SMNR: Tax Policy: Income Taxation

PREREQUISITE: Federal Income Tax (354J or 454J). This seminar will examine some fundamental features of the U.S. federal income tax system and will focus on various tax policy considerations including fairness, efficiency, complexity/simplicity, the Executive Branch and legislative processes, and taxpayer behavior. The assigned readings and class discussions will focus on several key topics, including the proper timing for taxing income, progressive versus flat tax rates, taxing the family unit, the income tax treatment of property transferred at death or by gift, tax expenditures, the taxation of corporate income, capital gains and losses, and the proper income tax treatment of price level changes. You and I will need to agree on your paper topic during the first month of class or so, and thereafter you must complete an outline of your paper that you submit to me for review and comment, then you must do a substantial draft of the paper (that will be due several weeks after spring break, that you will present in class, and that I will give you comments on) and, finally, you must submit your final paper by the deadline of Monday, June 6. Your grade will be based on the final paper submitted (approximately 85 percent of the final grade) and class participation (approximately 15 percent of the final grade), including discussion of the assigned readings for 7 or 8 weeks of the seminar class sessions, the presentation of your draft paper in class, and your discussion of other students' draft papers during their presentations of them.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 6.207/208
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed


  • Tax Policy--Readings and Materials - Philip D. Oliver
      Foundation Press , edition: 3d, 2011
      ISBN: 978-1-59941-625-0   (required)