Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F

17 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2017 Last revised: 25 Nov 2018

See all articles by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

University of Michigan Law School

Nir Fishbien

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Law School - SJD Candidate

Date Written: November 20, 2017

Abstract

For the first time since 1913, Congress is considering abandoning the principle that US residents should be subject to tax on all income “from whatever source derived.” Specifically, the House proposed tax reform legislation, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, would completely exempt from US taxation dividends from “Controlled Foreign Corporations”. This is therefore a good occasion for considering the reasons we tax such dividends in the first place.

In the course of investigating the Stanley Surrey papers at the Harvard Law School Library, we discovered a remarkable report that support the view that the main impetus behind Subpart F was to protect the U.S. corporate tax base. The report explains some of the problems encountered by the IRS in the international arena, and goes on to recommend limits on deferral. By doing so, it sheds some light on the “original intent” of Subpart F and its relation to territoriality.

Finally, the paper explains why the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act international provisions would do little to prevent the kind of profit shifting that Subpart F was enacted to prevent and recommends to return to the original intent of Subpart F and subject foreign income to the same rate as domestic income.

Keywords: Territoriality, Subpart F, Tax Reform

JEL Classification: H26

Suggested Citation

Avi-Yonah, Reuven S. and Fishbien, Nir, Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F (November 20, 2017). U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 578; 157 TAX NOTES 959 (Nov. 13, 2017); U of Michigan Law & Econ Research Paper No. 17-020; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 578. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3074647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3074647

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4033 (Phone)

Nir Fishbien

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Law School - SJD Candidate ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
631
rank
39,999
Abstract Views
1,395
PlumX Metrics