Yesterday I greatly enjoyed virtually presenting, via Zoom, my new paper (soon to be posted on SSRN), What Are Minimum Taxes, and Why Might One Favor or Disfavor Them? The session was hosted by Leandra Lederman at Maurer Law School, and but for the pandemic I would have presented it there physically. Today, I was equally glad to present the paper virtually at the Critical Tax Conference, hosted by Neil Buchanan at U Florida Law School.
Although I like meeting in person with my colleagues at other schools when it is safe to do so, better Zoom than nothing. An hour from now, I will be attending my first-ever Zoom cocktail party, marking the end of the Critical Tax Conference's first day. I'm pretty sure it's BYO cocktail, as physical delivery by Zoom of actual drinks is still just on the drawing board.
Here is an abstract for the minimum tax paper:
The alternative minimum tax (AMT), a key and at the time widely lauded feature of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, soon fell into disrepute and was subsequently scaled back, to general approbation and relief. Yet in recent years minimum taxes have come back into vogue. For example, two key international tax provisions in the 2017 tax act (GILTI and the BEAT) had minimum tax structures, and the OECD has recently issued proposed guidelines for the design of a global minimum tax, meant for multilateral adoption.
In light of minimum taxes’ surprising return to center stage, this paper explores such issues as the following:
1) the purposive, technical, and semantic contours of instruments we call “minimum taxes,”
2) why a minimum tax structure matters – pertaining, for example, to the creation of clientele effects and discontinuous marginal incentives,
3) the lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of the AMT,
4) minimum taxes’ similarity to foreign tax credit limitations and loss nonrefundability,
5) the design question of whether, if highly profitable companies’ financial accounting income were made tax-relevant, this should be done through a minimum tax,
6) how one might rationalize (or not) the BEAT’s minimum tax structure, and
7) the main issues posed by global minimum taxes, including GILTI and the OECD’s Pillar Two GloBE proposal.
And finally, courtesy of Leandra Lederman, here is a virtual snapshot of the Maurer session yesterday: