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Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu Feb 2021

Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu

Articles

The United States is the only large federal country that does not have an explicit way to reduce the economic disparities among more and less developed regions. In Germany, for example, federal revenues are distributed by a formula that takes into account the relative level of wealth of each state (the so-called Finanzausgleich, or fiscal equalization). Similar mechanisms are found in Australia, Canada, India, and other large federal countries. The United States, on the other hand, has no such explicit redistribution. Each state is generally considered equal and sovereign, and the federal government does not distribute revenues to equalize …


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 bear a large fraction of …


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 tax …


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 from the …


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 that are …


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 …


Country By Country Reporting And Corporate Privacy: Some Unanswered Questions, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Dec 2016

Country By Country Reporting And Corporate Privacy: Some Unanswered Questions, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Corporate privacy is an oxymoron. Individuals have a right to privacy, which the Supreme Court has recognized at least since Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Warren and Brandeis’ famous defense of the right to privacy (1890) clearly applied only to individuals, because only individuals have the kind of feelings that are affected by invasions of privacy. Corporations are legal entities, and the concept of privacy does not apply to them, as the Supreme Court held in 1906. Thus, any objection to making corporate tax returns public cannot rest on the right to privacy. In fact, corporate returns were made public in …


Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2014

Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The OECD has recently come to recognize that the transfer pricing system does not work as intended. In its report on base erosion and profit shifting 2013 WTD 140-17: Other Administrative Documents, the OECD recognizes that BEPS results in revenue losses that affect all states, especially poorer ones; that systematic tax avoidance by the richest and most powerful companies in the world undermines the general legitimacy of taxation; that it gives MNEs significant competitive advantages over purely domestic firms, resulting in inefficient allocations of investment and major distortions to economic activity; and that it skews the decisions of the MNEs …


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 under the …


Why Y? Reflections On The Baucus Proposal, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Dec 2013

Why Y? Reflections On The Baucus Proposal, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The international tax reform proposal introduced by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on November 19 contains several significant innovations that promise to define the terms of the debate for the foreseeable political future. (Prior coverage: Tax Notes Int’l, Nov. 25, 2013, p. 691.) It is therefore worth examining in detail even if it seems unlikely that progress toward meaningful reform can be achieved very soon.


Slicing The Shadow: A Proposal For Updating U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jun 2012

Slicing The Shadow: A Proposal For Updating U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the article Avi-Yonah proposed that the United States tax multinational corporations using a formulary apportionment system based solely on income derived from sales. The background for the article was drawn principally from Robert Reich’s The Work of Nations (1991), and the analysis was inspired by Stanley I. Langbein’s work on transfer pricing, especially his seminal article "The Unitary Method and the Myth of Arm’s Length," Tax Notes, Feb. 17, 1986, p. 625; see also Louis Kauder, "Intercompany Pricing and Section 482: A Proposal to Shift From Uncontrolled Comparables to Formulary Apportionment Now," Tax Notes, Jan. 25, 1993, p. 485.


Vive La Petite Difference: Camp, Obama, And Territoriality Reconsidered, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2012

Vive La Petite Difference: Camp, Obama, And Territoriality Reconsidered, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The recent tax reform proposals by House Ways and Means Committee Chair David Camp, R-Mich., and by President Obama seem to offer starkly contrasting visions of how to reform the taxation of foreign-source income earned by U.S.-based multinational enterprises.1 Both acknowledge the problem, which is that U.S.-based MNEs currently have more than $1 trillion of ‘‘permanently reinvested’’ income offshore, which they cannot bring back to the U.S. without incurring a 35 percent tax penalty. However, they seem to offer radically different solutions: Under the Camp proposal, a participation exemption will enable U.S.-based MNEs to bring back the income without paying …


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").


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 corporate tax rate is 25.1%.


Transfer Pricing Disputes In The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2012

Transfer Pricing Disputes In The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Book Chapters

In 1988, the US Treasury Department published a study of inter-company pricing (the 'White Paper') that included the following endorsement of the so-called arm's length standard (ALS) for examining the reasonableness of transactions between related parties for tax purposes: The arm's length standard is embodied in all U.S. tax treaties; it is in each major model treaty, including the U.S. Model Convention; it is incorporated into most tax treaties to which the United States is not a party; it has been explicitly adopted by international organizations that have addressed themselves to transfer pricing issues; and virtually every major industrial nation …


Beyond Territoriality And Deferral: The Promise Of "Managed And Controlled", Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Aug 2011

Beyond Territoriality And Deferral: The Promise Of "Managed And Controlled", Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the new version of his Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., once again proposed to modify the definition of residence for domestic corporations (IRC section 7701). Section 103 of the act seeks to: stop companies run from the United States claiming foreign status by treating foreign corporations that are publicly traded or have gross assets of $50 million or more and whose management and control occur primarily in the United States as U.S. domestic corporations for income tax purposes. [Emphasis in original.] This is not a new suggestion. In response to the inversions of the early …


Money On The Table: Why The U.S. Should Tax Inbound Capital Gains, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jul 2011

Money On The Table: Why The U.S. Should Tax Inbound Capital Gains, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

On March 21, 2011, AT&T announced that it will buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. This transaction will be tax free to Deutsche Telekom (DT) not because it qualifies as a reorganization, but because DT is a foreign corporation and capital gains of nonresidents are generally not subject to U.S. taxation because they are deemed to be foreign source. Also, DT is protected from taxation by article 13(5) of the Germany-U.S. tax treaty, which provides that capital gains are generally taxable only by the country of residence.


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 tax …


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.


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. That …


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 scarce …


Obama's International Tax Plan: A Major Step Forward, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah May 2009

Obama's International Tax Plan: A Major Step Forward, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

President Barack Obama last week personally introduced a set of proposals to reform U.S. international taxation that are the most significant advance toward preserving the income tax on cross-border transactions since the enactment of the subpart F rules by the Kennedy administration in 1962. (For prior coverage, see Doc 2009-10047 or 2009 TNT 84-1.) In essence, the Obama proposals introduce a 21stcentury version of the vision begun by Thomas Adams in 1918 and continued by Stanley Surrey in 1961: a world in which source and residence taxation are coordinated so as to achieve the underlying goals of the international tax …


Allocating Business Profits For Tax Purposes: A Proposal To Adopt A Formulary Profit Split, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing, Michael C. Durst Jan 2009

Allocating Business Profits For Tax Purposes: A Proposal To Adopt A Formulary Profit Split, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing, Michael C. Durst

Articles

The current system of taxing the income of multinational firms in the United States is flawed across multiple dimensions. The system provides an artificial tax incentive to earn income in low-tax countries, rewards aggressive tax planning, and is not compatible with any common metrics of efficiency. The U.S. system is also notoriously complex; observers are nearly unanimous in lamenting the heavy compliance burdens and the impracticality of coherent enforcement. Further, despite a corporate tax rate one standard deviation above that of other OECD countries, the U.S. corporate tax system raises relatively little revenue, due in part to the shifting of …


Back To The Future? The Potential Revival Of Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2008

Back To The Future? The Potential Revival Of Territoriality, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Since 1994, the trend in the United States and other developed countries appears to be to reduce the scope of residence jurisdiction and increase the emphasis on source jurisdiction. If this trend continues, these countries are likely to move toward territoriality and decrease the emphasis on their CFC rules. In the author’s opinion, the reason for this trend is political and economic, not legal. It is part of tax competition, specifically the competition to be the headquarters jurisdiction for multinationals. The author also thinks, however, that it is not necessary to go down this road because the solution to the …


All In The Family As A Single Shareholder Of An S Corporation, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn, Terrence G. Perris Aug 2007

All In The Family As A Single Shareholder Of An S Corporation, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn, Terrence G. Perris

Articles

Subject to a few exceptions, a corporation that has elected to be taxed under subchapter S of chapter 1 of subtitle A of title 26 of the United States tax code is not taxed on its net income. Instead, the income, deductions, credits, and other tax items of an S corporation pass through to its shareholders on a pro rata basis. To qualify for subchapter S treatment, an electing corporation must satisfy the requirements that are set forth in section 1361, one of which is that the corporation can have no more than 100 shareholders. One aspect of that requirement …


Corporate Taxation And International Competition, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2007

Corporate Taxation And International Competition, James R. Hines Jr.

Book Chapters

Many countries tax corporate income heavily despite the incentives that they face to reduce tax rates in order to attract greater investment, particularly investment from foreign sources. The volume of world foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown enormously since 1980, thereby increasing a country's ability to attract significant levels of new investment by reducing corporate taxation. The evidence indicates, however, that corporate tax collections are remarkably persistent relative to gross domestic product ( GDP), government revenues, or other indicators of underlying economic activity or government need. If this were not true- if corporate income taxation were rapidly disappearing around the …


Dividend Policy Inside The Multinational Firm, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2007

Dividend Policy Inside The Multinational Firm, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

This paper examines the determinants of profit repatriation policies for US multinational firms. Dividend repatriations are surprisingly persistent and resemble dividend payments to external shareholders. Tax considerations influence dividend repatriations, but not decisively, as differentially-taxed entities feature similar policies and some firms incur avoidable tax penalties. Parent companies requiring cash to fund domestic investments, or to pay dividends to common shareholders, draw on the resources of their foreign affiliates through repatriations. Incompletely controlled affiliates are more likely than others to make regular dividend payments and to trigger avoidable tax costs through repatriations. The results indicate that traditional corporate finance concerns …


The Internal Markets Of Multinational Firms, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2007

The Internal Markets Of Multinational Firms, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

The rising economic importance of multinational firms has been accompanied by significant changes in their structure and functioning. Multinational firms, historically characterized as webs of autonomous subsidiaries spread across countries, now represent globally integrated production systems serving worldwide customers. These changes are manifest in the rising significance of intrafirm trade and financial flows for these firms. While there is extensive analysis of aggregate patterns in intrafirm flows of goods and capital, few firm-based studies examine the workings of the internal markets of multinational firms, largely because of the difficulty in accessing the necessary data. A number of our recent projects …


Commentary, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2007

Commentary, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Book Chapters

David Rosenbloom has delivered an important lecture on an important topic: whether exploiting differences between the tax system of two different jurisdictions to minimize the taxes paid to either or both ("international tax arbitrage") is a problem, and if so, whether anything can be done about it in a world without a "world tax organization." As Rosenbloom states, international tax arbitrage is "the planning focus of the future," and recently has been the focus of considerable discussion and debate (for example, upon the promulgation and subsequent withdrawal under fire of Notice 98-11). Rosenbloom's lecture is one of the first attempts …


Prevention Of Double Deductions Of A Single Loss: Solutions In Search Of A Problem, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn Jan 2006

Prevention Of Double Deductions Of A Single Loss: Solutions In Search Of A Problem, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn

Articles

In the current tax system, a corporation is treated as a separate taxable entity. This tax system is sometimes referred to as an entity tax or a double tax system. Since a corporation is a separate and distinct entity from its owners, the shareholders, the default rule is that transfers between them are treated as realization events. Without a specific Internal Revenue Code (Code) provision providing otherwise, such transactions will also require the parties to recognize the realized gain or loss. Congress has enacted several nonrecognition corporate provisions when forcing the recognition of income could prevent changes to the form …