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Can We Clean This Up? A Brief Journey Through the United States Rules for Taxing Business Entities

Willard B. Taylor


This article summarizes the 80-plus year history of the US federal income tax rules for classifying business entities, concluding that they result largely from administrative and/or legislative reactions to specific problems or legislative accommodations to industry lobbying efforts and do not reflect an effort to develop a comprehensive and coherent system for taxing (or not taxing) business income. While this history does not suggest that comprehensive reform is likely, the article proposes some changes that might be considered–specifically, a single tax system for non-publicly traded businesses and rationalizing the treatment of foreign investment in the US, particularly in the case of investments in stocks, securities and real estate.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.