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Congressional Power To Institute A Wealth Tax, Will Clark Dec 2023

Congressional Power To Institute A Wealth Tax, Will Clark

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

Over the last few years, several high-profile politicians have pushed to impose a federal “wealth tax.” For example, a recent bill introduced in the Senate would create a two percent tax on the value of assets between fifty million and one billion dollars, plus a higher percentage on wealth valued over one billion dollars. The proponents of the tax argue that it would reduce the growing wealth inequality in the United States, while opponents say that it would disincentivize investment in the American economy.

Policy arguments, however, are only relevant if the federal government has the authority to institute such …


State Digital Services Taxes: A Good And Permissible Idea (Despite What You Might Have Heard), Young Ran (Christine) Kim, Darien Shanske Dec 2022

State Digital Services Taxes: A Good And Permissible Idea (Despite What You Might Have Heard), Young Ran (Christine) Kim, Darien Shanske

Notre Dame Law Review

Tax systems have been struggling to adapt to the digitalization of the economy. At the center of the struggles is taxing digital platforms, such as Google or Facebook. These immensely profitable firms have a business model that gives away “free” services, such as searching the web. The service is not really free; it is paid for by having the users watch ads and tender data. Traditional tax systems are not designed to tax such barter transactions, leaving a gap in taxation.

One response, pioneered in Europe, has been the creation of a wholly new tax to target digital platforms: the …


A Critical Problem Needing A Bolder Solution?: A Response To Atinuke O. Adediran's "Nonprofit Board Composition", Lloyd Hitashi Mayer Jan 2022

A Critical Problem Needing A Bolder Solution?: A Response To Atinuke O. Adediran's "Nonprofit Board Composition", Lloyd Hitashi Mayer

Journal Articles

The governing boards of nonprofit organizations, and particularly of nonprofits that serve low income and other vulnerable populations, fail to adequately include the populations that they serve. At least this is the common understanding among people familiar with these boards. Professor Atinuke Adediran not only confirms the existence of this problem but clarifies it in four important ways. Professor Adediran also proposes concrete steps to address it; although, the clarity she has brought to the problem raises the question of whether she could have been bolder in her proposed solutions.

The clarity comes from new data, careful consideration of previous …


Valuation As A Challenge For Tax Administration, Leandra Lederman Apr 2021

Valuation As A Challenge For Tax Administration, Leandra Lederman

Notre Dame Law Review

Valuation issues have long posed challenges for the U.S. federal tax system. This is not just because of questions about what technique will most accurately value particular types of property. A key problem for tax administration is that taxpayers have a financial incentive to claim erroneous, self-serving valuations. This Essay analyzes tax valuation through this tax compliance lens. In so doing, it highlights the importance that third parties to the taxpayer-government relationship act at arm’s length from the taxpayer. It also explains why penalties are insufficient to deter erroneous self-reported valuations. The Essay also draws on the tax compliance perspective …


Dynamic Property Taxes And Racial Gentrification, Andrew T. Hayashi Apr 2021

Dynamic Property Taxes And Racial Gentrification, Andrew T. Hayashi

Notre Dame Law Review

Many jurisdictions determine real property taxes based on a combination of current market values and the recent history of market values, introducing a dynamic aspect to property taxes. By design, homes in rapidly appreciating neighborhoods enjoy lower tax rates than homes in other areas. Since growth in home prices is correlated with—and may be caused by—changing neighborhood demographics, dynamic property taxes will generally have racially disparate impacts. These impacts may explain why minority-owned homes tend to be taxed at higher rates. Moreover, the dynamic features of local property taxes may subsidize gentrification and racially discriminatory preferences.


What Is Caesar's, What Is God's: Fundamental Public Policy For Churches, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Zachary B. Pohlman Jan 2021

What Is Caesar's, What Is God's: Fundamental Public Policy For Churches, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Zachary B. Pohlman

Journal Articles

Bob Jones University v. United States is both a highly debated Supreme Court decision and a rarely applied one. Its recognition of a contrary to fundamental public policy doctrine that could cause an otherwise tax-exempt organization to lose its favorable federal tax status remains highly controversial, although the Court has shown no inclination to revisit the case and Congress has shown no desire to change the underlying statutes to alter the case’s result. That lack of action may be in part because the IRS applies the decision in relatively rare and narrow circumstances.

The mention of the decision during oral …


When Soft Law Meets Hard Politics: Taming The Wild West Of Nonprofit Political Involvement, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer Jan 2019

When Soft Law Meets Hard Politics: Taming The Wild West Of Nonprofit Political Involvement, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

Beginning in the 1990s and continuing to today, many of the legal and psychological barriers to nonprofits becoming involved in electoral politics have fallen. At the same time, political divisions have sharpened, causing candidates, political parties, and their supporters to scramble ever more aggressively for any possible edge in winner-take-all political contests. In the face of these developments, many nonprofits have violated the remaining legal rules applicable to their political activity with little fear of negative consequences, especially given vague rules and a paucity of enforcement resources. Such violations include underreporting of political activity in government filings, fly-by-night organizations that …


The Promises And Perils Of Using Big Data To Regulate Nonprofits, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer Jan 2019

The Promises And Perils Of Using Big Data To Regulate Nonprofits, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

For the optimist, government use of “Big Data” involves the careful collection of information from numerous sources. The government then engages in expert analysis of those data to reveal previously undiscovered patterns. Discovering patterns revolutionizes the regulation of criminal behavior, education, health care, and many other areas. For the pessimist, government use of Big Data involves the haphazard seizure of information to generate massive databases. Those databases render privacy an illusion and result in arbitrary and discriminatory computer-generated decisions. The reality is, of course, more complicated. On one hand, government use of Big Data may lead to greater efficiency, effectiveness, …


A (Partial) Defense Of Section 501(C)(4)'S “Catchall” Nature, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer Mar 2018

A (Partial) Defense Of Section 501(C)(4)'S “Catchall” Nature, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4) provides exemption from federal income tax for “social welfare” organizations. The vagueness of this term and the failure of the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to interpret it in a manner that would significantly limit that vagueness has led some commentators to criticize this section’s “catchall” nature. While much scholarly attention has been paid to this criticism with respect to the most visible section 501(c)(4) organizations, particularly those involved in political campaign activity and lobbying, almost no attention has been paid to the many less common types of section 501(c)(4) organizations that illustrate that …


The Cambridge Handbook Of Social Enterprise Law, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Paul B. Miller Jan 2018

The Cambridge Handbook Of Social Enterprise Law, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Paul B. Miller

Books

Book Chapters

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, Creating a Tax Space for Social Enterprise, in The Cambridge Handbook of Social Enterprise Law 157 (Benjamin Means & Joseph W. Yockey eds., 2018)

While still relatively few in number compared to traditional nonprofit and for-profit organizations, the rise of social enterprises represents a possible disruption of not only existing models of doing business but also areas of law that in many respects have seen little fundamental change for decades. One such area is domestic tax law, where social enterprises currently find themselves subject to the rules of for-profit activities and entities. Here, both scholars …


Advocating A Carryover Tax Basis Regime, Richard Schmalbeck, Jay A. Soled, Kathleen Delaney Thomas Nov 2017

Advocating A Carryover Tax Basis Regime, Richard Schmalbeck, Jay A. Soled, Kathleen Delaney Thomas

Notre Dame Law Review

For close to a century, an important (but unfortunate) feature of the Internal Revenue Code has been a rule that the tax basis of any inherited asset is made equal to its fair market value at the time of the decedent’s death. Notwithstanding the substantial revenue losses associated with this rule, Congress has retained it for reasons of administrative convenience.

But from three different vantage points, pressure has been mounting to change what is commonly referred to as the “step-up in basis rule.” First, politicians and commentators have historically tied the step-up in basis rule to the estate tax on …


Citizens Abroad And Social Cohesion At Home: Refocusing A Cross-Border Tax Policy Debate, Michael Kirsch Jan 2017

Citizens Abroad And Social Cohesion At Home: Refocusing A Cross-Border Tax Policy Debate, Michael Kirsch

Journal Articles

Modern developments raise significant questions about the future importance (or non-importance) of formal citizenship status. For example, while many have interpreted the European Union project, with its emphasis on the free movement of individuals, as portending the decreasing relevance of nationality, recent developments, such as the “Brexit” vote, suggest that national identity remains an important factor for many individuals. While much of the public debate over citizenship focuses on areas, such as immigration, that are more obviously tied to formal citizenship status, this debate also impacts cross-border tax policy.

Over the past decade, several scholars have addressed the use of …


'The Better Part Of Valour Is Discretion': Should The Irs Change Or Surrender Its Oversight Of Tax-Exempt Organizations?, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer Jan 2016

'The Better Part Of Valour Is Discretion': Should The Irs Change Or Surrender Its Oversight Of Tax-Exempt Organizations?, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

Recent events have highlighted the difficulties the Internal Revenue Service faces when attempting to ensure that purportedly tax-exempt organizations in fact qualify for that status. The problems in this area go much deeper than a group of IRS employees subjecting certain organizations to greater scrutiny based on their political leanings, however. For decades members of the public, the media, the academy, and Congress have criticized the limited ability of the IRS to ensure that organizations claiming exemption from federal income tax in fact deserve that categorization. Yet examples of IRS failings in this area continue to arise with depressing frequency. …


Fragmented Oversight Of Nonprofits In The United States: Does It Work? Can It Work?, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer Jan 2016

Fragmented Oversight Of Nonprofits In The United States: Does It Work? Can It Work?, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

Previously Brendan Wilson and I concluded that oversight of nonprofit governance would be most effective if it remained the responsibility of the states, although it would benefit from both a federal funding mechanism and enhanced coordination with the Internal Revenue Service.' More recently I concluded that oversight of federal tax exemption would be better served if Congress shifted the locus of that oversight to a national, self-regulatory organization working in close cooperation with the IRS given the perennial financial and other limitations faced by the IRS.2 What neither of these earlier articles addressed, however, was whether the current split of …


Tax Treaties And The Taxation Of Services In The Absence Of Physical Presence, Michael Kirsch Jan 2016

Tax Treaties And The Taxation Of Services In The Absence Of Physical Presence, Michael Kirsch

Journal Articles

It is old news that modern technological developments have strained long‐standing international tax policies and principles. Tax treaties have attempted to keep pace by fitting these new developments within the existing framework. This brief article addresses one aspect of technological developments that can directly affect individual taxpayers—the increasing ability to deliver personal services electronically across borders, without the need for the service provider to have a physical presence in the “source” country. In particular, it focuses on recent developments with the U.N. Model, which may allow source‐based taxation of at least some types of services income even in the absence …


The Equitable Anti-Injunction Act, Erin Morrow Hawley Nov 2014

The Equitable Anti-Injunction Act, Erin Morrow Hawley

Notre Dame Law Review

The Anti-Injunction Act of 1867 (AIA or the Act) has never been more important. Originally enacted to expedite the collection of revenue-raising taxes, courts and scholars have for years assumed that the statute imposes a jurisdictional bar on any pre-enforcement challenge to a tax. On this interpretation, taxpayers subject to an invalid tax have two choices only: comply or pay the tax and pursue a refund. Read this way, the Act is a marked departure from the general rule that pre-enforcement challenges are permissible so long as justiciability requirements are met. And it imposes a marked burden on aggrieved taxpayers …


Revisiting The Tax Treatment Of Citizens Abroad: Reconciling Principle And Practice, Michael Kirsch Jan 2014

Revisiting The Tax Treatment Of Citizens Abroad: Reconciling Principle And Practice, Michael Kirsch

Journal Articles

In an increasingly mobile world, the taxation of citizens living abroad has taken on increased importance. Recent international administrative developments — most notably, the weakening of foreign bank secrecy and expansion of global information sharing norms — have further raised the profile of this issue. While U.S. law traditionally has taxed U.S. citizens living abroad in the same general manner as citizens living in the United States, a number of scholars have proposed abandoning the use of citizenship as a jurisdictional basis to tax. In its place, they would apply residence-based principles — i.e., exercising full taxing rights over U.S. …


Tax Recognition, Barry Cushman Jan 2014

Tax Recognition, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

This article was prepared for the St. Louis University Law Journal’s “Teaching Trusts & Estates” issue. Many law students take a course in Trusts & Estates, but comparatively few enroll in a class devoted to the federal wealth transfer taxes. For most law students, the Trusts & Estates course provides the only opportunity for exposure to some of the basic features of the estate tax, the gift tax, the generation-skipping transfer tax, and some related features of the income tax. The coverage demands of the typical Trusts & Estates course do not allow for intensive discussion of these issues, but …


Taxing Social Enterprise, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer Jan 2014

Taxing Social Enterprise, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

The fairly strict divide in the United States between for-profit and nonprofit forms presents a quandary for many entrepreneurs who want to combine doing good with doing well. On the one hand, for-profits offer great flexibility and access to capital and so attract entrepreneurs who would like to take advantage of the ability of for-profits to scale up rapidly to meet growing demand. At the same time, however, for-profit forms also limit entrepreneurs’ ability to engage in philanthropy, due to the fiduciary duties managers owe to the equity holders. On the other hand, nonprofits offer their founders the freedom to …


Nfib V. Sebelius And The Transformation Of The Taxing Power, Barry Cushman Jan 2014

Nfib V. Sebelius And The Transformation Of The Taxing Power, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Chief Justice Roberts wrote for a majority of five Justices in holding that the “shared responsibility payment” required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) constituted an imposition of a “tax” rather than a “penalty.” Thus, even though the Chief Justice and four other Justices had concluded that the provision was not a legitimate exercise of the commerce power, the Court held that it was a valid exercise of the taxing power.

The origin of the distinction between taxes and penalties in taxing power jurisprudence is found in the 1922 …


Nfib V. Sebelius And The Transformation Of The Taxing Power, Barry Cushman Nov 2013

Nfib V. Sebelius And The Transformation Of The Taxing Power, Barry Cushman

Notre Dame Law Review

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Chief Justice Roberts wrote for a majority of five Justices in holding that the “shared responsibility payment” required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) constituted an imposition of a “tax” rather than a “penalty.” Thus, even though the Chief Justice and four other Justices had concluded that the provision was not a legitimate exercise of the commerce power, the Court held that it was a valid exercise of the taxing power.

The origin of the distinction between taxes and penalties in taxing power jurisprudence is found in the 1922 …


The "Independent" Sector: Fee-For-Service Charity And The Limits Of Autonomy, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer Jan 2012

The "Independent" Sector: Fee-For-Service Charity And The Limits Of Autonomy, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

Although numerous scholars have attempted to explain and justify the benefits provided to charities, none has been completely successful. Their theories share, however, two required characteristics for charities. First, charities must be distinct from other types of entities in society, including governmental bodies, businesses, other types of nonprofit organizations, and informal entities such as families. Second, charities must provide some form of public benefit. Given these defining characteristics, the principal role for the laws governing charities is to protect charities from influences that could potentially undermine these traits. This Article is the first to recognize fully the importance of this …


A Winn For Educational Pluralism, Nicole Stelle Garnett Jan 2011

A Winn For Educational Pluralism, Nicole Stelle Garnett

Journal Articles

This short essay takes as its starting point on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Winn v. Arizona Christian Tuition Organization, which involved an Establishment Clause challenge to Arizona’s scholarship tax program — a school-choice device that provides tax credits from state income taxes for donations to organizations granting scholarship to private K-12 schools. In Winn, a divided court ruled that taxpayers lack standing to challenge this and other tax credit programs — thereby dramatically limiting the Flast v. Cohen exception to the no-taxpayer-standing rule. The essay makes the case that the Winn will promote authentic educational pluralism by clearing …


Regulating Charities In The Twenty-First Century: An Institutional Choice Analysis, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, Brendan M. Wilson Jan 2010

Regulating Charities In The Twenty-First Century: An Institutional Choice Analysis, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, Brendan M. Wilson

Journal Articles

For more than fifty years scholars, practitioners, and government officials have debated whether the federal government, the state governments, or the charitable sector itself can best ensure that charity leaders fulfill their fiduciary duties. The dramatic growth of this sector, recent highly publicized governance scandals, and a push in Congress and the IRS for more federal involvement in this area have now brought this issue to a head. This article lays a foundation for resolving the dispute by developing an institutional choice framework for considering and comparing the various available options. Applying that framework, the article concludes that the best …


The Limits Of Administrative Guidance In The Interpretation Of Tax Treaties, Michael Kirsch Jan 2009

The Limits Of Administrative Guidance In The Interpretation Of Tax Treaties, Michael Kirsch

Journal Articles

This Article addresses the increasingly important role of administrative guidance in interpreting the United States' international treaty obligations. The relationship between administrative guidance and treaties raises important issues at the intersection of international law, constitutional law, and administrative law. These issues are explored in the context of the United States' extensive tax treaty network. Tax treaties play an important role in a global economy, attempting to reconcile the complex and ever-changing internal tax laws of different countries. The Treasury Department is considering the increased use of administrative guidance to interpret the meaning and application of tax treaties, particularly in response …


Does "Proceeds" Really Mean "Net Profits"? The Supreme Court's Efforts To Diminish The Utility Of The Federal Money Laundering Statute, Jimmy Gurule Jan 2009

Does "Proceeds" Really Mean "Net Profits"? The Supreme Court's Efforts To Diminish The Utility Of The Federal Money Laundering Statute, Jimmy Gurule

Journal Articles

The Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Santos is severely hampers the fight against drug traffickers, terrorists, mobsters and white collar criminals. It restricts the scope of the money laundering statute, defining the term “proceeds” in it as net profits, not gross receipts from unlawful activity. This imposes an unreasonable and unwarranted burden on prosecutors to prove net criminal profits, money acquired beyond the defendant’s overhead expenses from unlawful activities. The court’s holding also restricts other provisions of the money laundering statute, such as the concealment theory of money laundering, and it creates confusion over whether the Court’s restrictive …


Bringing Clarity To Title Clearing: Tax Foreclosure And Due Process In The Internet Age, James J. Kelly Jr. Jan 2008

Bringing Clarity To Title Clearing: Tax Foreclosure And Due Process In The Internet Age, James J. Kelly Jr.

Journal Articles

The foreclosure of property tax liens performs an essential economic function by reconnecting underutilized properties to the real estate market. To clear title in an efficient and just manner, local jurisdictions foreclosing on tax liens require clear, balanced procedures for the provision of notice to affected parties. In its 2006 decision in Jones v. Flowers, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the foreclosing jurisdiction's lack of direct follow-up on returned notice mailings denied the addressee due process because the foreclosing party did not take steps that would be chosen by one desirous of actually informing the property owner. In subjecting …


Taxing Citizens In A Global Economy, Michael S. Kirsch Jan 2007

Taxing Citizens In A Global Economy, Michael S. Kirsch

Journal Articles

This Article addresses a fundamental issue underlying the U.S. tax system in the international context: the use of citizenship as a jurisdictional basis for imposing income tax. As a general matter, the United States is the only economically developed country that taxes its citizens abroad on their foreign income.

Despite this broad general assertion of taxing jurisdiction, Congress allows citizens abroad to exclude a limited amount of their income earned from working outside the United States. Influential lobbying groups, including businesses that employ significant numbers of U.S. citizens abroad, argue that this exclusion is necessary in order to keep American …


Grasping Smoke: Enforcing The Ban On Political Activity By Charities, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer Jan 2007

Grasping Smoke: Enforcing The Ban On Political Activity By Charities, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer

Journal Articles

The rule that charities are not allowed to intervene in political campaigns has now been in place for over fifty years. Despite uncertainty about the exact reasons for Congress' enactment of it, skepticism by some about its validity for both constitutional and public policy reasons, and continued confusion about its exact parameters, this rule has survived virtually unchanged for all of those years. Yet while overall noncompliance with the income tax laws has drawn significant scholarly attention, few scholars have focused on violations of this prohibition and the IRS' attempts to enforce it.

This Article focuses on the elusive issue …


The Tax Code As Nationality Law, Michael S. Kirsch Jan 2006

The Tax Code As Nationality Law, Michael S. Kirsch

Journal Articles

This article questions the frequently-asserted axiom that Congress's taxing power knows no bounds. It does so in the context of recently-enacted legislation that creates a special definition of citizenship that applies only for tax purposes. Historically, a person was treated as a citizen for tax purposes (and therefore taxed on her worldwide income and estate) if, and only if, she was a citizen under the nationality law. As a result of the new statute, in certain circumstances a person might be treated as a citizen for tax purposes (and therefore taxed on her worldwide income and estate) for years or …