Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 20 of 20

Full-Text Articles in Law

Should Us Tax Law Be Constitutionalized? Centennial Reflections On Eisner V. Macomber (1920), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Apr 2020

Should Us Tax Law Be Constitutionalized? Centennial Reflections On Eisner V. Macomber (1920), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers

The US Supreme Court last decided a federal tax case on constitutional grounds in 1920, a century ago. The case was Eisner v. Macomber, and the issue was whether Congress had the power under the Sixteenth Amendment (authorizing an income tax, 1913) to include stock dividends in the tax base. The Court answered no because “income” in the Sixteenth Amendment meant “the gain derived from capital, from labor, or from both combined.” A stock dividend, since it did not increase the wealth of the shareholder, was not “income.” Macomber was never formally overruled, and it is sometime still cited by ...


A Constitutional Wealth Tax, Ari Glogower Apr 2020

A Constitutional Wealth Tax, Ari Glogower

Michigan Law Review

Policymakers and scholars are giving serious consideration to a federal wealth tax. Wealth taxation could address the harms from rising economic inequality, promote equality of social and economic opportunity, and raise the revenue needed to fund critical government programs. These reasons for taxing wealth may not matter, however, if a federal wealth tax is unconstitutional.

Scholars debate whether a tax on a wealth base (a “traditional wealth tax”) would be a “direct tax” subject to apportionment among the states by population. This Article argues, in contrast, that this possible constitutional restriction on a traditional wealth tax may not matter. If ...


Trump's "Big-League" Tax Reform: Assessing The Impact Of Corporate Tax Changes, Ryan J. Clements Nov 2017

Trump's "Big-League" Tax Reform: Assessing The Impact Of Corporate Tax Changes, Ryan J. Clements

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

This Article reviews and assesses corporate tax reforms advocated by President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign and signed into law since taking office (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), in light of economic theory and the Modigliani-Miller Irrelevance Theorem. The Ar-ticle argues that companies will adapt polcies in light of new taxation mea-sures, thereby impacting the effectiveness of reform. In support of this conclusion, the Article surveys two empirical studies—one in relation to the repatriation efforts of President Bush’s Homeland Investment Act and an-other in relation to unexpected changes to the taxation of Canadian income ...


Purpose And Power Of The Group Tax Exemption In Health Care, Marie Yascko-Rosado Jan 2016

Purpose And Power Of The Group Tax Exemption In Health Care, Marie Yascko-Rosado

Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business

This article argues that the group tax exemption and consolidated group returns provide immense assistance to nonprofit healthcare organizations, because of simplicity, financial benefits and efficiency benefits. Part III will discuss what it means to be a tax-exempt entity and the legal basis for its existence, the historical basis of the exemption and its various rationales including relief of government burden, subsidy and income measurement theories. Part IV will explain the tax-exempt status in health care, the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the uninsured population, and key differences between for-profit entities and non-profit entities. Part V will both ...


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 ...


Prepositions In The Constitution, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2011

Prepositions In The Constitution, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

To defend the proposition that prepositions matter, this article examines the "of" in the phrase "duties of tonnage" and the "on" in "taxes on incomes."


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 ...


Interpreting The Sixteenth Amendment (By Way Of The Direct-Tax Clauses), Erik M. Jensen Feb 2006

Interpreting The Sixteenth Amendment (By Way Of The Direct-Tax Clauses), Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

The Sixteenth Amendment and the direct-tax clauses have become subjects of interest in the legal academy and, as proposals for new forms of national taxation emerge on a seemingly daily basis, they could become subjects of more general interest as well. Under the direct-tax clauses, a direct tax must be apportioned among the states on the basis of population, making such a tax difficult, although not impossible, to implement. Following the Supreme Court decisions in the 1895 Income Tax Cases, which held that an 1894 income tax was a direct tax that had not been properly apportioned, the Sixteenth Amendment ...


The Taxing Power, The Sixteenth Amendment, And The Meaning Of ‘Incomes,’, Erik M. Jensen Feb 2006

The Taxing Power, The Sixteenth Amendment, And The Meaning Of ‘Incomes,’, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This article examines the debates leading to the enactment of the 1894 income tax, which the Supreme Court struck down in 1895, and the Sixteenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, and concludes that an income tax and a tax on consumption were understood to be fundamentally different types of taxes. The author argues that the term “taxes on incomes” in the Sixteenth Amendment should be interpreted with that distinction in mind. The Amendment was intended to make a “tax on incomes,” and only a tax on incomes, possible without the apportionment that would otherwise be required for a direct tax. For ...


Unapportioned Direct-Consumption Taxes And The Sixteenth Amendment, Erik M. Jensen Feb 2006

Unapportioned Direct-Consumption Taxes And The Sixteenth Amendment, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

The point of this essay is simple: a direct-consumption tax like the Forbes-Armey-Hall-Rabushka flat tax or the Nunn-Domenici USA tax is not a "tax on incomes" within the meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment. As a result, such a tax would be constitutional only if it were apportioned among the states on the basis of population. And since these taxes would not be apportioned-how could they be and work as they are intended to work?-they would be unconstitutional.


Taxation And The Constitution: How To Read The Direct-Tax Clauses, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2006

Taxation And The Constitution: How To Read The Direct-Tax Clauses, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This essay responds to Professor Bruce Ackerman, who had challenged the author's understanding of the Direct-Tax Clauses of the Constitution and the Sixteenth Amendment to that Constitution.


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 ...


Vultures In Eagles' Clothing: Conspiracy And Racial Fantasy In Populist Legal Thought, Angela P. Harris Jan 2005

Vultures In Eagles' Clothing: Conspiracy And Racial Fantasy In Populist Legal Thought, Angela P. Harris

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article has three interrelated aims. First, I will briefly describe the online world of the legal populists. My second aim in this Article is to give an account of legal populism that connects it with the American tradition of conspiracy theory and with the political consciousness of survivalism. My third and final aim in this Article is to examine, as David Williams has done in a wonderful series of articles, the relationship between the nation dreamed of by many legal populists and the one inhabited by state-sanctioned legal insiders.


The Irs As Super Creditor, Steve R. Johnson Jul 2001

The Irs As Super Creditor, Steve R. Johnson

Scholarly Publications

The IRS is a super creditor in the sense that its efforts to collect tax debts are free of restrictions imposed by state law on other creditors. This principle is no novelty. Several recent developments, though, have involved interesting applications of it. Part I of this article explains the principle. Part II examines recent applications of it.


The Death Of The Income Tax (Or, The Rise Of America’S Universal Wage Tax), Edward J. Mccaffery Oct 2000

The Death Of The Income Tax (Or, The Rise Of America’S Universal Wage Tax), Edward J. Mccaffery

Indiana Law Journal

The killing of the income tax has not been open and notorious: such is not the style of contemporary politics. As with other markers of progressive social policy—the promises of universal health care, Obamacare, come to mind6—the income tax is dying a death by stealth, albeit stealth played out in plain view. The plot lines of the tragedy are apparent. The individual “income” tax has been split in two. One tax, for the masses, is a simple, increasingly formless wage tax. This wage/income tax adds higher brackets onto the payroll tax, the model toward which the wage ...


The Constitutionality Of Taxing Compensatory Damages For Mental Distress When There Was No Accompanying Physical Injury, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 1999

The Constitutionality Of Taxing Compensatory Damages For Mental Distress When There Was No Accompanying Physical Injury, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Since 1919, statutory tax law has excluded from gross income compensatory damages received on account of a personal injury or sickness.1 The current version of that exclusion is set forth in section 104 (a) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.2 The construction of that exclusion, both by the courts and by the Commissioner, underwent significant alterations over the 80-year period that the provision has existed.3 The statute itself was amended several times, most recently in 1996.4 It is the 1996 amendment that has raised a constitutional issue concerning the validity of a portion of ...


Embezzled Funds As Taxable Income: A Study In Judicial Footwork, Jerome B. Libin, George R. Haydon Jr. Jan 1963

Embezzled Funds As Taxable Income: A Study In Judicial Footwork, Jerome B. Libin, George R. Haydon Jr.

Michigan Law Review

The James case might not be worthy of extensive comment if its only significance rested on the decision that embezzled funds constitute taxable income in the year of misappropriation. But close analysis of the five separate opinions that were written indicates that James may have considerable significance beyond its precise holding.


Taxation - Federal Income Tax - Punitive Damages And Recovered "Insider's Profits" Taxable As Income, Alice Austin S.Ed. Nov 1955

Taxation - Federal Income Tax - Punitive Damages And Recovered "Insider's Profits" Taxable As Income, Alice Austin S.Ed.

Michigan Law Review

In previous litigation one of the defendant taxpayers received punitive damages for fraud practiced upon it and both received treble damages for injuries to business caused by conduct in violation of the federal antitrust laws. The court of appeals affirmed the Tax Court's rulings that these receipts were not taxable as gross income. On certiorari to the Supreme Court, held, reversed. Money received as punitive awards is includible in gross income under section 22 (a), I.R.C. (1939). Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Co. and William Goldman Theatres, Inc., 348 U.S. 426, 75 S.Ct. 473 (1955).


Taxation - Federal Income Tax - Corporate Accumulations, Stock Dividends And The "Preferred Stock Bail-Out," And Taxability Of The Corporation Upon The Distribution Of "Inventory Assets" Under The Internal Revenue Code Of 1954, Alice Austin S.Ed. Mar 1955

Taxation - Federal Income Tax - Corporate Accumulations, Stock Dividends And The "Preferred Stock Bail-Out," And Taxability Of The Corporation Upon The Distribution Of "Inventory Assets" Under The Internal Revenue Code Of 1954, Alice Austin S.Ed.

Michigan Law Review

It is the purpose of this discussion to indicate, with respect to corporate accumulations and distributions, some of the major interpretative problems existing under the 1939 code which Congress has failed to resolve, as well as some of the major interpretative difficulties which arise for the first time under the 1954 code.