Spontaneous Tax Coordination: On Adopting a Comparative Approach to Reforming the U.S. International Tax Regime
Anthony C. Infanti
University of Pittsburgh - School of Law
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Forthcoming
Despite being widely-acknowledged as an important tax policy goal, simplification of the U.S. international tax regime has received little substantive attention from commentators. When simplicity concerns have been addressed, commentators have generally considered only the internal complexity produced by individual U.S. rules or by the interaction of one U.S. rule with another U.S. rule. In practice, however, the U.S. international tax regime does not operate in isolation, but rather continuously interacts with other countries' international tax regimes. These interactions often engender conflicts that produce additional, external complexity. As a result, true simplification of the U.S. international tax regime can be achieved only when the problem of complexity is viewed from a holistic perspective that takes into account both the regime's internal and external complexity.
With the need for a holistic approach in mind, this article explores the viability of adopting tax coordination - pursued through the use of comparative law as an aid to legislation - as a framework within which the U.S. international tax regime might be reformed. Initially, the concepts of tax coordination and tax harmonization are refined to provide a working vocabulary for use in the remainder of the article. Next, the manner in which the proposed framework is expected to operate in theory is detailed and the costs and benefits of adopting the proposed framework are considered. Finally, the manner in which the proposed framework is expected to operate in practice is examined using reform of the provisions governing the treatment of cross-border charitable contributions as an example.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 129
Keywords: international, tax, comparative law, reform, simplification, tax coordination, tax harmonization
JEL Classification: H20, K34
Date posted: October 27, 2003