Statutory Interpretation, Comparative Law, and Economic Theory: Discovering the Grund of Income Taxation
William B. Barker
The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law
San Diego Law Review, Vol. 40, 2003
The United States represents a rather unusual tradition in income tax law that relies heavily on concepts and principles whose content has been vastly expanded over the years by the courts. This paper focuses on the concept of income and demonstrates that the historical context in America justifies radical interpretation of tax statutes. This paper shows the methodology that best describes the Supreme Court's approach to the concept of income and justifies its development is a synthesis of the Anglo-American doctrine of the positive equity of the statute with the Roman civil-law doctrine providing for the analogical development of statutes. These doctrines provide the tools for a nonarbitrary development of the concept of income to cover unanticipated changes in the economic relations of taxpayers over time. Analogical development in accordance with the principle of distributive justice satisfies the democratic agenda constituted in the Sixteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 61
Keywords: Income tax, comparative tax, statutory interpretation, anological development, equity of the statute, comparative law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K34, K39, K40, K49Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 18, 2004
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