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Columbia Law School

Columbia Law Review

1995

Legislation

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Paint-By-Numbers Tax Lawmaking, Michael J. Graetz Jan 1995

Paint-By-Numbers Tax Lawmaking, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

Although their meaning and contours have long been controversial, the general criteria for evaluating changes in tax law enjoy both stability and consensus. At least since Adam Smith, there has been virtually universal agreement that the nation's tax law should be fair, economically efficient, and simple to comply with and to administer. Tax law changes should be designed to make the law more equitable, easier to comply with, more conducive to economic growth, and less likely to interfere with private economic decisionmaking.

Precisely what these criteria imply for policymaking is controversial, however. Fairness is often said to require that ...