Paul L. Caron
Dean



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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

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

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

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September 23, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Buchanan Presents Confessions Of A Recovering Economist Virtually Today At Oregon

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

Polsky Presents Taxing Buybacks Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

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

PolskyHead_0-2-262x300A recent rise in the volume of corporate share repurchases has prompted calls for changes to the rules governing stock buybacks. These calls for reform are animated by concerns that buybacks enrich corporate executives at the expense of productive investment. This emerging anti-buyback movement includes presidential candidates as well as academics and Republicans as well as Democrats. The primary focus of buyback critics has been on securities law changes to deter repurchases, with only passing mention of potential tax law solutions.

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

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

Hemel Presents Clarifying The Role Of Redistribution In Cost-Benefit Analysis Virtually Today In California

Daniel Hemel (Chicago) presents Clarifying the Role of Redistribution in Cost-Benefit Analysis virtually today as part of the San Diego-Davis-Hastings Tax Law Speaker Series:

UnnamedCost-benefit analysis is the standard method for policy evaluation across U.S. federal executive-branch agencies. Cost-benefit analysis, as traditionally implemented by federal agencies, does not explicitly account for changes in income redistribution or the resource costs of income redistribution. Rising concern about income inequality—including but not limited to income inequality across racial and ethnic groups—has focused new attention on this feature of cost-benefit analysis and has generated renewed criticism of the redistribution-neutral approach.

This paper seeks to clarify the role of income redistribution in agency cost-benefit analysis and articulate conditions under which regulatory evaluation should account for distributive consequences. In particular, it seeks to provide concrete guidance to a hypothetical incoming presidential administration regarding top-down policies for regulatory evaluation across the executive branch. Part I distinguishes among traditional (redistribution-neutral) cost-benefit analysis, wealth maximization, and social welfare analysis. It explains why traditional redistribution-neutral cost-benefit analysis and social welfare analysis are potentially justifiable methods for policy evaluation but wealth maximization is not. Part II considers three justifications for the traditional redistribution-neutral approach.

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

Friday, September 11, 2020

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

Revuen S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan) presents A New Corporate Tax, 99 Tax Notes Int’l 497 (July 27, 2020), virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

'aviyonahThe US corporate tax is over 100 years old, and many academic observers have doubted its value. The standard explanation for why we tax corporations is that it is an indirect tax on shareholders, but that is not a valid reason to have a corporate tax because (a) shareholders can be taxed directly and (b) many shareholders are tax exempt and should not be taxed at all. However, there is another reason to tax corporations, which was in fact the original rationale why we adopted the corporate tax in 1909: To limit the power of large monopolistic corporations and regulate their activities. If that is the reason for the corporate tax, the US should have a different tax structure than the current 21% flat tax. 

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September 11, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Piketty Presents Unequal Societies: Slavery, Abolition, And Long-Run Consequences Virtually Today At UC-Berkeley

Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics) presents Unequal Societies: Slavery, Abolition, and Long-Run Consequences, in Capital and Ideology (Harvard University Press 2020) virtually at UC-Berkeley today as part of its Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance Seminar Series:

Piketty 4Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left are failing us today, and outlines the structure of a fairer economic system.

Our economy, Piketty observes, is not a natural fact. Markets, profits, and capital are all historical constructs that depend on choices. Piketty explores the material and ideological interactions of conflicting social groups that have given us slavery, serfdom, colonialism, communism, and hypercapitalism, shaping the lives of billions. He concludes that the great driver of human progress over the centuries has been the struggle for equality and education and not, as often argued, the assertion of property rights or the pursuit of stability. The new era of extreme inequality that has derailed that progress since the 1980s, he shows, is partly a reaction against communism, but it is also the fruit of ignorance, intellectual specialization, and our drift toward the dead-end politics of identity.

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September 9, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Sarin Presents Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investments Virtually Today At NYU

Natasha Sarin (Pennsylvania) presents Understanding the Revenue Potential of Tax Compliance Investments virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

NsarinIn a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological advancements; 3) the estimates assume rapidly diminishing returns to marginal increases in investment; 4) the estimates leave out the effect of increased enforcement on taxpayer decisionmaking; and 5) the use of the 10-year window means that the long-run benefits of increased enforcement are excluded.

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

Lederman Presents Best Practices In Tax Rulings Transparency Virtually Today At UC-Hastings

Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington) presents Of Risks and Remedies: Best Practices in Tax Rulings Transparency virtually at UC-Hastings today as part of its Tax Speakers Series hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:

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

The 2014 “LuxLeaks” scandal, revealing what the press sometimes termed “sweetheart deals” between the Luxembourg tax authority and multinational companies, is probably the best-known scandal regarding tax rulings. LuxLeaks helped trigger legal changes that require tax authorities, including those of European countries and the United States, to automatically share information about cross-border advance rulings with other countries’ tax authorities. Luxembourg’s tax rulings, along with U.S. APAs, otherwise remain confidential.

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

Monday, September 7, 2020

Hatfield Presents Tax Lawyer Professional Standards, 1985-2015 Virtually Today At Christ's College, Cambridge

Michael Hatfield (University of Washington) presents The Rise of Law and the Fall of Circular 230: Tax Lawyer Professional Standards, 1985-2015 at the 29th Annual Tax Research Network Conference virtually today at Christ’s College, Cambridge:

HatfieldMichael (2017)This Article is forthcoming in the Florida Tax Review. It completes the series on the history of professional responsibility standards for US tax lawyers since 1945. The first article in the series was published in 2012: Legal Ethics and Federal Taxes, 1945-1965: Patriotism, Duties, and Advice, 12 Fla. Tax Rev. 1 (2012); and the second in 2014: Committee Opinions and Treasury Regulation: Tax Lawyer Ethics, 1965-1985, 14 Fla. Tax Rev. 675 (2014). These two articles explored the development of professional responsibility standards for tax lawyers from 1945-1985.

This third article focuses on the two issues that dominated discussions of professional responsibility standards for tax lawyers in the 1985-2015 period: return position standards and tax shelter opinions.

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Field Presents Allocating Tax Transition Risk Online Today At UC-Irvine

Heather Field (UC-Hastings) presents Allocating Tax Transition Risk online at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Joshua Blank, Victor Fleischer, and Omri Marian:

Ad1d0ae1d958e426ce3c29214b55f3131435610036_lThe enactment of sweeping tax changes in late 2017 by Republicans without any bipartisan support and the calls by Democrats to reverse those changes (and make more) when they regain political power create an unstable tax landscape that is challenging for taxpayers who are trying to make economic decisions that are affected by tax law. One strategy for grappling with this instability and uncertainty is for taxpayers to use contracts to allocate the economic benefits and burdens of a possible future tax law change among themselves. The literature says almost nothing about this contract-based strategy for managing tax transition risk. This gap is surprising because (a) the leading view on tax transition policy argues that taxpayers should account for the risk of tax law changes the same way they take other market risks into account when making decisions, and (b) private contracting is a well-accepted method for addressing market risks. To fill this gap, this Article uses four case studies—involving derivatives, credit agreements, municipal bonds, and merger agreements—to demonstrate that taxpayers are using tax transition risk-shifting contracts and to illustrate how this risk-management strategy varies. 

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Wallace Presents Democratic Justice In Tax Policymaking Virtually Today At NYU

Clinton Wallace (South Carolina) presents Democratic Justice in Tax Policymaking virtually at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

Wallace_clintonThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the most significant tax law in more than three decades, but the strategy for getting it enacted included a variety of maneuvers to avoid public scrutiny. As a result, many taxpayers did not know how they would be affected until they filed their own tax returns more than a year later. This Article identifies this lack of transparency as part of a persistent pathology in tax policy making of avoiding and constraining democratic forces. To this end, various scholars and policy makers have sought to channel tax policy making away from democratic input and towards prescribed outcomes. This Article argues that these moves are grounded in strands of public choice theory that are expressly critical of democratic decision making.

This Article proposes four reforms to tax lawmaking in Congress to make resulting tax laws more democratically legitimate. One proposal, for example, is to require Congress to consider (and publicize) precisely how a proposed change in tax law is expected to affect different example taxpayers, including taxpayers from each Congressional District. This would allow actual taxpayers observing the policy making process to anticipate their treatment under a proposed law, and in turn demand greater responsiveness to their real interests from their representatives. Other proposals build on this approach, calling for drastically more transparency and a radical—but entirely achievable—reworking of the types of analysis produced and publicized in the federal tax legislative process.

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

Friday, August 28, 2020

Wallace Presents Democratic Justice In Tax Policy Making Virtually Today At Florida

Clint Wallace (South Carolina) presents Democratic Justice in Tax Policy Making virtually today at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series:

Wallace (2019)The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the most significant tax law in more than three decades, but the strategy for getting it enacted included a variety of maneuvers to avoid public scrutiny. As a result, many taxpayers did not know how they would be affected until they filed their own tax returns more than a year later. This Article identifies this lack of transparency as part of a persistent pathology in tax policy making of avoiding and constraining democratic forces. To this end, various scholars and policy makers have sought to channel tax policy making away from democratic input and towards prescribed outcomes. This Article argues that these moves are grounded in strands of public choice theory that are expressly critical of democratic decision making.

This Article proposes four reforms to tax lawmaking in Congress to make resulting tax laws more democratically legitimate.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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

Steven Dean (NYU) presents A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:

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

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

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

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Call For Papers: Conference On Law And Macroeconomics

Call for Papers - Conference on Law and Macroeconomics:

The economic devastation caused by Covid-19 triggered a slew of new research on law’s role in mediating the business cycle, economic growth, and inequality.

We welcome submissions for an online conference on October 15, 2020 that will continue to explore connections between law and the macroeconomy.

Papers may address the role of law, regulation, and institutions in:

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August 20, 2020 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Victor Presents The Taxman’s Guide To The Galaxy Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Ee1RV9SXoAAL4wHMonica Victor presents The Taxman’s Guide to the Galaxy: Allocating Taxing Rights in the Space Economy today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

Recently, big investors have demonstrated significant interest in outer space commercial activities such as space colonies, trips, and mining extraction. The commercial use and exploration of outer space may soon be feasible by automation, artificial intelligence, and innovative materials available for manufacturing spacecrafts and other gears. In that context, the international taxation legal system will have to provide rules on the allocation of taxing rights in the space economy. The present paper was conceived to provide a theoretical framework for the taxation of the space economy by analyzing the net of international legal instruments that may guide both tax authorities and taxpayers carrying on commercial activities in outer space.

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

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Dean Presents A Constitutional Moment In Cross-Border Taxation Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a4dfd996200d-250wiSteven Dean (NYU) presents A Constitutional Moment in Cross-Border Taxation today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

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

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

García Antón Presents Enhancing The Group Interest In Transfer Pricing Analysis Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Ricardo García Antón (Tilburg) presents EnEdpIUSVWAAA6gavhancing the Group Interest in Transfer Pricing Analysis today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

The fact that the arm´s length principle is anchored in the separate entity principle yields a transfer analysis, which almost neglects the integrated economic reality of the group of companies. While tax law builds up this fiction of related companies acting as if they were standalone companies, corporate law has been conversely more responsive to the economic reality of the group. Such integrated economic reality in the groups of companies requires a specific answer of the tax law, rather than simply ignoring the power dynamics under the separate legal entity principle. The need to reframe the arm’s length standard to match the group dynamics becomes now urgent under the new profit allocation rules derived from the OECD Unified Approach, which allocates the deemed residual profit taking into account the group as a whole.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Dourado Presents The Digital Economy And Tax Policy Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

Ana-paula-douradoAna Paula Dourado (Lisbon) presents The Concept of Digital Economy for Tax Purposes: A Reassessment today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

In this paper, I will start by discussing the meaning of the digital revolution and its consequences for state sovereignty. I will then analyse the three major factors that govern the current tax policy discussion about the digital economy, in order of importance: (1) the evolution of the digital economy and its business models—or even better, essentially how the OECD described these models; (2) fair allocation of taxing rights; and (3) the internet model and approach to data protection, taking into account the knowledge discovery and data mining (KDDM) business model.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Devereux Presents The OECD Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal Today At The Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series

DevereuxMichael Devereux (Oxford) presents The OECD Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal: An Evaluation (with  François Bares, Sarah Clifford, Judith Freedman, İrem Güçeri, Martin McCarthy, Martin Simmler & John Vella (Oxford)) today as part of the Indiana/Leeds Summer Zoom Tax Workshop Series hosted by Leandra Lederman (Indiana) and Leopoldo Parada (Leeds):

The OECD’s “Global Anti-Base Erosion” (GloBE) proposal was formally introduced in January 2019 as part of a consultation on “Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy” (OECD, 2019a). It is currently being considered by the members of the Inclusive Framework, who are commited to reach an agreement on a consensus-based solution by the end of 2020 (OECD, 2020). While the proposal arose in the context of the debate about taxing digital businesses, it clearly has broader ambitions and, indeed, a broader scope – it targets the system for taxing business profit in an international tax setting as a whole.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hasen Presents Debt And Taxes Virtually Today At Florida

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

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

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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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

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

Allen Eric1-1

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

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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

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

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

Daly 2

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

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

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

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 1, 2020

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Eyal-Cohen Reviews How Not To Give People Money During a Pandemic

This week, Mirit Eyal-Cohen (Alabama) reviews Pamela Foohey (Indiana-Bloomington), Dalié Jiménez (UC-Irvine), and Christopher K. Odinet (Oklahoma), CARES Act Gimmicks: How Not To Give People Money During a Pandemic And What To Do Instead, 2020 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 81 (2020):

Mirit-Cohen (2018)

This timely essay scrutinizes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act in its aim to deliver economic relief. The main aspects of the CARES act provide individuals and families direct cash payments (“recovery rebates”), unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, foreclosure and eviction moratorium, and student loan suspension. The authors focus their attention on the first two.

The CARES act provides every household with direct payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 for every child under the age of 16. These amounts phase out based on AGI figures from previously filed tax returns by $5 for every $100 of income over an applicable threshold. The act also provides additional unemployment benefits of $600 per week to assist families during the crisis without making substantial changes in their spending and consumption. While both benefits do not cover all lost pay (past years’ national average weekly benefit was $387 and varied by state), they relax the pressure of job loss and allow individuals to continue to purchase food and supplies and pay for utilities while looking for new employment. They help maintain consumption and the nation’s economic activity. The CARES act also extends the duration of unemployment insurance and lowers the standards on eligibility requirements such as including individuals with insufficient work history, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.

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May 1, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops, Weekly SSRN Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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

Indiana LeedsFrom Leandra Lederman:

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Field Presents Allocating Tax Transition Risk Online Today At Georgetown

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

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

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

Thursday, April 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Viswanathan Presents Retheorizing Progressive Taxation Online Today At UC-Irvine

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Online At Florida

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

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

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

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Oglesby Presents Marijuana Tax Design Online Today At Duke

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 3, 2020

Avi-Yonah Presents Tax Expenditures Online Today At British Columbia

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Osofsky Presents Automated Legal Guidance Online Today At Duke

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

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

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

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

Avi-Yonah: Using The Corporate Tax Rather Than Antitrust To Curb The Power Of Big Tech

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan), Antitrust and the Corporate Tax: A Missed Opportunity?:

Big Tech have clearly become for early 21st century America what Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, and the railroads were to early 20th century America: The embodiment of corporate power that enjoys a near monopoly on an important segment of economic activity. In response, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed to treat the Big Tech as common carriers (forbidding them from selling their own goods and services on their platforms) and force them to dispose of their recent anti-competitive acquisitions. There may, however, be another way of reining in the power of the Big Techs that is less drastic than breaking them up, and may be a helpful complement to antitrust enforcement. This way derives from the other early 20th century innovation that was intended in 1909 to curb the power of the monopolies: The corporate tax.

The corporate tax can limit corporate power in three ways. First, even a low rate corporate tax requires corporations to provide the government with detailed information about their activities that is hard to obtain without a corporate tax (e.g., it forces them to calculate profits per taxing jurisdiction, which they may not otherwise do). Second, potentially the corporate tax, like any tax, involves the power to destroy if the rate is high enough. The knowledge that this could happen may limit the aggressiveness of corporate management (i.e., in the case of the Big Techs, their founders). Third and most important, the corporate tax can be used as a regulatory device, with the effective rate being raised or lowered either for specific desirable or undesirable activities (e.g., maintaining or compromising privacy) or in response to an overall corporate social responsibility score.

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