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Why Is The Tax Law So White?

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In this talk Professor Alice Abreu will link a series of observations: 1) The relative lack of diversity in the US tax bar; 2) The traditional view of the tax law as involving one value – raising revenue – rather than multiple and heterogeneous values, exacerbated by the concept of tax expenditures, which places non-revenue values outside the purview of the tax law; 3) The implicit bias that is baked into the tax law through its privileging of capital and its owners, among other things, producing an Internal Revenue Code that is racially blind but not racially neutral; and 4) How many of the Biden Administration’s legislative proposals, for both individual and corporate taxpayers, might begin to disrupt that, perhaps even leading to the long-term provision of a universal basic income.

Professor Alice Abreu is Professor of Law, and the Director of the Center for Tax Law and Public Policy, at Temple University in Philadelphia. A graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School, Professor Abreu has lectured at Harvard and at Yale Law Schools. Professor Abreu began her career in practice and was actively involved with the tax section of the American Bar Association. Professor Abreu’s areas of interest include income tax (both local and international) and the formulation of tax policy. Professor Abreu also has the unusual distinction of having both lectured in and run marathons in Rome. As usual, no prior knowledge of or experience in taxation is necessary in order to attend this meeting of the Cambridge Tax Discussion Group.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Tax Discussion Group series.

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