Paul L. Caron
Dean


Friday, October 18, 2019

Book Presents Administrative Burdens, Sludge, And Individual Taxpayer Rights Today At Florida

Leslie Book (Villanova) presents Administrative Burdens, Sludge, and Individual Taxpayer Rights (with Keith Fogg (Harvard)) at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

Book (2019)The tax system designed by Congress imposes significant administrative burdens on taxpayers. Decisions by the IRS regarding how it administers the tax laws can add to the burdens imposed by Congress. The administrative burdens are consequential and hurt some people, especially lower or moderate-income individual taxpayers, more than others. While the IRS strives to measure and reduce the time and money that taxpayers spend to comply with their tax obligations, the IRS does not consider the effect that administrative burdens have on taxpayer rights, including the right to be informed, the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, and the right to a fair and just tax system. In this article, building on the work of public administration scholars Pamela Herd and Don Moynihan, we discuss the concept of administrative burdens and reveal specific examples of how IRS actions and inaction have burdened taxpayers and jeopardized taxpayer rights.

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

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Kleiman Presents Tax Limits And The Future Of Local Democracy Today At Northwestern

KleimanAriel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Tax Limits and the Future of Local Democracy, 133 Harv. L. Rev. ___ (2019), at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Colloquium Series hosted by Herbert Beller, David Cameron, Charlotte Crane, Sarah LawskyAjay MehrotraPhilip Postlewaite, and Jeffrey Sheffield:

Property tax limits are state-level laws that place caps on local governments’ tax rates and revenue. These statutory limits, which put pressure on already strapped cities and counties in forty-six states, present an inexorable dilemma for local policymakers. On the one hand, they may cause cuts to vital services, bankruptcy, and reliance on regressive revenue sources. At the same time, however, tax limits may reflect genuine concerns about government profligacy and nonresponsiveness. While much research has focused on the first side of the dilemma—examining the laws’ fiscal consequences—this Article explores the second, probing how tax limits affect the distribution of political power between local voters and policymakers.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Kane Presents The Global Battle To Capture Multinational Enterprise Profits Today At Pennsylvania

Mitchell Kane (NYU) presents Collecting the Rent: The Global Battle to Capture MNE Profits, 72 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2019) (with Joseph Bankman (Stanford) & Alan Sykes (Stanford)) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya) here) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Kane (2018)Multinational enterprises (MNEs) often earn substantial profits, or "economic rents." Often, these MNEs are domiciled in the United States, and the rents derive from ownership of intellectual property. These MNEs have structured their affairs to pay little taxes to countries outside the United States or otherwise to share their rents in these countries. Apple and Microsoft, for example, may earn roughly half their profits outside the United States but do not pay significant amounts of taxes to any foreign country.

The European Union and other countries have responded to this state of affairs with new tax legislation, antitrust actions, and other policies that have the effect of, and perhaps the intention of, capturing a greater share of MNE rents for their treasuries or citizens. To date, these policies are discussed in separate literatures focused on a particular policy domain (tax, antitrust, and so on). This paper offers the first unified or comparative analysis of the issue.

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

Shaviro Presents Digital Service Taxes Today At Toronto

Daniel Shaviro (NYU) presents Digital Service Taxes and the Broader Shift from Determining the Source of Income to Taxing Location-Specific Rents at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Shaviro (2018)In recent decades, a number of fantastically successful, mainly American, multinational entities (MNEs) — led and epitomized by the “Four Horsemen,” Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — have risen to global economic hyper-prominence. While their market capitalizations and profits are high, reflecting that they earn substantial rents or quasi-rents, their aggregate global taxes are generally quite low, reflecting their ability to create stateless income.

Often, these MNEs are technology companies, like the Four Horsemen – but not always. Starbucks, for example, enjoys high global profits and low taxes despite its following a classic brick-and-mortar retail business model. This reflects that, like its more obviously high-tech peers, it relies on valuable intellectual property that helps it in creating both global pretax profitability and stateless income.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Liscow Presents Democratic Law And Economics Today At NYU

Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Democratic Law and Economics at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Liscow (2017)Law and economics typically analyzes ideal policies, ignoring real-world institutions and constraints. It is helpful for real-world political actors, though, to have guidance for the real world, which this Article provides for policymakers setting policy with distributional impacts. Current guidance not considering real-world constraints may significantly hamper policymakers’ effectiveness at addressing today’s crisis of inequality. Critique of law and economics is widespread, but, to provide an alternative framework for policymaking, one needs to start with an account of its failures that can provide such an alternative framework. This Article provides such an account of the failures and an alternative framework.

This Article explores a major dissonance between expert and lay policy views: the set of tax prescriptions required by law and economics is sharply at odds with ordinary citizens’ psychology about taxes. While standard economic reasoning views taxes solely as a system of incentives and redistribution, many ordinary people also think of taxes as rewarding desert—as recent rigorous survey experiments, advances in the economics of taxation, and decades of experience show. Desert-based tax views limit redistribution, since the poor are deemed to not deserve free cash and the rich are deemed to deserve some of their income. A democracy where Congress is attentive to such tax views will need to look elsewhere to achieve distributive justice.

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October 15, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fox Presents The Uneasy Case For Higher Business Taxes Today At Loyola-L.A.

Edward Fox (Michigan) presents The Uneasy Case for Higher Business Taxes at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Ted Seto: 

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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October 14, 2019 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fleming Presents Is Unilateral Formulary Apportionment Better Than The Status Quo? Today In Vienna

Cliff Fleming (BYU) presents Is Unilateral Formulary Apportionment Better Than the Status Quo? (with Robert Peroni (Texas) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)) at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law of the Vienna University of Economics and Business:

FlemingIt’s doubtful that the world’s large-economy countries will adopt formulary apportionment in a coordinated movement that yields a uniform regime. The more likely scenario is that a formulary apportionment adopter will be a unilateral actor winding up with a system that does not mesh well with the systems of its major trading partners.

This paper points out that formulary apportionment does not require adoption of a territorial system. Formulary apportionment can be used in a worldwide regime to identify foreign-source income for foreign tax credit purposes. Thus, the unilateral adoption issue, with its uncoordinated results, is relevant even for countries that contemplate maintaining some form of worldwide taxation with a limited foreign tax credit.

This paper’s principal purpose is to examine and evaluate the factors that any country must consider when contemplating replacement of the arm’s-length approach with formulary apportionment. Among those factors are:

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October 10, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Peroni Presents Expanded Worldwide Versus Territorial Taxation After The TCJA Today At Pennsylvania

Robert Peroni (Texas) presents Expanded Worldwide Versus Territorial Taxation After the TCJA, 161 Tax Notes 1178 (Dec. 3, 2018) (with Cliff Fleming (BYU) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Peroni (2015)In the run up to enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) one of the principal U.S. tax policy issues was how foreign-source, active-business income of U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) should be taxed by the United States if the system of deferring U.S. tax on active income of a foreign subsidiary was ended. Should active foreign income be taxed under a territorial or exemption system—i.e. bear no residual U.S. tax—or should it be subjected to expanded worldwide taxation—i.e. current taxation at regular U.S. rates coupled with a credit for foreign income taxes paid or accrued, but limited to the U.S. tax on the foreign-source income as measured for U.S. tax purposes.

The opposing sides were not without common ground. Both agreed that the existing U.S. system for taxing the foreign-source, active-business income of U.S. MNEs needed to be changed because it generally did not impose U.S. tax until the active income of foreign subsidiaries was repatriated, either through dividends or by sale of subsidiary stock at a price reflecting accumulated foreign-source income. This was problematic for the advocates of territoriality because it required payment of a U.S. tax before CFC earnings could be directly accessed by U.S. parent corporations when no home country tax would have to be paid by MNEs from some competitor countries. It was unacceptable to worldwide taxation advocates because the resulting deferral of U.S. tax effectively created a preferential tax rate for CFC income that encouraged U.S. MNEs to locate operations in, and engage in income shifting to, low-tax foreign countries. The two sides were, however, at loggerheads over whether the foreign-source, active-business income of U.S. MNEs should bear a current U.S. tax at regular rates, subject to a limited foreign tax credit, or should bear no U.S. tax at all. Neither view prevailed in the TCJA.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Pratt Presents The Curious State Of Tax Deductions For Fertility Treatment Costs Today At NYU

Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Curious State of Tax Deductions for Fertility Treatment Costs, 28 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 261 (2019) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado) here), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Pratt (2017)The federal tax treatment of assisted reproductive technology (ART) expenses incurred by intended parents is unclear. This lack of clarity in the tax law is curious because millions of intended parents have incurred ART expenses, which typically are quite large, over the past 40 years. ARTs include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg donation, and surrogacy. This Article addresses the question of whether various categories of taxpayers can classify the costs of specific types of ART expenses as tax deductible “medical care,” taking into account new developments in the law, including the 2017 federal appellate court decision in Morrissey v. United States.

Part I of this Article outlines the contours of the income tax deduction (and related tax benefits) for “medical care,” incorporating the statutory definition of “medical care” and the interpretation of that definition by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and courts. Part II applies the “medical care” definition to expenses incurred by different-sex married couples for specific types of reproductive medical care and ancillary payments. We begin our analysis with this cohort of intended parents because the IRS seems to have had such taxpayers in mind when it initially provided informal advice to taxpayers who incurred fertility treatment costs. Part II then extends the analysis to same-sex couples and unmarried individuals, focusing primarily on the U.S. Tax Court decision in Magdalin v. Commissioner, and briefly summarizing Longino v. Commissioner. In both cases, the court denied fertile unmarried men a medical expense deduction for ART expenses. Part II considers the implications of Magdalin for medically infertile men, married and unmarried women, and married different-sex couples. Part II also articulates a novel argument men could make for deducting some ART costs, notwithstanding Magdalin and Longino.

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

Monday, October 7, 2019

Kim Presents The Digital Services Tax: A Cross-Border Variation Of The Consumption Tax Debate? Today At Loyola-L.A.

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) presents The Digital Services Tax: A Crossborder Variation of Consumption Tax Debate at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Ted Seto: 

KimAs highly digitalized business models, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have been mainstreamed in the economy, the traditional profit allocation and nexus rules of taxation are further strained. Traditionally, profit is allocated to market countries when the business has physical presence there. However, highly digitalized business models can generate profits in market countries without physical presence. Thus, market countries, especially the EU, have started imposing a digital services tax (“DST”) on the gross revenue generated in jurisdictions with highly digital business models, which has ignited heated debate across the globe.

DST is criticized as “ring-fencing,” or segregating, certain digital business models, because it arguably imposes a disguised corporate income tax on the profits of only certain digital firms, which discriminates against American tech giants. However, while DST is politically driven, the criticism is largely based on practical concerns and focused on the imminent impact, such as who is the winner and loser in the short term, rather than considering DST theoretically. More importantly, there is little discussion of the consumption tax aspect of the DST. DST is a turnover tax, which is a subcategory of consumption tax levied on the gross revenue of a firm. However, strangely, there is little discussion of the theoretical value of DST as a consumption tax.

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

Friday, October 4, 2019

Brauner Presents The True Nature Of Tax Treaties Today In Vienna

Yariv Brauner (Florida) delivers the 2019 Klaus Vogel Lecture at Vienna University today on The True Nature of Tax Treaties:

Brauner (2019)Tax treaties are the building blocks of the international tax regime. Much scholarship has been devoted to them, peaking with Professor Klaus Vogel’s Magnum Opus on Double Tax Conventions. Yet, almost a century after modern tax treaties were formalized into a model, and the derivatives of that model, now over 3000 of them, dominate the tax consequences of cross-border trade and investment, there are still many unanswered fundamental questions, which roots are in the lack of a clear understanding of the true nature of tax treaties. The purpose of this article is to begin filling that void. ...

The article examines tax treaties from four different perspectives: tax treaties as creatures of international law, Tax exceptionalism as reflected in tax treaties, Tax treaties as a consequence of international negotiations, and multilateralism in a world of bilateral tax treaties.

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hemel Presents Phaseouts Today At Pennsylvania

Daniel Hemel (Chicago, visiting at Harvard) presents Phaseouts at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Hemel (2019)The Internal Revenue Code is replete with tax benefits that phase out with income. While phaseout provisions are widespread, their effects are little understood. Some commentators have suggested that phaseouts reduce the revenue costs and increase the progressivity of tax benefits. Other leading tax law scholars have assailed these provisions for adding complexity to the Code and for confusing taxpayers about the rates that apply to them. This article presents a comprehensive evaluation of phaseouts and arrives at a more nuanced view. The notions that phaseouts reduce cost and increase progressivity turn out largely to be accounting illusions. At the same time, the implications of phaseouts for tax system complexity and taxpayer comprehension are more ambiguous than their critics charge. Phaseouts are appropriate when the externalities or internalities generated by an activity depend on the actor’s income. Most—though not all—of the phaseouts in the Internal Revenue Code are plausibly justified on these grounds.

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October 2, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shaviro Presents Digital Service Taxes Today At NYU

Daniel Shaviro (NYU) presents Digital Service Taxes and the Broader Shift from Determining the Source of Income to Taxing Location-Specific Rents at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder:

Shaviro (2018)In recent decades, a number of fantastically successful, mainly American, multinational entities (MNEs) — led and epitomized by the “Four Horsemen,” Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — have risen to global economic hyper-prominence. While their market capitalizations and profits are high, reflecting that they earn substantial rents or quasi-rents, their aggregate global taxes are generally quite low, reflecting their ability to create stateless income.

Often, these MNEs are technology companies, like the Four Horsemen – but not always. Starbucks, for example, enjoys high global profits and low taxes despite its following a classic brick-and-mortar retail business model. This reflects that, like its more obviously high-tech peers, it relies on valuable intellectual property that helps it in creating both global pretax profitability and stateless income.

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October 1, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Zelenak Presents Women And The Politics Of The Early Federal Income Tax Changes Today At Boston College

Larry Zelenak (Duke) presents “We Will See That You Are Troubled Right Along”: Women and the Politics of the Early Federal Income Tax at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu-Yi Oei:

Zelenak (2016)This essay tells the stories of three women who, in the early years of the federal income tax, claimed significant roles in tax policy debates by focusing on the intersection of the income tax and policy issues in the female sphere. In chronological order of their contributions, they are: Helen M. Bent, who critiqued the treatment of married women in the bill that became the 1913 income tax; the leading suffragist Anna Howard Shaw, who shortly after enactment of the 1913 income tax urged passive resistance to the tax by unfranchised women; and attorney Martha Connole, who in 1927 explained to the Ways and Means Committee how the income tax rules were unfair to single women. Shaw was famous during her lifetime and remains well-known today, but neither Bent nor Connole was ever famous, and both are all but forgotten today.

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September 27, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Abreu Presents A Taxpayer's Right To Rely On IRS Publications Today At Toronto

Alice G. Abreu (Temple) presents Relying on IRS Publications: A Taxpayer's Right (with Richard K Greenstein (Temple)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Abreu (2019)The IRS takes the position that taxpayers are not entitled to rely on written statements that it makes in instructions to IRS forms and in Publications that are designed for the specific purpose of helping taxpayers meet their tax obligations. And the courts have approved that position, stating that “taxpayers rely at their peril” on IRS written statements in publications. We believe that the IRS position impugns the legitimacy of the agency and of the tax system; we can also show that it is unnecessary for the IRS to take such a position because in most of the cases in which the courts invoke the “reliance at peril” mantra, there was either no reliance, or the reliance was unreasonable. Invocation of the mantra therefore serves only to threaten the legitimacy of the tax system and the IRS. For those reasons alone, the IRS should announce that taxpayers can indeed rely on what it says in its publications and instructions to forms. If the IRS does not want to go that far, it can at least exercise its enforcement discretion to decline to enforce against taxpayers positions that run counter to those it has clearly expressed in publication or instructions to forms.

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September 25, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Prisinzano Presents Policy Evaluation Under The Penn Wharton Business Model Today At Pennsylvania

Richard Prisinzano (Pennsylvania) presents Policy Evaluation under the Penn Wharton Business Model at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

Prisinzano

The speaker, Senior Economist at the Penn Wharton Budget Model, will discuss generally how the PWBM works as well as how it has been applied to estimate the impact of current tax policy proposals including: increasing tax rates on capital gains and dividends; increasing payroll taxes; integrating capital taxation; eliminating itemized deductions; and the packages of proposals put forth by two presidential campaigns. The speaker has provided a series of short papers, which are attached in one file below.

About the Penn Wharton Budget Model:
PWBM is a nonpartisan, research-based initiative that provides accurate, accessible and transparent economic analysis of public policy’s fiscal impact. Using the project’s research briefs and interactive budget tools enables analysis of legislation while it is drafted. PWBM serves as an honest broker at the intersection of business and public policy providing rigorous analysis without policy advocacy. PWBM works directly with policymakers and their staff to provide insight into the effects of policy changes. Our simulators and briefs are informed by the policy changes being debated on Capitol Hill.

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September 25, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Liu Presents The Real Effects Of Transfer Pricing Regulations Today At NYU

Li Liu (IMF) presents At A Cost: The Real Effects of Transfer Pricing Regulations (with Ruud De Mooij (IMF)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Liu PhotoUnilateral adoption of transfer pricing regulations (TPRS) may have a negative impact on real investment by multinational corporations (MNCs). This paper uses a quasiexperimental research design, exploiting unique panel data on domestic and multinational companies in 27 countries during 2006-2014, to find that MNC affiliates reduce their investment by over 11 percent following the introduction of TPRs. There is no significant reduction in total investment by the MNC group, suggesting that these investments are most likely shifted to affiliates in other countries. The impact of TPRs corresponds to an increase in the “TPR-adjusted” corporate tax rate by almost one quarter.

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

Oei Presents Falling Short In The Data Age At South Carolina

Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College) presented Falling Short in The Data Age (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at South Carolina yesterday as part of its Tax Scholars Workshop Series hosted by Tessa Davis & Clint Wallace:

Oei (2018)This Article advances a descriptive claim about how relationships between laws, humans and governments are currently constituted, makes a series of predictions about how data will change that state of the world, and advances policy solutions to manage the fallout.

The descriptive claim is that for better or for worse, humans are often allowed to fall short of law’s requirements without consequence, and this space to fall short has been important in intermediating the relationship between humans and the law. This leeway to fall short—which comes about due to factors like luck, resource constraints, resource prioritization, or limited information—allows humans the space to be imperfect but, importantly, also allows laws and polities the space to be imperfect as well.

Our predictive claim is that the growing ubiquity of data and information will change the size, shape, and distribution of these fall-short spaces in ways that may be beneficial in some contexts but troubling in others. Specifically, we argue that data will cause fall-short spaces to shrink, and to shrink disproportionately for certain populations. We also argue that data will call fundamental aspects of law’s design (such as penalties) into question. We argue that, in certain situations, fall-short spaces serve a valuable function and that their loss is troubling.

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

Monday, September 23, 2019

Avi-Yonah & Fishbien Present Tax Expenditures, Horizontal Equity, And Stanley Surrey Today At Boston University

AFReuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) and Nir Fishbien (Mich. SJD) present Tax Expenditures and Horizontal Equity: A Lost Lesson from Stanley Surrey at Boston University today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by David Walker:

Tax 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 invented by the first Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Stanley S. Surrey, in the late 1960s, and was codified by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which requires that a list of tax expenditures be included in the US budget. The tax expenditure budget relies on the Haig Simons definition of income as the base, while acknowledging the fact that not all deviations from Haig Simons are treated as tax expenditures.

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

Layser Presents Evaluating Place-Based Investment Tax Incentives Today At Loyola-L.A.

Layser (2018)Michelle Layser (Illinois) presents More Than Jobs: Evaluating Place-Based Investment Tax Incentives at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Ted Seto: 

The new Opportunity Zones tax incentive introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 is poised to be much larger than previous place-based tax incentives, and anti-poverty advocates worry that it may also be more destructive—fueling rapid development of neighborhoods that leads to gentrification and displacement. This Article provides a new theoretical framework for evaluating the potential benefits (or harms) associated with place-based tax incentives like Opportunity Zones. Under the framework, tax-subsidized projects are parsed as traditional economic development projects and community infrastructure projects. Using this framework as a guide, this Article employs spatial analytics and exploratory data analysis to visualize and explore original data about tax-subsidized projects. The analysis generates several new insights about place-based tax incentives that shed light on the likely impact of Opportunity Zones.

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

Yagan Presents Place-Based Redistribution Today At UC-Berkeley

YaganDanny Yagan (UC-Berkeley) presents Place-Based Redistribution at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

Place-based redistribution is ubiquitous but has traditionally enjoyed little support among economists. We develop a class of spatial equilibrium models characterizing the equity-efficiency tradeoff that arises when taxes and transfers are indexed to location. Transfers from one region to another are found to be welfare improving under empirically plausible assumptions on preference heterogeneity, even in an environment with optimal place-blind income taxes. A calibration shows that optimal place-based redistribution may be substantial.

 

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Brauner Presents The True Nature Of Tax Treaties Today At Toronto

Yariv Brauner (Florida) presents The True Nature of Tax Treaties at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Brauner (2019)Tax treaties are the building blocks of the international tax regime. Much scholarship has been devoted to them, peaking with Professor Klaus Vogel’s Magnum Opus on Double Tax Conventions. Yet, almost a century after modern tax treaties were formalized into a model, and the derivatives of that model, now over 3000 of them, dominate the tax consequences of cross-border trade and investment, there are still many unanswered fundamental questions, which roots are in the lack of a clear understanding of the true nature of tax treaties. The purpose of this article is to begin filling that void. ...

The article examines tax treaties from four different perspectives: tax treaties as creatures of international law, Tax exceptionalism as reflected in tax treaties, Tax treaties as a consequence of international negotiations, and multilateralism in a world of bilateral tax treaties.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Schanzenbach Presents Safety Net Investments In Children Today At NYU

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (Northwestern) presents Safety Net Investments in Children (with Hilary W. Hoynes (UC-Berkeley)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

SchanzIn this paper, we examine what groups of children are served by core childhood social safety net programs—including Medicaid, EITC, CTC, SNAP, and AFDC/TANF—and how they have changed over time. We find that virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings, and to families with income above the poverty line. These trends are the result of welfare reform and the expansion of in-work tax credits. We review the available research and find that access to safety net programs during childhood improves outcomes for children and society over the long run. This evidence suggests that the recent changes to the social safety net may have lasting negative effects on the poorest children.

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

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

Young Ran (Christine) Kim (Utah) presented Digital Services Tax: A Cross-border Variation of Consumption Tax Debate? yesterday at San Diego as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series:

KimAs highly digitalized business models, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have been mainstreamed in the economy, the traditional profit allocation and nexus rules of taxation are further strained. Traditionally, profit is allocated to market countries when the business has physical presence there. However, highly digitalized business models can generate profits in market countries without physical presence. Thus, market countries, especially the EU, have started imposing a digital services tax (“DST”) on the gross revenue generated in jurisdictions with highly digital business models, which has ignited heated debate across the globe.

Due to such background, DST is criticized as “ring-fencing,” or segregating, certain digital business models, because it arguably imposes a disguised corporate income tax on the profits of only certain digital firms, which discriminates against American tech giants. However, while DST is politically driven, the criticism is largely based on practical concerns and focused on the imminent impact, such as who is the winner and loser in the short term, rather than considering DST theoretically. More importantly, there is little discussion of the consumption tax aspect of the DST. DST is a turnover tax, which is a subcategory of consumption tax levied on the gross revenue of a firm. However, strangely, there is little discussion of the theoretical value of DST as a consumption tax.

Continue reading

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Gordon Presents Fiscal Democracy In The States: How Much Spending Is On Autopilot? Today At Loyola-L.A.

Tracy Gordon (Urban Institute) presents Fiscal Democracy In The States: How Much Spending Is On Autopilot? (with Megan RandallC. Eugene Steuerle & Aravind Boddupalli) at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Ted Seto: 

GordonGovernors, lawmakers, and journalists often decry constitutional and statutory formulas, federal grant requirements, and court rulings they think excessively limit state budget decisions.

Some observers estimate as much as 70 percent of state spending is “on autopilot,” meaning these constraints are in place before proposals or negotiations begin.

But measuring predetermined state budget commitments is far from straightforward. The federal government explicitly defines “tax expenditures” and “mandatory spending” and reinforces these concepts through the annual budget process. In contrast, few states rigorously and transparently assess the long-term cost of tax breaks and spending programs that are either fixed in size or will grow automatically without policy changes.

In this report, we perform a first-of-its-kind analysis of how much spending was restricted or partially restricted in CaliforniaFloridaIllinoisNew YorkTexas, and Virginia from 2000 to 2015.

Key findings:

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

Tax Paper Presentations Today At UC-Berkeley

Tax paper presentations at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

Antoine Ferey (Ph.D Candidate (Economics), CREST – École Polytechnique, Paris, France)), Optimal Income Taxation and Tax Complexity with Taxpayers Misperceptions (with Jérémy Boccanfuso (Ph.D Candidate (Economics), Paris School of Economics):

Ferey

We analyze optimal income taxation and tax complexity – defined as the features of a tax system preventing agents from correctly internalizing taxes in their choices – in a Mirrlees economy where agents misperceive taxes. We capture tax complexity along two dimensions – the number of tax instruments and the design (e.g. salience) of each instrument – and demonstrate how these factors shape the overall complexity of an integrated tax system. Tax complexity is a desirable feature of tax systems to the extent that it induces misperceptions which reduce the efficiency costs of taxation and allow an inequality-averse government to increase taxes and redistribution towards poor households. However, misperceptions generate utility misoptimization costs which are heterogeneous across taxpayers: more able workers are relatively more stricken and thus willing to pay more attention to the tax schedule. The possibility to dedicate time and energy to study the tax schedule and to turn to tax advisors give rise to an optimal level of tax complexity that we characterize. Preliminary estimations indicate that the monetary equivalent for internalizing the US income tax system was $2,364 in 2016, whereas our estimate for the optimal level of complexity is around $1,100. Because richest households resort to tax advisors, it is the upper middle class who loses the most from this tremendous complexity.

Malka Guillot (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Law and Economics, ETH Zürich), Who Paid the 75% Tax on Millionaires? Optimisation of Salary Incomes and Incidence in France:

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

Zwick Presents Top Wealth In The United States — New Estimates And Implications For Taxing The Rich At NYU

Eric Zwick (Chicago) presented Top Wealth in the United States: New Estimates and Implications for Taxing the Rich (with Matthew Smith (U.S. Treasury Department) & Owen Zidar (Princeton)) at NYU last week as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Zwick (2019)This paper uses administrative tax data to estimate top wealth in the United States. We build on the capitalization approach in Saez and Zucman (2016) while accounting for heterogeneity within asset classes when mapping income flows to wealth. Our approach reduces bias in wealth estimates because wealth and rates of return are correlated. Overall, wealth is very concentrated: the top 1% holds as much wealth as the bottom 90%. However, the “P90-99” class holds more wealth than either group after accounting for heterogeneity. Relative to a top 0.1% wealth share of more than 20% under equal returns, we estimate a top 0.1% wealth share of [15%] and find that the rise since 1980 in top wealth shares falls by [half]. Top portfolios depend less on fixed income and public equity, depend more on private equity and housing, and more closely match the composition reported in the SCF and estate tax returns. Our adjustments reduce mechanical revenue estimates from a wealth tax and top capital income shares in distributional national accounts, which depend on well-measured estimates of top wealth. Though the capitalization approach has advantages over other methods of estimating top wealth, we emphasize that considerable uncertainty remains inherent to the approach by showing the sensitivity of estimates to different assumptions.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Polsky Presents Two Tax Papers Today At Florida

Polsky (2018)Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents two papers today at Florida:

There's a Problem With Buybacks, But It's Not What Senators Think, 162 Tax Notes 765 (Feb. 18, 2019) (with Daniel Hemel (Chicago)), as part of the Tax Colloquium Series:

In a deeply divided Washington, one of the few issues on which leading lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appear to agree is that corporations should be discouraged from buying back their stock from shareholders. This short article argues that, while this anti-buyback sentiment is misguided, there nevertheless are good tax policy arguments for reforming the tax treatment of buybacks. The article recommends adoption of a 1969 proposal made by Professor Marvin Chirelstein that would recharacterize (for tax purposes) buybacks as a pro rata cash dividend, followed by sales of shares from the shareholders who participate in the buyback to the shareholders who do not.

Taxing Residential Solar as part of the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture and Workshop Series (with Ethan Yale (Virginia)):

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Benshalom Presents Recalibrating Moral Feasibility Boundaries Of Taxation Today At Toronto

Ilan Benshalom (Hebrew University, Faculty of Law) presents Recalibrating Moral Feasibility Boundaries of Taxation at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Benshalom (2019)Tax theorists have recognized the importance of linking policy proposals to different ideal theories of distributive justice such as equality of resources, maximin of primary goods, and welfarism. However, they have invested considerably less efforts in trying to engage the tax-distributive debate with a moral analysis that deals with non-ideal settings. This essay offers a new framework that enables a more effective integration of normative considerations into academic analysis the distributive dilemmas associated with existing tax systems.The essay briefly reviews some of the relevant modern social science research dealing with how individuals view the role of the tax system in reducing inequality, and then discusses the importance and limitations of empirical research. I argue that any attempt to rely on measurable concepts such as biases and distributive preferences to normatively evaluate the distributive function of the tax system would likely be insufficient and perhaps even somewhat misleading. Instead, any moral evaluation of tax policymaking should be done with reference to a set of feasibility constraints, which explicitly recalibrate the framework of normative debate based on relevant social science findings.

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September 11, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pratt Presents The Curious State Of Tax Deductions For Fertility Treatment Costs Today At UC-Hastings

Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) presents The Curious State of Tax Deductions for Fertility Treatment Costs, 28 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 261 (2019) (reviewed by Sloan Speck (Colorado) here), at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series:

Pratt (2017)The federal tax treatment of assisted reproductive technology (ART) expenses incurred by intended parents is unclear. This lack of clarity in the tax law is curious because millions of intended parents have incurred ART expenses, which typically are quite large, over the past 40 years. ARTs include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg donation, and surrogacy. This Article addresses the question of whether various categories of taxpayers can classify the costs of specific types of ART expenses as tax deductible “medical care,” taking into account new developments in the law, including the 2017 federal appellate court decision in Morrissey v. United States.

Part I of this Article outlines the contours of the income tax deduction (and related tax benefits) for “medical care,” incorporating the statutory definition of “medical care” and the interpretation of that definition by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and courts. Part II applies the “medical care” definition to expenses incurred by different-sex married couples for specific types of reproductive medical care and ancillary payments. We begin our analysis with this cohort of intended parents because the IRS seems to have had such taxpayers in mind when it initially provided informal advice to taxpayers who incurred fertility treatment costs. Part II then extends the analysis to same-sex couples and unmarried individuals, focusing primarily on the U.S. Tax Court decision in Magdalin v. Commissioner, and briefly summarizing Longino v. Commissioner. In both cases, the court denied fertile unmarried men a medical expense deduction for ART expenses. Part II considers the implications of Magdalin for medically infertile men, married and unmarried women, and married different-sex couples. Part II also articulates a novel argument men could make for deducting some ART costs, notwithstanding Magdalin and Longino.

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September 10, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hatfield Presents Professionally Responsible Artificial Intelligence Today In England

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington) presents Professionally Responsible Artificial Intelligence at the 28th Annual Tax Research Network Conference today at the University of Central Lancashire, England:

HatfieldMichael (2017)As artificial intelligence (AI) developers produce more applications for professional use, how will we determine when the use is professionally responsible? One way to answer the question is to determine whether the AI augments the professional’s intelligence or whether it is used as a substitute for it. To augment the professional’s intelligence would be to make it greater, that is, to increase and improve the professional’s expertise. But a professional who substitutes artificial intelligence for his or her own puts both the professional role and the client at risk. The problem is developing guidance that encourages professionals to use AI when it can reliably improve expertise but discourages substitution that undermines expertise.

This Article proposes a solution, using tax professionals as a case study. There are several reasons tax professionals provide a good case study, including that tax practice has a long history of computerization and that AI is already being developed for tax professionals. Tax professionals, including not only lawyers but certified public accountants are directly regulated by the Internal Revenue Service, in addition to their regulation by professional bodies.

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September 10, 2019 in Colloquia, Legal Ed Scholarship, Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Shanske Presents The States Should And Can Conform To GILTI Today At Minnesota

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents The States Should and Can Conform to GILTI at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series hosted by Kristin Hickman:

Shanske (2017)Corporate income taxes are a critical revenue source for both state governments and the U.S. federal government. Yet corporate income tax revenue collections have been increasingly plagued by taxpayers’ use of artificial tax avoidance mechanisms that shift profits to tax havens and other (low-tax) foreign jurisdictions. The sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 attempted to deal with this problem in a number of ways, the most important of which is the Global Income Low-Taxed Income (or “GILTI”) regime. This presentation will present the case for state conformity to GILTI.

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) & David Gamage (Indiana), Why States Can Tax the GILTI, 91 State Tax Notes 967 (Mar. 18, 2019):

A centerpiece of the 2017 federal tax legislation’s reforms to international corporate income tax rules is the new global intangible low-taxed income regime (or GILTI). In a prior essay, we argued that U.S. state governments should conform to GILTI. But might there be constitutional restrictions preventing state governments from doing so? This essay argues that state governments can constitutionally conform to the federal GILTI rules and thereby tax GILTI income as part of the states’ corporate income tax bases. However, in doing so, we explain that state governments will need to be attentive to background constitutional principles. 

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) & David Gamage (Indiana), Why States Should Tax the GILTI, 91 State Tax Notes 751 (Mar. 4, 2019):

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

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

Lily Batchelder (NYU) presents Optimal Tax Theory as a Theory of Distributive Justice at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

BatchelderThe literature on taxation and transfers includes two prominent egalitarian theories of distributive justice: resource egalitarianism and welfare egalitarianism, as elaborated through optimal tax theory. With the recent explosion in empirical tax research, optimal tax theory has garnered even greater prominence. But non-welfarists remain unpersuaded, arguing it fails to adequately address a number of serious philosophical objections.

This essay considers the primary non-welfarist critiques of egalitarian optimal tax theory, paying particular attention to those of resource egalitarians. In the process, it argues the gap between these two theories is narrower than most appreciate. Indeed, once optimal tax theory is read broadly and deeply, the ideal policy design principles implied by each theory largely mimic the other. Furthermore, on challenging issues where the stance of each theory is unsettled, the tools of optimal tax frequently offer a clearer and stronger response.

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September 3, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Alarie Presents Data Analytics And Tax Law Today At UC-Hastings

Benjamin Alarie (Toronto) presents Data Analytics and Tax Law (with Anthony Niblett (Toronto & Albert Yoon (Toronto)) (reviewed by Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) here) at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series:

Alarie (2017)Machine learning models can be used to find patterns in datasets. In this essay, we discuss how innovative technologies such as big data analytics and machine learning are being used to gain new and actionable insights in the field of tax law. Our goal is not to provide a complete overview of every possible application; rather, we seek to illustrate some key examples of how analytics can be employed in the field of tax law. This essay provides both insights on how to improve the administration and content of tax law and policy, and insights for taxpayers seeking to understand the content of tax law. It proceeds in two parts.

In the first part of this essay, we discuss how big data analytics can help tax agencies and regulators, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), better administer tax law. The IRS has troves of data that can be used to identify ways to minimize the tax gap – i.e., the difference between the taxes that would be paid if taxpayers met all of their legal obligations, and those that the IRS actually receives and collects. We argue that predictive analytics can be used by tax authorities to optimally allocate their scarce resources and more precisely target enforcement efforts to yield optimal results, including identifying and pursuing taxpayers who are less likely to comply with their obligations under the status quo. We also take a broader approach and look at the insights that might be used by governments more generally to improve the content of tax policy. We ask how data analytics can improve the content of the law so that it better aligns with the law’s objective.

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August 27, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Kleiman Presents Nonmarket Fees Today At Ohio State

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) presents Nonmarket Fees at Ohio State today as part of its Summer Workshop Series:

Kleiman (2018)The public finance literature tells us that user fees will introduce market-like efficiency to public good provision. Meanwhile, criminal justice scholars note that criminal justice fees have run amok, causing crippling debt, undermining reentry efforts, and implicating civil rights and constitutional concerns. How can we reconcile these two literatures? This Article argues that it is precisely because criminal justice fees diverge from a traditional market-like structure that they have become so problematic. Specifically, because criminal defendants cannot consider the fee amount in their consumption of criminal justice services, consumer demand imposes no downward pressure on fee levels. The fees are thus allowed to balloon largely unfettered by the market-like restraints that apply to other fees. Absent market-like restraints, monopolistic agencies are free to pursue maximum fee revenue by increasing the fee level or the amount of services provided. Meanwhile, courts have diluted judicial fee requirements to accommodate increasingly creative user fee structures. These unbounded, nonmarket fees undermine agencies’ political legitimacy, lead to inefficient misallocation of public goods and services, cause exploitation of politically powerless groups, and impose significant human cost. The Article finishes by describing other fees that exhibit the same flawed structure, and by suggesting reforms to nonmarket fees.

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

Monday, July 22, 2019

Shobe Presents The Substance Over Form Doctrine And The Up-C At The IRS

Gladriel Shobe (BYU) presented The Substance Over Form Doctrine and the Up-C, 38 Va. Tax Rev. 249 (2018), to the Passthrough and Special Industries Group in the IRS Chief Counsel's Office on Friday in Washington, D.C.:

Shobe (2018)The Up-C is an increasingly popular form of IPO that generates significant tax benefits as compared to a traditional IPO. These tax benefits, which are the driving force behind the Up-C, have generally gone uncontested and are achieved by taking a form over substance approach to the Up-C for tax purposes. Governmental officials had never directly addressed the Up-C until recently when the SEC issued an interpretive letter (the Up-C Letter) condoning a substance over form approach to the Up-C for purposes of SEC Rule 144. As a result of the Up-C Letter, owners in an Up-C get the best of both worlds by inconsistently taking a form over substance approach for tax purposes and a substance over form approach for securities law purposes.

This Article analyzes whether this disparate treatment of the Up-C is justified from either a technical or policy perspective.

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July 22, 2019 in Colloquia, IRS News, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 5, 2019

Grinberg Presents Corporate Profit Reallocation In An Uncertain Environment Today At Oxford

GrinbergItai Grinberg (Georgetown) presents Stabilizing 'Pillar One': Corporate Profit Reallocation in an Uncertain Environment at the annual summer conference on Taxing the Digitalised Economy: Closing in on Reform (program) today at the Centre for Business Taxation at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford:

This paper is about how the world reestablishes international tax order.

The paper focuses on the OECD’s work on profit reallocation and asks whether this multilateral effort can be successful in stabilizing the international tax system. The analysis centers on the current leading concepts for reallocating profit among jurisdictions under what is known as “Pillar One” of the OECD work programme. To analyze whether any Pillar One concept can be turned into a stable multilateral regime, it is necessary to specify certain elements of what a proposal to reallocate profits might entail. Accordingly, this paper sets out two strawman proposals. One strawman uses a “market intangibles” concept that explicitly separates routine and residual returns. The other strawman might be described, in current OECD parlance, as a “distribution-based” approach.

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July 5, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Columbia Hosts Tax Workshop

Columbia (2017)Columbia Tax Workshop:

Brian Galle (Georgetown, Law), The Tax Exemption for Charitable Property: An Empirical Assessment
Discussant: François Gérard (Columbia, Economics)

Yehonatan Givati (Hebrew University, Law), Theories of Tax Deductions: Income Measurement Versus Efficiency
Discussant: Michael Doran (Virginia, Law)

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham, Law), Unraveling the Tax Treaty
Discussant: Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama, Law)

Zach Liscow (Yale, Law), Toward Democratic Law and Economics: Moral Commitments & Inequality
Discussant: Jake Brooks (Georgetown, Law)

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

Lederman Presents The Fraud Triangle And Tax Evasion Today At The University Of Lisbon

Lederman (2018)Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents The Fraud Triangle and Tax Evasion today at the University of Lisbon:

The “fraud triangle” is the preeminent framework for analyzing fraud in the accounting literature. It is a theory of why some people commit fraud, developed out of studies of individuals, including inmates convicted of criminal trust violations. The three components of the fraud triangle are generally considered to be (1) an incentive or pressure (usually financial), (2) opportunity, and (3) rationalization. There is a separate, extensive legal literature on tax compliance and evasion. Yet 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 the fraud triangle—and its expanded version, the “fraud diamond”—can inform the legal literature on tax compliance. The article argues that the fraud triangle can provide a frame that brings together distinct tax compliance theories discussed in the legal literature, the traditional economic (deterrence) model and behavioral theories focusing on such things as social norms or tax morale.

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cui Presents A Conceptual Defense Of The Digital Services Tax Today At NYU

Cui (2018)Wei Cui (British Columbia) presents The Digital Services Tax: A Conceptual Defense (reviewed by Kim Brooks (Schulich School of Laws, Dalhousie University) and Ruth Mason (Virginia)) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Since 2018, the UK government, the European Commission, and several European national governments have advanced bold proposals for a new “digital services tax” (DST), with the aim of capturing profits earned by multinationals that reflect value contributed by users of digital platforms. I offer a novel set of arguments in support of the DST, which appeal to both efficiency and fairness considerations. In particular, the DST would allow location-specific rent (LSR) earned by digital platforms to be captured by the countries in which such rent arises. I argue that platform LSR is often hidden from view under the traditional international income taxation paradigm, due to that paradigm’s focus on physical presence, source of payment, and profit allocation among related entities. Moreover, that paradigm ignores a basic intuition about how rent accruing to mobile intangible assets should be assigned: when the deployment of a technology is non-rival with respect to multiple locations, it is both efficient and fair to assign any rent earned from the technology’s deployment with respect to a given location to that location.

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April 30, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Ventry Presents Free File: A Story of Agency Capture Today At Georgetown

VentryDennis J. Ventry, Jr. (UC-Davis) presents Free File: A Story of Agency Capture at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

The IRS Free File program and the Free File Alliance (FFA) harm taxpayers. Meanwhile, the IRS refuses to conduct any meaningful oversight over the program or FFA companies, thereby failing to protect taxpayers and exacerbating an already abusive program.Worse, Congress wants to make Free File a permanent part of the Internal Revenue Code, obligating the IRS to partner in perpetuity with FFA companies and their abusive tactics. ...

Each year, I encourage my tax students to use Free File to file their federal income taxes. (I also encourage them to use CalFile, California’s truly freee-filing web-based software, for their California income tax returns and to avoid being upsold state filing services from FFA companies.) I also warn them about the upselling and forced arbitration and likely impermissible use and disclosure of their tax return information. Armed with this knowledge, they become savvy consumers of FFA companies’ purportedly free products. Also armed with this knowledge, they can report back and chronicle the abuses of the system, which they have done for years. This year was no exception. ...

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

Oei Presents The Making Of The § 199A Regs Today At San Diego

Oei (2018)Shu-Yi Oei (Boston College) presents Beyond Notice-and-Comment: The Making of the § 199A Regulations (with Leigh Osofsky (North Carolina)) at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speakers Series hosted by Jordan Barry and Miranda Perry Fleischer:

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

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

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

Greene Presents A Theory Of Poverty: Legal Immobility Today At NYU

GreeneSara Sternberg Greene (Duke) presents A Theory of Poverty: Legal Immobility, 96 Wash. U. L. Rev. 753 (2019), at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

The puzzle of why the cycle of poverty persists and upward socioeconomic mobility is so difficult has long captivated scholars and the public alike. Yet with all of the attention that has been paid to poverty, the crucial role of the law, particularly state and local law, in perpetuating poverty is largely ignored. This Article offers a new theory of poverty, one that introduces the concept of legal immobility. Legal immobility considers the cumulative effects of state and local laws as a mechanism through which poverty is perpetuated and upward socioeconomic mobility is stunted. The Article provides an initial description and normative account of this undertheorized aspect of our laws and argues that in order to fully understand poverty, a more complete understanding of the relationship between law and poverty is needed.

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

Monday, April 22, 2019

Morse Presents GILTI: The Cooperative Potential Of A Unilateral Minimum Tax Today At Pepperdine

Morse (2018)Susan C. Morse (Texas) presents GILTI: The Cooperative Potential of a Unilateral Minimum Tax at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Dorothy Brown and Paul Caron and funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine:

Could the U.S. tax on global intangible low-taxed income, or GILTI, end the game of international tax competition? The GILTI tax is a unilateral minimum tax enacted as part as 2017 tax statute known as the TCJA. There is a long-shot possibility that it might save the global corporate tax. A robust global corporate tax in turn could support innovative new policy options such as the use of corporate tax revenue to further international social justice goals. The stakes are high. Is there any chance that GILTI could do it? ...

This paper proceeds as follows. Part I compares the GILTI tax to the U.S. deferral regime that preceded it, and describes the cooperative potential of the U.S. international corporate tax law after the 2017 Act. Part II explains the details of GILTI structure, which works as advertised if international tax systems conform with respect to timing, rate and base. Part III explains that taxpayers will attempt to disrupt the convergence of timing, rate and base. Tax administrators, in turn, will face the question of whether, and how, to pursue the possibility of harmonizing corporate tax systems in light of the tools offered by the U.S. international corporate tax law after the 2017 Act.

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April 22, 2019 in Colloquia, Pepperdine Tax, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wilking Presents Shifting Tax Remittance Obligation From Rentors To Airbnb Increases Rental Prices Today At Georgetown

WilkingEleanor Wilking (NYU) presents Tax Incidence with Heterogeneous Firm Evasion: Evidence from Airbnb Remittance Agreements at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Lilian Faulhaber:

How does assignment of the remittance obligation affect consumption tax incidence? In classical tax theory, the responsibility of transferring tax revenue has no effect on which party bears the economic burden of a consumption tax. I explore this prediction in the context of agreements between city governments and a large digital platform firm that shifted the obligation to remit hotel taxes from independent rentors to the platform firm itself. Using variation in the location and timing of such agreements, I estimate their effect on rental prices. My results indicate that shifting the remittance obligation to the platform increases after-tax prices, suggesting that consumers bear a greater share of the tax burden when the remittance obligation is shifted to a party with fewer evasion opportunities.

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

Manoli Presents Taxpayer Responses To EITC Correspondence AuditsToday At NYU

ManoliDayanand Manoli (Texas) presents Tax Enforcement and Tax Policy: Evidence on Taxpayer Responses to EITC Correspondence Audits at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Each year, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends notices to selected taxpayers who claim Earned Income Tax credit (EITC) benefits to request additional documentation to verify those claims. This paper uses administrative tax data to examine the impacts of these correspondence audits on taxpayer behavior. The quasi-experimental research design compares randomly-selected audited taxpayers to taxpayers with similar risk scores who were not selected for a correspondence audit. The results indicate that, in the years following an audit, there are decreases in the likelihoods of claiming EITC benefits and filing returns. Taxpayers with self-employment income at the time of audit appear likely to increase wage employment following a correspondence audit, while taxpayers with wage income at the time of audit appear likely to decrease labor force participation following disallowance of EITC benefits.

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

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mason Presents The Tax Subsidy War At Fordham

Mason (2019)Ruth Mason (Virginia) presented The Tax Subsidy War, 69 Am. U. L. Rev. ___ (2019) (reviewed by Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) here) at Fordham on Thursday as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

In August 2016, the European Union dropped a bombshell: it would require Ireland to collect more than $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple under the Europe’s anti-subsidy rules. Europe’s tax investigations responded to suspicions that certain EU countries colluded with large U.S. multinationals to help the companies avoid other states’ taxes. Europe’s bold moves against U.S. companies provoked sharp rebukes from the United States, including threats to impose retaliatory taxes and claims that Europe abrogated tax treaties with the United States. 

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

Friday, April 12, 2019

Kamin Presents The Tax Rate Ratchet Today At Boston College

Kamin (2018)David Kamin (NYU) presents The Tax Rate Ratchet (with Ari Glogower (Ohio State)) at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

The 2017 tax legislation introduced significant preferences for business income and ushered in a new conversation on tax reform. The legislation cut the corporate rate and introduced the new Section 199A deduction for “pass-through” income. Many commentators criticized the design of the pass-through deduction and the legislation’s generally regressive effects but tacitly accepted or applauded the corporate rate cut as desirable response to international pressures. Then in early 2019, recently elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez initiated a separate debate on progressive tax reform, by proposing a 70% top individual rate on taxpayers with the highest incomes. Leading progressive thinkers defended the proposal, arguing that a higher rate in this range would maximize revenues from those at the top of the income distribution and address economic inequality.

This Article bridges these conversations on the 2017 legislation’s new preferences for business income and the future of progressive tax reform,and introduces a theoretical framework for understanding their interaction.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thorndike Presents The Organized Tax Bar And The Dilemmas Of Professional Responsibility Today At Duke

ThorndikeJoseph Thorndike (Tax Analysts) presents 'Who Speaks for Tax Equity and Tax Fairness?' The Emergence of the Organized Tax Bar and the Dilemmas of Professional Responsibility, 81 Law & Contemp. Probs. 203 (2018) (with Ajay Mehrotra (Northwestern; American Bar Foundation)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

During the first six decades of the 20th century, lawyers in the United States grappled with their role in stewarding the nation’s tax system. As 19th century tariffs gave way to 20th century income taxes, legal professionals found themselves at the center of a complex and momentous transformation of the American state and its fiscal underpinnings. In the early 20th century, a subset of these legal professionals came to view themselves principally as “tax lawyers,” a previously unknown category within the legal profession. This process of self-identification also involved a certain amount of organizational creativity, and during the first four decades of the century, tax lawyers organized a series of ad hoc groups within the broader American Bar Association (ABA).

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April 11, 2019 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clausing Presents The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital Today At Loyola-L.A.

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College) presents Open: he Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019) today at Loyola-L.A. as part of a panel discussion with Jeffrey Atik, Kathleen Kim, Katie Pratt, and Ted Seto:

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

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April 11, 2019 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)