Administering the Tax System We Have
Also published at ETHICAL DUTIES TO THE TAX SYSTEM: A HANDBOOK 67 (Scott A. Schumacher & Michael Hatfield, eds. 2015)
54 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2014 Last revised: 24 Sep 2016
Date Written: March 14, 2014
Traditional perceptions of tax exceptionalism from administrative law doctrines and requirements have been predicated at least in part on the importance of the tax code’s revenue raising function. Yet, Congress increasingly relies on the IRS to administer government programs that have little to do with raising revenue and much more to do with distributing government benefits to the economically disadvantaged, subsidizing approved activities, and regulating outright certain economic sectors like nonprofits, pensions, and now health care. As the attentions of the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service shift away from raising revenue and toward these other matters, the revenue-based justification for tax exceptionalism from general administrative law norms fades. To demonstrate the shift, the Article incorporates empirical analysis of Treasury and IRS regulatory activity over time.
Keywords: tax exceptionalism, administrative law, treasury regulations, tax administration
JEL Classification: K23, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation