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Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Apr 2021

Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

International Tax Law has extensive ramifications on the wealth gap between wealthy developed nations and poor developing nations. This divide in prosperity has been made clear again in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing nations are currently ill-equipped to adapt to, and regulate, an equitable system of taxation on a domestic level. A further challenge is the difficulty of ensuring that foreign investors, especially multinational corporations, are able to comply with tax regulations. Developed nations such as the United States and members of the European Union must continue to work with developing nations to reduce tax evasion and …


A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Sep 2020

A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This essay addresses the interaction between the changes in the international tax regime identified by Mason and U.S. international tax policy. Specifically, I will argue that contrary to the general view, the United States actively implemented the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Moreover, the changes of the TCJA influenced the current OECD effort of BEPS 2.0. Thus, the current state of affairs can be characterized as a constructive dialogue: The OECD moves (BEPS 1), the United States responds (TCJA), the OECD …


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 tax …


Beps, Atap, And The New Tax Dialogue: "A Transatlantic Competition?", Reuven Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni Sep 2018

Beps, Atap, And The New Tax Dialogue: "A Transatlantic Competition?", Reuven Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni

Articles

Since its launch in 2013, the US actively participated in all aspects of the BEPS project. However, until recently, the general view was that following the conclusion of the BEPS negotiations and the change of Administration the US is stepping back from the BEPS process. While the EU was charging ahead with implementing BEPS through the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), the US stated that it was already in compliance with all BEPS minimum standards and therefore other than Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) it had no further BEPS obligations. The US decided not to sign the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) to implement BEPS …


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 that are …


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 …


Multinational Firms And Tax Havens, Anna Gumpert, James R. Hines Jr., Monika Schnitzer Oct 2016

Multinational Firms And Tax Havens, Anna Gumpert, James R. Hines Jr., Monika Schnitzer

Articles

Multinational firms with operations in high-tax countries can benefit the most from reallocating taxable income to tax havens, though this is sufficiently difficult and costly that only 20.4% of German multinational firms have any tax haven affiliates. Among German manufacturing firms, a 1 percentage point higher foreign tax rate is associated with a 2.3% greater likelihood of owning a tax haven affiliate. This is consistent with tax avoidance incentives and contrasts with earlier evidence for U.S. firms. The relationship is less strong for firms in service industries, possibly reflecting the difficulty of reallocating taxable service income.


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 to …


All Or Nothing? The Obama Budget Proposals And Beps, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Mar 2015

All Or Nothing? The Obama Budget Proposals And Beps, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

There is a wide bipartisan consensus that the U.S. international tax regime is broken. We have the highest corporate tax in the OECD, which at 35 percent imposes a real burden on corporations earning mostly U.S.-source income. At the same time, U.S.-based multinationals pay very low effective tax rates on foreign-source income earned through their subsidiaries, leading to a strong incentive to shift profits out of the United States. Finally, the United States is among the few countries to fully tax dividends paid by foreign subsidiaries to their domestic parents, leading to the “trapped income” phenomenon in which $2 trillion …


The Devil In The Details: Reflections On The Camp Draft, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Mar 2014

The Devil In The Details: Reflections On The Camp Draft, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The discussion draft of the Tax Reform Act of 2014 (TRA 14) released by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., on February 26 represents a major effort for fundamental and far-reaching reform of U.S. tax law. Unfortunately, while many parts of the proposal seem sensible as an effort to bring back the spirit of 1986, the international tax reform proposals are deeply flawed and based on obsolete assumptions of the world that faces U.S. multinationals in 2014.


Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2014

Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The OECD has recently come to recognize that the transfer pricing system does not work as intended. In its report on base erosion and profit shifting 2013 WTD 140-17: Other Administrative Documents, the OECD recognizes that BEPS results in revenue losses that affect all states, especially poorer ones; that systematic tax avoidance by the richest and most powerful companies in the world undermines the general legitimacy of taxation; that it gives MNEs significant competitive advantages over purely domestic firms, resulting in inefficient allocations of investment and major distortions to economic activity; and that it skews the decisions of the MNEs …


How Serious Is The Problem Of Base Erosion And Profit Shifting?, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2014

How Serious Is The Problem Of Base Erosion And Profit Shifting?, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

In recent years, the problem of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinational corporations has entered the public consciousness as a potentially important impediment to tax collections. The purpose of this article is to identify the nature of BEPS, consider empirical evidence of its magnitude, and evaluate proposed policy responses. There is considerable evidence that multinational firms arrange their affairs in a tax-sensitive manner, from which it is easy—indeed, perhaps a little too easy—to infer that beps is a serious problem. There are journalistic accounts of apparently spectacular international tax-avoidance schemes used by multinational corporations, though these stories commonly …


Why Y? Reflections On The Baucus Proposal, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Dec 2013

Why Y? Reflections On The Baucus Proposal, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The international tax reform proposal introduced by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on November 19 contains several significant innovations that promise to define the terms of the debate for the foreseeable political future. (Prior coverage: Tax Notes Int’l, Nov. 25, 2013, p. 691.) It is therefore worth examining in detail even if it seems unlikely that progress toward meaningful reform can be achieved very soon.


Territoriality: For And Against, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2013

Territoriality: For And Against, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The tax on dividends from the active income of controlled foreign corporations meets the criteria for a bad tax: It raises little revenue but significantly affects taxpayer behavior in undesirable ways.


Arguments For And Against Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2013

Arguments For And Against Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The tax on dividends from the active income of controlled foreign corporations meets the criteria for a bad tax: It raises little revenue but significantly affects taxpayer behavior in undesirable ways.


Corporate And International Tax Reform: Proposals For The Second Obama Administration (And Beyond), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2013

Corporate And International Tax Reform: Proposals For The Second Obama Administration (And Beyond), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) offers an opportune moment to consider proposals for corporate and international tax reform. With the debate over individual tax rates for the income and estate tax settled for the present, the President and Congress are free to consider broader reforms. Few observers doubt that such reforms are sorely needed, for several reasons. First, the long-term budgetary outlook is unsustainable. Second, the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Third, the current system raises relatively little revenue and large amounts of …


Slicing The Shadow: A Proposal For Updating U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jun 2012

Slicing The Shadow: A Proposal For Updating U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the article Avi-Yonah proposed that the United States tax multinational corporations using a formulary apportionment system based solely on income derived from sales. The background for the article was drawn principally from Robert Reich’s The Work of Nations (1991), and the analysis was inspired by Stanley I. Langbein’s work on transfer pricing, especially his seminal article "The Unitary Method and the Myth of Arm’s Length," Tax Notes, Feb. 17, 1986, p. 625; see also Louis Kauder, "Intercompany Pricing and Section 482: A Proposal to Shift From Uncontrolled Comparables to Formulary Apportionment Now," Tax Notes, Jan. 25, 1993, p. 485.


Vive La Petite Difference: Camp, Obama, And Territoriality Reconsidered, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2012

Vive La Petite Difference: Camp, Obama, And Territoriality Reconsidered, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The recent tax reform proposals by House Ways and Means Committee Chair David Camp, R-Mich., and by President Obama seem to offer starkly contrasting visions of how to reform the taxation of foreign-source income earned by U.S.-based multinational enterprises.1 Both acknowledge the problem, which is that U.S.-based MNEs currently have more than $1 trillion of ‘‘permanently reinvested’’ income offshore, which they cannot bring back to the U.S. without incurring a 35 percent tax penalty. However, they seem to offer radically different solutions: Under the Camp proposal, a participation exemption will enable U.S.-based MNEs to bring back the income without paying …


The Effective Tax Rate Of The Largest Us And Eu Multinationals, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yaron Lahav Jan 2012

The Effective Tax Rate Of The Largest Us And Eu Multinationals, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yaron Lahav

Articles

The United States has the second highest statutory corporate tax rate in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) (after Japan).1 This has not always been the case. After the Tax Reform Act of 1986 lowered the U.S. rate from 46% to 34%,2 the United States had one of the lowest statutory corporate tax rates in the OECD.3 In the past twenty-five years, however, the U.S. rate has remained essentially unchanged (it was raised to 35% in 1993),4 while most other OECD countries reduced their statutory rate so that the OECD average statutory corporate tax rate is 25.1%.


Symposium On International Taxation And Competitiveness: Introduction And Overview, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nicola Sartori Jan 2012

Symposium On International Taxation And Competitiveness: Introduction And Overview, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nicola Sartori

Articles

In February, 2012, the Treasury and White House unveiled President Obama's Framework for Business Tax Reform. A major proposal was to abolish the deferral on income earned by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations ("CFCs").


Beyond Territoriality And Deferral: The Promise Of "Managed And Controlled", Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Aug 2011

Beyond Territoriality And Deferral: The Promise Of "Managed And Controlled", Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the new version of his Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., once again proposed to modify the definition of residence for domestic corporations (IRC section 7701). Section 103 of the act seeks to: stop companies run from the United States claiming foreign status by treating foreign corporations that are publicly traded or have gross assets of $50 million or more and whose management and control occur primarily in the United States as U.S. domestic corporations for income tax purposes. [Emphasis in original.] This is not a new suggestion. In response to the inversions of the early …


Between Formulary Apportionment And The Oecd Guidelines: A Proposal For Reconciliation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2010

Between Formulary Apportionment And The Oecd Guidelines: A Proposal For Reconciliation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the last 30 years, a debate has been raging in international tax circles between advocates of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines and the arm’s length standard (ALS) they embody, on the one hand, and advocates of formulary apportionment (FA) on the other. After the adoption of the 1995 regulations and the new OECD Guidelines, the debate became quieter for a while, because everyone was waiting to see whether the issue had been resolved. However, while there have been few decided cases, it is clear by now that the transfer pricing problem is as bad as it ever was. That …


Xilinx And The Arm's-Length Standard, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jun 2009

Xilinx And The Arm's-Length Standard, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

On May 7 the Ninth Circuit decided Xilinx v. Commissioner. By a 2-1 majority, the panel reversed the Tax Court and held that costs of employee stock options must be included in the pool of costs subject to a tax-sharing agreement. The Xilinx decision is important for three reasons. First, cost sharing is probably the key element in current transfer pricing law because it is the principal way in which profits from intangibles get shifted from the United States to low-tax jurisdictions. Moreover, informed observers agree that the allocation of income from intangibles is the most important problem in transfer …


Obama's International Tax Plan: A Major Step Forward, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2009

Obama's International Tax Plan: A Major Step Forward, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

President Barack Obama last week personally introduced a set of proposals to reform U.S. international taxation that are the most significant advance toward preserving the income tax on cross-border transactions since the enactment of the subpart F rules by the Kennedy administration in 1962. (For prior coverage, see Doc 2009-10047 or 2009 TNT 84-1.) In essence, the Obama proposals introduce a 21stcentury version of the vision begun by Thomas Adams in 1918 and continued by Stanley Surrey in 1961: a world in which source and residence taxation are coordinated so as to achieve the underlying goals of the international tax …


Allocating Business Profits For Tax Purposes: A Proposal To Adopt A Formulary Profit Split, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing, Michael C. Durst Jan 2009

Allocating Business Profits For Tax Purposes: A Proposal To Adopt A Formulary Profit Split, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing, Michael C. Durst

Articles

The current system of taxing the income of multinational firms in the United States is flawed across multiple dimensions. The system provides an artificial tax incentive to earn income in low-tax countries, rewards aggressive tax planning, and is not compatible with any common metrics of efficiency. The U.S. system is also notoriously complex; observers are nearly unanimous in lamenting the heavy compliance burdens and the impracticality of coherent enforcement. Further, despite a corporate tax rate one standard deviation above that of other OECD countries, the U.S. corporate tax system raises relatively little revenue, due in part to the shifting of …


How Globalization Affects Tax Design, James R. Hines Jr., Lawrence H. Summers Jan 2009

How Globalization Affects Tax Design, James R. Hines Jr., Lawrence H. Summers

Articles

The economic changes associated with globalization tighten financial pressures on governments of high-income countries by increasing the demand for government spending while making it more costly to raise tax revenue. Greater international mobility of economic activity, and associated responsiveness of the tax base to tax rates, increases the economic distortions created by taxation. Countries with small open economies have relatively mobile tax bases; as a result, they rely much less heavily on corporate and personal income taxes than do other countries. The evidence indicates that a ten percent smaller population in 1999 is associated with a one percent smaller ratio …


Back To The Future? The Potential Revival Of Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2008

Back To The Future? The Potential Revival Of Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Since 1994, the trend in the United States and other developed countries appears to be to reduce the scope of residence jurisdiction and increase the emphasis on source jurisdiction. If this trend continues, these countries are likely to move toward territoriality and decrease the emphasis on their CFC rules. In the author’s opinion, the reason for this trend is political and economic, not legal. It is part of tax competition, specifically the competition to be the headquarters jurisdiction for multinationals. The author also thinks, however, that it is not necessary to go down this road because the solution to the …


Taxation In Developing Countries: Some Recent Support And Challenges To The Conventional View, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yoram Margolioth Jan 2007

Taxation In Developing Countries: Some Recent Support And Challenges To The Conventional View, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Yoram Margolioth

Articles

The general advice given by international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to developing countries over the past few decades has been to replace trade taxes with domestic consumption taxes, particularly value-added taxes (VAT), and to maintain relatively high corporate income tax rates. This article reviews recent literature that supports and challenges this conventional view.


Dividend Policy Inside The Multinational Firm, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2007

Dividend Policy Inside The Multinational Firm, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

This paper examines the determinants of profit repatriation policies for US multinational firms. Dividend repatriations are surprisingly persistent and resemble dividend payments to external shareholders. Tax considerations influence dividend repatriations, but not decisively, as differentially-taxed entities feature similar policies and some firms incur avoidable tax penalties. Parent companies requiring cash to fund domestic investments, or to pay dividends to common shareholders, draw on the resources of their foreign affiliates through repatriations. Incompletely controlled affiliates are more likely than others to make regular dividend payments and to trigger avoidable tax costs through repatriations. The results indicate that traditional corporate finance concerns …