News about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been breaking by the hour, and for people like me who can’t look away from it, the whole situation is positively overwhelming. Fortunately, a team of researchers at Boston College Law School have already pulled together an excellent working paper that provides an analytical framework to bring the key issues into focus. Their paper, which will be “continually updated to reflect current developments,” is a must read for tax and fiscal policy researchers and lawmakers.
The paper begins by describing a trifecta of policy objectives that are relevant to fight the pandemic. The first objective is to provide a social safety net and social insurance for unemployed workers. Unemployment claims are skyrocketing as supply chains are disrupted and businesses are ordered to shut their doors for the purpose of social distancing. The authors identify several choice-of-delivery questions. Should assistance be delivered directly via cash infusions like universal basic income? Should benefits be tied to work? Should aid be provided to individuals or to businesses (to help avoid layoffs)? A central goal of the paper is to explore how these questions might be answered without undermining the other two objectives.
A recent rise in the volume of corporate share repurchases has prompted calls for changes to the rules governing stock buybacks. These calls for reform are animated by concerns that buybacks enrich corporate executives at the expense of productive investment. This emerging anti-buyback movement includes presidential candidates as well as academics and Republicans as well as Democrats. The primary focus of buyback critics has been on securities law changes to deter repurchases, with only passing mention of potential tax law solutions.
This article critically examines the policy arguments against buybacks and arrives at a mixed verdict. On the one hand, claims that buybacks reduce corporate investment and inappropriately reward executives turn out to be poorly supported. On the other hand, the article identifies legitimate tax-related concerns about the rising buyback tide. Buybacks exacerbate two of the U.S. tax system’s most severe flaws. The first is the “Mark Zuckerberg problem”: the effective nontaxation of firm founders on what is essentially labor income. The second is what we call the “Panama Papers problem”: the use of U.S. capital markets by investors in offshore tax havens to generate tax-free returns.
One of Justice Gorsuch’s reasons for objecting to Chevron deference in Guedes is well known to Chevron observers. Specifically, the interpretation of the relevant statute contained in the regulation could lead to criminal penalties in the future. I wrote about this concern many years ago. Since then, Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit has written eloquently about this issue, first in Carter v. Welles-Bowen Realty, and subsequently in Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch, arguing that the rule of lenity should take precedence over Chevron deference. The Supreme Court dodged that issue in Esquivel-Quintana by concluding that the statute in that case was otherwise clear. Oddly, although Justice Gorsuch in his Guedes statement cited Judge Sutton’s opinion in Esquivel-Quintana, Justice Gorsuch did not mention the rule of lenity by name. The Supreme Court’s statements regarding Chevron, civil cases, and the rule of lenity have been mixed over the years. In 2014, in a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Whitman v. United States, Justice Scalia called upon the Court in future to consider whether courts “owe deference to an executive agency’s interpretation of a law that contemplates both criminal and administrative enforcement,” also citing Judge Sutton. Although Esquivel-Quintana did not yield such consideration, perhaps Justice Gorsuch’s statement in Guedes will prompt litigants to try again regarding the relationship between Chevron and lenity. ...
As policymakers consider ways to provide relief during the public health crisis and economic downturn, tax policy can provide a set of tools to increase stability for both individuals and businesses.
Instead of simply reaching for fiscal stimulus with the goal of increasing economic activity, tax policy changes can give vulnerable individuals and businesses additional liquidity and space to survive the reduction in economic activity needed in light of the coronavirus outbreak. This reduces the impact of the economic downturn and public health problem in the short term while decreasing the amount of time needed to rebound once the crisis ends.
Each of the options below can be combined with policy proposals that provide economic support beyond the tax code and are separate from the White House proposal to suspend or cut the payroll tax. Each of these tax options have costs and trade-offs.
This is another story about law and time. Once, the giving of gifts was an intimate act. A gift was a kiss or a handshake in another form: it built trust, cemented alliances, celebrated bonds of love and friendship. Today, money is Popped, it is Zelle’d; it is bundled by ActBlue or Gofundme. Transfers that are unearned by labor or mutual exchange now occur remotely between strangers, and at scales that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Law quite simply has not kept up. My focus here will be on the taxation of gifts, but my analysis will stretch from that humble subject to sweep in global inequality, campaign finance, and the legal architecture of crowdfunding.
Since the beginning of this century, John Tiley organized an annual tax history conference at Cambridge, a tradition that was continued after his death under the leadership of Peter Harris. These are the papers from the ninth Cambridge Tax Law History Conference, held in July 2018. In the usual manner, the papers have been selected from an oversupply of proposals for their interest and relevance, and scrutinized and edited to the highest standard for inclusion in this prestigious series. The result is an outstanding book, with many high quality contributions to historical tax research.
The papers fall within five basic themes. Four papers focus on tax theory: Bentham; social contract and tax governance; Schumpeter's 'thunder of history'; and the resurgence of the benefits theory. Three involve the history of UK specific interpretational issues: management expenses; anti-avoidance jurisprudence; and identification of professionals. A further three concern specific forms of UK tax on road travel, land and capital gains. One paper considers the formation of HMRC and another explains aspects of nineteenth-century taxation by reference to Jane Austen characters. Four consider aspects of international taxation: development of EU corporate tax policy; history of Dutch tax planning; the important 1942 Canada–US tax treaty; and the 1928 League of Nations model tax treaties on tax evasion. Also included are papers on the effects of WWI on the New Zealand income tax and development of anti-tax avoidance rules in China.
The 2017 tax law is making life harder for U.S. businesses that suffer sudden losses, and Congress is under pressure to relax some of those provisions as the economy reels from the impact of the coronavirus.
To help pay for cutting the corporate tax rate, the law curtailed deductions for net operating losses and interest. The changes to loss deductions, in particular, make it harder for companies to use today’s losses against past profits and claim quick refunds for cash infusions.
The previous tax law “was a classic automatic stabilizer, helping businesses weather an economic storm,” said Martin Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts, the nonprofit publisher of Tax Notes. “This is especially important now because businesses, large and small, are seeking liquidity.”
A promising new school of statutory interpretation has emerged that tries to wed the work of Congress with that of the courts by tying interpretation to congressional process. The primary challenge to this process-based interpretive approach is the difficulty in reconstructing the legislative process. Scholars have proposed leveraging Congress’s procedural frameworks and rules as reliable heuristics to that end. This Article starts from that premise but will add wrinkles to it. The complications stem from the fact that each rule is adopted for distinct reasons and is applied differently across contexts. As investigation into these particularities proceeds, it becomes apparent that the complications are also rooted in something deeper—that Congress’s procedures are often hollow, even fraudulent. Congress, it turns out, breaks its own rules with impunity.
The IRS faces the monumental task of verifying, to the extent possible, the tax consequences reported on the hundreds of millions of tax returns filed each year. It does so with meager and shrinking resources. Some taxpayers burden the filing system more than others. At one extreme, a taxpayer who earns only income that is subject to third-party reporting and withholding and who claims the standard deduction adds very little to the IRS’s burden. At the other end of the extreme, a large business engaged in numerous complex transactions the tax treatment of which are not free from doubt demands significant resources if that taxpayer’s claimed tax outcomes are fully examined. In light of this landscape, this Article makes the novel proposal that Congress require payment of a tax return filing fee by some taxpayers. The amount of the fee would vary based on some of the factors that make each taxpayer more or less difficult to audit, with carveouts for difficult-to-audit items that are disproportionately claimed by lower-income individuals.
The United States is currently trying to manage a fast-moving public health crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). The economic and financial ramifications of the outbreak are serious. This Working Paper discusses these ramifications and identifies three interrelated but potentially conflicting policy priorities at stake in managing the economic and financial fallout of the COVID-19 crisis: (1) providing social insurance 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. The confluence of these three policy considerations and the potential conflicts among them make the outbreak a significant and unique regulatory challenge for policymakers, and one for which the consequences of getting it wrong are dire.
This Working Paper—which will be continually updated to reflect current developments—will analyze the major legislative and other policy initiatives that are being proposed and enacted to manage the economic and financial aspects of the COVID-19 crisis by examining these initiatives through the lens of these three policy priorities.
Transactional tax lawyers, by rendering tax opinions, provide a version of insurance to clients. This insurance is clearly incomplete, but by providing a tax opinion, a lawyer conditionally agrees to indemnify the client for at least part of the potential loss the client incurs if the favorable tax treatment described in the opinion is successfully challenged. Although insurance is not the primary function of transactional tax lawyers, and although this Article does not argue that tax opinions should be regulated as insurance, indemnification — a key element of insurance — is an important part of the economic relationship between a client and a lawyer who provides a tax opinion. Surprisingly, this insurance-like function has been largely overlooked in the literature. Thus, by identifying and exploring the insurance-like aspect of the transactional tax lawyer’s role, this Article fills a gap in the literature and offers a new framework for understanding the value of tax lawyers.
An insidious form of racism is facilitated by those who are heedless of structural inequities — or in this instance, the fact that legal structures have been developed to protect the experiences of those who are white, with an underlying obliviousness to the fact that persons of color may have a different experience. Almost 80% of the United States’ four centuries of existence has involved racialized slavery and extreme racial segregation. The subject of structural discrimination should be almost noncontroversial by this point: established social and political structures have been built upon a foundation of racial inequality, inherently conferring power and privilege to some, while perpetuating the marginalization of others. A system that treats equally those who are positioned unequally will only serve to exacerbate the pre-existing inequalities.
With each economic recession, scholars, pundits, and lawmakers focus on what the Federal government can do to mitigate it. In this Article, I argue that there is an important role for local tax law in managing recessions. Since real property taxes are the most important revenue source for local governments, we should pay special attention to the ways that they help or hurt communities recover. Property taxes have been praised for providing localities with a steady revenue source even during downturns, but this Article uses evidence from Maryland to uncover the burdens placed on households by laws designed to stabilize property tax revenues. These laws increase homeowner mortgage defaults and home sales, increase the use of tax refund anticipation loans, and they reduce discretionary spending by households at the time that it is most needed to prop up the local economy.
The country created the most individuals last year -- 13,443 -- with fortunes of $30 million or more, according to Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report. China was second with 7,892 new ultra-high-net-worth individuals, while Japan was a distant third.
This article summarizes and provides context to understand the most important developments in federal income taxation for the year 2019. The items discussed primarily consist of the following: (i) significant amendments to the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) important judicial decisions; and (iii) noteworthy administrative rulings and regulations promulgated by the Service and the Treasury Department. This article primarily focuses on subjects of broad general interest — tax accounting rules, determination of gross income, allowable deductions, treatment of capital gains and losses, corporate and partnership taxation, exempt organizations, and procedure and penalties.
‘The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You” read a headline in the New York Times last fall. This astounding claim, presented in the media as fact and evidence of inequities baked into President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, came from two economists at the University of California, Berkeley. Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman asserted that 2018 was the first year in U.S. history that the average tax rate on the 400 wealthiest income earners dipped below the rates paid by the lower-middle class and poor.
Finally, we had proof the rich weren’t paying their fair share. But new data from the Internal Revenue Service suggest it isn’t true.
Taxpayer petitions must still be filed in hard copy. So you still need to understand the §7502 mailbox rules and the case of Sara M. Thomas and David A. Thomas v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2020-33 (Mar. 11, 2020) (Judge Vasquez) teaches us a useful lesson. There, taxpayers mailed their petition on March 5, 2018, the last day of the 90 day period. When received by the Tax Court the envelope had two postmarks, one from a private postage meter that read “March 5” and one from the USPS that read “March 6.” Relying on the applicable regulation, the Court said it was the USPS postmark that counted and dismissed the case for being filed late.
At one level this case is a straightforward lesson about the mailbox rules. But it also illustrates one meaning of the phrase “Rule of Law.” You would not think Tax Court opinions would deal with legal philosophy. But they sometimes so. Details below the fold.
In 2019, the Seventh Circuit decided an Establishment Clause question that had been percolating through the courts for two decades [Gaylor v. Mnuchin]. It held that the parsonage allowance, which permits “ministers of the gospel” to receive an untaxed housing allowance, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. It grounded its conclusion in part on the “historical significance” test the Supreme Court established in its Town of Greece v. Galloway decision.
In coming to that conclusion, the Seventh Circuit cited a 200-year unbroken history of property tax exemptions for religious property. According to the Seventh Circuit, that history demonstrated that both the Founders and subsequent generations of Americans recognized that there was no constitutional problem with exempting parsonages.
The court’s historical significance analysis was fundamentally flawed, however.
We are an intensely social species, and often a rivalrous one, prone to measuring ourselves in terms of others, and often directly against others. Accordingly, relative position matters to our sense of wellbeing, although excluded from standard economic models that look only at the utility derived from own consumption of commodities plus leisure. For example, people can have deep-seated psychological responses to inequality and social hierarchy, creating the potential for extreme wealth differences to invoked feelings of superiority and inferiority, or dominance and subordination, that may powerfully affect how we relate to each other.
The tools that one needs to understand how and why this matters include the sociological and the qualitative. I use the particular tool of in-depth studies of particular classic works of literature (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice through Theodore Dreiser’s The Financier and The Titan) that offer suggestive insights regarding the felt experiences around high-end inequality at different times and from different perspectives.
When a working-class divorced couple takes turns caring for the kids, who deserves a hefty income subsidy to help offset the cost?
Do the fees that college students pay to join a club or play a sport count as an education expense? What about the books they buy?
Should at-home genetic tests count as a health care expenditure worthy of a public subsidy? How about acupuncture, or massage?
These are the types of questions that, under the U.S.’s peculiar approach, fall not to elected officials, nor to the agencies in charge of family welfare, education and health care. Rather, they are the province of the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS has issued two new guidance on tax issues related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies–Notice 2014-21 and Rev. Rul. 2019-24. However, by no means, has the guidance answered all questions surrounding the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies. David Shakow's new work, Taxing Bitcoin and Blockchains—What the IRS Told Us (and Didn't), offers an excellent roadmap for those who would like to understand the tax issues of cryptocurrencies along with the recent IRS guidance.
To offer basic knowledge of the blockchain structure, Shakow starts with comparing a "Proof of Work" (PoW) structure with a "Proof of Stake" (PoS) structure. These two structures are used to confirm transactions of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin uses a PoW consensus process, recording transactions in a "block," which is verified by miners through their work. That work requires the use of substantial computer and electric power.
Episode Summary: Melbourne’s Miranda Stewart has a passion for tax law that led her halfway around the world to NYU Law’s tax LLM in the late 1990s, helping launch her prolific career as a scholar. Now, Professor Stewart teaches, writes and advises governments about improving the relationship between people and their governments and the role that tax policy can play in promoting transparency. In this episode, Stewart describes the way the tax law intersects with gender, human rights, good governance and the rule of law. She also explains why she has an Italian fresco on her home page and what it says about the role tax plays in society. She answers a pencil question based on an article by UCLA’s Eric Zolt.
Episode Notes: Miranda Stewart is a professor and the director of Tax Studies and the Tax Group at Melbourne Law School and also a fellow at the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. Her scholarship addresses an extraordinary range of topics related to tax policy, including transparency and economic development.
This Article surveys dormant foreign Commerce Clause doctrine to determine what limits it places on state taxation of international income, both income earned by foreigners in a U.S. state, and income earned by U.S. residents abroad. Among our conclusions is that, just as the dormant interstate Commerce Clause forbids states from discriminating against interstate commerce, the dormant foreign Commerce Clause forbids states from discriminating against international commerce. We also consider differences between the interstate and foreign commerce contexts, including differences in the nationality of affected taxpayers and differences in the impact of state taxes on federal international tax policy goals.
National restrictions on trade and immigration are the most salient illustrations of the current protectionist moment, but cities have played their part too, taxing foreign investors in local real estate and imposing second or vacant home taxes that indirectly burden foreign investment. Although these protectionist property taxes are new, they draw from an old well of suspicion about foreign ownership. We provide economic and historical context for the recent wave of protectionist property taxes and evaluate their legality under U.S. law. We conclude that taxes on second or vacant homes would likely survive constitutional challenge but facially protectionist property taxes probably would not. We then assess the policy merits of these taxes using an economic framework that highlights how law affects housing risk.
Every living being is doomed to decay and die and decay some more. Death is inevitable, and the disposal of our dead is a fundamental global activity with the potential to have significant environmental impact. In the United States, the environmental toxicity of “traditional” modern burial is stark. A cosmeticized body is pumped with three gallons of embalming fluid (containing chemicals such as formaldehyde) that eventually leaches through metal and wood and into the ground. An estimated 5.3 million gallons of embalming chemicals are buried annually in what are essentially luxury landfill-slash-golf-courses, with landscaping and grass to maintain and mow, in coffins that are typically constructed of nonbiodegradable chipboard. And while cremation is a more environmentally friendly alternative, incineration cremation falls short of being labeled “green.” Fire-based cremation utilizes significant resources and energy, attributable to the substantial quantity of fossil fuel required to burn human remains at 1,562° F (850° C) to reduce a corpse to ash. Pollutants are generated in doing so, including an average of 250,000 tons per year of carbon emissions and an estimated 320 to 6,000 pounds of mercury (from incineration of dental fillings) per year.
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.
Join Pepperdine School of Public Policy and The Steamboat Institute for an evening debate over whether a wealth tax would enhance or diminish prosperity and opportunity in America, featuring Arthur B. Laffer, inventor of the Laffer Curve and member of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, and Emmanuel Saez, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and advisor to US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. This debate will be moderated by Amber Athey, White House Correspondent for The Daily Caller and Tony Blankley Fellow with the Steamboat Institute.
The rise of highly digitalized businesses, such as Google and Amazon, has strained the traditional income tax rules on nexus and profit allocation. Traditionally, profit is allocated to market countries where consumers are located only if the business has physical presence. However, in the digital economy, profits can be easily generated in market countries without a physical presence, resulting in tax revenue loss for market countries.
In response, market countries have started imposing a new tax, called the digital services tax (“DST”), on certain digital business models, which has ignited heated debate across the globe. Supporters defend the DST, designed as a turnover style consumption tax, as an effective measure to make up the foregone revenue in the digital economy because it is not bound by the traditional rules of income taxation. Opponents criticize DST as “ring-fencing” or segregating certain digital business models, discriminating against American tech giants, and arguably imposing a disguised income tax. The debate has been focused on the imminent impact, such as who is the immediate winner and loser, but the discussion lacks efforts to understand the fundamentals of DST, especially with regard to the consumption tax aspect.
Humans are imperfect and do not always comply with the law, but the reality is that we are sometimes permitted to fall short of law’s requirements without consequences. This informal space to fall short and not be held accountable—which may arise from a confluence of information imperfections, resource constraints, politics, or luck—exists in addition to formal legal provisions that allow flexibility and discretion (such as tiered penalties or equitable provisions allowing leniency under specified circumstances). Fall-short spaces often pass unnoticed, but are in fact quite significant in intermediating the relationship between humans and the law.
This Article examines how the increasing access to data and information will change the availability and shape of law’s fall-short spaces. We introduce a taxonomy of how leeway arises, outlining the reasons it exists and the different ways it is deployed. Applying this taxonomy, we show how increasingly ubiquitous data and information have caused and will continue to cause the availability of leeway to contract, and we highlight the risk that we will see disparate contraction for different populations.
Please join us on Friday, March 13th, beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Student Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School for luncheon and a Program celebrating the distinguished career of our colleague, George K. Yin, Edwin S. Cohen Professor of Law and Taxation Emeritus (UVA) and illustrious graduate of the George Washington University Law School. Luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by the Program at noon.
The Program will begin with remarks by Professor Yin, followed by others.
If you will be able to attend the luncheon and Program, please RSVP to Ms. Prerna BalaEddy. The Program will be held at the GW Law Student Conference Center, located at Lisner Hall, 2d floor, 2023 F St NW, Washington, DC 20052. If you have any questions, please refer them to Karen Brown. We hope to see you at the Program!
Werner Haslehner (ATOZ Chair for European and International Taxation, University of Luxembourg) presents Taxation and Value Creation: A Framework for International Tax Reform? at Florida today as part of its Tax Colloquium Series hosted by Yariv Brauner and sponsored by the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series:
Digitalization of the global economy forces a rethink of the allocation of taxing rights along the lines of ‘value creation’. The current international tax system relies on a vast network of double taxation conventions (‘DTCs’) intended to allocate taxing rights between States and avoid double taxation. However, the system’s logic is rooted in the early 20th century and not fitting the modern global economy. Today, the traditional thresholds for giving taxing rights to ‘States of source’ hardly reflect the reality of business activity that strongly relies on intangible assets and the provision of remote services, which are not easy to pin down at any particular place. Calls for fundamental changes crystalized in the OECD and G20 initiated BEPS Project launched in 2013 to reform the international tax system with one overall objective: To “ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities take place and value is created.” Yet despite virtual unanimity on that objective and great number of measures already taken purportedly contributing to that objective, there is no clarity on its actual meaning. . . .
Place-based tax incentives are frequently used by governments to encourage investment in low-income areas. But no standard exists to describe the ideal place-based tax incentive, making evaluation of these programs nearly impossible. This Article provides the necessary baseline by explaining when, where, and how to design place-based tax incentives that can benefit low-income communities by reducing geographic inequality. Using Geospatial Information System (GIS) mapping methods, this Article demonstrates how lawmakers can use public data to map spatial disadvantage. It then draws on tax theory to show how to design place-based tax incentives to reduce geographic inequality in targeted areas. The result is not a one-size-fits-all prescription, but a place-specific approach that can help place-based tax incentives become an effective vehicle for reducing underlying, geographic causes of neighborhood disadvantage. Comparing current place-based tax incentives to this baseline reveals that a significant weakness of current approaches is their failure to target places with geographic inequality or promote activities that could reduce it.
Professor Infanti's work has long explored issues of bias and difference in the U.S. context, and with this book, he places his study of U.S. tax law in a comparative context with Canada, France and Spain. He uses the lenses of housing policy and the taxable unit to illustrate each country’s different values. Professor Infanti’s book illustrates the myriad ways that the U.S. tax law both supports and is a constituent part of a discriminatory legal system that treats people differently because of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, gender identity, and disability. In that way, the tax laws are a “mirror” of the society we currently have. But Professor Infanti goes a step further and calls readers see, in the reflection of the tax laws, the possibility of our “better selves.” Professor Infanti recognizes the extraordinary expressive value of the tax law; he imagines a system of collection, enforcement and public spending that benefits all people and reflects the nation’s highest and best values of equal opportunity, human dignity and shared community. ...
This Article argues that, contrary to the common belief that Bitcoin enables tax evasion, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) can increasingly police transactions in Bitcoin. First, commercial and technical intermediaries have emerged as part of Bitcoin’s ecosystem. This diverse set of intermediaries can facilitate tax enforcement, as the litigation over the IRS’s summons on Coinbase—the largest domestic digital asset exchange—and subsequent IRS efforts show. These intermediaries could report transactions to the IRS or even, one day, withhold and remit tax payments. Second, the publicly visible, trustworthy nature of Bitcoin’s blockchain—its unique role as a shared truth—allows tax authorities to observe transaction flows. This renders Bitcoin unusually regulable for tax purposes, as recent efforts by the IRS to rely on Bitcoin’s blockchain to police tax evasion demonstrate.
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.
The luxury homes on a Spanish island and the gleaming yachts moored in Mediterranean ports were all trappings of a life well-lived.
They were also, according to the Spanish authorities, the fruits of a multimillion-dollar money laundering and tax-evasion operation controlled by one of world soccer’s most powerful soccer agents, which last month resulted in criminal indictments against the agent, Abdilgafar Fali Ramadani, and several of his associates.
According to the authorities, Ramadani was at the center of the scheme in which a group of agents connected to him were able to exploit lax regulations and hide millions of dollars in commissions by moving athletes through several so-called “ghost” clubs in Belgium, Serbia and Cyprus. By doing so, the authorities said, the agents avoided paying taxes on the payments they received for brokering the deals.
The case of Deborah Louise Biegalski v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2019-35 (Dec. 3, 2019)(Judge Colvin) teaches a useful lesson in the difference between deductible business travel and non-deductible commuting for taxpayers who work as independent contractors. The wrinkle in this case was that the taxpayer’s travel was done per two different contracts for different types of work and for two discrete periods, each less than one year. She thought that made her travel deductible. The Tax Court disagreed. Details below the fold.
This article explores the income tax consequences of the sale during lifetime and at death of property for less than fair market value. The analysis focuses in particular on the tax consequences of a bargain sale by a transferor who wishes to confer some financial benefit on a family member, but leave the rest of her estate to charity. Generally speaking, death-time bargain sales may be preferable to similar transactions during lifetime, if the assets have a low basis pre-death, because of the step up in income tax basis under section 1014.