Tax Analysts Blog

Ajay Gupta
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton, having finished in first place in a Democratic primary race with only one Democrat in it, was duly anointed by the party as its standard-bearer at its convention in Philadelphia on July 26. Her nominally independent and avowedly democratic socialist primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, who had previously declared that the country was “sick and tired” of news coverage of her use of a personal email server for receiving and sending classified documents, is apparently now resolved to also deflect attention from hacked emails showing that the top brass of the party to which he doesn’t belong actively encouraged efforts to deny him its nomination. With both email scandals thus firmly behind her, Clinton’s return to the White House seems inevitable—this time as the power on rather than behind the throne.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Reacting to the success of the Leave campaign in the United Kingdom’s referendum on continued membership in the European Union, the alarmist headline of a New York Times article foreshadowed a nation stepping into “uncharted territory.” Surely a country that has not been successfully invaded since 1066, that forged the concept and practice of parliamentary rule, and that as late as seven decades ago exercised sole dominion over a quarter of the world’s total land area and an equal proportion of its population would have left in its possession a few maps with which to chart its own sovereign course once again. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Establishment Republican leaders, having consulted their textbooks for the definition of racism and concluded that it encompasses their improbable standard-bearer Donald Trump’s cringe-worthy attacks on the Mexican-American federal judge presiding over the Trump University trial, have moved on to try to further mainstream their presumptive nominee’s candidacy by pressuring him to release his tax returns. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who a month ago said Trump would “have to make that decision himself,” now feels emboldened enough to declare, “For the last 30 or 40 years, every candidate for president has released their tax returns, and I think Donald Trump should as well.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In amending the whistleblower statute and establishing a mandatory award in 2006, Congress evidently sought to provide greater incentives for whistleblowers by promising them more certain payments. But the statutory text does not seem to have anticipated FBAR penalties. That, combined with the subsequent delegation of administering the FBAR regime to the IRS, means that whistleblower awards largely continue to remain acts of administrative grace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

As Bill Maher summed it up recently, the Democrats’ position on immigration has morphed from comprehensive reform to “You get across that river, you're here to stay.” He might as well have added, “And you get to apply for federal public benefits right away.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The ever more likely and the ever less liked Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has variously and vacuously threatened that on acceding to the Oval Office, he would slap tariffs of 35 percent on Mexican imports, including Ford cars and Carrier air conditioners, and 45 percent on all Chinese products brought into the country.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Can Donald Trump use his “very powerful hands” to force Mexico to pay for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border? In an expletive-laced rant on February 25, former Mexican President Vincente Fox dismissed Trump’s “effing wall.” Trump retorted that “the wall just got 10 feet higher.” Challenged on details of his plans for making Mexico pay, Trump points to its $58 billion annual trade surplus with the United States. But does that imbalance in trade offer a viable source of financing for a wall between the two nations?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hell hath no fury like a Brussels bureaucrat scorned. Consider European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Questioned by BBC Radio 4's Today program on member states’ making “sweetheart deals about back taxes,” such as Google’s £130 million tax settlement with HM Revenue & Customs, which was announced January 22, Vestager responded, “It’s unfair. And sometimes it is also illegal state aid.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died February 13 and was universally acknowledged as both an intellectual pillar of the Court’s modern-day conservative renaissance and a staunch defender of the constitutional rights of criminal defendants, also leaves behind a legacy of tax law jurisprudence characterized by fealty to his guiding judicial philosophy of restricting himself to the text and searching for its original meaning. In so doing, he often found himself striking a discordant and derisive note.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall," Republican presidential hopeful and front-runner Donald J. Trump said in his announcement speech last June. Turns out the inevitable Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, would also build a great, great wall.

Friday, September 19, 2014
Stanley Surrey was a remarkable policy wonk. He served as Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy under two presidents, Kennedy and Johnson. He formulated the concept of tax expenditures. And in adopting the arm's-length standard for transfer pricing in the section 482 regulations of 1968, he...
Friday, September 12, 2014
It turns out that deal-driven investment bankers have been driving the inversion-ridden agendas of not just tax professionals, but also policymakers these last few months. It may not exactly be news that the current wave of inversions was unleashed by investment banks looking to jump-start a moribu...
Friday, September 5, 2014
So far, Congress has acted once to curb inversions. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 codified section 7874, the so-called anti-inversion legislation. The same bill also added code section 4985, which addresses stock inversions, such as those recently announced by Medtronic, AbbVie, and others...
Friday, August 29, 2014
After Ronald Reagan reduced him to a lame duck, Jimmy Carter signed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980 into law. Subtitle C of Title XI of that legislation, which has come to be known as the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, was sponsored by no fewer than 49 senators from both sides...
Friday, August 22, 2014
In July 2012 Australia became the first national jurisdiction to explicitly tax carbon emissions. Last month, Australia achieved another first when it became the first national jurisdiction to repeal a tax on carbon emissions. That decision brought in its wake distress and apprehension. Joining “d...
Friday, August 15, 2014
The political discourse this summer has been dominated by three “I” words—impeachment, immigration, and inversions. True to form, Democrats have sought to raise funds off each of the three. And equally true to form, Republicans have sought to weave all three into their developing narrative of a...
Friday, August 8, 2014
Milton Friedman described himself as a consequentialist libertarian. His preferred monetary policy was to abolish the Fed and mechanically increase money supply at a slow, steady rate. His fiscal prescription was to lower taxes at every opportunity—“for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's...
Friday, August 1, 2014
Could that venerable legal scholar, Judge Learned Hand, have been wrong lo these many years? In 1934, not long after the ratification of the 16th Amendment had definitively put to rest constitutional doubts on the federal government's plenary power to tax income, Hand disabused those wielding that...