Paul L. Caron
Dean



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Faulhaber Presents Excess Returns And The Search For Substantial Activities Virtually Today At NYU

Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown) presents Lost in Translation: Excess Returns and the Search for Substantial Activities virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Lvf6-200x300Starting in 2010, one international tax reform proposal moved from being a one-page idea in the Obama Treasury’s proposed budget to being one of the OECD’s options for CFC reform to becoming the basis for one of the major international tax reform provisions in the 2017 U.S. tax reform to being considered as part of Pillar Two of the OECD’s current digital tax project. This proposal, for a minimum tax on foreign excess returns, has changed shape with every iteration, and its proponents have justified each version of this differently and defined its various elements differently.

This Article tells the story of the many recent proposals for minimum taxes on foreign excess returns, starting with the Obama Treasury’s brief proposal and ending with the OECD’s current negotiations over digital taxation. This Article highlights the common threads that links all of these rules, and it also shows how differently the drafters of each rule have understood the purpose and design of a minimum tax on foreign excess returns.

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November 24, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 20, 2020

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshop

Tuesday, November 24: Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown) will present Lost in Translation: Excess Returns and the Search for Substantial Activities virtually at NYU as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Dan Shaviro.

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

Satterthwaite Presents Taxing Domestic Workers Virtually Today At Florida

Emily Satterthwaite (Toronto) presents Taxing Domestic Workers: Trading a Safety Net for a Living Wage? (with Ariel Jurow Kleinman (San Diego)) virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

Satterthwaite (2019)Paid domestic workers play a central and often intimate role in the day-to-day lives of many North Americans, including the affluent but also other groups. The livelihoods and health of, for example, the elderly, persons with serious disabilities, and women who work outside the home (and their children) may depend on the labor of one or more paid domestic workers. Yet domestic workers and their hirers tend to rely on very different workplace protections and social insurance guarantees. Our project seeks to better understand the role that tax law plays in this troubling status quo by surveying domestic workers about their tax-related experiences. The domestic sector rightly has been called “the original gig economy” because of its structural similarities with higher-technology sectors like ride-sharing. However, existing doctrinal and policy-oriented tax scholarship, including that which attends to the significant tax policy challenges presented by platform service providers and the role of contract work, has largely overlooked the domestic sector.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Bankman Presents Why It Is So Hard To Get Easy Tax Filing Virtually Today At NYU

Joseph Bankman (Stanford) presents Mr. Smith Gets an Education: Why it is so Hard to get Easy Tax Filing virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a4ec01e4200b-300wiImagine that one day, you get a note in the mail from Visa saying that starting next month, Visa will no longer be sending itemized bills (or indeed, any bills at all) to its cardholders. Instead, it will be the responsibility of every Visa cardholder to keep a record of all purchases, and refunds charged or credited to their account during the month, along with late payments and late fees, interest accruing on unpaid balances, and then tote it all up at the end of the month to figure out how much they owe Visa. If cardholders inadvertently omit some charges and pay Visa too little, you’re informed, Visa will assess interest and penalties on the underpayment.

Why on earth would Visa do such a thing?, you wonder. After all, Visa already has all that information in its computers, which can automatically calculate from that information the net amount you owe. Why should individual cardholders duplicate that effort, at considerable annoyance and expense to themselves, and with the dead certainty of errors?

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November 19, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Fox & Liscow Present The Psychology Of Taxing Capital Income Virtually Today At UC-Irvine

Edward Fox (Michigan) & Zachary Liscow (Yale) present The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

8b851abe8a6e051adc45ff6981fbddcd1f375618The realization rule is central to income tax law, but often decreases the efficiency, equality, and simplicity of the system. Given these problems, it is surprising that we do not have a good explanation for why the rule exists for liquid assets. Scholars have long speculated about the role of the public’s views here, but little is known empirically about them. We conduct the first survey experiment to understand the psychology of taxing gains on unsold assets.

In this draft, we present the results of a pilot version of the survey. Though results are very preliminary, we have three main findings. First, respondents are far less supportive of taxing gains in unsold publicly-traded stock than sold stock, with a difference in support of 37 percentage points. This lack of support persists and seems strengthened when looking across a variety of other policy framings. Second, informing people of the arguments on “both sides” of taxing unsold stock considerably decreases support (by 19 percentage points) for taxing unsold stock.

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

Roberts Presents Whiskey, Women, And Taxes Virtually Today At Oregon

Tracey M. Roberts (Cumberland) presents Whiskey, Women, and Tax: The Unexpected and Interlocking History of the 16th, 18th, and 19th Amendments virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

Roberts (2020)Before they became the most famous pair of advocates in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were temperance activists. Advocating for the prohibition of alcohol in a world in which women lacked both political and property rights, they sought to curb other social ills: family poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, and violent crime. Through the early 20th Century, however, the U.S. relied heavily on excise taxes, including those on liquor, to fund government operations. The passage and ratification of the 16th Amendment, authorizing a federal income tax, was needed before the 18th Amendment, prohibiting alcohol, could be passed. In turn, the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was ratified, in part, on the strength of the time-honored argument that women should not face taxation without representation. Old enemies die hard, however. The ratification of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in access to the ballot required that suffrage activists counter the (then illegal) liquid advocacy of well-known whiskey distillers and brewers.

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

Monday, November 16, 2020

Suarez Serrato Presents The Race Between Tax Enforcement And Tax Planning In Chile Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato (Duke) presents The Race Between Tax Enforcement and Tax Planning: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Chile (with Sebastian Bustos (Harvard), Dina Pomeranz (Zurich), Jose Vila-Belda (Fribourg), and Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley)) virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Thumb_image_9070502A large body of work highlights the key role of information reporting for tax enforcement and the development of modern tax systems. In this paper, we provide evidence that information reporting is not always sufficient to improve tax collection. Using micro-level administrative tax and custom data covering the universe of internationally active Chilean firms, we study a reform that greatly increased information reporting by multinational firms, following Chile’s accession to the OECD. We first document that multinationals conduct tax-motivated cross-border transactions: Payments to foreign subsidiaries decrease with the destination country’s tax rate, while there is no such relationship for payments to non-affiliated firms. We then use difference-in-differences regressions to estimate the impacts of the reform on taxes paid and intra-group flows of royalties, interest, goods, and services. 

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Winchester Presents Tainted Taxes: Uncle Sam's Share Of The Spoils Of Blockbusting Virtually Today At Oregon

Richard Winchester (Seton Hall) presents Tainted Taxes: Uncle Sam's Share of the Spoils of Blockbusting virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

Richard-winchester-lg-200x200Until the late 1960s, it was the policy of the Federal Housing Administration not to subsidize or insure mortgages for homes located in areas where blacks lived, something called redlining.  As a result, banks seldom made loans to black homebuyers, creating an opportunity for real estate agents and speculators to exploit their plight through a process known as block-busting.  First, the speculators bought homes from whites at a discount after scaring them into thinking that blacks were moving into the area. Next, they resold the homes at an inflated price to black buyers through a device known as an installment sales contract.  Although such a contract permitted the buyer to pay for the home gradually over time, the buyer’s monthly payments and total cost far exceeded what they would have been under an FHA-insured mortgage.  Moreover, if the buyer missed a payment, the speculator got to keep the house and all the buyer’s prior payments.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Zidar Presents The Tax Elasticity Of Capital Gains And Revenue-Maximizing Rates Virtually Today At NYU

Owen Zidar (Princeton) presents The Tax Elasticity of Capital Gains and Revenue-Maximizing Rates (with Ole Agersnap (Princeton)) virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Oz-largeThis paper uses an event study approach to estimate the effect of capital gains taxation on realizations at the state level, and then develops a framework for determining revenue-maximizing rates at the federal level. We find that the elasticity of revenues with respect to the tax rate over a ten-year period is -0.5 to -0.3, indicating that capital gains tax cuts do not pay for themselves, and that a 5 percentage point rate increase would yield $18 to $30 billion in annual federal tax revenue. Our long-run estimates yield revenue-maximizing capital gains tax rates of 38 to 47 percent. 

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

Monday, November 9, 2020

Osofsky Presents The Surprising Significance Of De Minimis Tax Rules Virtually Today In California

Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina) presents The Surprising Significance of De Minimis Tax Rules, 78 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. ___ (2021) (with Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina)), virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

OsofskyDe minimis tax rules—rules that eliminate tax burdens for low-income taxpayers or low-dollar transactions—abound in the tax law. Despite the prevalence of such rules, legal scholarship has treated them as—well—de minimis, or as mere rounding errors that do not merit sustained attention. This perspective is understandable. If de minimis rules address insignificant taxpayers or tax liabilities, aren’t the rules themselves likely to be insignificant?

Recent tax law developments have revealed that this conception of de minimis tax rules is deeply misguided. Major allocations of tax law liability, as well as accompanying questions about the fairness, efficiency, and administrability of the tax system, turn on the existence and design of de minimis tax rules. In the wake of the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for example, astute industry players successfully lobbied the Treasury Department to create de minimis tax rules, thereby scoring significant monetary victories. De minimis tax rules like these not only serve as low-salience giveaways, but are also poorly designed in a way that undermines the integrity of the tax system.

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

Galle Presents How To Save Unemployment Insurance Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Brian Galle (Georgetown) presents How to Save Unemployment Insurance, 50 Ariz. St. L.J. 1009 (2019), virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Galle (2020)Unemployment insurance is almost universally recognized as one of a government’s best tools for fighting recessions, as well as an important source of relief for working-class families suffering temporary hardship. Unfortunately, as commentators and Congress have recognized, the U.S. system of financing its unemployment insurance program is seriously dysfunctional. Reform proposals, however, do not fully diagnose the causes of current failures. In particular, other commentators neglect the role of fiscal myopia in state officials’ failures to save for future UI needs. For instance, reformers mostly propose offering rewards or penalties that will take effect far in the future. These incentives have only small effects on myopic officials. 

Building on work in behavioral economics by myself and others, I propose a set of new reforms that address the roles that both myopia and federalism have played in crippling the UI regime. For example, I suggest that state governments can be induced to “Save More Tomorrow,” and that states should be obliged to opt out of federal default rules for when workers will be eligible for benefits.

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

Friday, November 6, 2020

Fleischer Presents Death And Taxes: A Libertarian Reappraisal Virtually Today At Boston College

Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego) presents Death and Taxes: A Libertarian Reappraisal virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

3333Libertarian opposition to “death taxes” is a polestar in discussions of justice and taxation. Theorists ranging from Milton Friedman to Richard Epstein to Loren Lomasky have vociferously rejected such taxes, arguing that inheritance taxes “run[] roughshod over the deceased’s interest,” are “an especially cruel injury,” and should be considered an “expropriation” instead of a tax. This Article challenges these conclusions, arguing that libertarians overstate the case against taxing gifts and bequests. At minimum, even minimal state libertarianism mandates that the income tax should treat gifts and bequests like any other property right or item of income.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Sarin Presents Social Security And Trends In Inequality Virtually Today At UC-Irvine

Natasha Sarin (Penn) presents Social Security and Trends in Inequality (with Sylvain Catherine (Penn) & Max Miller (Penn)) virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

61bb3c11ff9283f6d7de26f3e7a2bee01c775fd1Recent influential work finds large increases in inequality in the U.S., based on measures of wealth concentration that notably exclude the value of social insurance programs. This paper revisits this conclusion by incorporating Social Security retirement benefits into measures of wealth inequality. Wealth inequality has not increased in the last three decades when Social Security is accounted for. This finding is robust to assumptions about how taxes and benefits may change in response to system financing concerns. When discounted at the risk-free rate, real Social Security wealth increased substantially from $4.8 trillion in 1989 to just over $41.3 trillion in 2016. When we adjust for systematic risk coming from the covariance of Social Security returns with the market portfolio, this increase remains sizable, growing from over $3.9 trillion in 1989 to $33.9 trillion in 2016. Consequently, by 2016, Social Security wealth represented 57% of the wealth of the bottom 90% of the wealth distribution.

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

Marian Presents Taxing Data Virtually Today At Oregon

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine) presents Taxing Data virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

MarianThe Article offers a new theory of tax on data collection, accumulation, and transmission, as a primary source of government revenue. This “data tax” can supplement, and in some instances replace, traditional model of taxation on capital and labor (such as income tax).  

The article advances the following arguments: First, current challenges to (and sometimes the failures of) tax systems stem largely from the fact that traditional models of taxation have been designed for an economy in which the location of labor and the ownership of capital were identifiable. Both assumptions are wrong for the modern economic environment, in which one of the most significant sources of wealth is the analysis, manipulation, and utilization of large quantities of dispersed data. Mere “ownership” of dispersed pieces of data is insignificant without the manipulation of such data, and there is no meaningful geographical location in which value from data analytics can said to be “created”. 

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

Monday, November 2, 2020

Jones Presents The Social Security Earnings Test And The Actuarial Adjustment Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Damon Jones (Chicago) presents Misperceptions of the Social Security Earnings Test and the Actuarial Adjustment: Implications for Labor Force Participation and Earnings (with Alexander Gelber (UC-San Diego), Ithai Lurie (NBER) & Daniel Sacks (Indiana)) virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

DamonjonesBudget set kinks are much studied in economics, including in the context of “bunching” estimators that assume individuals react to the true marginal tax rate. We document that individuals disproportionately “left-bunch” below rather than above kinks in the context of the Social Security Earnings Test where incentives from its actuarial adjustments should instead push many rational agents to bunch above kink. We show that the left bunching cannot be explained through standard, rational reactions to the incentives. We demonstrate that this represents the first empirical evidence consistent with “spotlighting,” wherein individuals misperceive the local marginal tax rates as applying throughout the tax schedule and therefore treat the kink as a notch. In the context of the Earnings Test, this misperception provides an explanation for why literature has found large earnings responses despite the fact that the Earnings Test typically creates weak incentives for rational agents to adjust earnings. 

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Crouch Presents The Tax Legislative Process Virtually Today At SMU

CrouchDrew Crouch (Senior Tax and ERISA Counsel, Senate Finance Committee) presents The Tax Legislative Process virtually at SMU today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Christopher Hanna and Orly Mazur:

Drew Crouch will discuss the legislative process for federal tax legislation, including what constitutes regular order and the special role that reconciliation procedures play.  Drew will also discuss the role that bipartisanship plays in enacting tax policy, as well as the various career opportunities that are available to new and experienced lawyers who want to work on the Hill.

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Oh Presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons From Estate Tax Avoidance Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Jason Oh (UCLA) presents Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance (with Eric M. Zolt (UCLA)) virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

OhIn a remarkably short time period, the wealth tax has evolved from a fringe idea to a major policy option. Two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, included wealth taxes in their policy platforms. To the surprise of many, strong support exists for imposing wealth taxes on the ultra-wealthy, even among Republican voters. The fiscal devastation of the coronavirus pandemic has swollen already huge federal deficits and likely will increase levels of inequality. Given concerns of revenue shortfalls and increasing inequality, the wealth tax merits serious consideration.

The potential revenue is eye-popping. Various projections have suggested that Warren and Sanders proposals would raise several trillion dollars over the next ten years. Critics including Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin have used data from estate tax returns and the relatively small amount of revenue the estate tax currently raises to question these revenue projections. This comparison can be useful only if one carefully considers how specific estate tax 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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October 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rosenthal & Burke Present Taxation Of Corporations And Their Shareholders Virtually Today At NYU

Steve Rosenthal and Theo Burke (Tax Policy Center) present Who’s Left to Tax? US Taxation of Corporations and Their Shareholders virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

BurkeWe usually say that corporate earnings are subject to two levels of income tax: first, the corporation pays an income tax on earnings and, second, the shareholders pay an income tax on the dividends they receive and capital gains they realize. The story now is illusory: We tax earnings twice, but badly.

A half century ago, the US corporate income tax was a major source of revenue. Since then, the corporate tax base has eroded and, in 2017, the corporate tax rate was cut sharply from 35 to 21 percent. As a result, corporate tax receipts dropped from 3.6 percent of GDP in 1965 to 1.5 percent in 2017 to 1.1 percent in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resultant economic collapse, corporate tax receipts fell further, finishing below 0.8 percent of GDP for the fiscal year 2020, which ended on September 30 (and will finish lower still for the calendar year 2020).

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

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mason & Delaney Present Solidarity Federalism Virtually Today In California

Ruth Mason (Virginia) & Erin Delaney (Northwestern) present Solidarity Federalism virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

Mason and delaneyStudies of federalism, especially in the United States, have largely focused on the important role that state autonomy plays in federations, emphasizing what we refer to as the “traditional” values of federalism—diversity, experimentation, pluralism, and competition. This Essay argues that this focus misses an important aspect of Our Federalism; maintaining a federal form of government requires both state autonomy and state solidarity. We therefore introduce a sometimes complementary, and sometimes opposing, set of federalism values, which we call solidarity values, including duties of reciprocity, good faith, and trust. Solidarity federalism operationalizes these values and contributes to our understanding of federation by expanding the notion of a state's self-interest beyond its borders, to include a crucial measure of regard for the whole union. 

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

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons And Risks Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons and Risks virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Bearer Friend (2021)This Article documents and evaluates noncash remittance of tax obligations, referred to as “in-kind tax paying.” Such forms of tax paying include: paying a federal income tax bill by remitting a used, flatbed truck to the IRS; paying a property tax bill by working a few hours a month answering phones at city hall; and, conveying a proportion of all seashells farmed within a state to that state. These are not just hypotheticals, but forms of in-kind tax paying that occur in the United States throughout periods when many taxes are also paid in cash. Nevertheless, despite its long history and prevalence, in-kind tax paying has consistently been overlooked.

By providing a comprehensive account of in-kind tax paying within a cash economy, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of tax paying by identifying the wide variety of in-kind remittances that already occur in our current tax system and offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within an 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.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Dean Presents A Constitutional Moment In Cross-Border Taxation Virtually Today At Oregon

Steven Dean (NYU) presents A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0263e95a0f83200b-250wiThe Classification and Assignment Constitution has shaped cross-border policymaking for a century. Two global crises in quick succession have created both an opportunity and an urgent need to remake that material constitution, altering its substantive rules by transforming the processes that shape them. In tax, just as in trade and investment law, critics find “not a borderless market without states but a doubled world kept safe from mass demands for social justice and redistributive equality by the guardians of the economic constitution.” In order to rewrite the protective algorithm at the core of the Classification and Assignment Constitution to provide all states—and developing states in particular—with access to the revenues they desperately need, a more inclusive cast of constitutional actors must be empowered.

Over the last decade, during what the ongoing pandemic has revealed to be merely the eye of a fiscal storm, persistent inequality and austerity attracted an unprecedented level of attention to the way states collect revenues to meet their growing needs. A window of time that might have witnessed a restructuring of global tax policy instead culminated in an internecine struggle over how—and whether—the profits of digital giants such as Amazon and Google fit within its rigid numerus clausus algorithm. The arrival of COVID has only exacerbated those unresolved tensions.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Layser Presents How Place-Based Tax Incentives Can Reduce Economic Inequality Virtually Today At NYU

Michelle Layser (Illinois) presents How Place-Based Tax Incentives Can Reduce Economic Inequality, 74 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Michelle-LayserPlace-based tax incentives are frequently used by governments to encourage investment in low-income areas. But no standard exists to describe the ideal place-based tax incentive, making evaluation of these programs nearly impossible. This Article provides the necessary baseline by explaining when, where, and how to design place-based tax incentives that can benefit low-income communities by reducing geographic inequality. Using Geospatial Information System (GIS) mapping methods, this Article demonstrates how lawmakers can use public data to map spatial disadvantage. It then draws on tax theory to show how to design place-based tax incentives to reduce geographic inequality in targeted areas. The result is not a one-size-fits-all prescription, but a place-specific approach that can help place-based tax incentives become an effective vehicle for reducing underlying, geographic causes of neighborhood disadvantage.

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

Thomas Presents Taxing Nudges Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Kathleen Delaney Thomas (UNC) presents Taxing Nudges 106 Va. L. Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

Thomas-Kathleen-VERTICAL-844A8567-e1569848371875Governments 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.

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October 20, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Dharmapala Presents Do Multinational Firms Use Tax Havens To The Detriment Of Other Countries? Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Dhammika Dharmapala (Chicago) presents Do Multinational Firms Use Tax Havens to the Detriment of Other Countries? virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Dharmapala_dhammika1The use of tax havens by multinational corporations (MNCs) has attracted increasing attention and scrutiny in recent years. This paper provides an exposition of the academic literature on this topic. It begins with an overview of the basic facts regarding MNCs’ use of havens, which are consistent with the location of holding companies, intellectual property, and financial activities in havens. However, there is also evidence of significant frictions that limit MNCs’ use of havens. These limits can be attributed to non-tax frictions (such as the legal and business environment in different jurisdictions), to tax law provisions limiting profit shifting, and to the costs of tax planning. There is evidence consistent with the relevance of each of these channels. The paper also argues that non-haven countries have available a range of powerful tax law instruments to neutralize the impact of MNCs’ use of havens. To the extent that it is not due to political dysfunction, their failure to deploy these instruments more extensively can be viewed as a deliberate policy choice, attributable either to collective action problems among non-havens or to the possibility that in certain circumstances MNCs’ use of havens increases the welfare of non-haven countries. In either case, MNCs’ use of havens is facilitated in crucial respects by the laws of non-haven countries.

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

Friday, October 16, 2020

Stark Presents South Dakota v. Wayfair: One Small Step for Man Virtually Today At Florida

Kirk Stark (UCLA) presents South Dakota v. Wayfair: One Small Step for Man virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

StarkMy objective in this article is to situate the Wayfair decision within the broader historical and institutional context of U.S. fiscal federalism, with a particular emphasis on what Wayfair may portend for U.S. fiscal federalism and future of the retail sales tax. With apologies to Neil Armstrong, the Supreme Court’s repudiation of the Quill physical presence rule surely marks a “small step” in the development of state and local retail sales taxes. Tax policy analysts, myself included, have long bemoaned the adverse effects of the physical presence rule, so its demise is unquestionably welcome news. But does the Wayfair holding represent a “giant leap” toward a more coherent and rational system of taxing household consumption in the United States? 

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

Dagan Presents Re-Imagining Tax Justice In A Globalized World Virtually Today At Boston College

Tsilly Dagan (Oxford) presents Re-Imagining Tax Justice in a Globalized World virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

Dagan (2020)In this paper I explain why designing a country’s tax policy with the elasticity of taxpayers’ choices of residency in mind, although a rational welfare-maximizing move by the state as a whole, and possibly even for its immobile as well as mobile constituents, is a policy that may not be justified under a liberal-egalitarian social contract.

I discuss two polar views of the social contract: one endorsing the state with the coercive power to promote the joint interests of its constituents. The other views the coercive power of the state as a way to fulfill the collective will of its constituents as a society of equals in order to promote who they are as people.

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October 16, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Kim Presents Blockchain Initiatives For Tax Administration Virtually Today At Oregon

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) presents Blockchain Initiatives for Tax Administration virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

ImageBlockchain has become an attractive topic not only among techies, but also entrepreneurs, policymakers, and even laymen. A thriving body of literature discusses various legal issues related to blockchain, but it often mixes the discussion of blockchain with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrencies and blockchain are not synonymous. Blockchain is a decentralized, immutable, peer-to-leer ledger technology, whereas cryptocurrencies are built on a blockchain. In other words, blockchain is the original, underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. Recently, not only the private sector—e.g., financial services, smart contracts, medical records, property records, supply chain—but also the public sector—e.g., defense, budget allocation, government approval chain, voting—have gone beyond the cryptocurrencies and have begun to utilize blockchain technology itself as a newly emerged data management system, appreciating its resilient and immutable features. Considering that more data is processed remotely and thus digitally in post COVID-19 era, the data management system built upon blockchain will gain stronger momentum.

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October 14, 2020 in Christine Kim, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kysar Presents Interpreting By The Rules Virtually Today At UC-Irvine

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Interpreting by the Rules, 99 Tex. L. Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

RebeccaKysar_240x240A 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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October 14, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saito Presents Tax Coordination Virtually Today At Northeastern

Blaine Saito (Northeastern) presents Tax Coordination virtually at Northeastern today as part of its Faculty Colloquia Series:

SaitoThe United States implements a great deal of its social policy through the income tax laws. The Code is rife with tax expenditures for education, housing, community economic development, retirement savings, and health care to name a few. Many tax scholars have questioned consistently the use of the Code to implement these policies, calling instead for the elimination of these tax expenditures. Furthermore, as an agency the IRS and Treasury lack the expertise to manage these social policy tax expenditures effectively. Yet, given American politics and the institutional structure of the federal government, that is unlikely to happen.

This piece suggests that agency coordination between the IRS and other federal agencies, called tax coordination, would improve administration, management, and potential outcomes of these social policy tax expenditures. Drawing on the well-established literature in administrative law and public administration regarding agency coordination, it shows the benefit of tax coordination. 

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Zucman Presents The Rise Of Income And Wealth Inequality Of America Virtually Today At NYU

Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley) presents The Rise of Income and Wealth Inequality of America: Evidence from Distributional Macroeconomic Accounts (with Emmanuel Saez (UC-Berkeley)) virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Zucman (2021)This paper studies inequality in America through the lens of distributional macroeconomic accounts—comprehensive distributions of the aggregate amount of income and wealth recorded in the official macroeconomic accounts of the United States. We use these distributional macroeconomic accounts to quantify the rise of income and wealth concentration since the late 1970s, the change in tax progressivity, and the direct redistributive effects of government intervention in the economy. Between 1978 and 2018, the share of pre-tax income earned by the top 1% rose from 10% to 19% and the share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% rose from 7% to 19%. In 2018, the tax system was regressive at the top-end; the top 400 wealthiest Americans paid a lower average tax rate than the macroeconomic tax rate of 28%. We confront our methods and findings with those of other studies, pinpoint the areas where additional data and more research is needed, and describe how additional data collection could improve inequality measurement.

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October 13, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Bearer-Friend Presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons And Risks Virtually Today In California

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents In-Kind Tax Paying: Lessons and Risks virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

JeremyBearerFriend_0 (1)This Article documents and evaluates noncash remittance of tax obligations, referred to as “in-kind tax paying.” Such forms of tax paying include: paying a federal income tax bill by remitting a used, flatbed truck to the IRS; paying a property tax bill by working a few hours a month answering phones at city hall; and, conveying a proportion of all seashells farmed within a state to that state. These are not just hypotheticals, but forms of in-kind tax paying that occur in the United States throughout periods when many taxes are also paid in cash. Nevertheless, despite its long history and prevalence, in-kind tax paying has consistently been overlooked.

By providing a comprehensive account of in-kind tax paying within a cash economy, this Article makes three contributions. First, it improves our definition of tax paying by identifying the wide variety of in-kind remittances that already occur in our current tax system and offering a taxonomy for how to understand in-kind remittances within an 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.

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

Shanske Presents States Should Issue Debt In Emergencies Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents States Should Issue Debt in Emergencies virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Shanske-darienWe are in the midst of overlapping national crises, which call for a national response. So far the national response has not been adequate. Facing revenue shortfalls and constrained by balanced budget rules, the states have started to cut services, a cruel response that will perpetuate the misery. It would be far better to raise taxes on those who can afford to pay as compared to making such cuts. But can states raise enough revenue fast enough? Likely not.

What if the Federal Reserve extended long-term loans to the states at the federal government’s cost of funds and only for revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic/recession? I argue that the Fed could and should do so and that, if the Fed were to make the offer, then the states should take it and could take it under current state law (at least in some states). To be clear, borrowing from the Fed is far inferior to direct federal support, but, I argue, borrowing is far better than making cuts during a pandemic and recession.

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October 12, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Kysar Presents Interpreting By The Rules Virtually Today At Florida

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) presents Interpreting by the Rules, 99 Tex. L. Rev. ___ (2020) virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

RebeccaKysar_240x240A 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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October 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Layser Presents Magnet Zones Virtually Today At UC-Irvine

Michelle Layser (Illinois) presents Magnet Zones virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Layser (2018)Many place-based tax incentives “work” by creating new fiscal geographies—places where government actors actively shape urban processes through tax law and other public expenditures. A goal of these incentives is to influence the location of investments in order to improve upon preexisting uneven development patterns in ways that reduce geographic inequality. A recent example is the new and highly controversial Opportunity Zones tax incentive. However, the Opportunity Zones tax incentive has drawn criticism for targeting investment to gentrifying and relatively high-income neighborhoods in addition to low-income areas. If tracts like these serve as magnets to attract a disproportionate share of investment, then those “magnet zones” may undermine program goals.

Specifically, it employs spatial analysis methods to identify social, economic, and legal factors that are predictive of investment locations within fiscal geographies. In doing so, it provides powerful new evidence that magnet zones may form in areas with high vacancy rates, positive income trajectories, and overlapping fiscal geographies. These findings have far reaching implications for the design of tax incentives used to reduce geographic inequality.

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October 7, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Shaviro Presents Minimum Taxes Virtually Today At NYU

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

XeDldp2y_400x400Minimum taxes (including global minimum taxes) have serious drawbacks, and generally make sense, if at all, only if otherwise superior options must be ruled out for reasons of optics or political economy. Yet, given the “compared to what?” question that haunts all real-world tax policymaking, one cannot reasonably say that they should never be used. Still, any such use should generally be contingent, reluctant, and based on understanding their structural deficiencies. ...

Conclusion
To a veteran of the 1986 tax reform, such as I am, the recent rise of interest in global and other minimum taxes induces feelings somewhere between déjà vu and nauseous regurgitation. In retrospect, the history of the AMT is not encouraging with regard to minimum taxes more generally, although some of the problems that it had were contextspecific. The basic logic behind relating two tax bases, or tax liability computations with respect to the same base, in the manner that results from employing minimum taxes, seems generally elusive. 

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

Fleming Presents Worldwide vs. Territorial Taxation: The State Of The Conflict In The U.S. Virtually Today In Austria

J. Clifton Fleming (BYU) presents Worldwide vs. Territorial Taxation: The State of the Conflict in the United States virtually today at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law of the Vienna University of Economics and Business:

FlemingThis paper is an extension of  J. Clifton Fleming (BYU), Robert J. Peroni (Texas) & Stephen E. Shay (Boston College), Expanded Worldwide Versus Territorial Taxation after the TCJA, 161 Tax Notes 1178 (Dec. 3, 2018). It explains that on an overall basis, the TCJA did not accomplish a meaningful movement in the direction of either worldwide or territorial taxation although it rearranged the U.S. international income tax system in complex ways that necessitate new tax planning strategies. Possibilities for movement, as well as current developments, are examined and the conclusion is reached that it continues to be difficult to determine which way the U.S. is going.

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

Monday, October 5, 2020

Saito Presents Tax Coordination Virtually Today At Boston College

Blaine Saito (Northeastern) presents Tax Coordination virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

SaitoThe United States implements a great deal of its social policy through the income tax laws. The Code is rife with tax expenditures for education, housing, community economic development, retirement savings, and health care to name a few. Many tax scholars have questioned consistently the use of the Code to implement these policies, calling instead for the elimination of these tax expenditures. Furthermore, as an agency the IRS and Treasury lack the expertise to manage these social policy tax expenditures effectively. Yet, given American politics and the institutional structure of the federal government, that is unlikely to happen.

This piece suggests that agency coordination between the IRS and other federal agencies, called tax coordination, would improve administration, management, and potential outcomes of these social policy tax expenditures. Drawing on the well-established literature in administrative law and public administration regarding agency coordination, it shows the benefit of tax coordination. 

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October 5, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Jurow Kleiman Presents Impoverishment By Taxation Virtually Today At Oregon

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Impoverishment by Taxation virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

Kleiman (2021)Tax law’s standard redistributive criteria of progressivity, inequality-reduction, and poverty-reduction tell a certain story: the tax system improves on market outcomes by transferring income from rich to poor. While widely accepted as a matter of theory, this characterization rings hollow in practice. Millions of low-income taxpayers across the United States are made poor or poorer by state and federal taxes. In truth, while the U.S. fiscal system may be broadly equalizing and poverty reducing, for many poor households, it is impoverishing.

This Article offers a new way to measure taxation of the poor in the United States, presenting a concept called fiscal impoverishment. Fiscal impoverishment means that certain individuals are made poor or poorer after taxes and transfers are taken into account. Distinct from the aggregate and anonymous measures by which we typically assess our tax and transfer system, fiscal impoverishment is dynamic and individualized. It highlights the state’s relationship to specific households and foregrounds the economic responsibilities of the state vis-à-vis poor taxpayers.

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

Dean Presents A Constitutional Moment For Cross-Border Taxation Virtually Today In California

Steven Dean (NYU) presents A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

Dean (2020)Influential states and organizations guard a material constitution—identified here as the Classification and Assignment Constitution—that in turn shields multinationals from cross-border taxation. The rise of global digital giants against a backdrop of crisis has drawn disputes over the limits of its core algorithm into the light. This article shows why and how resisting reforms such as expanding the roles of marginalized states in that constitutional order threatens its long-term stability. ...

The Classification and Assignment Constitution has shaped cross-border policymaking for a century. Two global crises in quick succession have created both an opportunity and an urgent need to remake that material constitution, altering its substantive rules by transforming the processes that shape them. In tax, just as in trade and investment law, critics find “not a borderless market without states but a doubled world kept safe from mass demands for social justice and redistributive equality by the guardians of the economic constitution.” In order to rewrite the protective algorithm at the core of the Classification and Assignment Constitution to provide all states—and developing states in particular—with access to the revenues they desperately need, a more inclusive cast of constitutional actors must be empowered.

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

De La Feria Presents The Impact Of Public Perceptions On Consumption Tax Rates Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Rita de la Feria (Leeds) presents The Impact of Public Perceptions on Consumption Tax Rates (with Michael Walpole (University of New South Wales)) virtually today at Loyola-L.A. as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

Rita de la FeriaThe traditional view as regards general consumption taxes is that excluding certain products from the base decreases their natural regressivity. Whilst this view has been consistently put into question over the last forty years, public perceptions are still heavily influenced by it. Drawing insights from the legislative history of the old European VAT system and the newer Australian VAT system, the paper demonstrates how policy debates and changes in VAT rates have been heavily influenced by those public perceptions – against the evidence — and how special interest groups, which would be set to lose out from broad base VATs, are able to use the information asymmetry subjacent to those perceptions to defend their interest in favour of base narrowing or against base broadening reforms. The paper presents a novel analytical framework — informed by tax law, political economy, political science, behavioural science, and regulatory theory — of the likely factors behind the prevalence of those public perceptions, and demonstrates how, in the absence of external pressures, they result in increased use of reduced rates over time, and the consequent narrowing of the tax base. It concludes by presenting a new pathway to shifting public perceptions, and overcoming the political resistance to a broad consumption tax base.

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Choi Presents How Does Chevron Shape Agency Rulemaking? Virtually Today At Oregon

Jonathan Choi (Minnesota) presents How Does Chevron Shape Agency Rulemaking? An Empirical Study, 38 Yale J. on Reg. __ (2021), virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

Choi-jonathanA huge literature contemplates the theoretical relationship between judicial deference and agency rulemaking. But surprisingly little empirical work has studied the actual effect of deference on how agencies draft regulations. As a result, some of the most important questions surrounding deference—whether it encourages agencies to focus on policy analysis instead of legal analysis, its relationship to procedures like notice and comment—have so far been dominated by conjecture and anecdote.

Because Chevron applied simultaneously across agencies, it has been difficult to separate its specific causal effect from other contemporaneous events, like the rise of cost-benefit analysis and the new textualism. This Article contends with this problem by exploiting a unique event in administrative law: the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in Mayo, which required that courts apply Chevron deference to interpretative tax regulations. By altering the deference regime applicable to one specific category of regulation, Mayo created a natural experiment with a treatment group (interpretative tax regulations) and a control group (all other regulations).

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lederman Presents Best Practices In Tax Rulings Transparency Virtually Today At NYU

Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloom.) presents Of Risks and Remedies: Best Practices in Tax Rulings Transparency virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Lederman-leandraThe phrase “international scandal” hardly brings to mind tax rulings. It is not just that tax rulings may seem arcane, they are also a legitimate tax administration tool. Advance tax rulings provide certainty to taxpayers and the tax administration on the tax treatment of a planned transaction, lowering costs on both sides. Advance tax rulings are therefore openly used by many countries, including the United States and numerous European countries. Yet, secrecy that is followed by criticism and often by revelations that may embarrass a country’s leaders is a recurring aspect of these rulings. The United States has experienced this, and keeps Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) confidential, while publishing letter rulings in anonymized form.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bearer-Friend Presents Should The IRS Know Your Race? The Challenge Of Colorblind Tax Data Virtually Today At UC-Irvine

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents Should the IRS Know Your Race? The Challenge of Colorblind Tax Data, 73 Tax L. Rev. (2019), virtually at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Bearer Friend (2021)This Article draws from original archival sources to document a century of colorblindness in federal tax data. It traces the omission of race and ethnicity from IRS statistical publications since 1913, Joint Committee on Taxation publications since 1926, and Treasury Office of Tax Analysis publications since 1974. It shows how these omissions are exceptional relative to other areas of public policy where federal data on race and ethnicity are readily available, such as student achievement or healthcare exchange enrollments. It then evaluates the merits of colorblind tax data and argues that tax data should include race and ethnicity in order to meet goals of transparency, democracy, and equality. Colorblind tax data obscure racial inequality and prevent its remedy. Colorblind tax data also undermine the democratic accountability of tax policy. In fairness to the status quo practice of colorblindness by federal tax data institutions, this Article also considers whether the possible justifications for colorblind tax data should override principles of equality and transparency. It argues they should not.

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September 23, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (2)

Buchanan Presents Confessions Of A Recovering Economist Virtually Today At Oregon

Neil Buchanan (Florida) presents Confessions of a Recovering Economist virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0263e966931d200b-300wiTax law scholars, and legal scholars in general, have over the past few decades shown increasing deference to what is sometimes called "the economic approach to law." Interdisciplinary approaches to law are to be welcomed, of course, but the economic approach has crowded out other approaches, because far too many legal scholars (and economists) presume that economic analyses are correct, rigorous, and most importantly, objective. Whether or not those analyses are correct can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, while their supposed rigor confuses "doing a lot of math" with being precise in a meaningful way. Most importantly, however, these approaches are not and can never be objective. 

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kleven Presents The EITC And The Extensive Margin Virtually Today At NYU

Henrik Kleven (Princeton) presents The EITC and the Extensive Margin: A Reappraisal virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Kleven_henrik2This paper reconsiders the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply at the extensive margin. I investigate every EITC reform at the state and federal level since the inception of the policy in 1975. Based on event studies comparing single women with and without children, or comparing single mothers with different numbers of children, I show that the only EITC reform associated with clear employment increases is the expansion enacted in 1993. The employment increases in the mid-late nineties are very large, but they are influenced by the confounding effects of welfare reform and a booming macroeconomy. Based on different approaches that exploit variation in these confounders across household type, space and time, I show that the employment effects align closely with exposure to welfare reform and the business cycle. Single mothers who were unaffected by welfare reform (but eligible for the EITC) did not respond. Overall and contrary to consensus, the case for sizable extensive margin effects of the EITC is fragile. I highlight the presence of informational frictions, widely documented in the literature, as a natural explanation for the absence of extensive margin responses.

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September 22, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Polsky Presents Taxing Buybacks Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Taxing Buybacks (with Daniel Hemel (Chicago)) virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

PolskyHead_0-2-262x300A 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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September 22, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 21, 2020

Gravelle Presents Sharing the Wealth: How To Tax The Rich Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Jane G. Gravelle (Congressional Research Service) presents Sharing the Wealth: How to Tax the Rich virtually today at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

GravelleThis paper considers methods for taxing income of the affluent. Much of this income is unrealized capital gains that escapes tax. Conventional individual income taxes changes cannot capture this income and corporate taxes cannot target the wealthy. Other options are estate and gift taxes, taxation of gains on an accrual basis, and a wealth tax. Accrual taxation of capital gains most closely captures untaxed income, can be targeted to the wealthy, and appears to be feasible. If wealth and accrual taxation are deemed too difficult, a combination of conventional changes and taxing gains at death are options. ...

Summing Up
At the heart of the problem of taxing the rich is that the individual income tax does not reach much of the income of the extremely affluent. Each of the options for doing so has advantages and limitations. Individual income tax changes tax only income already subject to tax. There are significant problems surrounding a wealth tax and many barriers to be overcome; a wealth tax also increases taxes on assets already subject to tax in many cases.

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September 21, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Repetti Presents The Appropriate Roles For Equity And Efficiency In A Progressive Income Tax Virtually Today At Oregon

Jim Repetti (Boston College) presents The Appropriate Roles for Equity and Efficiency in a Progressive Income Tax, 24 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2020), virtually at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Roberta Mann:

ProfileImage.imgIncreased 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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September 16, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Kern Presents Illusions Of Justice In International Taxation Virtually Today At NYU

Adam Kern (Ph.D. 2021, Princeton) presents Illusions of Justice in International Taxation virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

0I criticize a common way of thinking about justice in international taxation, and I propose an alternative. My critical target is a claim I call the Capture Principle. Common ground among many government officials, leading tax scholars, and several of the few philosophers who have thought about international taxation, the Capture Principle asserts that each state should have rights to tax income generated from economic activities within its territory, rights whose value scales in proportion to the income generated from the hosted economic activities.

The Capture Principle appears to embody an ideal of reciprocity. I argue that this appearance is illusory. I examine three arguments that connect those two ideas, and I show that each fails on its own terms. Even if we ought not to free-ride off others, ought to pay compensation for the burdens we place on others’ public sectors, ought to reward people for the surplus value that they create— the Capture Principle does not follow.

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Christians and Diniz Magalhães Present The Rise Of Cooperative Surplus Taxation Virtually Today At Loyola-L.A.

Allison Christians (McGill) and Dr. Tarsício Diniz Magalhães (McGill) presents The Rise of Cooperative Surplus Taxation virtually today at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Katie Pratt and Ted Seto:

ChristiansThe world’s tax policy leaders are currently engaged in debate over who should tax the income streams produced with the help of cross-border regulatory coordination — the cooperative surplus over the gains that, in a counterfactual world, would be available if investments were confined to the domestic economy. To the extent there ever was a coherent relationship between consensus tax policy norms and the distribution of cooperative surplus, that relationship is now hopelessly skewed by real life factors, chief among them the rapid advancement of innovative technology that transcends physical boundaries of all kinds. The growing dissatisfaction of those on the wrong side of the skew had already initiated a rise in innovative ways to tax cooperative surplus when COVID-19 struck, significantly increasing the stakes for taxation and prompting yet more reform proposals. There are now at least fourteen strategies in play, each drawing varying levels of scrutiny, buy-in, and pushback.

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