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Codification of the Tax Law and the Emergence of the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation

46 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017 Last revised: 15 Sep 2017

George K. Yin

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: September 13, 2017

Abstract

In 1926, Congress created the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and its staff. This article explains how, partly by design but largely by happenstance, the JCT staff helped change the nature of the legislative process. By serving at or near the intersection of three great divides in government — those between the parties, the houses of Congress, and the legislative and executive branches — the staff demonstrated the value of unelected professionals assisting directly in the formation of legislation and led Congress to rely more on its own resources in the legislative process rather than those of the executive branch. This article describes the emergence of the JCT staff from a modest conception much different from its eventual role. The staff’s work on a lengthy and highly technical project — a dozen-year effort to codify the tax statutes — contributed to the growth of its influence and the changes that would take place in the legislative process.

Keywords: legislative process, codification, congressional staff, nonpartisan, tax code

JEL Classification: H20, K34, K40

Suggested Citation

Yin, George K., Codification of the Tax Law and the Emergence of the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (September 13, 2017). Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2017-20; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-39. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3008878

George K. Yin (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7025 (Phone)
434-924-7536 (Fax)

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