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If Not Now, When? Us Tax Treaties With Latin America After Tcja, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2019

If Not Now, When? Us Tax Treaties With Latin America After Tcja, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

Since the 1990s, the US tax treaty network has expanded to include most large developing countries. However, there remains a glaring exception: The US only has two tax treaties in Latin America (Mexico and Venezuela), and one pending tax treaty (Chile). The traditional explanation for why the US has no treaty with, for example, Argentina or Brazil is the US refusal since 1957 to grant tax sparing credits to developing countries. Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), this explanation was wrong, because the combination of deferral and cross-crediting meant that tax holidays in a source country ...


Does Customary International Tax Law Exist?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2019

Does Customary International Tax Law Exist?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

Customary international law is law that “results from a general and consistent practice of states followed by them from a sense of legal obligation.” “International agreements create law for states parties thereto and may lead to the creation of customary international law when such agreements are intended for adherence by states generally and are in fact widely accepted.” Does customary international law (CIL) exist in tax? There are over 3,000 bilateral tax treaties, and they are about 80% identical to each other, but do they create CIL that binds in the absence of a binding treaty, like for example ...


The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan Feb 2019

The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan

Articles

The 2017 tax legislation brought sweeping changes to the rules for taxing individuals and business, the deductibility of state and local taxes, and the international tax regime. The complex legislation was drafted and passed through a rushed and secretive process intended to limit public comment on one of the most consequential pieces of domestic policy enacted in recent history. This Article is an effort to supply the analysis and deliberation that should have accompanied the bill’s consideration and passage, and describes key problem areas in the new legislation. Many of the new changes fundamentally undermine the integrity of the ...


Crisis-Driven Tax Law: The Case Of Section 382, Albert H. Choi, Quinn Curtis, Andrew T. Hayashi Jan 2019

Crisis-Driven Tax Law: The Case Of Section 382, Albert H. Choi, Quinn Curtis, Andrew T. Hayashi

Articles

At the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2008–83 (the Notice), administrative guidance that limited Internal Revenue Code (the Code) section 382, an important tax rule designed to discourage tax-motivated acquisitions. Although styled as a mere interpretation of existing law, the Notice has been widely viewed as an improper exercise of the IRS’s authority that undermined its legitimacy. But did the Notice work? There were many extraordinary interventions during the financial crisis that raised questions about eroding the rule of law and the long-term destabilizing effects of bail­outs. In a ...


The International Provisions Of The Tcja: Six Results After Six Months, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Aug 2018

The International Provisions Of The Tcja: Six Results After Six Months, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

Over six months have passed since the enactment of the TCJA, so it is now possible to reach some preliminary conclusions on its impact. The main ones are:

1. The transition tax plus anticipated GILTI tax minus territoriality have resulted in higher GAAP effective tax rates for 2017. In some cases they approach 35% for large multinationals with a lot of offshore income. For the first six months of 2018, however, overall corporate tax revenues are sharply down because of the 21% rate plus expensing. This is the exact reverse of the situation before TCJA in which MNEs showed very ...


The Beat And Treaty Overrides: A Brief Response To Rosenbloom And Shaheen, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Brett Wells Aug 2018

The Beat And Treaty Overrides: A Brief Response To Rosenbloom And Shaheen, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Brett Wells

Law & Economics Working Papers

In a recent paper posted on SSRN, Profs. David Rosenbloom and Fadi Shaheen argue that the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) (IRC section 59A), as enacted in 2017, is a potential violation of Articles 23 and 24 of US tax treaties. In addition, they argue that the BEAT does not override those treaties and therefore the treaties can be relied upon to overcome the effects of the BEAT. In our opinion, this conclusion is wrong, for two reasons. First, we believe that the BEAT is not a treaty violation. Second, we believe that even if the BEAT were found to ...


The Elephant Always Forgets: Us Tax Reform And The Wto, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Martin G. Vallespinos Jan 2018

The Elephant Always Forgets: Us Tax Reform And The Wto, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Martin G. Vallespinos

Law & Economics Working Papers

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) enacted on December 22, 2017 includes several provisions that raise WTO compliance issues. At least one such provision, the Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (FDII) rule, is almost certain to draw a challenge in the WTO and is likely to lead to another US loss and resulting sanctions. This outcome would be another addition to the repeated losses suffered by the US for export subsidies from the 1970s to 2004, which led to the imposition of sanctions and the ultimate repeal of the offending regime. The important question for 2018 and beyond is whether the ...


Beat It: Tax Reform And Tax Treaties, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2018

Beat It: Tax Reform And Tax Treaties, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes several provisions that may be viewed as potential violations of US tax treaties. However, most of those potential violations, such as new IRC section 951A and to a large extent new IRC section 59A, are covered by the Savings Clause (US model article 1(4)). The only remaining question is whether IRC section 59A (the “Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax”, or BEAT) violates the non-discrimination provision (article 24), which is exempted from the Savings Clause. The answer is no, because foreign related parties are not comparable to US related parties receiving interest or ...


How Terrible Is The New Tax Law? Reflections On Tra17, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2018

How Terrible Is The New Tax Law? Reflections On Tra17, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

Overall, TRA17 is not much worse than TRA86 or TRA14. It increases the deficit, but not by an impossible amount; it is distributionally skewed, but less so than is usually assumed; and its details are not terrible (on the international side they are a big improvement over prior law). There is one big problem, the pass through provisions, and we can only hope that as its horrible implications unfold it will be a prime candidate for repeal.


The Elephant Always Forgets: Tax Reform And The Wto, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2018

The Elephant Always Forgets: Tax Reform And The Wto, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs ACT” (TCJA) enacted on December 22, 2017, includes several provisions that raise WTO compliance issues. At least one such provision, the Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (FDII) rule, is almost certain to draw a challenge in the WTO and is likely to lead to another US loss and resulting sanctions. This outcome would be another addition to the repeated losses suffered by the US for export subsidies from the 1970s to 2004, which led to the imposition of sanctions and the ultimate repeal of the offending regime. The important question for 2018 and beyond is whether the ...


Tit For Tat: How Will Other Countries React To The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni Dec 2017

Tit For Tat: How Will Other Countries React To The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TRA17) represents the most comprehensive reform of US international tax rules since 1962. An important question in evaluating TRA17 is how US trading partners will respond to its provisions. In general, US trading partners may take steps to negate the competitive advantage gained by the US from the lower rate of corporate tax, expensing and the “patent box”. They may also take advantage of the participation exemption and the cross-crediting feature of GILTI to increase taxes on US multinationals. Finally, they are likely to copy the BEAT and apply it to US ...


The Triumph Of Beps: Us Tax Reform And The Single Tax Principle, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Dec 2017

The Triumph Of Beps: Us Tax Reform And The Single Tax Principle, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TRA17) as passed by the House on November 16 and by the Senate on December 2, 2017, contains multiple provisions that incorporate the principles of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) into domestic US tax law. Together with the changes in the 2016 model US tax treaty, these provisions mean that the US is following the EU and China in implementing BEPS and in particular its underlying principle, the single tax principle (i.e., all income should be subject to tax once: passive income at the residence state rate and active ...


Once More, With Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts And Jobs' Act And The Original Intent Of Subpart F, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien Nov 2017

Once More, With Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts And Jobs' Act And The Original Intent Of Subpart F, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien

Law & Economics Working Papers

For the first time since 1913, Congress is considering abandoning the principle that US residents should be subject to tax on all income “from whatever source derived.” Specifically, the House proposed tax reform legislation, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, would completely exempt from US taxation dividends from “Controlled Foreign Corporations”. This is therefore a good occasion for considering the reasons we tax such dividends in the first place.

In the course of investigating the Stanley Surrey papers at the Harvard Law School Library, we discovered a remarkable report that support the view that the main impetus behind Subpart ...


What A Difference Thirty Years Make: A Comparison Of The Tax Reforms Of 1986, 2014 And 2017, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Nov 2017

What A Difference Thirty Years Make: A Comparison Of The Tax Reforms Of 1986, 2014 And 2017, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

This paper compares the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, as passed by the House (TRA17H) and under consideration by the Senate (TRA17S) with two major previous efforts at comprehensive tax reform: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86) and the draft tax reform proposed by former Ways and Means Chair David Camp (R-MI) (TRA14). It shows that TRA14 was quite similar to TRA86, but that TRA17 is very different than both. Congress should abandon TRA17 and go back to considering TRA14 on a bipartisan basis.


Are Taxes Converging?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni Oct 2017

Are Taxes Converging?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni

Law & Economics Working Papers

Eduardo Baistrocchi’s outstanding new book on tax treaty disputes is the result of an intense five-year global collaborative project among international tax scholars, practitioners and administrators. The book provides an unprecedented set of information and offers the first global qualitative and quantitative analysis on one of the most important debates over international tax scholarship across the last decades, that is, whether an international tax regime exists and is binding upon states as a matter of customary international law.


Slicing And Dicing: The Structural Problems Of The Tax Reform Framework, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Oct 2017

Slicing And Dicing: The Structural Problems Of The Tax Reform Framework, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” (the “Framework”) released by the “Big Six” group of Treasury, White House and Congressional leaders on September 27 has been the focus of a lot of commentary. Most of the comments have focused on the distributive aspects of the plan and on the proposed rate structure, as well as the impact on revenues and the federal deficit. In this comment, I plan to focus instead on the structural aspects of the plan and in particular on the various new lines that it draws, because these are more likely to be lasting.


Evaluating Beps, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu Aug 2017

Evaluating Beps, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu

Articles

This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Problems With Destination-Based Corporate Taxes And The Ryan Blueprint, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing Apr 2017

Problems With Destination-Based Corporate Taxes And The Ryan Blueprint, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing

Articles

With the election of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s domination of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s blueprint for fundamental tax reform requires more careful analysis. The Ryan blueprint combines reduced individual rates with a destination-based cash flow type business tax applicable to all businesses. The destination-based business tax at the center of the blueprint has several major problems: It is incompatible with our WTO obligations, it is incompatible with our tax treaties, and it will not eliminate the problems of income shifting and inversions it is designed to address. In addition, these proposals generate vexing technical problems ...


Gaars And The Nexus Between Statutory Interpretation And Legislative Drafting: Lessons For The U.S. From Canada, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Amir Pichhadze Mar 2017

Gaars And The Nexus Between Statutory Interpretation And Legislative Drafting: Lessons For The U.S. From Canada, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Amir Pichhadze

Articles

Rules targeting specific known schemes are not the only tools available in the battle against tax avoidance. Legal systems also use measures that apply generally. The U.S. for example has tended to rely heavily on general doctrines. One such doctrine which is discussed in part 2 of this chapter is the “economic substance” doctrine. Yet as Xiong and Evans recently pointed out “although such judicial doctrines can be used to deal with various aspects of complicated tax abuse judges tended sometimes to limit and sometimes to enlarge the scope of jurisprudential interpretation leading to substantial uncertainty and risk.” One ...


International Tax Avoidance -- Introduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Mar 2017

International Tax Avoidance -- Introduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Tax avoidance and evasion is a hot topic. On the evasion (illegal activity by individuals) front, the various leaks culminating in the Panama Papers have once again revealed the scope of evasion by the global elite. Gabriel Zucman conservatively estimated the annual revenue loss at $200 billion. On the tax avoidance (legal activity by corporations) front, the OECD BEPS project has estimated the scope of avoidance by multinationals at between $100 and $240 billion per year. By comparison, total US corporate tax revenues are about $400 billion per year. The articles in this volume reflect various aspects of these troubling ...


Tax Treatment Of A Marijuana Business, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard Bromberg Jan 2017

Tax Treatment Of A Marijuana Business, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard Bromberg

Articles

Currently, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes and permit the conduct of a business marketing of marijuana for that purpose. Eight of those states and the District of Columbia permit the recreational use of marijuana. There is reason to believe that more states will decriminalize the marketing of marijuana. However, marijuana is listed in Schedule 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA) which makes it illegal under federal law to manufacture or distribute marijuana even when it is legal to do so under local state law. In a ...


Country By Country Reporting And Corporate Privacy: Some Unanswered Questions, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Dec 2016

Country By Country Reporting And Corporate Privacy: Some Unanswered Questions, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Corporate privacy is an oxymoron. Individuals have a right to privacy, which the Supreme Court has recognized at least since Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Warren and Brandeis’ famous defense of the right to privacy (1890) clearly applied only to individuals, because only individuals have the kind of feelings that are affected by invasions of privacy. Corporations are legal entities, and the concept of privacy does not apply to them, as the Supreme Court held in 1906. Thus, any objection to making corporate tax returns public cannot rest on the right to privacy. In fact, corporate returns were made public in ...


Full Circle? The Single Tax Principle, Beps, And The New Us Model, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2016

Full Circle? The Single Tax Principle, Beps, And The New Us Model, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This paper will argue that while there is some innovation in BEPS, it is in fact more of a continuation that a sharp break with the past. Like Alexis de Tocqueville’s French Revolution, BEPS represents both continuity and change. In particular, the single tax principle has formed the theoretical basis of much of the international tax regime from the beginning. And it is in fact this continuity rather than any sharp change that gives the final BEPS package its promise to, as Secretary General Gurria also promised, “put an end to double non-taxation.”


Evaluating Beps: A Reconsideration Of The Benefits Principle And Proposal For Un Oversight, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu Jan 2016

Evaluating Beps: A Reconsideration Of The Benefits Principle And Proposal For Un Oversight, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu

Articles

The Financial Crisis of 2008 and Great Recession that followed have exacerbated income inequality within and between countries. In the aftermath of the economic turbulence, politicians have turned their attention to the twin problems of individual tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance. U.S. legislators enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA), leading to the United States signing a series of Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) for the exchange of tax information. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed the Multilateral Agreement for Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAATM) and initiated the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project ...


Provisions Denying A Deduction For Illegal Expenses And Expenses Of An Illegal Business Should Be Repealed, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard Bromberg Jan 2016

Provisions Denying A Deduction For Illegal Expenses And Expenses Of An Illegal Business Should Be Repealed, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard Bromberg

Articles

Currently, the tax law denies a deduction for business expenses that violate a federal or state law (but only if the state law is generally enforced). In addition, losses, including business losses, cannot be deducted if they arise out of an illegal activity. For example, medical expenses are denied a deduction if they are illegal. Kickbacks, bribes, and rebates given in connection with the Medicaid or Medicare program are nondeductible. Any expenses, legal or not, incurred in connection with the conduct of a business of selling a controlled substance that is prohibited by federal law (or by the law of ...


The Inexorable Rise Of The Vat: Is The Us Next?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Nov 2015

The Inexorable Rise Of The Vat: Is The Us Next?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The rise of the Value Added Tax (VAT) from obscure beginnings in the 1950s to one of the most important taxes in the world (by revenue collected) is a story worth telling, and Kathryn James does a magnificent job in telling it in her new book. Despite its significance, very little is known about why so many countries have adopted the VAT and, in particular, why different countries adopt the types of VAT that they do. The popular mythology provides that the merits of the VAT have underpinned its global spread; however, this book contends that much scholarship on the ...


With Marriage On The Decline And Cohabitation On The Rise, What About Marital Rights For Unmarried Partners?, Lawrence W. Waggoner Oct 2015

With Marriage On The Decline And Cohabitation On The Rise, What About Marital Rights For Unmarried Partners?, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Law & Economics Working Papers

Part I of this paper uses recent government data to trace the decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 9.71%, but the husband and wife households only grew by 3.7%, while the unmarried couple households grew by 41.4%. A counter-intuitive finding is that the early 21st century data show little correlation between the marriage rate and economic conditions. Because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), same-sex marriage is now universally available to same-sex couples. Part I considers the impact ...


No Good Options: Picking Up The Pieces After King V. Burwell, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones Apr 2015

No Good Options: Picking Up The Pieces After King V. Burwell, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones

Articles

If the Supreme Court rules against the government in King v. Burwell, insurance subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will evaporate in the thirty-four states that have refused to establish their own health-care exchanges. The pain could be felt within weeks. Without subsidies, an estimated eight or nine million people stand to lose their health coverage. Because sicker people will retain coverage at a much higher rate than healthier people, insurance premiums in the individual market will surge by as much as fifty percent. Policymakers will come under intense pressure to mitigate the fallout from a government loss ...


Predicting The Fallout From King V. Burwell - Exchanges And The Aca, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost Jan 2015

Predicting The Fallout From King V. Burwell - Exchanges And The Aca, Nicholas Bagley, David K. Jones, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost

Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court's surprise announcement on November 7 that it would hear King v. Burwell struck fear in the hearts of supporters of the Affordable Cara Act (ACA). At stake is the legality of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule extending tax credits to the 4.5 million people who bought their health plans in the 34 states that declined to establish their own health insurance exchanges under the ACA. The case hinges on enigmatic statutory language that seems to link the amount of tax credits to a health plan purchased "through an Exchange established by the ...


企業の社会的責任と戦略的租税行動 [Corporate Social Responsibility And Strategic Tax Behavior], Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Keisaku Koga Translator Jan 2015

企業の社会的責任と戦略的租税行動 [Corporate Social Responsibility And Strategic Tax Behavior], Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Keisaku Koga Translator

Articles

This paper addresses two questions. First, from the perspective of the corporation, should the corporation cooperate and pay the corporate tax, or should it engage in "strategic" tax behavior designed to minimize or eliminate its corporate tax burden? Second, from the perspective of the state, should the state use the corporate tax just to raise revenue, or should it also try to use it as a regulatory tool to steer corporate behavior in directions that it deems beneficial to society? The paper argues that whatever our view of the nature of the corporation and of the legitimacy of corporate social ...