Queen's Law

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Arthur J. J. Cockfield SSRN Content
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REVISION: Limiting Lawyer Liberty: How the Statement of Principles Coerces Speech

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 22:16
In December 2016, the benchers (‘governors’) of the Law Society of Ontario adopted a series of Equity and Diversity Initiatives (“EDIs”), including requiring a mandatory Statement of Principles (the “SOP”). Under the new rule, the “Law Society will require every licensee [that is, lawyer or paralegal] to adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion generally, and in their behavior towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.” Lawyers and paralegals who do not follow this approach will first receive warnings, followed by sanctions, including the potential loss of license to practice. While I agree with the values of equality, diversity and social inclusion, in this Article I claim that the SOP coerces a licensee’s speech, thought and conscience in harmful ways and makes it harder for lawyers to fulfill their duty of loyalty to their client. Accordingly, the SOP seems to infringe or violate, among ...

New: Limiting Lawyer Liberty: How the Statement of Principles Coerces Speech

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 08:18
In December 2016, the benchers (‘governors’) of the Law Society of Ontario adopted a series of Equity and Diversity Initiatives (“EDIs”), including requiring a mandatory Statement of Principles (the “SOP”). Under the new rule, the “Law Society will require every licensee [that is, lawyer or paralegal] to adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion generally, and in their behavior towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.” Lawyers and paralegals who do not follow this approach will first receive warnings, followed by sanctions, including the potential loss of license to practice. While I agree with the values of equality, diversity and social inclusion, in this Article I claim that the SOP coerces a licensee’s speech, thought and conscience in harmful ways and makes it harder for lawyers to fulfill their duty of loyalty to their client. Accordingly, the SOP seems to infringe or violate, among ...

New: Taxing Global Digital Commerce in a Post-BEPS World

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 03:57
This chapter evaluates the recent OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative directed at global digital income, and concludes that tax planning will not be inhibited by any significant extent. Tax planners and academics nevertheless should take into account prospective reforms surrounding permanent establishments, hybrid entities, treaty shopping, transfer pricing and controlled foreign corporations, which may challenge certain practices.

New: How Countries Should Share Tax Information

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:20
Offshore tax evasion, international money laundering, and aggressive international tax planning significantly reduce government revenues. In particular, for some low-income countries the amount of capital flight (where elites move and hide monies offshore in tax havens) exceeds foreign aid. Governments struggle to enforce their tax laws to constrain these actions, and they are inhibited by a lack of information concerning international capital flows. The main international policy response to these developments has been to promote global financial transparency through heightened cross-border exchanges of tax information. The Article examines elements of optimal cross-border tax information exchange laws and policies by focusing on three key challenges: information quality, taxpayer privacy, and enforcement. Relatedly, the Article discusses how the exchange of automatic “big tax data” combined with data analytics can help address these challenges. The recommended laws and policies will ...

New: Examining Canadian Offshore Tax Evasion

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 05:05
This article reviews academic and government studies that assess the magnitude of Canadian offshore tax evasion, as well as what tax-haven data leaks such as the Panama Papers have told us. This evidence, along with Canada’s historically poor performance in auditing, investigating, and prosecuting offshore tax cheats, calls for an ongoing and measured legal and policy response to inhibit offshore tax evasion. The article evaluates recent Canadian reform efforts and recommends ways to improve the system for investigating and prosecuting offshore tax evaders.

New: International Taxation Core Concepts

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:57
The main purpose of International Taxation Core Concepts is to show managers, lawyers, accountants and others how tax laws affect global management decision-making. Part I of the book is a case study (or ‘tax novella’) called La Brienza Winery: Tax Trouble in Wine Country that illustrates how managers confront international tax challenges in the real world. It tells the story of Professor Xavier Montenegro and his tax advice to Dana La Brienza, the owner/manager of a Northern California winery with expanding global operations. Part II of the book contains additional materials on the U.S. and Canadian tax rules governing different cross-border planning strategies, including updates on recent developments. The second edition includes a new chapter on the developing relationship between Xavier and Dana. The attached excerpt provides the table of contents and the first chapter of La Brienza Winery.

New: How Countries Should Share Tax Information

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 07:14
There are increasing policy concerns that aggressive international tax avoidance and offshore tax evasion significantly reduce government revenues. In particular, for some low income countries the amount of capital flight (where elites move and hide monies offshore in tax havens) exceeds foreign aid. Governments struggle to enforce their tax laws to constrain these actions, but are inhibited by a lack of information concerning international capital flows. The main international policy response to these developments has been to promote global financial transparency through heightened cross-border exchanges of tax information. The paper discusses elements of optimal cross-border tax information exchange laws and policies by focusing on three key challenges: information quality, taxpayer privacy, and enforcement. Relatedly, the paper discusses how the exchange of automatic ‘big tax data’ combined with data analytics can help address the challenges.

New: Tax Law and Technology Change

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 06:34
Writings on tax law and technology change often investigate three discrete but related questions: (1) how does tax law react to technology change; (2) how does tax law provoke technology change; and (3) how does tax law seek to preserve traditional interests (such as revenue collection) in light of technology change. In addition, observers sometimes raise concerns that the interaction of technology change and tax law can have a substantive impact on individuals, communities and/or national interests that may differ from the technology’s intended use (for example, automatic tax collection mechanisms may harm taxpayer privacy). The chapter reviews these writings and distills guiding principles for optimal tax law and policy in light of technology change.

New: Breaking Bad: What Does the First Major Tax Haven Leak Tell Us?

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 02:25
While there is now significant literature in law, politics, economics, and other disciplines that examines tax havens, there is little information on what tax haven intermediaries — so-called offshore service providers such as trust, finance and other financial service providers — actually do to facilitate offshore tax evasion and other global financial crimes. To provide insight into this secret world of tax havens, this article relies on the author’s study of the first major tax haven data leak obtained by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists. A hypothetical involving Breaking Bad’s Walter White is used to explain how offshore service providers help non-resident investors engage in offshore tax evasion.

New: Big Data and Tax Haven Secrecy

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 11:27
While there is now significant literature in law,politics, economics, and other disciplines that examines tax havens, there is little information on what tax haven intermediaries — so-called offshore service providers — actually do to facilitate offshore evasion, international money laundering, and the financing of global terrorism. To provide insight into this secret world of tax havens, this Article relies on the Author’s study of big data derived from the financial data leak obtained by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). A hypothetical involving Breaking Bad’s Walter White is used to explain how offshore service providers facilitate global financial crimes. A transaction cost perspective assists in understanding the information and incentive problems revealed by the ICIJ data leak, including how tax haven secrecy enables elites in nondemocratic countries to transfer their monies for ultimate investment in stable democratic countries. The approach ...