Is the Federal Income Tax Code Unconstitutionally Vague?

Mustang Journal of Law and Legal Studies, Vol. 5, pp. 47-62, October 2013

16 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2014 Last revised: 9 Mar 2014

See all articles by David Vance

David Vance

Rutgers University School of Business Camden

Date Written: October 31, 2013

Abstract

Taxes are the price of living in a civilized society and no one disputes the right of the federal government to tax income. However, the federal tax code may have become so complicated that it is unconstitutionally vague. A law is unconstitutionally vague when a person of ordinary intelligence cannot determine what is required of him or her. There is a presumption that laws are constitutional and that presumption can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. However, there is a broad and deep body of clear and convincing evidence that the tax code is so complex that it is unconstitutionally vague. The contribution of this article is to create a record of tax code complexity that can be used as the basis for judicial action.

Keywords: Tax, Complexity, Unconstitutionally Vague, Tax Complexity, Tax Errors

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Vance, David, Is the Federal Income Tax Code Unconstitutionally Vague? (October 31, 2013). Mustang Journal of Law and Legal Studies, Vol. 5, pp. 47-62, October 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2395514

David Vance (Contact Author)

Rutgers University School of Business Camden ( email )

227 Penn Street
Camden, NJ 08102-1656
United States
856-225-6921 (Phone)

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