Equity and Efficiency in Intellectual Property Taxation
63 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2011 Last revised: 28 Jul 2011
Date Written: December 31, 2010
This article examines the federal income tax regime governing intellectual property using normative criteria in evaluating taxes: equity and efficiency. The article first evaluates the current intellectual property tax scheme in terms of horizontal equity, identifying differences in tax treatment of what appear to be similar intellectual property activities. It argues that disparate tax treatments between seemingly similar intellectual property owners signal that flaws may exist in the tax system. The article then assesses the efficiency of the intellectual property tax system, examining numerous tax subsidies for intellectual property and their effectiveness in promoting economic growth. It argues that many of these tax expenditures are circumscribed in ways that mitigate their effectiveness. The article concludes that many of the inequities and inefficiencies identified exist because tax rules governing intellectual property evolved in the absence of an appropriate legal framework for the intersection of the intellectual property and taxation schemes.
Keywords: equity, fairness, efficiency, policy, tax, taxation, intellectual property, patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, trade names, computer software, software, inequities, inefficiencies, innovation, society, technology, economic growth, bundling, integration
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