Each edition of Tax Matters consists of free-flowing responses by three tax practitioners to a question regarding a current issue in tax law and policy. Tax Matters commentaries provide insightful perspectives on a broad range of topics, making important contributions to the dialogue within the tax bar about cutting-edge issues. Although the commentaries are certainly of interest to the academic community, they are primarily directed toward tax professionals and their clients.
The enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act on September 16, 2011 addressed a decade-long controversy over the propriety of granting tax strategy patents, denying patents to “any strategy for reducing, avoiding, or deferring tax liability, whether known or unknown at the time of the invention or application for patent.” The Act’s stated purpose was to keep the ability to interpret the tax law in the public domain, available to all taxpayers and their advisors.How will the new legislation affect tax practice and the development of tax-saving strategies? What (if anything) does the tax strategy debate tell us about the impact of horizontal equity on tax policy? Does it foretell a resurgence of horizontal equity concerns as the nation faces unprecedented budgetary pressures amidst increasing criticism of income and wealth inequality in America? Or does it represent merely reining in a USPTO that simply was not well equipped to adequately assess claims of novelty and non-obviousness in the tax context?
Paul L. Caron, Charles Hartsock Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Dennis B. Drapkin
William M. Paul