Friday, February 24, 2017

World and Empty Houses Tax: The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement

Regulatory Capture” occurs when special interests co-opt policymakers or political bodies — regulatory agencies, in particular — to further their own ends.  Capture theory is closely related to the “rent-seeking” and “political failure” theories developed by the public choice school of economics.  Another term for regulatory capture is “client politics,” which according to James Q. Wilson, “occurs when most or all of the benefits of a program go to some single, reasonably small interest (and industry, profession, or locality) but most or all of the costs will be borne by a large number of people (for example, all taxpayers).”  (James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy, 1989, at 76). Revolving Doors: Milton Friedman

Please listen to the February 2017 Taxcast on youtube here:

Featuring: Professor Avinash Persaud, chair of Intelligence Capital and author of Improving Resilience, Increasing Revenue: the case for modernising the UK’s stamp duty on shares, David Hillman of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. Produced and presented by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network.


Report on the 33rd Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Sixth Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy
By Derek B. Wagner, Pro Bono Counsel, ABA Section of Taxation, Washington, DC
This conference—now in its thirty-third year as the National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, and its sixth year since combining with the National Institute on Tax Controversy—brings together tax practitioners, judges, and representatives from the IRS and the Department of Justice for three days of workshops and programming topics related to tax controversy, tax litigation, and criminal tax prosecution and defense.

Democrats use obscure 1920s law to try to force Donald Trump to release tax returns

Panama Papers investigation wins Polk Award

The governance of global wealth chains

Making housing affordable: Vancouver’s new 'empty homes tax'. “Highly targeted fiscal policy of the EHT kind can have two effects, one behavioural and the other revenue raising. Changing behaviour was certainly the main objective, however any excess tax revenue over and above program costs is intended to fund local affordable housing initiatives.” (MEdia Dragon IDEA Implemented in Canada - Empty House Tax - Pearls and Irritations)

New York Times (2016)New York Times, Special Tax Section:

Art makes us conscious of what we are and what we can hope to be, and it does so through moments of revelation in which all our being is aroused. Surely, we are tempted to think, it is better that the world contains people who are in that way alert to their condition 

Chris Jordan defends tax office workers over hours
Shu-Yi Oei, When Leaks Drive Tax Law (a.k.a. our new paper!) (Surly Subgroup). ”
We especially were interested in the possibility that—while leaks might appear useful on the surface from a tax enforcement and informational standpoint—there are unexplored pitfalls and downsides to relying on leaks to direct lawmaking and policy priorities.”

The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto Is a Blueprint for Destroying Journalism The Atlantic

Today’s Tax Notes reports [No Substantive IRS Guidance Coming for a While, Official Says] that the IRS has announced that it will not release pretty much any new formal guidance (including revenue rulings and revenue procedures) for the foreseeable future. [Fn: It will continue to release routine guidance, like updated interest rates and updated mileage allowances.]

Why not? A confluence of an Executive Order and a January 20 memorandum. The EO,Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost, requires that, for every new regulation issued, two existing regulations be eliminated.

Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State), Surly Subgroup Mini-Symposium on The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Feb. 11, 2017):
TaxGrrrl, Tax Refund Chart Can Help You Guess When You’ll Receive Your Money
Elaine Maag, Delayed refunds? Looks like delayed filing, too. “While we don’t know if the delay did reduce fraud, it may have discouraged people from filing their tax returns early.”

"“Fact checking is difficult. Everyone thinks it’s a matter of yes or no, but it’s not that simple. It’s complex, it requires a lot of nuance – something that computers aren’t good at." – Full Fact's Mevan Babakar in The Register's story, "Humanity's bulls*** is too much for software" 

Tony Nitti,Woman Sues Howard Stern, IRS For Airing Private Tax Information:

As many callers do, he went about his daily routine while he waited for Stern to pick up. Unlike most callers, however, Jimmy from Long Island was Jimmy Forsythe, a man who plied his trade as an IRS Agent, and on this particular day, going about his daily routine meant talking to Judith Barrigas about her 2014 tax liability.
When Stern Show producers picked up on Forsythe only to hear he and Barrigas talking taxes, they found it fascinating, particularly because neither Forsythe nor Barrigas had any idea that Stern had picked up, and was now airing their call to millions of listeners.
It’s rare to violate taxpayer confidentiality in real time to a nationwide audience

Gregg Polsky (Georgia) presents Elite Tax Professionals Behaving Badly: The Sad and Sordid Management Fee Waiver Saga at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:
For at least the past 15 years, many private equity fund managers have used a technique—known as a management fee waiver—to try to claim what is effectively their weekly paycheck as a capital gain. Recently, the Treasury and IRS explained that, at least in the government’s view, the vast majority of fee waivers do not actually provide the claimed tax result. Recent reports of significant audit activity relating to fee waivers suggest that the fee waiver saga may finally be coming to an end, but not before billions of tax revenues that are beyond the statute of limitations have been lost forever.
Problems with Destination-Based Corporate Taxes and the Ryan Blueprint, by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Michigan; moving to UC-Irvine) & Kimberly A. Clausing (Reed College)