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Sixteenth Amendment

Taxation-Federal

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Did The Sixteenth Amendment Ever Matter? Does It Matter Today?, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2014

Did The Sixteenth Amendment Ever Matter? Does It Matter Today?, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This article, prepared for a symposium on the centennial of the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, argues that the Amendment was legally and politically necessary in 1913, if there was going to be a modern income tax, and that it remains significant today. The Amendment provides that “taxes on incomes” need not be apportioned among the states on the basis of population, as would otherwise be required for direct taxes. An apportioned income tax would be an absurdity, and, if there were no Amendment, Congress could not enact an unapportioned tax on income from property, the sort of tax that ...


A Tax Or Not A Tax: That Is The Question, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2011

A Tax Or Not A Tax: That Is The Question, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This piece is part of the author’s probably misguided effort to take seriously the Sixteenth Amendment phrase “taxes on incomes.” The piece (in form a letter to the editor, but complete with footnotes!) responds to a reader who had noted that, because of a cap, the basic Social Security “tax” does not reach higher levels of income. Because the author had earlier argued that a tax “on” incomes should result in higher tax liability for higher-income persons, it might seem that the Social Security levy is unconstitutional (or the author just wrong). This piece makes several points: (1) The ...


Murphy V. Internal Revenue Service, The Meaning Of 'Income,' And Sky-Is-Falling Tax Commentary, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2010

Murphy V. Internal Revenue Service, The Meaning Of 'Income,' And Sky-Is-Falling Tax Commentary, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This article examines the widely noted D.C. Circuit case, Murphy v. Internal Revenue Service, where a panel twice got itself hopelessly entangled in the relationship between the meaning of “income” in the Internal Revenue Code and its meaning in the Sixteenth Amendment. At issue was whether a whistle-blower's recovery for emotional distress could be reached by the income tax. The first time around, the panel concluded that the recovery could not be taxed constitutionally because it was not income. The second time, apparently after having visited another planet, the very same panel concluded that the recovery could be ...