Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The excessive complexity of the U.S. international tax regime is well documented. Although many commentators have cited the need for simplification, their proposals often maximize other policy goals at the expense of simplicity. Even reform proposals aimed principally at clarifying the tax code are ordinarily focused on the "internal" complexity of the code, seeking improvements only for U.S. taxpayers struggling with a single complex provision of the code or the baffling interaction, of two U.S. rules. This Article focuses on the interaction between U.S. tax law and the rules of other nations, and is intended to illustrate the benefits that spring from viewing the U.S. reform debate from an international perspective. In this pursuit, the Article considers the viability of using the model of international tax coordination to improve efforts to reform the U.S. international tax regime. To test the usefulness of the framework, the Article applies it to a discrete issue of international tax law--the treatment of contributions made by domestic taxpayers to foreign non-profit organizations. After a thorough examination of the tax law of a sampling of nations on this topic, the Article concludes that the proposed framework is a flexible and useful approach to reform that allows for the effective balancing of costs and benefits of reform and may also reduce internal complexity.