In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, a lot of folks are taking a hard look at Wall Street. On February 5, a group of experts convened in Furman Hall for a conference titled "Rethinking the Taxation of the Financial Sector in Light of the Recent Crisis." A key theme of the event was that policy makers should not consider financial industry tax rules in isolation, but also look at how these rules interact with accounting and regulatory regimes that apply to the same firms. Specialists in each of these areas attended and made presentations.
Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation Daniel Shaviro co-hosted the event, along with business school professor Joel Slemrod from the University of Michigan and Doug Shackelford from the University of North Carolina. In a posting to his Start Making Sense blog on the day after the conference, Shaviro gave an example of linking taxation to other regulatory policy. "One interesting idea that I have heard about recently," he wrote, "concerns an 'excess profits' tax when banks earn a great deal relative to the measure of regulatory capital they are forced to keep on hand (they like to keep this amount as low as possible so they will have more free equity to play with)." Shaviro called the idea "intriguing," even though he typically views excess profits taxes with skepticism.

Posted February 16, 2010