The recently-enacted corporate alternative minimum tax includes numerous grants of regulatory authority to the Secretary of the Treasury Department. The guidance issued pursuant to this authority will play a critical role in ensuring the successful implementation of the new tax. The Tax Law Center submitted a comment letter articulating our understanding of the purposes of certain statutory provisions referenced under those grants of authority and their implications for regulatory and sub-regulatory guidance.
The Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA) proposes to give digital assets special tax advantages over most other types of property. This report analyzes three major tax provisions of the RFIA, concluding that they would subsidize the use of digital assets and harm tax administration. Please see our executive summary for a high-level overview of the report.
The Tax Law Center submitted a public comment encouraging the IRS and Treasury to strengthen a proposed anti-abuse rule in the transfer tax space. The rule aims to prevent tax filers from making sham “gifts” before 2026 to exploit the temporarily increased “lifetime exemption” for estate and gift taxes and ultimately lower their estate tax bills at death. This comment includes recommendations that would ensure the anti-abuse rule is applied consistently to abusive transfers.
This set of facts, co-authored with Wendy Edelberg of The Hamilton Project, illustrates key aspects of the current international corporate tax landscape. These facts highlight the motivations for tax proposals that U.S. lawmakers are considering and their interaction with the "Inclusive Framework deal," a historic new multilateral agreement.
On April 5, 2022, the Treasury Department and the IRS released proposed regulations to address the so-called “family glitch” under the premium tax credit (PTC). The family glitch prevents certain dependents of employees from qualifying for PTC, and by extension for advance payments of PTC and cost-sharing reductions, through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) Marketplaces. This comment letter, co-authored with Jason Levitis of the Urban Institute, provides an analysis of the legislative and regulatory text that resulted in the family glitch. Based on close a close reading of the ACA’s text, this comment concludes that the affordability rule in the 2013 Final Regulation was incorrect, and that the rule in the 2022 NPRM is faithful to the ACA’s plain language, statutory construction, and legislative intent.
Treasury and IRS use the Priority Guidance Plan to identify and prioritize tax issues that should be addressed through regulations and other types of guidance. Our submission on the 2022-2023 PGP recommends certain projects that would promote sound tax administration, encourage stronger tax compliance, and improve confidence in the fairness and integrity of the tax system.
The issue brief provides more detail on the treatment of refundable tax credit error compared to the other elements of the tax gap, including the statutory and regulatory regimes that govern reporting on these sources of error.
This report recommends that the Administration conduct or facilitate research on the share of EITC recipients that do not make it through the correspondence audit process and have the credit disallowed, despite being truly eligible. The correspondence audit process is often challenging for filers with low incomes to navigate, and there is suggestive evidence that a significant share of filers who have their EITC denied or reduced on audit in fact meet the underlying eligibility criteria for the credit. The report discusses potential research approaches, and why this research would be consistent with Executive Orders to advance racial equity and improving federal service delivery.
Comment on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which relates to regulations to be promulgated under the Corporate Transparency Act
February 7, 2022
Tax Law Center
The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which modernizes and reforms the Anti Money Laundering (AML)/Combatting Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime. The CTA requires certain entities to report on their ultimate beneficial ownership to Treasury and became law on January 1, 2021. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will implement and maintain the secure database of beneficial ownership information required by the CTA. This rulemaking is the first of three and addresses FinCEN’s implementation of the CTA’s beneficial ownership reporting requirement.
The Tax Law Center’s comment on FinCEN’s proposed rules makes a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that the implementation of the CTA is highly useful for tax enforcement and administration. This is necessary to meet the statutory requirements and purposes of the CTA, given the strong links between the AML/CFT regime and both domestic and international tax administration.
The slides outline findings from a Tax Law Center research paper co-authored with Professors Jane Millar and Peter Whiteford on how to design a monthly Child Tax Credit to avoid risks of families having to repay substantial amounts. The work relates the research to current policy proposals under consideration in the US. and discusses the measurement and treatment of error in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit compared to other sources of the “tax gap” of taxes owed but not paid voluntarily on time.
This response explains why policymakers should not prioritize repealing the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap over more progressive investments under the Build Back Better package, and also addresses concerns about the cap's effect on state budgets.
This response explains why the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is so important for families and communities across the country. Chye-Ching discusses the long-term benefits of investments like the CTC.
This testimony explores how sound tax policy can lift living standards of low- and moderate-income Americans and support economic growth with broadly shared benefits. Tax policy designed to achieve these goals should: raise revenues to support investments and ensure that investment flows to where it is most productive rather than where tax savings are the most lucrative. The testimony outlines revenue-raising proposals that are well-tailored to these ends. It reviews the evidence on this approach to tax policy versus one that focuses on maintaining tax cuts and subsidies for capital income.
The Importance of Minimizing the Risk of Repayment When Delivering Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments: Lessons from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada
July 15, 2021
Kathleen Bryant, Chye-Ching Huang, Professor Jane Millar, Professor Peter Whiteford
Lawmakers in the US are considering how to improve the design of the monthly Child Tax Credit. Some other countries with child benefits adopted a design that required some families to pay back large amounts of their child benefits when their family circumstances changed. In the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, repayment obligations imposed financial hardship on many families and caused substantial program instability. Canada's approach reduces but does not eliminate repayments. US lawmakers can adopt a design that reduces or avoids the risk of Child Tax Credit repayments.
Comment on the 2021-2022 Priority Guidance Plan
June 1, 2021
Tax Law Center
The Treasury/IRS Priority Guidance Plan identifies and prioritizes tax issues that should be addressed through regulations and other types of guidance. Our submission on the 2021-2022 PGP recommends that Treasury and the IRS place strong weight on projects that have strong tax administration and compliance benefits, and/or are important to low- and moderate-income filers. Heavily weighting such considerations would be consistent with Executive Order EO 13985 On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
Comment on Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which relates to regulations to be promulgated under the Corporate Transparency Act
May 7, 2021
Professor Susan C. Morse, Professor Gregg D. Polsky, Professor Stephen E. Shay, Tax Law Center
The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which modernizes and reforms the Anti Money Laundering (AML)/Combatting Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime. The CTA requires certain entities to report on their ultimate beneficial ownership to Treasury and became law on January 1, 2021. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will implement and maintain the secure database of beneficial ownership information required by the CTA. This comment on one stage of FinCEN’s implementation of the CTA: (1) notes the strong link between the AML/CFT regime and domestic and international tax administration; (2) discusses tax administration access; (3) proposes a broad definition of “other similar entities” under the CTA; and (4) discusses tax law’s experience that different kinds of entities and arrangements are often easy to substitute for one another.
Written testimony for hearing, “Funding Our Nation's Priorities: Reforming the Tax Code's Advantageous Treatment of the Wealthy”
May 5, 2021
This testimony focuses on aspects of the US federal tax system that give income generated by wealth certain tax benefits not available to income from work. It explains: (1) how these tax breaks are not only outright tax cuts, but also affect the tax system by leading to wasteful tax avoidance, sheltering, and even evasion; (2) how low- and middle-income workers typically have a very different experience of the tax system; and (3) the tradeoffs between maintaining these tax subsidies versus proposals to make other investments.
Testimony for the hearing “How U.S. International Tax Policy Impacts American Workers, Jobs, and Investment”
March 25, 2021
This testimony first explains how elements of the post-2017 structure of the US international tax regime are opportunities and incentives for multinationals to locate profits and activities offshore. Second, it describes how some structural elements of this regime can be salvaged and strengthened to form a workable, coherent tax structure. Finally, it outlines how doing so would complement multilateral efforts to reform a century-old international tax framework.