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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Future of Tax Administration

        In my recent posts, I have been discussing the trend in tax law scholarship toward tax administration, and have suggested possible causes and fruitful areas of inquiry.  In this last post on the subject matter, I want to briefly ask: where might this be going?  My hope is that tax administration scholarship has as significant of a run as recent trends in tax law scholarship.  As a variety of tax scholars have recognized in recent years, how the tax system is administered may be as, if not (in some cases) more, important than what the law is.  And there are so many tax administration programs meriting examination.  To take just a few: the IRS has special programs for taxpayers in the Large Business and International Division (the nation’s largest taxpayers), such as collaborative, pre-filing issue resolution. In a different part of the taxpaying world, the IRS can settle tax debts for less than the amount owed with taxpayers who can’t pay their tax liability and who meet other requirements.  Corporate tax executives hang on the IRS’s every word at  ABA meetings to find out how the IRS intends to apply the law.  And the IRS gives tax advice (not entirely sure to be correct) to individual taxpayers on the phone.  Scholars have suggested in recent years that taxing authorities should play a more prominent role in setting defaults, such as by presumptively taxing or presumptively collecting tax.  How does all this comport with administrative law and scholarship regarding administrative discretion?  I look forward to all my colleagues’ work that will help me find out.


Posted by Leigh Osofsky on July 16, 2015 at 10:40 AM in Tax | Permalink


Thanks for the thoughts and for the international perspective. I think the international experience will add a lot to how we think about these issues from a U.S. perspective.

Posted by: LZO | Jul 21, 2015 9:38:36 AM

Leigh thanks so much for this 5-post series which I have just read top to bottom with great interest. Tax law has some insights to thank admin law for, and I would think admin law will come to thank tax law for insights too as this line of scholarship develops.

Posted by: Susie Morse | Jul 20, 2015 6:12:07 PM

I teach tax law in Rome, Italy, and completely agree with importance you give to tax offices with respect to law provisions issued by government and parliament. In Italy most of tax revenues are collected through accounting offices of companies. They collect most of sales tax on their receipts and income tax on wages they pay. Most of tax evasion is related to Self employed Individuals. Those latter, however , report tax revenues reasonably high compared with the very low action of tax offices towards them. Italian scholars of tax law seem not to understand at all what explained above

Posted by: raffaello lupi | Jul 18, 2015 11:14:59 AM

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