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Does Capital Bear The U.S. Corporate Tax After All? New Evidence From Corporate Tax Returns, Edward Fox Mar 2020

Does Capital Bear The U.S. Corporate Tax After All? New Evidence From Corporate Tax Returns, Edward Fox

Articles

This article uses U.S. corporate tax return data to assess how government revenue would have changed if, over the period 1957–2013, corporations had been subject to a hypothetical corporate cash flow tax—that is, a tax allowing for the immediate deduction of investments in long-lived assets like equipment and structures—rather than the corporate tax regime actually in effect. Holding taxpayer behavior fixed, the data indicate actual corporate tax revenue over the most recent period (1995–2013) differed little from that under the hypothetical cash flow tax. This result has three important implications. First, capital owners appear to ...


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 ...


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 ...


Does The United States Still Care About Complying With Its Wto Obligations?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Apr 2018

Does The United States Still Care About Complying With Its Wto Obligations?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) contains a provision that on its face appears to be a blatant violation of the WTO’s Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) rules. New IRC section 250 applies a reduced 13.125% tax rate to “foreign derived intangible income” (FDII), which is defined as income derived in connection with (1) property that is sold by the taxpayer to any foreign person for a foreign use or (2) services to any foreign person or with respect to foreign property. In other words, this category comprises exports for property and services, including royalties ...


The Fallacious Objections To The Tax Treatment Of Carried Interest, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn Jun 2017

The Fallacious Objections To The Tax Treatment Of Carried Interest, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn

Articles

“The tax treatment of carried interest has become a notorious bete noire for many politicians and some academicians and practitioners. Both 2016 presidential candidates denounced the current tax treatment and vowed to change it. President Obama described the current treatment as a "tax loophole" which should be closed. Others have also characterized the current tax treatment as an abusive loophole.' It is the thesis of this article that those criticisms are unfounded. To the contrary, the current tax treatment accords with sound tax policy and is proper and appropriate. Given the broad approval that attended the attacks on carried interest ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Cancellation Of Debt And Related Transactions, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn Jan 2015

Cancellation Of Debt And Related Transactions, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn

Articles

If a taxpayer borrows money, the borrowed funds are not included in the taxpayer's gross income. That treatment is proper even though the taxpayer has increased his assets by the amount he borrowed because he also has created a corresponding liability to pay back the loan. The taxpayer's net: wealth has not increased. 'The more difficult and interesting questions arise when the taxpayer fails to repay the loan. At first blush, it would appear that upon cancellation of a loan, the taxpayer should have income for the amount that was cancelled. However, the current tax treatment is not ...


Who Invented The Single Tax Principle?: An Essay On The History Of Us Treaty Policy, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2015

Who Invented The Single Tax Principle?: An Essay On The History Of Us Treaty Policy, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In 1997, I wrote an article on the international tax challenges posed by the then-nascent electronic commerce, in which I suggested that the international tax regime is based on two principles: the benefits principle and the single tax principle. The benefits principle states that active (business) income should be taxed primarily by the country of source, and passive (investment) income should be taxed primarily by the country of residence. This is the famous compromise reached by the four economists at the foundation of the regime in 1923 and is not particularly controversial. It is embodied in every one of the ...


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 ...


A Proposed Replacement Of The Tax Expenditure Concept And A Different Perspective On Accelerated Depreciation, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 2014

A Proposed Replacement Of The Tax Expenditure Concept And A Different Perspective On Accelerated Depreciation, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Over 32 years ago, I published an article on accelerated depreciation in which I concluded that some amount of acceleration was consistent with normal tax principles and should not be classified as a tax expenditure. Over the intervening years, from time to time, I have exchanged comments with authors who have questioned that conclusion. It is time to revisit that topic and renew the consideration of how tax depreciation may properly operate. This Essay’s analysis of depreciation provides one example of how the tax expenditure budgets are flawed. The treatment of some accelerated depreciation as a tax expenditure is ...


Understanding The Amt, And Its Unadopted Sibling, The Amxt, James R. Hines Jr., Kyle D. Logue Jan 2014

Understanding The Amt, And Its Unadopted Sibling, The Amxt, James R. Hines Jr., Kyle D. Logue

Articles

Four million Americans with extensive tax preferences are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). By taxing a broad definition of income, the AMT makes it possible to have a tax system that both encourages certain activities with generous tax preferences and maintains a semblance of distributional equity. The same rationale supports the imposition of an Alternative Maximum Tax (AMxT), which would cap tax liabilities of individuals with very few preference items and thereby afford Congress greater flexibility in designing the income tax. The original 1969 AMT proposal included an AMxT; it is difficult to justify imposing one without the ...


Corporate Taxation And Corporate Social Responsibility, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2014

Corporate Taxation And Corporate Social Responsibility, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This Article will address the question of whether publicly traded U.S. corporations owe a duty to their shareholders to minimize their corporate tax burden through any legal means, or if instead, strategic behaviors like aggressive tax-motivated transactions are inconsistent with corporate social responsibility (“CSR”). I believe the latter holds true, regardless of one’s view of the corporation. Under the “artificial entity” view, such behavior undermines the constitutive relationship between the corporation and the state. Under the “real view,” such behavior runs contrary to the normal obligation of citizens to comply with the law (even absent effective enforcement). And ...


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 ...


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 ...


Retirees Beware: Don't Worry About The British, 'Taxmageddon' Is Coming, Douglas A. Kahn, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 2012

Retirees Beware: Don't Worry About The British, 'Taxmageddon' Is Coming, Douglas A. Kahn, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

"Taxmageddon" is coming. Unless Congress extends the current rates or reaches an agreement on tax reform, dividends will then be taxed as ordinary income at a marginal rate as high as 39.6 % and net capital gains will then be taxed at 20%. For high-income taxpayers, a 3.8% Medicare surtax will be added to the taxation of net capital gains, dividend income, interest, and other investment income, bringing the highest marginal rate to 43.4%.


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").


Formulary Apportionment: Myths And Prospects - Promoting Better International Policy And Utilizing The Misunderstood And Under-Theorized Formulary Alternative, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Ilan Benshalom Jan 2011

Formulary Apportionment: Myths And Prospects - Promoting Better International Policy And Utilizing The Misunderstood And Under-Theorized Formulary Alternative, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Ilan Benshalom

Articles

This article seeks to re-examine the formulary alternative to transfer pricing by inquiring whether partial integration of formulary concepts into current practices would offer a reasonable alternative to transfer pricing rules. We believe that the key to achieving an equitable and efficient allocation of MNE income is to solve the problem of the residual, i.e., how to allocate income generated from mobile assets and activities whose risks are borne collectively by the entire MNE group. These assets and activities generate most of the current transfer pricing compliance and administrative costs, as well as tax avoidance opportunities. A limited formulary ...


Exclusion From Income Of Compensation For Services And Pooling Of Labor Occurring In A Noncommercial Setting, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 2011

Exclusion From Income Of Compensation For Services And Pooling Of Labor Occurring In A Noncommercial Setting, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

When cash is received for services, it typically will constitute gross income to the recipient.' But what if the payments are made in a noncommercial setting such as the payment by a parent to a child for mowing the lawn or performing household chores? As discussed later in this Essay, there are reasons to conclude that such payments do not constitute income. The problem of how to treat receipts from a noncommercial activity frequently arises in the context of an exchange of services. A similar problem arises when services are provided by several persons pursuant to a pooling of labor ...


The Case For Dividend Deduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Amir C. Chenchinski Jan 2011

The Case For Dividend Deduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Amir C. Chenchinski

Articles

The December 2010 compromise between President Barack Obama and the Republicans extended the 15% tax rate on dividends through the end of 2012. At that point, however, the rate may revert to the Clinton administration rate-39.6%-or be raised to 20%-as proposed by the Obama Administration. Thus, the United States may either abandon corporate-shareholder integration, maintain partial integration, or perhaps even adopt the George W Bush administration's 2003 proposal to exempt dividends altogether-as advocated by some Republicans in Congress. Given this uncertainty and the likelihood of additional Congressional action, now may be a good time to revisit ...


U.S. Defense Contracts During The Tax Expenditure Battles Of The 1980s, Susan J. Guthrie, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2011

U.S. Defense Contracts During The Tax Expenditure Battles Of The 1980s, Susan J. Guthrie, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

This paper considers the impact of the tax treatment of military contractors on the cost and timing of U.S. military procurement. Prior to the early 1980s, taxpayers were permitted to defer tax obligations on profits earned from long-term contracts. Legislation passed in 1982, 1986, and 1987 required that at least 70 percent of the profits earned on long-term contracts be taxed as accrued, thereby significantly reducing the tax benefits associated with long term contracting. Comparing contracts that were ineligible for these tax benefits with those that were eligible, it appears that between 1981–1989 the duration of U.S ...


Narrowing The Tax Gap Through Presumptive Taxation, Kyle D. Logue, Gustavo G. Vettori Jan 2011

Narrowing The Tax Gap Through Presumptive Taxation, Kyle D. Logue, Gustavo G. Vettori

Articles

Can the United States government significantly reduce the federal tax gap? This question has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention over the years and has been the focus of numerous government reports. The "tax gap" is the official term for the Treasury Department's estimate of the difference between what American taxpayers should pay to the federal government in a given tax year (that is, the amount of tax they owe, based on a reasonable interpretation of existing tax laws as applied to particular taxpayers' circumstances) and what they actually pay. This estimate is derived from painstaking and detailed ...


The Redemption Puzzle, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Aug 2010

The Redemption Puzzle, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

After the adoption of partial integration in 2003, there has been only a modest rise in dividends, but a sixfold increase in redemptions. This article argues that the explanation for that lies in the different treatment of dividends and capital gains to foreign shareholders and that Congress should respond by making sections 302 and 304 inapplicable to foreign shareholders.


The Case Against Taxing Citizens, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2010

The Case Against Taxing Citizens, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The bipartisan tax reform bill recently introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., proposes to abolish IRC section 911. That section, which exempts U.S. citizens living overseas from tax on the first $80,000 of earned income, is indeed anomalous in the context of a tax on all income "from whatever source derived," and has been subjected to criticism. However, there is a reason section 911 has been in the code since the 1920s: In its absence, citizenship-based taxation becomes completely unadministrable. Rather than continuing the long argument over section 911, Congress should therefore reexamine ...


The Attack On Nonprofit Status: A Charitable Assessment, James R. Hines Jr., Jill R. Horwitz, Austin Nichols Jan 2010

The Attack On Nonprofit Status: A Charitable Assessment, James R. Hines Jr., Jill R. Horwitz, Austin Nichols

Articles

American nonprofit organizations receive favorable tax treatment, including tax exemptions and tax-deductibility of contributions, in return for their devotion to charitable purposes and restrictions not to distribute profits. Recent efforts to extend some or all of these tax benefits to for-profit companies making social investments, including the creation of the new hybrid nonprofit/for-profit company form known as the Low-Profit Limited Liability Company, threaten to undermine the vitality of the nonprofit sector and the integrity of the tax system. Reform advocates maintain that the ability to compensate executives based on performance and to distribute profits when attractive investment opportunities are ...


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 ...


Summary And Recommendations (Symposium On Designing A Federal Vat, Part I), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2010

Summary And Recommendations (Symposium On Designing A Federal Vat, Part I), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

For the past thirty-five years, the debate on fundamental tax reform in the United States has centered on whether some type of consumption tax would replace all or part of the federal income tax. In my opinion, this debate has now been decided. Given recent budgetary developments and the impending eligibility of the baby boom generation for Social Security and Medicare, we cannot dispense with the revenue from the corporate and individual income tax. Moreover, we will need huge amounts of additional revenue, and most informed observers believe that the only plausible source for such revenues is a federal value-added ...


Gain From The Sale Of An Income Interest In A Trust, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 2010

Gain From The Sale Of An Income Interest In A Trust, Douglas A. Kahn

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A tax doctrine that is related to the anticipatory assignment of income doctrine, but yet different from that doctrine is variously referred to as the "substitute for ordinary income doctrine" or the "anticipation of income doctrine." This latter doctrine arises on the sale of an item. The test often utilized to determine whether that latter doctrine applies is whether the sale of an item substantively represents the receipt of a substitute for future income - i.e., are the proceeds of the sale given "in lieu of" ordinary income that the seller would have otherwise received at a later date. The ...


Alimony Treatment For A Single Payment, Douglas A. Kahn Dec 2009

Alimony Treatment For A Single Payment, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Before 1942 alimony paid to a former spouse was not included in the spouse’s gross income. In 1942 Congress adopted the antecedent to section 71. Although an alimony recipient must recognize gross income, section 215 provides the payer with a nonitemized deduction for the payment. Therefore, the alimony tax provisions provide a congressionally approved income-splitting arrangement which can benefit the parties by shifting income from a high-bracket taxpayer to one in a lower tax bracket. The parties can divide the resulting savings between them by altering the amount paid to the former spouse.