch him when he acts in public. Every trace we leave on the internet is a public footprint. We need accept that this footprint is being watched.

But there is a difference between watching and processing. At the moment these footprints get combined with each other, combined with other sources of information and feed then into a decision based on evaluations, it is not pure observation anymore, it becomes surveillance. Since the State is only allowed to intervene, when provided by law, there need to be clear rules! In a digital world, privacy requires explicitly designed institutions, laws and technologies, or norms about which information flows are permitted or prevented and which are encouraged or discouraged.

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April 16, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hey Presents Global Minimum Taxation, Tax Competition, And National Sovereignty Online At Florida

Johanna Hey (Professor and Director of the Institute of Tax Law, University of Cologne, Germany) presented Global Minimum Taxation (GLoBE) – A New Stance of the OECD on Tax Competition and National Sovereignty? online at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

Hey 2[S]ince early 2019 the OECD has been presenting new, much more far-reaching proposals under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2. Pillar 1, introducing new nexus and allocation rules, was to be expected after the work on adapting the international tax system to the challenges of the digitalization of the economy (Action 1) could not be completed by 2015. However, the proposal for a global minimum taxation (Global Anti-Base Erosion – "GloBE") under Pillar 2 deviates from the previous roadmap without prior thorough discussion. How fundamental this realignment of the international tax scene will be, depends, of course, on the results of the debate on Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 in 2020. This debate, one would expect, would need to be held on the policy level at first by defining the targets. After the policy objectives have been set, a discussion on expert level should focus on the design most suitable to accomplish these objectives. . . .

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April 16, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Viswanathan Presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation Online Today At UC-Irvine

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation online at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua BlankVictor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Viswanathan (2017)Tax progressivity is undeniably central to both the detailed analytics of tax policy and the rhetorical arguments commonly used in public discourse. Yet there are surprisingly inconsistent and inaccurate uses of this seemingly objective term. By theorizing progressivity’s constitutive elements and identifying its shortcomings, this Article offers a novel taxonomy of how progressivity is assessed and why contradictory assessments are common.

This Article argues that, as a theoretical matter, accurately characterizing tax provisions as progressive (or regressive) requires assessing their burdens beyond simply the tax payments remitted. By failing to account for effects such as economic incidence and inefficiency costs, traditional progressivity analyses are incomplete. Relatedly, since the spending side of the budget process is functionally indistinguishable from taxation, accurate progressivity analyses must also consider where tax revenues are spent.

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April 15, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons And Risks Online Today At Georgetown

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons and Risks online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

BearerFriend (2020)This Article examines non-cash remittance of tax obligations (ie; paying taxes "in-kind"). It begins by defining in-kind taxpaying, describing the early roots of in-kind taxpaying, and documenting the broad variety of inkind taxpaying in the US. It then discusses the lessons and risks of in-kind taxpaying. In doing so, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of taxpaying by identifying the wide variety of inkind remittances that already occur in our current tax system, offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within a modern economy that relies primarily on cash taxes. Second, it refutes the presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices. Third, it confronts the substantial dangers of in-kind taxpaying, using these risks to propose new principles for limiting the design and administration of in-kind taxpaying.

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April 14, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lind Presents Aviation Taxes And EU State Aid Law Online Today At Florida

Yvette Lind (Assistant Professor, Copenhagen Business School) presents The Prospect of Designing Aviation Taxes Compatible to EU State Aid Law – Some Comparative Examples online at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

LindThis article focuses on environmental taxes, specifically aviation taxes, and the challenges and limitations EU law imposes on individual EU Member States when these enforce both national and international environmental policy goals. The former Irish and the recently implemented Swedish aviation taxes are used as comparative examples when chartering and discussing what obstacles are posed by specifically EU state aid rules and, subsequently, the options available to individual Member States when attempting to currently design environmental taxes. A holistic approach, resulting in the inclusion of not only tax law but also free movement law and state aid law in parallel legal systems (at domestic, EU, and international levels) is applied in order to provide a more coherent and transparent outline of the studied matter.

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April 14, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Online At Florida

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presented Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching online at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series sponsored by the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series:

Lawsky (2017)This article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The article describes and situates within current pedagogies a novel teaching tool: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. The article explains the purpose and use of the website, highlights advantages of and potential issues with the website, and proposes approaches to make using the website, and indeed the algorithm method, more effective.

April 13, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Shaviro Presents Minimum Taxes Online Today At Indiana

Daniel Shaviro (NYU) presents What Are Minimum Taxes, and Why Might One Favor or Disfavor Them? online at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Shaviro (2018)The alternative minimum tax (AMT), a key and at the time widely lauded feature of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, soon fell into disrepute and was subsequently scaled back, to general approbation and relief. Yet in recent years minimum taxes have come back into vogue. For example, two key international tax provisions in the 2017 tax act (GILTI and the BEAT) had minimum tax structures, and the OECD has recently issued proposed guidelines for the design of a global minimum tax, meant for multilateral adoption.

In light of minimum taxes’ surprising return to center stage, this paper explores such issues as the following:

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April 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oglesby Presents Marijuana Tax Design Online Today At Duke

Pat Oglesby (Center for New Revenue) presents Marijuana Tax Design online at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

OglesbyAny scheme to legalize marijuana that has a chance of enactment will tax the stuff. But how? Like tobacco, based on weight? Like alcohol, by measuring the intoxicating chemical? Like shoes or hotel rooms, as a percentage of price? Or, as one city in California taxes medical marijuana, by counting plants or square footage of cultivated area? What about license fees, or a state monopoly? This article looks at those questions.

And it looks more deeply: How high should the tax rate be, and how might governments adjust it to win the inevitable price war against bootleggers? How might a state allocate revenue when localities opt into or out of legalization? Where in the supply chain should governments collect tax? How could they fight non-tax-paid contraband? Should there be tax breaks for hemp, home grown, small growers, environmentally friendly operations, or medical marijuana?

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April 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Oh Presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons From Estate Tax Avoidance Online Today At UC-Irvine

Jason Oh (UCLA) presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Eric Zolt (UCLA)) online at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua BlankVictor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

OhPresidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious new annual wealth taxes based on academic work by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. They project these proposals to raise trillions of dollars over the next ten years. Some critics challenge the Saez-Zucman approach to measuring wealth concentration. Other critics including Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin have used data from estate tax returns and the relatively small amount of revenue the estate tax raises to question the revenue projections of these proposals. This comparison can be useful only if one thinks carefully about specific estate tax strategies and how these strategies translate to an annual wealth tax. This article engages in that exercise. When one takes a closer look at estate tax avoidance and how it maps onto an annual wealth tax, a much more complex narrative emerges.

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April 8, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Reck Presents Tax Evasion By The Wealthy: Measurement And Implications Online Today At Georgetown

Daniel Reck (London School of Economics) presents Tax Evasion by the Wealthy: Measurement and Implications (with John Guyton (IRS), Patrick Langetieg (IRS), Max Risch (Michigan) & Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley)) online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

ReckThis paper combines random audit data with new data on offshore bank accounts to estimate the size and distribution of individual income tax evasion in the United States. Evasion through offshore financial institutions is highly concentrated at the very top of the income distribution. Random audits virtually never detect this form of evasion. Data from random audits alone suggests an increasing rate of tax evasion through the income distribution up to the 99th percentile, but a sharp drop-off in the rate of evasion with income within the top 1 percent. Accounting for evasion through offshore financial institutions partly reverses this drop-off in the rate of evasion at the top, leading us to revise upwards random-audit estimates of the tax gap for very-high-income earners by 4 to 6 percentage points.

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April 7, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Avi-Yonah Presents Tax Expenditures Online Today At British Columbia

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2020, Michigan) present Tax Expenditures and Horizontal Equity: A Lost Lesson from Stanley Surrey online at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series (poster) hosted by Wei Cui:

Avi-Yonah 2Tax expenditures are “revenue losses attributable to provisions of the Federal tax laws which allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability.’’ The concept of tax expenditures was coined by the first Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Stanley S. Surrey, in the late 1960s. The concept relies on the Haig-Simons definition of income (with certain adjustments) as the baseline, a deviation from which is considered a tax expenditure.

There are two basic problems with attempts to define tax expenditures against a Haig-Simons baseline. First, it is not clear why the Haig-Simons, and not other definitions of income, should be used as a baseline. Second, it is not clear why such deviations are normatively problematic. That, presumably, is why the literature now accepts the view we should just learn to live with the tax expenditures. Surrey would have disagreed, and this article represents an attempt to recapture his original view of tax expenditures and assess its present-day implications.

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April 3, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Osofsky Presents Automated Legal Guidance Online Today At Duke

Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) presents Automated Legal Guidance, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2020) (with Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine)) online at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

Osofsky (2019)Through online tools, virtual assistants and other technology, governments increasingly rely on artificial intelligence to help the public understand and apply the law. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions through its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.” The U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star.” And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.” Through such automated legal guidance, the government seeks to provide advice to the public at a fraction of the cost of employing human beings to perform these same tasks.

This Article offers one of the first critiques of these new systems of artificial intelligence. It shows that automated legal guidance currently relies upon the concept of “simplexity,” whereby complex law is presented as though it is simple, without actually engaging in simplification of the underlying law. While this approach offers potential gains in terms of efficiency and ease of use, it also causes the government to present the law as simpler than it is, leading to less precise advice, and potentially inaccurate legal positions. 

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April 2, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Satterthwaite Presents Tax Status As A Signal Online Today At Georgetown

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Tax Status as a Signal online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

Satterthwaite (2019)Can an entrepreneur’s choice of tax status act as a signal that conveys valuable private information about her firm in a real-world marketplace?There have been hints that this happens, but exactly how such signaling would work and whether it is normatively desirable has received little scholarly attention. Building on recent survey evidence that small-firm entrepreneurs may view voluntary value-added tax (“VAT”) registration as a way to secure reputational advantages, this paper applies the costly signaling model of Spence (1973) to propose a novel informational account of firms’tax status choices in the context of a VAT. It explores whether an entrepreneur’s choice to voluntarily VAT-register her small firm might function as a signal of the firm’s quality in much the same way that a job applicant’s investment in education can function as a signal of the applicant’s productivity.

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March 31, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Polsky Presents Explaining Choice-Of-Entity Decisions By Silicon Valley Start-Ups Online Today At BYU

Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Explaining Choice-of-Entity Decisions by Silicon Valley Start-Ups online at BYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

Polsky (2018)Perhaps the most fundamental role of a business lawyer is to recommend the optimal entity choice for nascent business enterprises. Nevertheless, even in 2018, the choice-of-entity analysis remains highly muddled. Most business lawyers across the United States consistently recommend flow-through entities, such as limited liability companies and S corporations, to their clients. In contrast, a discrete group of highly sophisticated business lawyers, those who advise start-ups in Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of start-up activity, prefer C corporations.

Prior commentary has described and tried to explain this paradox without finding an adequate explanation. These commentators have noted a host of superficially plausible explanations, all of which they ultimately conclude are not wholly persuasive. The puzzle therefore remains.

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March 30, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Auerbach Presents U.S. Inequality And Fiscal Progressivity: An Intragenerational Accounting Online Today At British Columbia

Alan Auerbach (UC-Berkeley) presents U.S. Inequality And Fiscal Progressivity: An Intragenerational Accounting (with Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University) & Darryl Koehler (Economic Security Planning)) online at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

Auerbach (2020)This study measures inequality and fiscal progressivity. It differs from prior such analyses by measuring inequality based on remaining lifetime spending rather than particular resources, like wealth and current income, that only partially determine lifetime spending, and by considering inequality and progressivity within generations.

To estimate the distribution of remaining lifetime spending, we run the 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (after imputing missing data from other surveys) through The Fiscal Analyzer (TFA), a life-cycle consumption-smoothing program that incorporates remaining life-time resources, borrowing constraints and all major federal and state tax and transfer programs.

We find that inequality in wealth and income dramatically overstate inequality in remaining lifetime spending. For example, the richest 1 percent of forty year olds, where resources are measured as the sum of human plus non-human wealth, have 34.1 percent of the cohort’s total non-human wealth, but account for only 14.5 percent of the cohort’s total remaining lifetime spending. The poorest quintile of forty year olds own just 0.6 percent of the cohort’s wealth, but account for 7.3 percent of its remaining lifetime spending.

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March 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

De La Feria Presents The Impact Of Public Perceptions On VAT Rates Policy Online Today At Indiana

Rita de la Feria (University of Leeds) presents The Impact of Public Perceptions on VAT Rates Policy (with Michael Walpole (University of New South Wales)) online at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Rdlf-brazil2018The traditional view in VAT is that excluding certain products from its base decreases the natural regressivity of the tax. Whilst this traditionally view has been consistently put into question over the last thirty years by economic and legal evidence, public perceptions are still heavily influenced by it. Using the old European VAT system and the newer Australian VAT system as case studies we demonstrate how policy debates and changes as regards VAT rates have been heavily influenced by those public perceptions, against the evidence, and how industry groups, which would be set to lose out from specific policies, are able to use the information asymmetry subjacent to those perceptions to defend their interest in favour or against reform.

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March 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thomas Presents Taxing Nudges Online Today At Duke

Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents Taxing Nudges at Duke yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

Thomas (2019)Governments are increasingly turning to behavioral economics to inform policy design in areas like health care, the environment, and financial decision-making. Research shows that small behavioral interventions, referred to as “nudges,” often produce significant responses at a low cost. The theory behind nudges is that, rather than mandating certain behaviors or providing costly economic subsidies, modest initiatives may “nudge” individuals to choose desirable outcomes by appealing to their behavioral preferences. For example, automatically enrolling workers into savings plans as a default rather than requiring them to actively sign up has dramatically increased enrollment in such plans. Similarly, allowing individuals to earn “wellness points” from attendance at a gym, redeemable at various retail establishments, may improve exercise habits.

A successful nudge should make a desired choice as simple and painless as possible. Yet one source of friction may counteract an otherwise well-designed nudge: taxation.

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March 26, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Kamin Presents How Far To Go In Reforming Taxation Of Wealth? Online Today At UC-Irvine

David Kamin (NYU) presents How Far to Go in Reforming Taxation of Wealth? online at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua BlankVictor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Kamin (2018)Reforming the taxation of wealth of individuals is now one of the leading issues among progressive policymakers. It is being prominently discussed on the presidential campaign trail and in the halls of Congress, as a way of addressing our failure to effectively tax some of the richest Americans. Most of these proposals involve significant changes, but some go much further than others and involve more dramatic reforms. The more fundamental reform options come in two basic varieties—annual wealth taxation and accrual income taxation, sometimes known as mark-to-market income taxation. By contrast, the more incremental reforms focus on more targeted changes to the current system with a focus on two key areas: step-up in basis at death and estate and gift taxation. A key question then is how far to go in reforming the taxation of wealth.

This paper presents a qualified case for pursuing the fundamental reform options at least eventually, either annual wealth taxation or accrual taxation.

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March 25, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons And Risks Online Today At BYU

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Taxpaying: Lessons and Risks online at BYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

BearerFriend (2020)This Article examines non-cash remittance of tax obligations (ie; paying taxes "in-kind"). It begins by defining in-kind taxpaying, describing the early roots of in-kind taxpaying, and documenting the broad variety of inkind taxpaying in the US. It then discusses the lessons and risks of in-kind taxpaying. In doing so, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of taxpaying by identifying the wide variety of inkind remittances that already occur in our current tax system, offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within a modern economy that relies primarily on cash taxes. Second, it refutes the presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices. Third, it confronts the substantial dangers of in-kind taxpaying, using these risks to propose new principles for limiting the design and administration of in-kind taxpaying.

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March 23, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Polsky Presents Taxing Buybacks At Duke

Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presented Taxing Buybacks (with Daniel Hemel (Chicago)) at Duke yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

Polsky (2018)A recent rise in the volume of corporate share repurchases has prompted calls for changes to the rules governing stock buybacks. These calls for reform are animated by concerns that buybacks enrich corporate executives at the expense of productive investment. This emerging anti-buyback movement includes presidential candidates as well as academics and Republicans as well as Democrats. The primary focus of buyback critics has been on securities law changes to deter repurchases, with only passing mention of potential tax law solutions.

This article critically examines the policy arguments against buybacks and arrives at a mixed verdict. On the one hand, claims that buybacks reduce corporate investment and inappropriately reward executives turn out to be poorly supported. On the other hand, the article identifies legitimate tax-related concerns about the rising buyback tide. Buybacks exacerbate two of the U.S. tax system’s most severe flaws. The first is the “Mark Zuckerberg problem”: the effective nontaxation of firm founders on what is essentially labor income. The second is what we call the “Panama Papers problem”: the use of U.S. capital markets by investors in offshore tax havens to generate tax-free returns.

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March 20, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Galle Presents Taxing (And Regulating) Mass Fundraising Online At BYU

Brian Galle (Georgetown) presented The Kindness of Strangers: Taxing (and Regulating) Mass Fundraising at BYU yesterday as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

Galle (2020)This is another story about law and time. Once, the giving of gifts was an intimate act. A gift was a kiss or a handshake in another form: it built trust, cemented alliances, celebrated bonds of love and friendship. Today, money is Popped, it is Zelle’d; it is bundled by ActBlue or Gofundme. Transfers that are unearned by labor or mutual exchange now occur remotely between strangers, and at scales that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Law quite simply has not kept up. My focus here will be on the taxation of gifts, but my analysis will stretch from that humble subject to sweep in global inequality, campaign finance, and the legal architecture of crowdfunding.

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March 19, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kysar Presents Interpreting By the Rules Online At Georgetown

Rebecca M. Kysar (Fordham) presented Interpreting By the Rules online at Georgetown yesterday as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

Kysar (2018)A promising new school of statutory interpretation has emerged that tries to wed the work of Congress with that of the courts by tying interpretation to congressional process. The primary challenge to this process-based interpretive approach is the difficulty in reconstructing the legislative process. Scholars have proposed leveraging Congress’s procedural frameworks and rules as reliable heuristics to that end. This Article starts from that premise but will add wrinkles to it. The complications stem from the fact that each rule is adopted for distinct reasons and is applied differently across contexts. As investigation into these particularities proceeds, it becomes apparent that the complications are also rooted in something deeper—that Congress’s procedures are often hollow, even fraudulent. Congress, it turns out, breaks its own rules with impunity.

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March 18, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Kim Presents The Digital Services Tax: A Cross-Border Variation Of The Consumption Tax Debate? At UC-Irvine

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) presented Digital Services Tax: A Cross-border Variation of Consumption Tax Debate? at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua BlankVictor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

KimThe rise of highly digitalized businesses, such as Google and Amazon, has strained the traditional income tax rules on nexus and profit allocation. Traditionally, profit is allocated to market countries where consumers are located only if the business has physical presence. However, in the digital economy, profits can be easily generated in market countries without a physical presence, resulting in tax revenue loss for market countries.

In response, market countries have started imposing a new tax, called the digital services tax (“DST”), on certain digital business models, which has ignited heated debate across the globe. Supporters defend the DST, designed as a turnover style consumption tax, as an effective measure to make up the foregone revenue in the digital economy because it is not bound by the traditional rules of income taxation. Opponents criticize DST as “ring-fencing” or segregating certain digital business models, discriminating against American tech giants, and arguably imposing a disguised income tax. The debate has been focused on the imminent impact, such as who is the immediate winner and loser, but the discussion lacks efforts to understand the fundamentals of DST, especially with regard to the consumption tax aspect.

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March 11, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ring Presents Falling Short In The Data Age Today At UCLA

Diane Ring (Boston College) presents Falling Short in the Data Age (with Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College)) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

Ring (2017)Humans are imperfect and do not always comply with the law, but the reality is that we are sometimes permitted to fall short of law’s requirements without consequences. This informal space to fall short and not be held accountable—which may arise from a confluence of information imperfections, resource constraints, politics, or luck—exists in addition to formal legal provisions that allow flexibility and discretion (such as tiered penalties or equitable provisions allowing leniency under specified circumstances). Fall-short spaces often pass unnoticed, but are in fact quite significant in intermediating the relationship between humans and the law.

This Article examines how the increasing access to data and information will change the availability and shape of law’s fall-short spaces. We introduce a taxonomy of how leeway arises, outlining the reasons it exists and the different ways it is deployed. Applying this taxonomy, we show how increasingly ubiquitous data and information have caused and will continue to cause the availability of leeway to contract, and we highlight the risk that we will see disparate contraction for different populations.

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March 11, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Haslehner Presents A Framework For International Tax Reform Today At Florida

Werner Haslehner (ATOZ Chair for European and International Taxation, University of Luxembourg) presents Taxation and Value Creation: A Framework for International Tax Reform? at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner and sponsored by the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series:

HaslenherDigitalization of the global economy forces a rethink of the allocation of taxing rights along the lines of ‘value creation’. The current international tax system relies on a vast network of double taxation conventions (‘DTCs’) intended to allocate taxing rights between States and avoid double taxation. However, the system’s logic is rooted in the early 20th century and not fitting the modern global economy. Today, the traditional thresholds for giving taxing rights to ‘States of source’ hardly reflect the reality of business activity that strongly relies on intangible assets and the provision of remote services, which are not easy to pin down at any particular place. Calls for fundamental changes crystalized in the OECD and G20 initiated BEPS Project launched in 2013 to reform the international tax system with one overall objective: To “ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities take place and value is created.” Yet despite virtual unanimity on that objective and great number of measures already taken purportedly contributing to that objective, there is no clarity on its actual meaning. . . .

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March 10, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 9, 2020

Viswanathan Presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation Today At BYU

Manoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation at BYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

Viswanathan (2017)Tax progressivity is undeniably central to both the detailed analytics of tax policy and the rhetorical arguments commonly used in public discourse. Yet there are surprisingly inconsistent and inaccurate uses of this seemingly objective term. By theorizing progressivity’s constitutive elements and identifying its shortcomings, this Article offers a novel taxonomy of how progressivity is assessed and why contradictory assessments are common.

This Article argues that, as a theoretical matter, accurately characterizing tax provisions as progressive (or regressive) requires assessing their burdens beyond simply the tax payments remitted. By failing to account for effects such as economic incidence and inefficiency costs, traditional progressivity analyses are incomplete. Relatedly, since the spending side of the budget process is functionally indistinguishable from taxation, accurate progressivity analyses must also consider where tax revenues are spent.

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March 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Grinberg Presents Against Destination-Based Income Taxation Today At British Columbia

Grinberg​Itai Grinberg (Georgetown) presents Against Destination-Based Income Taxation at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

Proposals to reform the corporate international income tax system in the direction of a destination-basis residual profit allocation for the corporate income tax base are capturing the attention of both tax policymakers and tax academics. The tax administration and political economy challenges that would be raised by destination-based residual profit allocation of corporate income taxes remain underexplored. Importantly, some lessons can be learned from analogous experiences in and among the states of the United States and the provinces of Canada. This work in progress explores what can be learned from subnational experiences with destination-based income taxes.

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March 6, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Oh Presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons From Estate Tax Avoidance Today At Duke

Jason Oh (UCLA) presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Eric Zolt (UCLA)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak:

OhPresidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious new annual wealth taxes based on academic work by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. They project these proposals to raise trillions of dollars over the next ten years. Some critics challenge the Saez-Zucman approach to measuring wealth concentration. Other critics including Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin have used data from estate tax returns and the relatively small amount of revenue the estate tax raises to question the revenue projections of these proposals. This comparison can be useful only if one thinks carefully about specific estate tax strategies and how these strategies translate to an annual wealth tax. This article engages in that exercise. When one takes a closer look at estate tax avoidance and how it maps onto an annual wealth tax, a much more complex narrative emerges.

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March 5, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ryan Presents Employment-Related Taxation Of Prison Labor Today At Indiana

Kerry Ryan (St. Louis) presents Employment-Related Taxation of Prison Labor at Indiana-Bloomington today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

RyanPrison labor raises questions about the employment tax treatment of certain types of workers that differ in kind from those usually addressed by other tax scholars. Most existing scholarship assesses whether a particular type of paid worker, for example a gig economy worker, is an employee or an independent contractor. This determination is generally based on the level of control the payor exercises over the payee—too much control and the worker will be deemed an employee rather than an independent contractor. Differing tax consequences flow from the characterization of work relationships under the control test.

Prison labor is a broad term that encompasses a variety of jobs, job settings, and employers. This chapter will focus on two of these forms of inmate work: maintenance and prison industrial. In particular, it will analyze how the IRS characterizes these job assignments for employment tax purposes. While some inmates qualified as employees, others did not. Arguably, these latter prison workers also do not meet the requisite standard for self-employment. Prison labor thus raises an intriguing issue—whether certain paid workers are simply outside the boundaries of the dual employer-independent contractor employment-related tax regime.

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March 4, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Olson Presents The Taxpayer Advocate's Final Report To Congress Today At Toronto

Nina E. Olson (Center for Taxpayer Rights; former U.S. Taxpayer Advocate) presents The Taxpayer Advocate's Final Report to Congress at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Olson (2018)IR-2019-119, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson Delivers Her Final Report to Congress:

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her 37th and final report to Congress in advance of her previously announced retirement on July 31. In the preface, Olson reflects on her 18 years in the job and provides her assessment of the key challenges facing the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) in the coming years. The report also presents a review of the 2019 filling season.

“I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I have had to advocate on behalf of our nation’s taxpayers,” Olson wrote. “Amazingly, despite the challenges of complying with our multi-million-word tax code, more than 150 million individual taxpayers and more than 10 million business entities do their civic duty every year by filing income tax returns with the IRS. That is an extraordinary achievement and one we should not take for granted.”

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March 4, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fox Presents A Case For Higher Corporate Tax Rates Today At Georgetown

Edward Fox (Michigan) presents A Case for Higher Corporate Tax Rates (with Zachary Liscow (Yale)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Brian Galle:

FoxDespite the huge stakes, there is little scholarly discussion of the appropriate corporate tax rate. Where there is analysis, discussion focuses overwhelmingly on increasing international competition, which suggests lower corporate tax rates. We try to add some balance to the discussion by elaborating on reasons for higher corporate tax rates. In particular, two recent changes militate in favor of higher taxes on corporations: first, changes in the American economy leading to the rise of rents and, second, recent changes in tax law (and potential future changes) making the corporate tax more efficient. Other arguments favor higher rates as well. Although we cannot say what that rate should be, we offer the reasons favoring a higher rate and describe reforms that could help ease the adoption of higher, efficient taxes on corporate profits. We suggest that, at minimum, proponents of lower corporate tax rates present an incomplete picture and that the “lower corporate tax rates” conclusion is a non-obvious one.

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March 3, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Lederman Presents The Fraud Triangle And Tax Evasion Today At BYU

Lederman (2018)Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents The Fraud Triangle and Tax Evasion at BYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Cliff Fleming and Gladriel Shobe:

The “fraud triangle”—a theory of why people commit fraud—is the preeminent framework for analyzing fraud in the accounting literature. It developed out of studies of fraudsters, including inmates convicted of embezzlement. The three components of the fraud triangle are (1) an incentive or pressure (usually financial), (2) opportunity, and (3) rationalization.

There is a separate, extensive legal literature on tax compliance and evasion. The fraud triangle is largely absent from this legal literature, although tax evasion is a type of fraud. This Article rectifies that oversight, analyzing how using the fraud triangle as a lens can inform the legal literature on tax compliance.

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March 2, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 28, 2020

Thomas Presents Taxing Nudges Today At Colorado

Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) presents Taxing Nudges at Colorado today as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series:

Thomas (2019)Governments are increasingly turning to behavioral economics to inform policy design in areas like health care, the environment, and financial decision-making. Research shows that small behavioral interventions, referred to as “nudges,” often produce significant responses at a low cost. The theory behind nudges is that, rather than mandating certain behaviors or providing costly economic subsidies, modest initiatives may “nudge” individuals to choose desirable outcomes by appealing to their behavioral preferences. For example, automatically enrolling workers into savings plans as a default rather than requiring them to actively sign up has dramatically increased enrollment in such plans. Similarly, allowing individuals to earn “wellness points” from attendance at a gym, redeemable at various retail establishments, may improve exercise habits.

A successful nudge should make a desired choice as simple and painless as possible. Yet one source of friction may counteract an otherwise well-designed nudge: taxation.

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February 28, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Serrato Presents Unintended Consequences Of Eliminating Tax Havens Today At British Columbia

Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato (Duke) presents Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Tax Havens​ at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

SuarezEliminating firms’ access to tax havens can have unintended consequences for their domestic economic activity. We study a policy that limited profit shifting by US multinationals and show it raised the tax cost of domestic investment. Firms affected by the policy responded by reducing investment and domestic employment. Firm-level responses were amplified to local labor markets through the establishment networks of profit-shifting firms. More exposed local labor markets experienced declines in employment, income, and home values and saw increases in government transfers. Policy proposals that limit profit shifting should therefore consider effects on economic activity in addition to tax revenue.

Conclusion
This paper studies the repeal of §936 as a natural experiment that limited the ability of firms to shift profits to affiliates in Puerto Rico. We use two complementary research strategies to test theoretical predictions that limits to profit shifting raise the effective cost of capital and reduce the domestic activities of exposed firms. Exploiting firm-level exposure to §936, we show that exposed firms lowered their investment and employment in the US. The establishment networks of these firms give rise to spatial variation in exposure to §936. This variation reveals that firmlevel effects were amplified into persistent declines in employment growth for more exposed local labor markets. Overall, we find that reducing the attractiveness of Puerto Rico as a tax haven also reduced employment and investment in firms and regions exposed to §936.

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February 28, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monahan Presents How Did States Change Their Individual Income Tax In Response To The TCJA? Today At Minnesota

Amy Monahan (Minnesota) presents How Did States Change Their Individual Income Tax in Response to the TCJA? at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series hosted by Kristin Hickman:

Monahan (2020)Nearly every state incorporates the federal tax code into its individual income tax system. This widespread practice has been justified as necessary for states to have simple and efficient tax systems. Yet, tying a state’s revenue laws to the federal tax code also leaves states vulnerable to the revenue effects of federal changes and may distort state legislative decisionmaking. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides an excellent opportunity to study how these dynamics impact state tax policymaking. Prof. Monahan will present the results of a study examining how those states with the tightest conformity to federal tax law responded to the TCJA. She will offer suggestions for how states can move past the idea that state individual income tax systems must be tied to the federal tax code.

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February 28, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Blank Presents Automated Legal Guidance Today At SMU

Joshua Blank (UC-Irvine) presents Automated Legal Guidance, 106 Cornell L. Rev. __ (2020) (with Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)) at SMU today as part of its Faculty Forum Series

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a4467a28200c-300wiThrough online tools, virtual assistants and other technology, governments increasingly rely on artificial intelligence to help the public understand and apply the law. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, encourages taxpayers to seek answers regarding various tax credits and deductions through its online “Interactive Tax Assistant.” The U.S. Army directs individuals with questions about enlistment to its virtual guide, “Sgt. Star.” And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that potential green card holders and citizens speak with its interactive chatbot, “Emma.” Through such automated legal guidance, the government seeks to provide advice to the public at a fraction of the cost of employing human beings to perform these same tasks.

This Article offers one of the first critiques of these new systems of artificial intelligence.

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February 26, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maag Presents How Earnings And Child Tax Credit Proposals Impact Income Inequality And Vulnerable Children Today At UCLA

Elaine Maag (Tax Policy Center) presents Boosting Wages or Helping Children? Understanding How New Earnings and Child Tax Credit Proposals Impact Income Inequality and Vulnerable Children (with C. Eugene SteuerleRobert McClelland) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

MaagThe earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credit (CTC) provide substantial benefits to working families with children. The EITC also provides modest benefits to workers without custodial children, often called “childless workers” for tax purposes. Because the amount of credit childless workers can qualify for is modest, almost all benefits from both credits flow to families with children. Together, the credits lift almost 9 million people out of poverty each year (Fox 2019).

Policymakers are looking to build on the success of these credits and further address the joint issues of income inequality between very high-income people and everyone else (Congressional Budget Office 2019) - fueled in part by wage stagnation (Mishel et al 2018) and relatively poor outcomes for low-income children (Duncan, Ziol-Guest, and Kalil 2010; Ratcliffe 2015). Coupled with the CTC increase that was enacted in 2017 being set to expire after 2025, legislators are considering the next phase of work and child subsidies.

We analyze four expansions to the credits:

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February 26, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)