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Series

2006

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Tax Law

Direct-Tax

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Apportionment Of ‘Direct Taxes’: Are Consumption Taxes Constitutional?, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2006

The Apportionment Of ‘Direct Taxes’: Are Consumption Taxes Constitutional?, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

In debates about reorienting the American revenue system, nearly everyone assumes the Constitution is irrelevant. With few exceptions, the tax provisions in the original Constitution - particularly the direct-tax apportionment rule and the uniformity rule - have been interpreted to be paper tigers. And in only one major case has the Sixteenth Amendment, which excepts "taxes on incomes" from apportionment, been held to limit congressional power.

S Rejecting conventional wisdom, this Article argues that some consumption taxes would violate constitutional norms. The Article focuses on the requirement that “direct taxes” be apportioned among the states on the basis of population. From a ...