Taxing the Non-Market Economy
48 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2008 Last revised: 12 Oct 2009
Date Written: August 14, 2008
This Article examines the interaction of tax policy and non-market exchanges. It discerns non-market attributes and interactions as a separate paradigm which coherently explains some significant questions of tax policy.
Drawing on the rich body of literature on commodification, the Article offers an innovative theoretical framework for analyzing the tax treatment of the non-market realm. The encounter between tax policy and the commodification scholarships is mutually enriching:
Looking at the commodifying implications of tax law helps explain - and set the boundaries of - some puzzling distinctions in our tax system (e.g. barters v. mutual gifts; work v. leisure; business expenses v. personal consumption; untaxed imputed income of homemakers; business v. non-profit organization). It highlights tax's ability to play a significant role in supporting (or undermining) the non-market. Appreciating this dimension of tax law implies that policymakers should weigh commodification concerns when making choices about what and how to tax.
Adding taxation to the legal institutions analyzed by commodification offers many subtleties for determining what precisely commodifies resources, transactions, and relationships and complements this literature with a set of refined tools for creatively targeting specific commodification concerns without carrying the costs of non-commodification.
Keywords: Commodification, Tax, Personal deductions, Imputed income, Endowment tax, Barters
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