Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics

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Law & Economics Working Papers


This paper advances ten propositions about tax shelters and tax avoidance. The first four propositions argue that tax shelters must be analyzed solely by the consequences of shelters and the responses, rejecting reasoning based on notions such as the right to tax plan, legitimate tax planning, or statutory interpretation. The next three propositions analyze the consequences of tax shelters by viewing shelters as unintentional gaps in the tax base and attacks on shelters as similar to broadening the base. At the margin, the benefits of broadening the base must be set equal to the administrative costs of doing so and the propositions examine these costs and benefits in detail. The last three propositions discuss issues relating to implementing anti-shelter rules, including the problem of getting empirical estimates, and the role uncertainty and motive should play.



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