American Bar Association

Section of Taxation:

Who We Are

Roger Royse, Chair

We are the Committee on Tax Policy and Simplification. The Tax Policy and Simplification Committee was formed in 2009 by the merger of the Formation of Tax Policy, VAT and Simplification Committees. The Committee's mission is to provide timely and topical tax policy and reform discussion by leading tax policy makers and scholars as well as practitioners. Since the Committee's formation, it has provided panels on topics ranging from international to state and local tax, corporate tax to estate tax, and analysis of tax reform proposals by lawmakers, blue ribbon commissions, other experts and commentators, and the ABA Tax Section itself. The Tax Policy and Simplification Committee welcomes participation by practitioners, academics, and government lawyers. Please contact the chair, Roger Royse, or vice-chairs, Mike Lang or Leandra Lederman, or Council Director Roberta Mann, if you have ideas for panels or panelists. We hope to see you at a future meeting.

Committee Materials from Recent Meetings


Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

Committee Meeting

February 9, 2018
9:30AM – 11:30AM Room 400B, Sapphire Level
Tax Policy & Simplification 
Chair: Roger Royse, Royse Law Firm, Menlo Park, CA

9:30am Taxing R2-D2: How Should We Think About the Taxation of Robots and AI?
The future is coming, with increased automation and artificial intelligence affecting many industry sectors, from transportation to medicine to legal services. While it is possible that these developments will result in enhanced productivity, they may also lead to fewer jobs for humans and decreasing reliance on human labor. It is a tax policy maxim that it is inefficient for taxation to interfere with business decisions. But what are the implications of automation for a tax system that primarily relies on labor taxation and is increasingly reducing the taxation of capital? Jurisdictions in the United States and around the world are considering proposals to tax robots in order to slow the advance of automation while providing funds for displaced workers. Should robots and machines be taxed, in order to preserve human jobs? If so, how should such taxes be designed, and what problems might they create? This panel addresses these timely questions.
Moderator: Professor Leandra Lederman, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, IN
Panelists: Robert J. Kovacev, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, DC; Professor Roberta Mann, University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, OR; Professor Shu-Yi Oei, Boston College Law School, Newton, MA

10:30am Perspectives on the Federal Income Tax SALT (State and Local Taxes) Deduction.
This panel will explore the policy concerns arising out of the SALT deduction for individual taxpayers. The panel will address the perspectives of taxpayers, state and local governments impacted industries and the administration and structure of the federal income tax. The speakers will also discuss any changes in the SALT deduction resulting from pending tax legislation.
Moderator: Professor Michael B. Lang, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Orange, CA
Panelists: Nikki E. Dobay, Council on State Taxation, Portland, OR; Julianne Surane, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Orange, CA; Professor Adam Thimmesch, Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln, NE

Section Events

    Nuts & Bolts Collections Part III: Preparing an Offer-in-Compromise for Pro Bono Clients


    This panel follows the Nuts & Bolts Collections Workshop Series Parts I and II, available for free download here . The panelists recommend that participants who do not have a background in collections cases for low-income taxpayers listen to Part I and Part II before participating in Part III as it ...

    Understanding the New Guidance on Section 199A


    Recent proposed regulations provide guidance on the Section 199A deduction for qualified business income from pass-through entities, including partnerships and subchapter S corporations. This webinar will cover features of the new proposed regulations important to owners of pass-through entities when ...

    Tax Planning for Law Firms Under the 2017 Tax Act - The Effects of the Proposed Regulations


    Please join us as we continue the discussion about the recently enacted 2017 Tax Act and its impact on small and solely held businesses including business and professional services. The Internal Revenue Service recently release proposed regulations governing Internal Revenue Code Section 199A regarding. ...

Committee Resources

Winter 2017: Outline, Parameters for Tax Reform in the New Year
Fall 2016, Tax Incentives for Technological Innovation
Fall 2016: Integration of Corporate and Shareholder Income Taxes
May 2016: Propsects for Tax Legislation in a New Administration, Background Paper
May 2016: Eric Toder, Tax Plans of the Presidential Candidates
Winter 2016: Roger Royse, Marketplace Fairness Act
Winter 2016: Marketplace Fairness Act Handout
Winter 2016: Annette Nellen, Marketplace Fairness Act
Fall 2015: Gilbert E. Metcalf, The Design of Tax Incentives: Theory and Practice
Fall 2015: Tracey M. Roberts, Structuring Tax Subsidies for the Energy Industry
Fall 2015: Gilbert E. Metcalf,The Design of Tax Incentives: Theory and Practice
May 2015: Committee on Tax Policy and Simplification, U.S. International Tax Reform: How Does it Interact with the BEPS Project and Legislative Activity by Foreign Sovereigns?
May 2015: Jonathan Barry Forman, Tax and Spending Panel
May 2015: Jonathan Barry Forman, Tax and Spending in the Long Run (background paper)
May 2015: Dr. C. Eugene Steuerle, Dead Men Ruling: Tax & Spending Policy in the Long Run
May 2015: Barry Anderson, Comments on Dead Men Ruling: Tax & Spending Policy in the Long Run
Winter 2015: Jonathan Barry Forman & Roberta F. Mann, Reorganizing the Internal Revenue Service to Achieve its Mission(s): Past, Present, and Future (Background Paper and Bibliography)
Winter 2015: Jonathan Barry Forman & Roberta F. Mann, The Future of Energy Tax Policy (Background Paper and Bibliography)
Fall 2014, Jon Forman, Prospects for Direct (or Indirect) Taxation of Wealth (Background Paper and Bibliography)
Fall 2014, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Piketty's Inequality Conclusions Inaccurate, Recommendations Impossible
Fall 2014, Census Bureau, Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S.: 2000 to 2011
Fall 2014, Roger Royse, Prospects for Direct (or Indirect) Taxation of Wealth
Fall 2014, Richard Lavoie, Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Is a Wealth Tax Now Possible in America?
Fall 2014, Alice Abreu, The Other End of the Stick: Reducing Inequality by Taxing Labor Less, Not Just Taxing Capital More
Fall 2014, John T. Plecnik, The New Flat Tax: A Modest Proposal For a Constitutionally Apportioned Wealth Tax
May 2014, Itai Grinberg, Do Inversions Matter
May 2014, Jon Forman, New Ideas for Pension Reform (joint program with the Employee Benefits Committee)
May 2014, Stephen Shay, Corporate Tax Aggressiveness
May 2014, Edmund Outslay, Accounting for Uncertain Positions: A Primer
May 2014, Dick Harvey, Corporate Tax Aggressiveness
Winter 2014, Eric San Juan & Jon Forman, The Role of the IRS in the Administration of Tax Policy (Background Paper & Bibliography)
Winter 2014, Roger Royse, IRS Administration of Social Welfare Policy (PowerPoint)
Fall 2013: Background and Bios
Fall 2013: Cynthia Cox, Premium Tax Credits under the ACA
Fall 2013: David Gamage, Perverse Incentives Arising from the Tax Provisions of Healthcare Reform
Fall 2013: Jordan Barry, The Not-So-Mandatory Individual Mandate (PowerPoint)
Fall 2013: Jordan Barry, Is the Individual Mandate Really Mandatory?
Fall 2013: Roberta Mann, Economists are from Mars, Lawyers are from Venus (Outline)
Fall 2013: Roberta Mann, Economists are from Mars, Lawyers are from Venus (PowerPoint)
Fall 2013: Alex Raskolnikov, Accepting the Limits of Tax Law and Economics
May 2013: Itai Grinberg, Tax Reform Background Materials
May 2013: Jasper Cummings, Constitution and Federal Tax
May 2013: Erik Jensen,Post-NFIB: Does the Taxing Clause
May 2013: Roberta Mann, Constitutional Parameters of Tax Reform
May 2013: Joseph Thorndike, Why Repealing the 16th Amendment Probably Wouldn't Matter
May 2013: Tracy Kaye, Restricting the Legislative Power to Tax in the
ABA Statement of Policy Favoring Tax Simplicity, Stability, and Transparency
U.S. Department of Treasury, Tax Policy documents
Joint Committee on Taxation documents
National Taxpayer Advocate, Reports to Congress



Royse, Roger
Message From The Chair


Lang, Michael
Lederman, Leandra

Committee Roster  

Modified by Jonathan Forman on January 21, 2018

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