Monday, November 21, 2011

NTA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, part 4

The final panel in which I participated in New Orleans was one at which I presented my article on rising U.S. corporate residence electivity.

Since this article is verging on old and cold (i.e., it's based on a talk that I gave in September 2010, and appeared in the Tax Law Review earlier this year), I decided to use the talk as a vehicle for pushing forward a bit, and including thoughts that I have been developing in the last few months while working on my international tax book in progress. Hence, I called my talk "The Rising Tax-Electivity of U.S. Corporate Residence (... and Beyond)," and used the last couple of slides to push farther than I have thus far in print (other perhaps than earlier powerpoint slides that I have posted at this blog) on how I am thinking these days about how we should tax U.S. multinationals' foreign source income.

The slides are available here. I should note one difference between the version that I am posting and the one that I actually used in New Orleans. The latter included a slide asserting that Desai and Hines are "in error" insofar as they assert that the asserted national welfare norm of national ownership neutrality (NON) supports exempting U.S. companies' foreign source income. But, as Jim Hines noted at the session, there is no error either in identifying NON as a relevant margin at which distortion is undesirable (all else equal), or in asserting that NON supports exemption.

What I would regard as in error is saying that U.S. national efficiency would be maximized by basing our international tax policy on NON. I would argue that this, by over-focusing on one margin when in fact there are many to consider, would affirmatively diverge from minimizing the overall economic distortion caused by the U.S. federal income tax system. Even given this point, however, Desai and Hines are only in error if they do in fact assert that NON establishes that exemption is the most efficient international tax policy for the U.S. to follow.

Now, some may feel that they do effectively assert this, but the articles in which they introduced NON to the literature acknowledge that there are broader efficiency issues to consider. Thus, I decided to remove the "error" claim before posting the slides.

1 comment:

Expatriate Tax Return said...

Sounds like a good meeting!