Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2012

Abstract

This article explores the actions taken by tax protesters and aggressive tax planners, and the response by Congress. It also examines whether Congress has taken sufficient action to curb abusive taxpayer practices. The thesis of the article is that Congress's faint-hearted responses to abusive taxpayer conduct are untimely, inefficient, and ineffective. Congress's weak responses since the inception of the Code have contributed to a culture of income tax avoidance and a growing sense of taxpayer frustration with income tax laws. Part II examines the culture of tax avoidance in the U.S. and how this attitude has manifested itself in our tax jurisprudence. Abusive taxpayer practices are examined from two ostensibly diverse perspectives, the tax protester, and the aggressive tax planner. Part III examines the common law tax doctrines and their limited effectiveness in curbing aggressive tax planning. Part IV examines the relevant statutory responses by Congress to aggressive tax planning and identifies the limitations of each section. Part V concludes with two proposals to address abusive taxpayer practices and calls upon Congress to take affirmative and decisive steps to curb abusive taxpayer practices.