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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 2019, for the first time in the history of U.S. capital markets, passive funds surpassed active funds in terms of total assets under management. The continuous growth of passive funds at the expense of active funds is a genuine cause for concern. Active funds monitor the management and partake of decision-making in their portfolio companies. Furthermore, they improve price efficiency and managerial performance by engaging in informed trading. The buy/sell decisions of active funds provide other market participants reliable information about the quality of firms. The cost of active investing is significant and it is exclusively borne ...


Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers Jul 2020

Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological ...


Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow Jan 2020

Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The IRS recently issued its second description of how it will treat Bitcoin and other blockchain assets. Some of its analysis leaves open questions that invite further consideration, and important issues remain unresolved. Moreover, because the popular Bitcoin blockchain uses a "proof of work" consensus procedure, issues relating to the alternative "proof of stake" procedure have been neglected.


The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2020

The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay surveys dormant foreign Commerce Clause doctrine to determine what limits it places on state taxation of international income, including both income earned by foreigners in a U.S. state and income earned by U.S. residents abroad. The dormant Commerce Clause similarly limits states’ powers to tax interstate and foreign commerce; in particular, it forbids states from discriminating against interstate or international commerce. But there are differences between the interstate and foreign commerce contexts, including differences in the nationality of affected taxpayers and differences in the impact of state taxes on federal tax and foreign-relations goals. Given current ...


Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Sep 2019

Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

To promote fair and sustainable capitalism and help business and labor work together to build an American economy that works for all, this paper presents a comprehensive proposal to reform the American corporate governance system by aligning the incentives of those who control large U.S. corporations with the interests of working Americans who must put their hard-earned savings in mutual funds in their 401(k) and 529 plans. The proposal would achieve this through a series of measured, coherent changes to current laws and regulations, including: requiring not just operating companies, but institutional investors, to give appropriate consideration to ...


The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Part 2, Michael S. Knoll Mar 2019

The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Part 2, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has put the question should a business be organized as a passthrough entity or as a corporation at center stage. The TCJA eliminated much of the tax disadvantage from using the corporate form, but did Congress go so far that it advantaged corporations relative to pass-through entities? Some prominent commentators say yes. They argue that the federal income tax now encourages individual owners of pass-through businesses to restructure their business as subchapter C corporations, and they predict that the TCJA will lead to a cascade of incorporations. The principal driver of the shift ...


The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Michael S. Knoll Mar 2019

The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has put the question should a business be organized as a passthrough entity or as a corporation at center stage. The TCJA eliminated much of the tax disadvantage from using the corporate form, but did Congress go so far that it advantaged corporations relative to pass-through entities? Some prominent commentators say yes. They argue that the federal income tax now encourages individual owners of pass-through businesses to restructure their business as subchapter C corporations, and they predict that the TCJA will lead to a cascade of incorporations. The principal driver of the shift ...


The Tao Of The Dao: Taxing An Entity That Lives On A Blockchain, David J. Shakow Aug 2018

The Tao Of The Dao: Taxing An Entity That Lives On A Blockchain, David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this report, Shakow explains how a decentralized autonomous organization functions and interacts with the U.S. tax system and presents the many tax issues that these structures raise. The possibility of using smart contracts to allow an entity to operate totally autonomously on a blockchain platform seems attractive. However, little thought has been given to how such an entity can comply with the requirements of a tax system. The DAO, the first major attempt to create such an organization, failed because of a programming error. If successful examples proliferate in the future, tax authorities will face significant problems in ...


Marginal Rates Under The Tcja, Reed Shuldiner Jun 2018

Marginal Rates Under The Tcja, Reed Shuldiner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this report, Shuldiner argues that although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act appears to offer an across-the board reduction in individual marginal tax rates augmented by an additional 20 percent reduction in rates on unincorporated business income, the situation is significantly more complex.


Was The Amt Effectively Repealed?, Reed Shuldiner Apr 2018

Was The Amt Effectively Repealed?, Reed Shuldiner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) was a much disliked feature of the tax law prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Yet, despite repeated promises to repeal the AMT as part of tax reform, the TCJA dropped AMT repeal in favor of increasing the AMT exemption and its phaseout threshold. The question raised by this development is whether the AMT changes should be viewed as yet another stop-gap tweak of the AMT or whether the changes should be viewed as returning the AMT to its roots as a tax on high-income taxpayers using excessive loopholes. In this ...


Dual Residents: A Sur-Reply To Zelinsky, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2018

Dual Residents: A Sur-Reply To Zelinsky, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this article, we respond to Professor Zelinsky’s criticism of our arguments regarding the constitutionality of New York’s tax residence rule. We argue that the Supreme Court’s decision in Wynne requires reconsideration of the New York Court of Appeal’s decision in Tamagni.


On The Disparate Treatment Of Business And Personal Salt Payments, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2018

On The Disparate Treatment Of Business And Personal Salt Payments, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1, would eliminate the federal income tax deduction for nonbusiness state and local taxes while maintaining the deduction for business state and local taxes. That disparate treatment has generated a storm of negative commentary. In this short essay, I consider whether the federal tax law should allow a deduction for business state and local taxes assuming that there is no deduction for nonbusiness state and local taxes. I argue that investors and businesses, including pass-through businesses, should be allowed to deduct state and local property and sales taxes, but not general income ...


The Tax Treatment Of Tokens: What Does It Betoken?, David J. Shakow Aug 2017

The Tax Treatment Of Tokens: What Does It Betoken?, David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Digital tokens have been used to raise substantial amounts of money. But little attention has been paid to the tax consequences surrounding their issuance and sale. There are significant potential tax liabilities lurking in the use of digital tokens. But, because of the anonymity inherent in the blockchain structures used for the issuance of tokens and payments for them, there is a significant question as to whether those tax liabilities will ever be collected.


Taxation, Competitiveness, And Inversions: A Response To Kleinbard, Michael S. Knoll May 2017

Taxation, Competitiveness, And Inversions: A Response To Kleinbard, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this report, I argue that the inversion situation is more nuanced, complex, and ambiguous than Edward D. Kleinbard acknowledges, and I challenge Kleinbard’s claim that U.S. multinationals are on a tax par with their foreign competitors.


Tax Inertia: A General Framework With Specific Application To Business Tax Reform, Chris William Sanchirico Jun 2015

Tax Inertia: A General Framework With Specific Application To Business Tax Reform, Chris William Sanchirico

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A surprising degree of bipartisan consensus has lately formed in the United States around two propositions of business tax reform: that something should be done about the “lockout” of US multinationals’ foreign earnings; and that the corporate income tax rate should be reduced. This paper questions whether these two propositions are really consistent. In the process of attempting to provide an answer, it develops a framework for relating and measuring various forms of “tax inertia”: tax-based disincentives to alter investments. Applying this framework, the paper concludes that the current agreement on business tax reform is substantially in disagreement with itself.


Waiting For Perseus: A Sur-Reply To Professors Graetz And Warren, Ruth Mason, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2014

Waiting For Perseus: A Sur-Reply To Professors Graetz And Warren, Ruth Mason, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This manuscript responds to Income Tax Discrimination: Still Stuck in a Labyrinth of Impossibility by Professors Michael Graetz and Alvin Warren (121 Yale L.J. 1118). In that article, Professors Graetz and Warren challenge many of the arguments we made in our own article entitled, “What is Tax Discrimination?” (121 Yale L.J. 1014). In our earlier article, we set out to accomplish two goals. First, we sought to identify the principle behind the doctrine of tax discrimination as that doctrine is applied by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) and ...


The Taxation Of Cloud Computing And Digital Content, David Shakow Jul 2013

The Taxation Of Cloud Computing And Digital Content, David Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

“Cloud computing” raises important and difficult questions in state tax law, and for Federal taxes, particularly in the foreign tax area. As cloud computing solutions are adopted by businesses, items we view as tangible are transformed into digital products. In this article, I will describe the problems cloud computing poses for tax systems. I will show how current law is applied to cloud computing and will identify the difficulties current approaches face as they are applied to this developing technology.

My primary interest is how Federal tax law applies to cloud computing, particularly as the new technology affects international transactions ...


Valuation Misstatement Penalties Require Valuation Misstatements, David J. Shakow Jun 2013

Valuation Misstatement Penalties Require Valuation Misstatements, David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this report, I argue that the valuation misstatement penalty has been misinterpreted by the IRS to apply to tax shelter transactions that have nothing to do with valuation. The penalty applies to taxpayers who claim deductions from inflated basis only when the basis was inflated as a result of an overvaluation. Properly understood, the penalty provision rarely raises the issue for which the government successfully sought certiorari in United States v. Woods.


A Concrete Shoe For Brand X?, David J. Shakow Apr 2012

A Concrete Shoe For Brand X?, David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s decision in Home Concrete raises new questions about the deference to be given to administrative pronouncements that conflict with prior judicial decisions. Unfortunately, the opinions of a divided Court leave practitioners to puzzle over the boundaries of its decision.


Who’S Afraid Of The Apa?, David J. Shakow Feb 2012

Who’S Afraid Of The Apa?, David J. Shakow

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. United States means that tax practitioners must be more sensitive to administrative law and judicial deference to administrative rules. This includes gaining some familiarity with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the major cases that deal with judicial deference to administrative action, starting with Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. While the Supreme Court spends a lot more time considering issues of administrative law rather than tax law, the many decisions don’t result in a clear set of rules as to how ...


Reconsidering International Tax Neutrality, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2011

Reconsidering International Tax Neutrality, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For decades, U.S. international tax policy has shifted back and forth between territorial-source-exemption taxation and worldwide-residence-credit taxation. The former is generally associated with capital import neutrality (CIN) and the latter with capital export neutrality (CEN). One reason why national tax policy has shifted back and forth between those benchmarks is because it is widely accepted that a tax system cannot simultaneously satisfy both CEN and CIN unless tax rates on capital are harmonized across jurisdictions. In this essay, I argue that the international tax literature contains two different and conflicting definitions for CIN. Under one definition, which goes back ...


Recessions And The Social Safety Net: The Alternative Minimum Tax As A Counter-Cyclical Fiscal Stabilizer, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick Dec 2010

Recessions And The Social Safety Net: The Alternative Minimum Tax As A Counter-Cyclical Fiscal Stabilizer, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As recent events illustrate, state finances are procyclical: during recessions, state revenues crash, worsening the effects of economic downturns. This problem is well known, yet persistent. We argue here that, in light of predictable federalism and political economy dynamics, states will be unable to change this situation on their own. Additionally, we note that many possible federal remedies may result in worse problems, such as by creating moral hazard that would induce states to take on excessively risky policy, both fiscal and otherwise. Thus, we argue that policymakers should consider so-called “automatic” stabilizers, such as are found in the federal ...


A Comprehensive Theory Of Deal Structure: Understanding How Transactional Structure Creates Value, Michael S. Knoll, Daniel M. G. Raff Jan 2010

A Comprehensive Theory Of Deal Structure: Understanding How Transactional Structure Creates Value, Michael S. Knoll, Daniel M. G. Raff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Corporate Income Tax And The Competitiveness Of U.S. Industries, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2010

The Corporate Income Tax And The Competitiveness Of U.S. Industries, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Hit hard by the financial crisis and recession, U.S. auto producers are seeking a massive bailout from the U.S. Congress. Many reasons are given for the U.S. auto industry’s lack of competitiveness including the U.S. corporate income tax. Although it is regularly asserted that there is a direct connection between the corporate income tax and competitiveness, what that connection is has not been carefully spelled out. In this essay, I describe how the corporate income tax directly harms the competitiveness of U.S. industries. I show that the mechanism differs depending upon whether the U ...


State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick Sep 2009

State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As recent events illustrate, state finances are pro-cyclical: during recessions, state revenues crash, worsening the effects of economic downturns. This problem is well-known, yet persistent. We argue here that, in light of predictable federalism and political economy dynamics, states will be unable to change this situation on their own. Additionally, we note that many possible federal remedies may result in worse problems, such as creating moral hazard that would induce states to take on excessively risky policy, both fiscal and otherwise. Thus, we argue that policy makers should consider so-called “automatic” stabilizers, such as are found in the federal tax ...


Samuel Zell, The Chicago Tribune, And The Emergence Of The S Esop: Understanding The Tax Advantages And Disadvantages Of S Esops, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2009

Samuel Zell, The Chicago Tribune, And The Emergence Of The S Esop: Understanding The Tax Advantages And Disadvantages Of S Esops, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Samuel Zell’s acquisition of the Chicago Tribune Company (the Tribune) in December 2007 using a little-known type of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) made headlines. In a complicated transaction, which took nearly a year to complete, the Tribune converted from a subchapter C corporation to a subchapter S corporation, established an ESOP that purchased 100 percent of the company’s equity, and sold Zell a call option giving him the right to purchase 40 percent of the company’s equity. Press reports claim that Zell’s novel structure enabled Zell to outbid other suitors. And financial commentators predict that ...


Taxation And The Competitiveness Of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Do Taxes Encourage Sovereign Wealth Funds To Invest In The United States?, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2009

Taxation And The Competitiveness Of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Do Taxes Encourage Sovereign Wealth Funds To Invest In The United States?, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) control vast amounts of capital and have made and are continuing to make numerous large, high-profile investments in the United States, especially in the financial services industry. Those investments in particular and SWFs in general are highly controversial. There is much discussion of the advantages and disadvantages to the United States of investments by SWFs and there is an intense and ongoing debate over what should be the United States’ policy towards investments by SWFs. In the course of that debate, some critics have called upon the US government to abandon its long-held public position of ...


The Taxation Of Private Equity Carried Interests: Estimating The Revenue Effects Of Taxing Profit Interests As Ordinary Income, Michael S. Knoll Nov 2008

The Taxation Of Private Equity Carried Interests: Estimating The Revenue Effects Of Taxing Profit Interests As Ordinary Income, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article, I estimate the tax revenue effects of taxing private equity carried interests as ordinary income rather than as long-term capital gain as under current law. Under reasonable assumptions, I conclude that the expected present value of additional tax collections would be between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of capital invested in private equity funds, or between $2 billion and $3 billion a year. That estimate, however, makes no allowance for changes in the structure of such funds or the composition of the partnerships, which might substantially reduce tax revenues below those estimates.


Corporate Taxation And International Charter Competition, Mitchell Kane, Edward B. Rock May 2008

Corporate Taxation And International Charter Competition, Mitchell Kane, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate Charter competition has become an increasingly international phenomenon. The thesis of this article is that this development in the corporate law requires a greater focus on the corporate tax law. We first demonstrate how a tax system’s capacity to distort the international charter market depends both upon its approach to determining corporate location and the extent to which it taxes foreign source corporate profits. We also show, however, that it is not possible to remove all distortions through modifications to the tax system alone. We present instead two alternative methods for preserving an international charter market. The first ...


The Ubit: Leveling An Uneven Playing Field Or Tilting A Level One?, Michael S. Knoll Oct 2007

The Ubit: Leveling An Uneven Playing Field Or Tilting A Level One?, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After grateful alumni acquired the Mueller Spaghetti Company on behalf of New York University, and the courts held that the university did not have to pay tax on the pasta maker’s income, Mueller’s competitors cried foul. Congress responded to their pleas and enacted the unrelated business income tax (UBIT). The UBIT subjects an otherwise tax-exempt entity, such as a charitable institution or a religious organization, to tax on its income from a trade or business that is not substantially related to the organization’s tax-exempt purpose. The UBIT is widely viewed as leveling the playing field between taxable ...