Paul L. Caron
Dean





Thursday, March 4, 2021

Wilking Presents Does It Matter Who Remits? Evidence From U.S. States’ Voluntary Collection Agreements Virtually Today At Duke

Eleanor Wilking (Cornell) presents Does It Matter Who Remits? Evidence from U.S. States’ Voluntary Collection Agreements (with Yeliz Kacamak (Boğaziçi University; Google Scholar) & Tejaswi Velayudhan (Ohio State; Google Scholar)) virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Richard Schmalbeck & Lawrence Zelenak:

Eleanor Wilking 450x515 reducedThe South Dakota vs. Wayfair (2018) Supreme Court decision changed a long-standing difference in the way U.S. sales tax administrations treated online and brick-and-mortar commerce. Online retailers now have to remit sales taxes just like their brick-and-mortar counterparts in most states. Despite the attention this decision received, we know little about how shifting the responsibility to remit will affect the tax system.

Using states’ staggered adoption of Voluntary Collection Agreements (VCAs) which committed large online retailers to remit taxes prior to the Wayfair decision, we find that the increase in compliance resulting from these arrangements was almost fully passed-through to consumers via higher tax-inclusive prices. Consumers also reduced their online expenditures. However, we do not find strong evidence of an impact on the elasticity of the tax base.

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March 4, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Avi-Yonah Presents A New Corporate Tax Virtually Today At Indiana

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) presents A New Corporate Tax, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 653 (July 27, 2020), virtually at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Avi-Yonah (2021)This article will argue that we should tax corporations for the same reason we originally adopted the corporate tax in 1909: to limit the power and regulate the behavior of our largest corporations, which are monopolies or quasi-monopolies that dominate their respective fields and drive their competitors out of business (the best example being Big Tech — that is, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft). But if that is the reason to have a corporate tax, it should have a different structure from the current flat corporate tax of 21 percent. Instead, the tax should be set at zero for normal returns by allowing the expensing of physical capital, but at a sharply progressive rate for supernormal returns (rents).

Conclusion
This article has sought to develop a new corporate tax that is appropriate for targeting rents earned by large, monopolistic, or quasimonopolistic enterprises like Big Tech. Its main recommendations are that normal corporate returns be functionally exempt by allowing permanent expensing for capital expenditures, but that supernormal returns be taxable progressively (up to 80 percent above $10 billion in profit) and on a broad base that (a) includes foreign subsidiaries, (b) disallows current R&D and interest deductions, and (c) limits deductions for stock-based compensation to value on date of grant.

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March 4, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Sanchirico Presents Why The Optimal Tax Rate On Capital Is Zero … Or Very High Virtually Today At Oxford

Chris Sanchirico (Pennsylvania; Google Scholar) presents Why the Optimal Long-Run Tax Rate on Capital is Zero…or Very High: The Missing Explanation virtually at Oxford's Centre for Business Taxation today:

CsanchirJudd’s (1985) finding that the optimal long-run rate of tax on capital is zero—even if equity is an important social objective—has exerted substantial influence in academic and policy circles over the last quarter century [Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model]. Only very recently has it become clear that Judd’s zero-tax result rests on an implicitly adopted assumption about how savings responds to taxation. Working within the very same model structure, Straub and Werning (2020) demonstrate that the optimal long-term tax rate is positive and potentially large under an alternative equally plausible assumption. This paper attempts to fill a remaining gap in the literature by providing a clear explanation of what is driving results in both variants of Judd’s original model [Positive Long Run Capital Taxation: Chamley-Judd Revisited]. 

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March 3, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Cauble Presents Questions The IRS Will Not Answer Virtually Today At Florida State

Emily Cauble (DePaul) presents Questions the IRS Will Not Answer virtually at Florida State today as part of its Tax Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Jeffrey Kahn:

CaubleWhen a taxpayer plans to undertake a transaction and its tax consequences are unclear, the taxpayer can request a letter ruling from the IRS. The IRS issues numerous letter rulings each year. In 2020, for instance, the IRS issued 777 letter rulings. The IRS refrains from issuing letter rulings on certain topics. At the beginning of each year, the IRS publishes an updated list of the topics on which it will not rule. Many of the topics on which it will not rule arise in areas of tax law governed by standards where the tax outcome depends heavily on each transaction’s specific facts. This pattern is consistent with the IRS’s stated position that it ordinarily does not rule in certain areas because of the factual nature of the matter involved.

This Article suggests that a policy against ruling on fact-specific topics sacrifices an opportunity to rule on many of the very topics for which a letter ruling could be particularly useful. Because the fact-specific nature of a topic makes it ill-suited for generally applicable guidance, such a topic is a particularly good candidate for a letter ruling.

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March 2, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, February 26, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Thursday, March 4: Eleanor Wilking (Cornell) will present Does It Matter Who Remits? Evidence from U.S. States’ Voluntary Collection Agreements (with Yeliz Kacamak (Boğaziçi University; Google Scholar) and Tejaswi Velayudhan (Ohio State; Google Scholar)) virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Thursday, March 4: Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan; Google Scholar) will present A New Corporate Tax virtually at Indiana as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

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February 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax

Dialogs

Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs: Tax Meets Non-Tax:

In an environment of increasing academic specialization, Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs seeks to build bridges across academic disciplines by introducing a new kind of workshop. For each session, a tax scholar will select a non-tax, but legal, work that is prominent in its own field and explain how the work is relevant to the study of taxation. The author of the work will then respond before we open the session to questions and discussion by workshop attendees.

All sessions will take place on Zoom, unless otherwise indicated, and the work to be discussed will be distributed on this page in advance of the session.

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February 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Dean Presents Ten Truths About Tax Havens Virtually Today At British Columbia

Steven Dean (Brooklyn) presents Ten Truths About Tax Havens: Inclusion and the 'Liberia Problem' (with Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi; Google Scholar)) virtually at Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

Dean_Steven_Portrait_002There has been a decades-long effort to repair an increasingly fragile international tax system. One reason it has foundered has been what we identify as the ‘Liberia problem’. In 2000, the powerful Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development identified Liberia—but not Switzerland—as a tax haven and targeted it for sanctions.  It did not go well. During the two decades since, everything has changed yet seemingly from this lens of inclusion nothing has changed at all. Awkwardly similar “blacklists” still target ‘Black’ and ‘Brown’ jurisdictions despite the fact that experts mean something quite different when they speak of the harms caused by secrecy jurisdictions. We think differently in important respects, but we share a conviction that a more inclusive and more level playing field in the international tax arena would benefit all states.

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February 26, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bearer-Friend Presents Tax Without Cash Virtually Today At Duke

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) presents Tax Without Cash virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Bearer Friend (2021)This Article documents and evaluates tax obligations paid without cash, referred to as “in-kind tax paying.” Such forms of tax paying include paying federal income taxes by remitting a used, flatbed truck to the IRS, paying local property taxes by working a few hours a month answering phones at city hall, and paying state excise taxes by 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 been underexplored as a viable, and potentially appealing, form of tax remittance.

By providing an original taxonomy 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 occur in our current tax system. Second, it refutes the tacit presumption that in-kind remittance of tax obligations is not viable, thus expanding the tax tools available to local, state, and federal governments and demonstrating how narrow presumptions about tax remittance have predetermined core tax policy choices. Third, it confronts the substantial dangers of in-kind tax paying, using these risks to propose new principles for limiting the design and administration of in-kind tax paying.

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February 25, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Haslehner Presents International Tax Arbitration After BEPS Virtually Today At Boston College

Werner Haslehner (NYU; Google Scholar) presents International Tax Arbitration after BEPS (with Mike Kobetsky (Melbourne)) virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

W Haslehner_portraitAs international taxation rules become ever more complex – illustrated by the number of acronyms and jargon that have become so familiar to the ‘initiated’ in recent years (BEPS, MLI, PPT, LOB, Pillar One, Amount A, BEAT, GILTI, GLOBE, DST, anyone?) – calls for an internationalized system of dispute resolution have also become increasingly loud. Both the OECD and the EU are making a serious effort to provide taxpayers with access to effective remedies via tax arbitration. Yet acceptance of this mode of dispute resolution appears limited: only 30 States have adopted the relevant provision of the Multilateral Instrument for the modification of bilateral tax treaties – a number that still tends to overestimate the actual impact in practice! Meanwhile, the EU has adopted harmonized legislation giving a right to taxpayers to have cross-border disputes resolved by arbitration.

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February 24, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Galle Presents Making Money: Central Banks, Seigniorage, And The Fiscal System Virtually Today At Toronto

Brian Galle (Georgetown; Google Scholar) presents Making Money: Central Banks, Seigniorage, and the Fiscal System (with Yair Listokin (Yale; Google Scholar)) virtually at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Bdg9-200x300 (1)Conventional economic wisdom holds that governments cannot pay their bills by printing money. Running the printing press---or, at modern central banks, tapping a few keys to create electronic funds---causes inflation, and inflation can destroy economies. Yet as it turns out, since 2008 developed countries throughout the world have in effect printed trillions of dollars worth of new money without any real hint of inflation. In the United States, for example, this “seigniorage” (an Old French term for the power to mint coins) has produced revenue equivalent to 1⁄3 of all individual income taxes over the last decade.

The power of central banks to create revenue at this scale should transform how we think about the fiscal state, our system of taxing and spending. Yet because this phenomenon is new, runs contrary to decades of theory, and is not yet fully understood, no scholarship yet grapples with how governments should use seigniorage. Most nations’ basic architecture for revenue and spending decisions assume that taxes are the primary source of revenue. 

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February 24, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, February 19, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Wednesday, February 24: Werner Haslehner (NYU; Google Scholar) will present International Tax Arbitration after BEPS (with Mike Kobetsky (Melbourne)) virtually at Boston College as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Jim Repetti.

Wednesday, February 24: Brian Galle (Georgetown; Google Scholar) will present Making Money: Central Banks, Seigniorage, and the Fiscal System (with Yair Listokin (Yale; Google Scholar)) virtually at Toronto as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Angeliki Zacharakis.

Thursday, February 25: Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) will present Tax Without Cash virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Friday, February 26: Steven Dean (Brooklyn) will present Ten Truths About Tax Havens: Inclusion and the 'Liberia Problem' (with Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi; Google Scholar)) virtually at British Columbia as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Wei Cui.

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February 19, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Stark Presents Distributive Justice In International Tax Law Virtually Today At Florida

Johanna Stark (Max Planck Institute; Google Scholar) presents Distributive Justice in International Tax Law virtually at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

S200_johanna.starkRecent times have seen growing calls for considerations of justice to be given a greater role in international tax law. The main driver of these calls are distributive concerns, although agreement is still missing as to what this means in terms of both principle and practice. This paper asks whether it is the task of international tax law at all to implement principles of distributive justice beyond the national context and gives an overview of how the “global justice debate” in contemporary moral and political philosophy bears on this question. With regard to the more specific question of whether some states are, as a matter of distributive justice in particular, under a duty to agree to a redistribution of taxing rights to other states, the paper argues that it is crucial to differentiate between the collective level inhabited by states and international institutions on one hand, and individuals on the other. 

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February 19, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Brown Presents Tax Incentives And Sub-Saharan Africa Virtually Today At Duke

Karen Brown (George Washington) presents Tax Incentives and Sub-Saharan Africa virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

KarenBrown-03FINALThe economic viability of the poor economies of the developing world, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, continues to be a secondary focus of the high-income countries of the developed world as they move forward with projects to ensure international cooperation to combat tax avoidance and to harmonize the standards for evaluating the substantive integrity of national regimes. The 2013 Base Erosion Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) project of the G-20, coordinated and managed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”), has achieved an overhaul of tax standards, but that process did not place a sufficient emphasis on the particular concerns of the developing world. The OECD expressed concern and took action to include input from these nations, but this was near the end of the process of consensus formation.

By providing an opportunity for consultation, but only after the paradigms, dictates, and core principles were adopted in final reports issued in 2015, the developed world undermined meaningful input from Africa regarding the foundational principles of international tax reform.

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February 18, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Parada Presents Full Taxation: The Single-Tax Emperor’s New Clothes Virtually Today At Indiana

Leopoldo Parada (Leeds; Google Scholar) presents Full Taxation: The Single-Tax Emperor’s New Clothes virtually at Indiana today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Leandra Lederman:

Os6kwiVtIt has recently been argued in the international tax literature that the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project (BEPS) reflects and effectuates full taxation, namely an international norm that would suggest that all of a company’s income should be taxed in places where it has real business activities, representing a modern approach to the single-taxation paradigm. This article builds upon the concept of full taxation and argues that although rhetorically attractive, the concept is still conceptually inconsistent, particularly because it is incapable of providing any hints as regards where and who should finally be taxed. Moreover, it adopts an overinclusive and instrumental approach, the purpose of which appears to be only to legitimatise the use of coordinated provisions whose rationale attend exclusively to avoid the complete absence of taxation in cross-border transactions. 

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February 18, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, February 12, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Thursday, February 18:  Leopoldo Parada (Leeds; Google Scholar) will present Full Taxation: The Single-Tax Emperor’s New Clothes virtually at Indiana as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Leandra Lederman.

Thursday, February 18: Karen Brown (George Washington) will present Tax Incentives and Sub-Saharan Africa virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Friday, February 19: Johanna Stark (Max Planck Institute; Google Scholar) will present Distributive Justice in International Tax Law virtually at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Charlene Luke.

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February 12, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Choi Presents Beyond Purposivism In Tax Law Virtually Today At Florida

Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar) presents Beyond Purposivism in Tax Law virtually at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

Unnamed (6)The existence of tax shelters is one of the most important and persistent problems in tax law. And the traditional solution has been purposivism: if tax benefits are only granted when consistent with statutory purpose, then abusive tax shelters should theoretically be impossible. But this solution is incomplete. Although tax shelters claim benefits that exceed statutory purpose, so do many generally accepted tax strategies, like check-the-box elections and UPREITs. Purpose alone cannot separate abusive tax shelters from ordinary tax planning.

This Article therefore argues that we must go beyond purposivism in tax law, complementing purposivist techniques with either structuralism, pragmatism, or formalism. Structuralists find cohesive general purposes in the structure of the tax code; pragmatists apply normative judgments when statutory purposes run out; and formalists apply rules, like canons of construction, that provide determinate answers even when statutory purpose is ambiguous.

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February 12, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Morse Presents The Quasi-Global GILTI Tax Virtually Today At Duke

Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) presents The Quasi-Global GILTI Tax virtually at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series:

Sm55475-largeIt has become more difficult to frame the taxation of global corporate profit as a matter of national tax policy. For decades, the consensus starting point gave the corporate income tax national boundaries. Now, it seems more comfortable to think of some elements of the corporate income tax as global or at least quasi-global taxes – sources of public revenues levied on a world-wide basis.

Perhaps the U.S. minimum tax on global intangible low-taxed income, or GILTI approaches the  global tax description. The tax on GILTI, enacted in 2017, describes a tax base measured by the income of controlled foreign corporations or CFCs, such as corporate subsidiaries of U.S.-parented multinationals. This tax base roughly equals non-subpart F CFC income in excess of a 10% exempt return on tangible assets. GILTI is included in U.S. shareholders’ tax base subject to the allowance of a 50 percent deduction, which means that GILTI is taxed at a lower U.S. rate. The tax on GILTI is reduced (but not below zero) by a foreign tax credit equal to 80 percent of foreign taxes paid or accrued on the same income, where foreign taxes are calculated in the aggregate and not on a per-country basis.

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February 11, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Field Delivers Annual Tax Lecture On How Good Tax Lawyers Go Wrong Virtually Today At San Francisco

Heather Field (UC-Hastings; Google Scholar) delivers the annual E.L. Wiegand Visiting Fellow Lecture virtually at San Francisco today on How Good Tax Lawyers Go Wrong: Aggressive Tax Planning, Bounded Ethicality, and the Meaning of Ethical Tax Lawyering:

Field (2021)Ethical tax lawyering is about more than knowing the outer boundaries imposed by the rules of ethics and standards of tax practice. It is also about how to make difficult discretionary decisions within those boundaries. This talk will discuss different models of tax advising that can help tax lawyers make those discretionary decisions in a way that is consistent with the lawyer’s sense of ethics, even when providing advice for aggressive tax planning. In addition, this talk will discuss threats that hinder a lawyer’s ability to implement their preferred approach to tax advising. These threats include bounded ethicality, which is the idea that internal (e.g., psychological) and external (e.g., organizational) pressures can lead people to engage in ethically questionable behavior inconsistent with their preferences. This talk will then discuss several strategies that can help prevent lawyers from succumbing to these threats and crossing lines they do not want to cross.

Update:  The video of the lecture is here:

Prior E.L. Wiegand Visiting Fellow Lectures:

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February 9, 2021 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Monday, February 8, 2021

Faulhaber Presents Excess Returns And The Search For Substantial Activities Virtually Today In California

Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown; Google Scholar) presents Excess Returns and the Search for Substantial Activities virtually in California as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0263e9793a37200b-200wi (1)Starting 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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February 8, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, February 5, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, February 8:  Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown; Google Scholar) will present Excess Returns and the Search for Substantial Activities virtually in California as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series. If you would like to attend, please contact San Diego Law Events.

Tuesday, February 9: Heather Field (UC-Hastings; Google Scholar) will deliver the annual E.L. Wiegand Visiting Fellow Lecture virtually at San Francisco on How Good Tax Lawyers Go Wrong: Aggressive Tax Planning, Bounded Ethicality, and the Meaning of Ethical Tax Lawyering. If you would like to attend, please contact Kenji Quijano.

Thursday, February 11: Susan Morse (Texas; Google Scholar) will present The Quasi-Global GILTI Tax virtually at Duke as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact  Richard Schmalbeck or Lawrence Zelenak.

Friday, February 12: Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar) will present Beyond Purposivism in Tax Law virtually at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Charlene Luke.

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February 5, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

De Mooij Presents Tax Policy For Inclusive Growth After The Pandemic Virtually Today At British Columbia

Ruud De Mooij (IMF) presents Tax Policy For Inclusive Growth After the Pandemic virtually at University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:

RuudThis paper discusses the theory and practice of tax design to achieve an efficient and equitable outcome, i.e. in support of inclusive growth. It starts with a discussion of the key principles from tax theory to guide practical tax design. Then, it elaborates on more granular tax policy, discussing key choices in the structure of the personal income tax on labor and capital income, taxes on wealth, the corporate income tax, and consumption taxes. The paper concludes by highlighting the political economy considerations of the issues with concrete recommendations as to how to implement tax reform.

About our speaker:

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February 5, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

11th Annual Tax Policy Lecture On Is Universal Basic Income A Good Idea? Virtually Today At Florida

The University of Florida Law Graduate Tax Program hosts the 11th Annual Ellen Bellet Gelberg Tax Policy Lecture virtually today on Is Universal Basic Income a Good Idea? (Zoom link):

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February 5, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Kleiman Presents Impoverishment By Taxation Virtually Today At Boston College

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego; Google Scholar) presents Impoverishment by Taxation virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:

6606Viewed in the aggregate, the U.S. fiscal system is progressive, reduces inequality, and cuts poverty. The system improves on market outcomes by transferring income from rich to poor. Yet this bird’s eye view rings hollow on the ground, where millions of low-income taxpayers across the United States are made poor or poorer by paying their state and federal taxes. In truth, while the U.S. fiscal system may be broadly equalizing and poverty reducing, for many struggling households, it is impoverishing.

This Article offers a new way to measure taxation of low-income households in the United States, presenting a concept called fiscal impoverishment. Taxpayers are fiscally impoverished when they are made poor or poorer by paying state and federal taxes, after accounting for the offsetting cash or near-cash public benefits they receive. 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 individual human dignity and implicates the economic responsibilities of the state vis-à-vis low-income taxpayers.

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February 3, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Christians Presents The Rise Of Cooperative Surplus Taxation Virtually Today At Toronto

Allison Christians (McGill; Google Scholar) presents The Rise of Cooperative Surplus Taxation (with Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (McGill)) virtually at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Allison_christians_2019The 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. This Article examines the fourteen and argues that among them, those seeking to tax revenue flows at source have the best chance to alter the distribution of cooperative surplus in the immediate term, provided some formalistic tropes can be overcome.

About our speaker:

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February 3, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, January 29, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Wednesday, February 3: Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego) will present Impoverishment by Taxation virtually at Boston College as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Jim Repetti.

Wednesday, February 3: Allison Christians (McGill) will present The Rise of Cooperative Surplus Taxation (with Tarcisio Diniz Magalhaes (McGill)) virtually at Toronto as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Angeliki Zacharakis.

Friday, February 5: William G. Gale (Brookings), Daniel Hemel (Chicago), Melissa Kearney (Maryland), and Ioana E. Marinescu (Pennsylvania) will address Is Universal Basic Income a Good Idea? virtually at Florida for the 11th Annual Ellen Bellet Gelberg Tax Policy Lecture. If you would like to attend, please contact Charlene Luke.

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January 29, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Gamage Presents Wealth Tax And Accrual Income Tax Reform Virtually Today At Minnesota

David Gamage (Indiana) presents On The Why And How Of Wealth Tax And Accrual Income Tax Reforms virtually at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series hosted by Kristin Hickman:

Gamage-davidDrawing from his own materials to be distributed to attendees, our speaker will argue that either wealth tax or accrual income tax reforms are needed to fix the ways in which the existing tax system is broken with respect to mega-millionaires and billionaires. He will also describe his tax reform work for designing and implementing wealth tax or accrual income tax reforms at the U.S. state level.

About our speaker:

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January 29, 2021 in Colloquia, Scott Fruehwald, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Glogower Presents Taxes By Omission Online Today At Toronto

Ari Glogower (Ohio State) presents Taxes By Omission virtually at Toronto as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Glogower.2This Article introduces the term “taxes by omission”—private costs incurred by taxpayers resulting from the non-provision by the government of goods or services—and considers its implications for economic inequality, tax progressivity, and the distributional analysis of tax reforms. For an example of taxes by omission, proponents of universal government-provided healthcare in the U.S. have recently argued that a reform package of tax increases used to fund broadened government-provided healthcare would not result in a net tax increase for middle-income beneficiaries, since the beneficiaries are already taxed under current law when they incur costs for private healthcare. Others characterized these private healthcare costs as taxes when evaluating the progressivity of the taxes and spending and argued that the overall system is likely regressive after accounting for these private costs that could instead be provided by the government.

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January 27, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Monday, January 25, 2021

Choi Presents Beyond Purposivism In Tax Law Virtually Today In California

Jonathan Choi (Minnesota) presents Beyond Purposivism in Tax Law virtually in California as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

Unnamed (6)The existence of tax shelters is one of the most important and persistent problems in tax law. And the traditional solution has been purposivism: if tax benefits are only granted when consistent with statutory purpose, then abusive tax shelters should theoretically be impossible. But this solution is incomplete. Although tax shelters claim benefits that exceed statutory purpose, so do many generally accepted tax strategies, like check-the-box elections and UPREITs. Purpose alone cannot separate abusive tax shelters from ordinary tax planning.

This Article therefore argues that we must go beyond purposivism in tax law, complementing purposivist techniques with either structuralism, pragmatism, or formalism. Structuralists find cohesive general purposes in the structure of the tax code; pragmatists apply normative judgments when statutory purposes run out; and formalists apply rules, like canons of construction, that provide determinate answers even when statutory purpose is ambiguous.

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January 25, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, January 22, 2021

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshops

Monday, January 25:  Jonathan Choi (Minnesota) will present Beyond Purposivism in Tax Law virtually in California as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series. If you would like to attend, please contact San Diego Law Events.

Wednesday, January 27: Ari Glogower (Ohio State) will present Taxes By Omission virtually at Toronto as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Angeliki Zacharakis.

Friday, January 29:  David Gamage (Indiana) will present On The Why And How Of Wealth Tax And Accrual Income Tax Reforms virtually at Minnesota today as part of its Perspectives on Taxation Lecture Series. If you would like to attend, please contact Kristin Hickman.

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January 22, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Walker Presents Tax Complexity and Technology Virtually Today At Boston University

David Walker (Boston University) presents Tax Complexity and Technology virtually at Boston University today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

Walker (2016)The federal income tax code has become increasingly complex over time with the implication that many taxpayers no longer understand the connection between their life decisions and their taxes. Some commentators have suggested that increasing computational complexity may be attributable in part to the proliferation of tax preparation software that renders such complexity manageable at filing time, but otherwise does nothing to mitigate the “black box” nature of the tax system. While such complexity and opacity undercut explicit incentives embedded in the Code, make planning more difficult, and undermine political accountability for taxes, they may also reduce the inefficient distortion or deadweight loss of the income tax, particularly with respect to higher-income taxpayers.

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January 21, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Layser Presents Redevelopment Tax Incentives And Gentrification Online Today At Toronto

Michelle Layser (Illinois) presents Redevelopment Tax Incentives and Gentrification: A Spatial Analysis online at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Michelle-Layser (1)Place-based tax incentives, such as the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) and Opportunity Zones incentives, are often used to promote investment in low-income census tracts. Critics fear that when gentrifying neighborhoods are eligible for incentives, they will attract investment away from the neighborhoods that need it most. However, few studies have provided empirical analysis to assess whether these concerns have merit. Through a novel geospatial analysis of the location patterns of tax-subsidized projects, this Article provides new evidence of inequitable distributions of tax credits, which can inhibit their ability to benefit struggling communities. These findings have profound implications for the federal and state NMTC programs, as well as the new Opportunity Zones law. This Article analyzes 15 years of NMTC data to explore location patterns of tax subsidized investments in 20 U.S. cities. It employs spatial analysis methods to describe the location patterns of investment and their relationship to two variables known to correlate with gentrification: high vacancy rates and increasing rental rates.

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January 20, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Mason Presents The Legality Of Digital Taxes In Europe Online Today At Toronto

Ruth Mason (Virginia) presents The Legality of Digital Taxes in Europe (with Leopoldo Parada (Leeds)) online at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Mason_ruthThis essay argues that EU taxpayers may challenge digital services taxes as violations of EU law. Specifically, because digital services taxes exempt all but the very largest companies, which are disproportionately foreign, such taxes result in nationality discrimination as applied. As part of our analysis of the legality of digital taxes, we consider what role discriminatory intent should play in resolving nationality discrimination cases. We also evaluate potential justifications for digital taxes, and we argue that two recent decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union suggest that the Court will uphold such taxes against challenges by taxpayers, but we explain how those cases could be distinguished.

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January 13, 2021 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Avi-Yonah Presents COVID-19 And U.S. Tax Policy Virtually Today At Utah

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) presents COVID-19 and U.S. Tax Policy: What Needs to Change? virtually today at Utah as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Young Ran (Christine) Kim:

Avi yonahThe COVID-19 Pandemic already feels like a historical turning point akin to Word Wars I and II and the Great Depression. It may signal the end of the second period of globalization (1980-2020) and a change in the relative positions of the US and China. It could also lead in the US to significant changes in tax policy designed to bolster the social safety net which was revealed as very porous during the pandemic. In what follows I will first discuss some short-term effects of the pandemic and then some potential longer-term effects on US tax policy.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Scharff Presents Revisiting Local Income Taxes Virtually Today At NYU

Erin Scharff (Arizona State) presents Revisiting Local Income Taxes (with Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)) virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a4e58128200d-150wiIt has been decades since legal scholarship has seriously explored the role of income tax laws in municipal finance, but recent federal and state court cases are changing the laws related to municipal income taxation. At the same time, local governments are increasingly searching for new sources of revenue, especially as they face increasing pension obligations and increasing maintenance costs on aging infrastructure. Independently, and in part as a response to rising income inequality, there has been a resurgence in interest in progressive taxation. So far, however, this political moment has not resulted in significant reforms to local tax policy, in large part because of the limited authority local governments often have under state law. As local activists and policymakers begin to think about how to rebuild city budgets post-Covid, they will once again be looking for new local revenue options.

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December 1, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 27, 2020

Next Week's Virtual Tax Workshop

Tuesday, December 1: Erin Scharff (Arizona State) will present Revisiting Local Income Taxes 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 27, 2020 in Colloquia, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

NTA 113th Annual Conference On Taxation

Highlights of the third day of the National Tax Association's virtual 113th Annual Conference on Taxation (full program here):

National Tax Association (2016)

Advances in Tax Administration
Session Chair: Elliott Ash (ETH Zurich)

Behavioral Issues in Tax Administration & Retirement Plans
Session Chair: Jason Seligman (Investment Company Institute)

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November 21, 2020 in Conferences, 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)