On December 2, the Graduate Tax Program hosted a discussion titled “Innovation and Capital Gains Tax Policy.” Moderator and program Director Joshua Blank (LL.M. ’07) guided three tax experts in a conversation about whether tax policy affects the rate of innovation and what would happen to entrepreneurship if current tax law were changed.

As later reported in the New York Post, Visiting Professor Victor Fleischer is working on a paper that posits that a tax break for entrepreneurs selling their stock costs the United States government over $100 billion each year. Currently, founders of start-ups are taxed at lower capital gains rates when they sell their businesses. This low rate is often justified as a method of encouraging innovation. Fleisher, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School, argues that these entrepreneurs should pay the 35 percent income tax.

Blank and Fleisher were joined by David Miller (LL.M. '94) of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and William Weigel (LL.M. '79) of Davis, Polk & Wardwell.

Watch the full discussion (58 min):

Posted December 10, 2010