Capital Gains Jabberwocky: Capital Gains, Intangible Property, and Tax
40 Pages Posted: 17 May 2013
Date Written: May 16, 2012
In the current US tax system, capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income. What does that mean for the sale of IP and intangible assets? Is it possible to convert ordinary income to capital gain by changing the form of the transaction? This article will address anomalies in the tax characterization of intangible assets. Four cases will be presented, each of which, arguably, could consistently produce capital gains. As will be shown, however, the treatment of these cases (and others) is anything but consistent. At the conclusion of the four cases, it should be clear that the inconsistency is systemic, which in turn will lead us to ask whether (1) none of these intangible assets should receive capital gains treatment or (2) whether all of them should.
Keywords: tax, capital gains, taxation, intangible assets, intellectual property, IP
JEL Classification: H2, H20, H25, H21, H71, K34, O34, D23, K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation