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50+ Focused Taxation Research Topics For Your Dissertation

Published by Ellie Cross at December 29th, 2022 , Revised On May 2, 2024

A thorough understanding of taxation involves drawing from multiple sources to understand its goals, strategies, techniques, standards, applications, and many types. Tax dissertations require extensive research across a variety of areas and sources to reach a conclusive result. It is important to understand and present tax dissertation themes well since they deal with technical matters.

Choosing the right topic in the area of taxation can assist students in understanding how much insight and knowledge they can contribute and the tools they will need to authenticate their study. 

If you are not sure what to write about, here are a few top taxation dissertation topics to inspire you .

The Most Pertinent Taxation Topics & Ideas

  • The effects of tax evasion and avoidance on and the supporting data
  • How does budgeting affect the management of tertiary institutions?
  • How does intellectual capital affect the development and growth of huge companies, using Microsoft and Apple as examples?
  • The importance and function of audit committees in South Africa and China: similarities and disparities
  • How taxation can aid in closing the fiscal gap in the UK economy’s budget
  • A UK study comparing modern taxation and the zakat system
  • Is it appropriate to hold the UK government accountable for subpar services even after paying taxes?
  • Taxation’s effects on both large and small businesses
  • The impact of foreign currencies on the nation’s economy and labour market and their detrimental effects on the country’s tax burden
  • A paper explaining the importance of accounting in the tax department
  • To contribute to the crucial growth of the nation, do a thorough study on enhancing tax benefits among American residents
  • A thorough comparison of current taxes and the Islamic zakat system is presented. Which one is more beneficial and effective for reducing poverty?
  • According to the most recent academic study on tax law, what essential improvements are needed to implement tax laws in the UK?
  • A thorough investigation of Australian tax department employees’ active role in assisting residents of all Commonwealth states to pay their taxes on time.
  • Why establishing a taxation system is essential for a country’s growth
  • What is the tax system’s greatest benefit to the poor?
  • Is it legitimate to lower the income tax so that more people begin paying it?
  • What is the most significant investment made using tax revenue by the government?
  • Is it feasible for the government to create diverse social welfare policies without having the people pay the appropriate taxes?
  • How tax avoidance by people leads to an imbalance in the government budget
  • What should deter people from trying to avoid paying taxes on time?
  • Workers of the tax department’s role in facilitating tax evasion through corruption
  • Investigate the changes that should be made to the current taxation system. A case study based on the most recent UK tax studies
  • Examine the variables that affect the amount of income tax UK people are required to pay
  • An analysis of the effects of intellectual capital on the expansion and development of large businesses and multinationals. An Apple case study
  • A comparison of the administration and policy of taxes in industrialised and emerging economies
  • A detailed examination of the background and purposes of international tax treaties. How successful were they?
  • An examination of the effects of taxation on small and medium-sized enterprises compared to giant corporations
  • An examination of the effects of tax avoidance and evasion. An analysis of the worldwide Panama crisis and how tax fraud was carried out through offshore firms
  • A critical analysis of how the administration of higher institutions is impacted by small business budgeting
  • Recognising the importance of foreign currency in a nation’s economy. How can foreign exchange and remittances help a nation’s finances?
  • An exploration of the best ways tax professionals may persuade customers to pay their taxes on time
  • An investigation of the potential impact of tax and accounting education on the achievement of the nation’s leaders
  • How the state might expand its revenue base by focusing on new taxing areas. Gaining knowledge of the digital content creation and freelance industries
  • An evaluation of the negative impacts of income tax reduction. Will it prompt more people to begin paying taxes?
  • A critical examination of the state’s use of tax revenue for human rights spending. A UK case study
  • A review of the impact of income tax on new and small enterprises. Weighing the benefits and drawbacks
  • A comprehensive study of managing costs so that money may flow into the national budget without interruption. A study of Norway as an example
  • An overview of how effective taxes may contribute to a nation’s development of a welfare state. A study of Denmark as an example
  • What are the existing problems that prevent the government systems from using the tax money they receive effectively and completely?
  • What are people’s opinions of those who frequently avoid paying taxes?
  • Explain the part tax officials play in facilitating tax fraud by accepting small bribes
  • How do taxes finance the growth and financial assistance of the underprivileged in the UK?
  • Is it appropriate to criticise the government for not providing adequate services when people and businesses fail to pay their taxes?
  • A comprehensive comparison of current taxes and the Islamic zakat system is presented. Which one is more beneficial and effective for reducing poverty?
  • A critical evaluation of the regulatory organisations was conducted to determine the tax percentage on different income groups in the UK.
  • An investigation into tax evasion: How do wealthy, influential people influence the entire system?
  • To contribute to the crucial growth of the nation, conduct a thorough investigation of enhancing tax benefits among British nationals.
  • An assessment of the available research on the most effective ways to manage and maintain an uninterrupted flow of funds for a better economy.
  • The effect and limitations of bilateral and multilateral tax treaties in addressing double taxation and preventing tax evasion.
  • Assess solutions: OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project and explore the implications for multinational corporations.
  • The Impact of Tax cuts in Obtaining Social, monetary, and Aesthetic Ends That Benefit the Community.
  • Exploring the Effect of Section 1031 of the Tax Code During Transactions on Investors and Business People. 
  • Investigating the role of environmental taxes and incentives in addressing global environmental challenges.
  • Evaluating the impact of increased transparency on multinational enterprises and global efforts to combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
  • Exploring the health and financial effects of a proposed policy to increase the excise tax on cigarettes.

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We hope that you will be able to write a first-class dissertation or thesis on one of the issues identified above at your own pace and submit a solid draft. If you wish to use any of the above taxation dissertation topics directly, you may do so. Many people, however, prefer tailor-made topics that meet their specific needs. If you need help with topics or a taxation dissertation, you can also use our dissertation writing services . Place your order now !

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To find taxation dissertation topics:

  • Study recent tax reforms.
  • Analyse cross-border tax issues.
  • Explore digital taxation challenges.
  • Investigate tax evasion or avoidance.
  • Examine environmental tax policies.
  • Select a topic aligned with law, economics, or business interests.

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sample research topics in taxation

  • 15 Dec 2020
  • Working Paper Summaries

Designing, Not Checking, for Policy Robustness: An Example with Optimal Taxation

The approach used by most economists to check academic research results is flawed for policymaking and evaluation. The authors propose an alternative method for designing economic policy analyses that might be applied to a wide range of economic policies.

sample research topics in taxation

  • 31 Aug 2020
  • Research & Ideas

State and Local Governments Peer Into the Pandemic Abyss

State and local governments that rely heavily on sales tax revenue face an increasing financial burden absent federal aid, says Daniel Green. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 12 May 2020

Elusive Safety: The New Geography of Capital Flows and Risk

Examining motives and incentives behind the growing international flows of US-denominated securities, this study finds that dollar-denominated capital flows are increasingly intermediated by tax haven financial centers and nonbank financial institutions.

  • 01 Apr 2019
  • What Do You Think?

Does Our Bias Against Federal Deficits Need Rethinking?

SUMMING UP. Readers lined up to comment on James Heskett's question on whether federal deficit spending as supported by Modern Monetary Theory is good or evil. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 20 Mar 2019

In the Shadows? Informal Enterprise in Non-Democracies

With the informal economy representing a third of the GDP in an average Middle East and North African country, why do chronically indebted regimes tolerate such a large and untaxed shadow economy? Among this study’s findings, higher rates of public sector employment correlate with greater permissibility of firm informality.

  • 30 Jan 2019

Understanding Different Approaches to Benefit-Based Taxation

Benefit-based taxation—where taxes align with benefits from state activities—enjoys popular support and an illustrious history, but scholars are confused over how it should work, and confusion breeds neglect. To clear up this confusion and demonstrate its appeal, we provide novel graphical explanations of the main approaches to it and show its general applicability.

sample research topics in taxation

  • 02 Jul 2018

Corporate Tax Cuts Don't Increase Middle Class Incomes

New research by Ethan Rouen and colleagues suggests that corporate tax cuts contribute to income inequality. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 13 May 2018

Corporate Tax Cuts Increase Income Inequality

This paper examines corporate tax reform by estimating the causal effect of state corporate tax cuts on top income inequality. Results suggest that, while corporate tax cuts increase investment, the gains from this investment are concentrated on top earners, who may also exploit additional strategies to increase the share of total income that accrues to the top 1 percent.

sample research topics in taxation

  • 08 Feb 2018

What’s Missing From the Debate About Trump’s Tax Plan

At the end of the day, tax policy is more about values than dollars. And it's still not too late to have a real discussion over the Trump tax plan, says Matthew Weinzierl. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

sample research topics in taxation

  • 24 Oct 2017

Tax Reform is on the Front Burner Again. Here’s Why You Should Care

As debate begins around the Republican tax reform proposal, Mihir Desai and Matt Weinzierl discuss the first significant tax legislation in 30 years. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 08 Aug 2017

The Role of Taxes in the Disconnect Between Corporate Performance and Economic Growth

This paper offers evidence of potential issues with the current United States system of taxation on foreign corporate profits. A reduction in the US tax rate and the move to a territorial tax system from a worldwide system could better align economic growth with growth in corporate profits by encouraging firms to invest domestically and repatriate foreign earnings.

  • 07 Nov 2016

Corporate Tax Strategies Mirror Personal Returns of Top Execs

Top executives who are inclined to reduce personal taxes might also benefit shareholders in their companies, concludes research by Gerardo Pérez Cavazos and Andreya M. Silva. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 18 Apr 2016

Popular Acceptance of Morally Arbitrary Luck and Widespread Support for Classical Benefit-Based Taxation

This paper presents survey evidence that the normative views of most Americans appear to include ambivalence toward the egalitarianism that has been so influential in contemporary political philosophy and implicitly adopted by modern optimal tax theory. Insofar as this finding is valid, optimal tax theorists ought to consider capturing this ambivalence in their work, as well.

  • 20 Nov 2015

Impact Evaluation Methods in Public Economics: A Brief Introduction to Randomized Evaluations and Comparison with Other Methods

Dina Pomeranz examines the use by public agencies of rigorous impact evaluations to test the effectiveness of citizen efforts.

  • 07 May 2014

How Should Wealth Be Redistributed?

SUMMING UP James Heskett's readers weigh in on Thomas Piketty and how wealth disparity is burdening society. Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 08 Sep 2009

The Height Tax, and Other New Ways to Think about Taxation

The notion of levying higher taxes on tall people—an idea offered largely tongue in cheek—presents an ideal way to highlight the shortcomings of current tax policy and how to make it better. Harvard Business School professor Matthew C. Weinzierl looks at modern trends in taxation. Key concepts include: Studies show that each inch of height is associated with about a 2 percent higher wage among white males in the United States. If we as a society are uncomfortable taxing height, maybe we should reconsider our comfort level for taxing ability (as currently happens with the progressive income tax). For Weinzierl, the key to explaining the apparent disconnect between theory and intuition starts with the particular goal for tax policy assumed in the standard framework. That goal is to minimize the total sacrifice borne by those who pay taxes. Behind the scenes, important trends are evolving in tax policy. Value-added taxes, for example, are generally seen as efficient by tax economists, but such taxes can bear heavily on the poor if not balanced with other changes to the system. Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 02 Mar 2007

What Is the Government’s Role in US Health Care?

Healthcare will grab ever more headlines in the U.S. in the coming months, says Jim Heskett. Any service that is on track to consume 40 percent of the gross national product of the world's largest economy by the year 2050 will be hard to ignore. But are we addressing healthcare cost issues with the creativity they deserve? What do you think? Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

Tax Foundation Research

Tax Policy Research

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Research Areas

In each of its main research areas, the Tax Foundation produces timely and high-quality data, research, and analysis that influence the tax debate toward policies that are simple, transparent, neutral, and stable.

Center for Federal Tax Policy

Our Center for Federal Tax Policy educates taxpayers, journalists, and policymakers on tax policy at the federal level and how the U.S. tax system compares internationally. The Center’s Taxes and Growth (TAG) macroeconomic model has been used to analyze dozens of legislative and campaign tax proposals and their impact on taxpayers and the U.S. economy.

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Center for State Tax Policy

Our Center for State Tax Policy is routinely relied upon for presentations, testimony, and media appearances on state tax and fiscal policy, and our website is a comprehensive resource for information on tax and spending policy in each U.S. state.

See All State Research

Center for Global Tax Policy

The Center for Global Tax Policy promotes tax and fiscal policy that leads to higher economic growth and improved quality of life throughout the world. We produce the annual International Tax Competitiveness Index and several other comparative reports that allow taxpayers, journalists, and policymakers to compare their tax policies with those in other countries.

See All Global Research

Meet Our Experts

Our experts are continuously analyzing the day’s most relevant tax policy topics and are relied upon routinely for presentations, testimony, and media appearances on tax issues spanning every level of government. Learn more about our experts below and meet our full team, here .

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2023 European Tax Policy Scorecard Tax Foundation Europe

2023 European Tax Policy Scorecard

The variety of approaches to taxation among European countries creates a need to evaluate these systems relative to each other. For that purpose, we have developed the European Tax Policy Scorecard—a relative comparison of European countries’ tax systems.

2024 State Business Tax Climate Index

2024 State Business Tax Climate Index

In recognition of the fact that there are better and worse ways to raise revenue, our Index focuses on how state tax revenue is raised, not how much. The rankings, therefore, reflect how well states structure their tax systems.

sample research topics in taxation

International Tax Competitiveness Index 2023

While there are many factors that affect a country’s economic performance, taxes play an important role. A well-structured tax code is easy for taxpayers to comply with and can promote economic development while raising sufficient revenue for a government’s priorities.

tax fairness economic growth and funding government investments Creating Opportunity Through a Fairer Tax System Tax Foundation Finance Committee hearing

10 Tax Reforms for Growth and Opportunity

By reducing the tax code’s current barriers to investment and saving and simplifying its complex rules, lawmakers would greatly enhance the ability of Americans to pursue new ideas, create more opportunities, and build financial security for themselves and their families.

Remote work tax reform options to improve state tax mobility and state tax modernization 2022

Eight State Tax Reforms for Mobility and Modernization

States are unprepared for the ongoing shift to remote and flexible work arrangements, or for the industries and activities of today, to say nothing of tomorrow. In some states, moreover, existing tax provisions exacerbate the impact of high inflation and contribute to the supply chain crisis.

sample research topics in taxation

Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code 2.0

A robust collection of 70 potential US tax reform changes and US tax reform options for reforming the tax code. See the comprehensive tax reform guide.

Featured Issues

Global Tax Deal    |    Cost Recovery    |    State Tax Trends    |    Taxes & Inflation    |    Taxes on Savers & Investors    |    Tariffs & Trade

Explore All Research

Explore the IRET Archives

The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) was a leader in offering guidance to policymakers regarding fundamental tax reform and pioneered the dynamic modeling of the economic and budgetary effects of tax policy changes. The Tax Foundation has preserved IRET’s extensive body of work in a searchable database.

Explore the iret archives

Research Overview

Specialized tax research platforms & resources, learning tax research, federal tax statutes, federal legislative history, federal tax regulations, other irs guidance, u.s. tax court, u.s. department of justice -- tax division, treatises, books, and reporters, databases for finding tax-related scholarship (and other types of articles), specific tax journals, tax policy think tanks, online resources, other research guides, contact us, getting started.

This guide is designed to help you find laws and information on tax law issues. Although it focuses on U.S. federal tax law, it does include some information on state and local tax matters as well as some non -U.S. tax information. 

The purpose of this guide is to introduce you to a number of useful tax law resources and get you started in the right direction. Legal research requires analysis and synthesis of information, and no one resource will likely provide complete information or data on any given topic.

For many of these databases, you will need to use your Harvard Key to authenticate yourself as a Harvard or HLS-affiliate.  For others, you may need to register and create an account to gain access ( e.g. , Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law).  If you have any trouble accessing a database, please contact the library.

In addition, you should consider looking at the following tax-centric research platforms/resources:

  • Checkpoint (Thomson Reuters) Tax topics include federal, state, international, pension & benefits, estate planning, payroll, and more. Includes the US Tax Reporter (also available on Westlaw). NOTE: HLS-Affiliates (students, faculty & staff) can use the 1st link in the HOLLIS record for general access to Checkpoint (after providing their HLSMe credentials). If STUDENTS would like to create a personal account (to save searches, create alerts, etc.), they can do so by clicking on the 2nd link in the HOLLIS record. If FACULTY or STAFF would like to create a personal account, they should contact Lisa Lilliott Rydin at [email protected].
  • Cheetah (Wolters Kluwer) Cheetah for Tax Law combines authoritative content, expert analysis, practice tools, and current awareness for legal tax professionals to gain insights on today’s most challenging tax matters. (Formerly known as Intelliconnect.) Includes the Standard Federal Tax Reporter Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above.
  • TaxNotes - Federal Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above. NOTE: You must first create an account using an HLS-networked computer. This can be done on-campus or remotely by using a VPN connection.
  • Tax Notes - State Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above. NOTE: You must first create an account using an HLS-networked computer. This can be done on-campus or remotely by using a VPN connection.
  • Tax Notes - International Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above. NOTE: You must first create an account using an HLS-networked computer. This can be done on-campus or remotely by using a VPN connection.
  • IBFD - Tax Research Platform Global tax database, including country-specific tax guides, primary sources of law, tax treaties, global tax topics, books, journal articles and papers. Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above.
  • Getting the Deal Through (Lexology) Not exactly a "research platform" but the Getting the Deal Through (GTDT) module of Lexology lets you quickly compare laws across different countries and includes such Topics as "State and Local Taxes," "Tax Controversy" and "Tax on Inbound Investment."
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- Tax Tax information, data, and other information regarding OECD member countries.
  • European Commission -- Taxation and Customs Union Information on EU tax policies.

Below are some books that can help you better understand how Tax Law resources are organized and where you can find them.

  • Federal Tax Research, by William A. Raabe KF241.T38 W47 2006x (Reference)
  • Federal Tax Research: Guide to Materials and Techniques, by Gail Levin Richmond & Kevin M. Yamamoto KF241 .T38 R53 2018 (Reference)
  • Federal Tax Research, by Joni Larson & Dan Sheaffer KF241 .T38 L37 2011 (Reference)

Primary Sources/Federal Government Resources

  • U.S. Code (official U.S. federal government site) See "Title 26" for the Internal Revenue Code (a/k/a "The Code").
  • U.S. Code (Legal Information Institute, at Cornell University) An alternative site for the U.S. Code (again, Title 26).

In addition to standard legislative history resources (e.g., ProQuest Congressional's Legislative Insight for federal legislative history), you should check out:

  • Taxation & Economic Reform in America, Parts I & II (HeinOnline) This historical archive contains thousands of volumes and millions of pages of legislative history materials and other documents. It includes the complete Carlton Fox Collection which contains nearly 42 years of historical legislation related to the internal revenue laws from 1909-1950, as well as other legislative histories related to taxation, economic reform, and stimulus plans.
  • The Joint Committee on Taxation's "Blue Book" Not exactly "legislative history".... At the end of each Congress, the Joint Committee Staff, in consultation with the staffs of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, prepare explanations of the enacted tax legislation. The explanation follows the chronological order of the tax legislation as signed into law. For each provision, the document includes a description of present law, explanation of the provision, and effective date. Present law describes the law in effect immediately prior to enactment. It does not reflect changes to the law made by the provision or subsequent to the enactment of the provision. For many provisions, the reasons for change are also included.
  • Old Editions of the Standard Federal Tax Reporter (HeinOnline) PDFs of the superseded, loose-leaf volumes (1917-1985).
  • Code of Federal Regulations (official U.S. federal government site) Final IRS regulations can be found in Title 26 of the CFR. This compilation of regulations is updated annually, on a staggered basis.
  • e-CFR An alternative site for final federal regulations (this compilation, while not "official" is more user-friendly and updated faster). Tax regulations still under "Title 26."

The Federal Register is where all federal agency rules and regulations are initially published (when first proposed -- perhaps re-proposed -- and later finalized). Agencies are required to include summaries of proposed regulations and the public comments received thereon, as well as an agency's reaction to the public comments when finalizing a regulation. This is typically done in the preamble to a finalized or re-proposed regulation.

  • Federal Register The official government source for the Federal Register.
  • FederalRegister.gov The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) jointly administer the FederalRegister.gov website. This website was developed to make it easier for citizens and communities to understand the regulatory process and to participate in Government decision-making.
  • Internal Revenue Bulletins The Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) is the official publication for announcing Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Notices & Announcement. These are directed to all taxpayers and may be relied upon. The IRB is published weekly and through 2008 was consolidated into semi-annual Cumulative Bulletins (CB).

NOTE: IRS guidance/rulings requested by individual taxpayers ( e.g. , Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memoranda, and Chief Counsel Advice) may not be relied upon by others and are not published in the IRB.

Nevertheless, they may provide insight regarding the IRS's views on various matters. They may be obtained by the public via FOIA requests and can often be found on the IRS.gov (see the IRS's FOIA Library ) or by using commercial legal research platforms.

The IRS website  is not the easiest site to navigate but it does contain a lot of useful information. For example:

  • Understanding IRS Guidance -- A Brief Primer Explains the difference between Regulations, Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memoranda, Notices, and Announcements.
  • Forms, Instructions, and Publications IRS Publications (on a variety of tax topics) and the Instructions to IRS Forms can often help you understand the IRS's view of tax laws. Keep in mind that these are NOT primary sources of law; however, they can be helpful.
  • Tax Code, Regulations, and Official Guidance NOTE: It appears this information is no longer being updated by the IRS; however, you may be able to find useful historical information.
  • Basic Tools for Tax Professionals A collection of IRS links likely to be of use to a tax professional, including a link to the Internal Revenue Manual.
  • Internal Revenue Manual How the IRS is organized and how it operates. For example, procedures for examining returns, conducting audits, "Offers in Compromise," technical guidelines, etc.
  • Tax Statistics Here you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system.
  • Tax Topics Source for general individual and business tax information.
  • FAQs Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers).
  • U.S. Tax Court Website The official website of the U.S. Tax Court, containing information about the court and its cases.
  • US Dept. of Justice -- Tax Division Website The Tax Division’'s mission is to enforce the nation’'s tax laws fully, fairly, and consistently, through both criminal and civil litigation, in order to promote voluntary compliance with the tax laws, maintain public confidence in the integrity of the tax system, and promote the sound development of the law.

Secondary Sources

Look under "Secondary Sources" (or "Secondary Materials") in the Tax Practice Center/Area of a legal research platform to find treatises and other materials about tax-related topics. Below are some specific titles:

  • Mertens Law of Federal Income Taxation Available online via Westlaw using the link above.
  • Bittker, McMahon & Zelenak: Federal Income Taxation of Individuals KF6369 .B5722 Also available online via Westlaw using the link in the HOLLIS record above.
  • Bittker & Eustice's Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders KF6464 .B53x (Available in the Reading Room Stacks and on Reserve at the Circulation Desk) Also available online via Westlaw and Checkpoint using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above.
  • Hill and Mancino: Taxation of Exempt Organizations Available online via Checkpoint.
  • Saltzman & Book: IRS Practice & Procedure KF6300 .S262x Also available online via Westlaw and Checkpoint.
  • Tax Fraud and Evasion: Offenses, Trials, Civil Penalties (Vol. 1) Available online via Checkpoint.
  • Tax Fraud and Evasion: Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture, and Related Topics (Vol. 2) Available online via Checkpoint.
  • Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Cheetah) A Code section-arranged reporter covering Federal income tax law that allows you to navigate between its component parts. The full text of an IRC section, with brief legislative history notes, is followed by the relevant committee reports in full text, final, temporary and proposed regulations, editorially prepared explanations, and annotations. Caution lines and notes are used to alert you to special circumstances concerning a Code section, regulation or annotation. Also included are practice aids, tax rates and other tables, a tax calendar and separate tax planning sections for individuals and businesses, as well as full-text IRS documents (regulations, revenue rulings and procedures), case annotations and other source documents for the current year.
  • U.S. Tax Reporter (Checkpoint) On Checkpoint's Home Page, look for "USTR Code Section" (under "My Quick Links"). Another Code section-arranged reporter that provides a comprehensive, up-to-date source of federal tax law, including the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, committee reports, cases, rulings, explanations, and annotations of cases and rulings. Also available online via Westlaw.
  • Understanding Federal Income Taxation, by J. Martin Burke & Michael K. Friel KF6369.85 .B87 2019 (Available in the Reading Room Stacks and the Study Guide Collection @ the Circulation Desk)
  • Chirelstein's Federal Income Taxation: A Law Student's Guide to the Leading Cases and Concepts KF6369 .C43 2018 (Reserve)

In addition to searching for tax-related law reviews and journals using Westlaw , Lexis Advance , or Bloomberg Law you can try these alternatives:

  • HeinOnline's Law Journal Library Browse by Subject and select "Taxation" to see all the tax-related journals you can search.
  • Business Source Complete A database of citations to summaries and full text articles from academic journals, magazines, and trade publications.
  • ProQuest's Accounting, Tax & Banking Collection This database brings together highly ranked global and scholarly journals with other key resources for locating quick and precise results covering current news and topics, as well as the trends and history influencing important financial issues of the day.
  • SSRN (Social Science Research Network) SSRN is a worldwide collaborative of over 352,400 authors and more than 2.2 million users that is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of research. It provides access to new scholarship including working papers.
  • NBER Working Papers The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Journal of Taxation HJ 2360 .J6 Available online via Westlaw and Checkpoint.
  • Tax Law Review K24 .A917 Available online via Westlaw & Lexis Advance.
  • The Tax Lawyer (ABA Publication) Available online via Westlaw & Lexis Advance.
  • Corporate Taxation Available online via Checkpoint.
  • Taxation of Exempts Available online via Checkpoint.

Current Awareness

  • Daily Tax Report Available online via Bloomberg Law using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above.
  • Tax Notes Available online using the "View Online" link in the HOLLIS record above. NOTE: You must first create an account using an HLS-networked computer. This can be done on-campus or remotely by using a VPN connection.
  • Law360 - Tax Requires HLSMe Authenticiation.
  • IRS's e-News for Tax Professionals Information on how to subscribe to get the IRS's latest news.
  • Politico's Morning Tax Newsletter Subscribe to a daily newsletter.
  • International Tax News PWC's International Tax News provides a succinct monthly analysis of select legislative changes, case law and treaty news from around the globe.
  • American Tax Policy Institute (ATPI) ATPI supports nonpartisan scholarly research, analysis and discussion of U.S. federal, state and local, and international tax policy issues.
  • Tax Foundation The Tax Foundation is the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and global levels. For over 80 years, our goal has remained the same: to improve lives through tax policies that lead to greater economic growth and opportunity.
  • Tax Policy Center (TPC) The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center aims to provide independent analyses of current and longer-term tax issues and to communicate its analyses to the public and to policymakers in a timely and accessible manner. The Center combines top national experts in tax, expenditure, budget policy, and microsimulation modeling to concentrate on overarching areas of tax policy that are critical to future debate.
  • TaxProf Blog
  • Tax Appellate Blog (Miller & Chevalier) The Tax Appellate Blog is intended to be a resource for information on important tax cases under consideration in the appellate courts. It will feature insightful commentary on the issues and provide a dedicated site for following the progress of these cases.
  • Procedurally Taxing Procedurally Taxing considers developments in issues relating to tax procedure and tax administration.
  • Tax Controversy Watch (Blank Rome LLP) Blank Rome’s Tax Controversy Watch blog is focused on addressing and providing a comprehensive review of the latest developments in the tax controversy field.
  • TaxVox (Tax Policy Center)

State Tax Resources

Individual state tax agencies can provide a lot of helpful state tax information. The Federation of Tax Administrators provides a list of links to the websites for state tax agencies.

You can also find a number of state-specific tax resources if you look for state law content  on Lexis Advance or Westlaw.

See below for more useful links:

  • All States Tax Guide (RIA) Available via Westlaw using the link above.
  • Bender's State Taxation: Principles and Practice Available online via Lexis Advance using the link above.
  • Hellerstein & Hellerstein: State Taxation (WG&L) Available online via Westlaw and Checkpoint using the link above.
  • Tax Foundations's Center for State Tax Policy The Tax Foundation’s Center for State Tax Policy produces and markets timely and high-quality data, research, and analysis on state fiscal issues that influence the debate toward economically principled tax policies.
  • NYU Conference on State and Local Taxation Each December the biggest names in state and local taxation gather in New York City and offer presentations on cutting-edge issues to their fellow practitioners at the New York University Institute on State & Local Taxation. The speakers then develop their presentations into law review-quality articles, published by Matthew Bender. Though scholarly, the articles are also very practical, laden with examples, tax-planning tips, and commentary.
  • Bloomberg Law's Tax Practice Center Select the "State" tab at the top for a collection of state tax resources. In particular, the "State Tax Portfolios" and various "Chart Builders."
  • Checkpoint (Thomson Reuters) In addition to state tax law resources, see the "Create-a-Chart" Tool.

Other Resources

Below are some other Research Guides you may find useful, depending on your area of research:

  • Federal Tax Research (NYU Law Library) A ton of resources across a broad range of tax-related topics. See tabs for "Statistics," "Foreign & International Tax," "Dictionaries, Directories, & CRS Reports," and more.
  • Foreign and International Tax Law Research (NYU Law Library)
  • International and Foreign Tax Law Research Guide (Georgetown Law Library)
  • History of the U.S. Income Tax (Library of Congress)

NOTE: When using a research guide prepared by a different library, the links may not work for you. However, if you find a title of interest, you may be able to locate it in our collection by using HOLLIS (Harvard's Library Catalog). If not, we may be able to obtain the resource through  BorrowDirect or Interlibrary Loan .

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Taxation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research

Taxation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research

Taxation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research

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Taxation involves complex questions of policy, law, and practice. The book offers an innovative introduction to tax research by combining commentary on disciplinary-based and interdisciplinary approaches. Its objective is to guide and encourage researchers how to produce taxation research that is rigorous and relevant. It comments upon how disciplinary-based approaches to tax research have developed in law, economics, accounting, political science, and social policy. Its authors then go to introduce an inter-disciplinary research approach to taxation research. Effective approaches to research problem definition and research method choice are outlined by leading authors in their fields, and topical studies provide bibliographic surveys of specific areas of tax research. The book provides suggestions of topics, readings, and approaches that are intended to help the new researcher choose ways to begin their tax research. Written by a group of international experts, this book will be essential reading for new researchers in the tax field, including PhD students; for existing researchers wishing to broaden their understanding of taxation; for policymakers wanting to gauge where the leading edge of current tax research lies; and for tax practitioners interested in scholarly contributions to their field of practice.

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174 Tax Research Topics to Write About

Are you looking for interesting tax topics for research? StudyCorgi has collected the most exciting tax research paper topics on corporate and personal income taxes, tax law, and other taxation aspects. Read on to get inspired!

🏆 Best Tax Research Topics

🔎 easy tax research paper topics, 👍 good tax topics for research paper, 🌶️ hot tax topics for presentation, 🎓 most interesting tax topics to write about, 💡 simple taxes essay ideas, ❓ tax research questions.

  • McDonald’s Company: The Flawed Fast Food Tax
  • Fair Trade: Japan – Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages
  • Tax Reform as a Solution of Economic Problems
  • Tax Incentives and Their Benefits to Communities
  • High Taxes’ Benefits for Education and Healthcare
  • Amazon Inc.’s Consolidation Process and Tax Benefits
  • Combating Recessions with Spending Hikes Rather Than Tax Cuts
  • The Pink Tax: Inequality Should Be Outlawed Inequality can be manifested in different dimensions, ranging from racial prejudices to judgment of personal life partner choices.
  • Effect of Soda and Plastic Bag Tax Policies Within modern society, it is crucial to be acknowledged the core principles of the economic theory and its implications on every aspect of daily life.
  • Tax Reforms From a Judeo-Christian Perspective Tax is a primary method used by most governmental organizations to collect revenue. Tax cuts are the depletion and changes made to taxes paid by citizens, saving taxpayers money.
  • Carbon Tax Role in Enhancing Environmental Sustainability Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and engaging in activities aimed at protecting nature. Emphasis is placed on preserving the earth’s capability to support life.
  • Tax Inequality in America While the American tax model is intended to remain progressive, little gains have been recorded so far since the level of tax inequality has remained the same over the years.
  • Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in Kenya The periods in which countries tried to make cash from hosting politically depicted persons, shell banks, or known terrorists’ cash and no questions asked are gone.
  • Fat Taxes in the US The paper defends the position that the levies are a practical means through which cases of obesity can be significantly reduced in countries such as America.
  • Human Resource Management at Vigo County Tax and Municipal Services Office Compensation and benefits administration should be considered by the HRM in Vigo County Tax & Municipal Services Office, as the information clerks are not motivated enough.
  • The Value Added Tax in the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom, value added tax is the main source of the government revenue. The value added tax finances the largest fraction of the government spending.
  • Softron Tax Company’s Segmentation Issues The main issue identified for Softron Tax is low awareness and the need to establish a strong customer base in Ottawa; the issue is directly associated with segmentation.
  • Oil and Energy Companies in the US: The Windfall Profits Tax Although a windfall gains tax would not alter the demand for oil, it may make it more difficult for companies to recoup the costs of new production.
  • Tax Research: A Like-Kind Exchange According to US tax law, a like-kind exchange is a single transaction that permits the sale of one asset and the purchase of a different replacement asset.
  • The Regressive Tax System in Texas Texas’s regressive tax system is unfair to low-income earners as it heavily taxes them compared to high-income earners.
  • Tax Policy on Cryptocurrencies Despite the viability of cryptocurrency for future business stability, the tax policy imposed on it will continue to hinder its vast adoption in the market.
  • A Black Tax Phenomenon: Economic and Social Perspectives A black tax is a phenomenon that makes Black society feel uncomfortable living. Examining the black tax from an economic and social perspective is essential.
  • Implementation of Environmental Tax and Related Economic Instruments It is disadvantageous for the government to control the road, making the people pay double toll fees such as those involved in the construction and maintenance.
  • Tax Issues Relating to Multinational Corporations in America The paper examines tax issues related to multinational partnerships in America provides an analysis of the facts and applicable tax laws and how they affect the activities.
  • Gasoline Consumption and Tax Effects Consumers respond to gasoline tax increases like changes in gasoline prices, which usually result in a reduction in gasoline consumption.
  • Setup of Minimum or Base Federal Tax Rate The paper considers the possibility of creating a minimum or base federal tax rate for all taxpayers, and illustrates the approach for different income levels.
  • 1031 Exchanges in the New Tax Environment Investors and business people have the opportunity to benefit from the deferred taxation of exchange by section 1031 of the tax code during transactions.
  • The Best Tax System in Personal Opinion Taxation primarily imposes mandatory levies on entities and individuals through countries’ governments globally.
  • Landline Service Taxes and Impact on Markets Governments have imposed high tax rates on landline usage. The essay discusses why landlines are heavily taxed and their impact on the markets.
  • Earmarking Taxes for Improving the Health Sector This paper aims to examine policies regarding earmarking taxes on luxury goods, such as oil and tobacco, in favor of healthcare improvements.
  • Aspects of Obama’s Tax Reforms This essay discusses the taxation policies proposed during the Obamas administration, their implementation, and an evaluation of the policies’ achievements.
  • Cutting Taxes, Increasing Tax Revenue, and Fiscal Policy This annotated bibliography reviews three articles devoted to three different topics: cutting taxes, increasing tax revenue, and fiscal policy.
  • Raising Taxes: Is It Really Necessary? An increase in taxes on the number of individuals is not a compulsory measure but only one of the options for solving the country’s financial problems.
  • Tax Use and Budget Financial Plan of New York City The cost of living is equally high, with dirty subways, underfunding public schools, and high numbers of homeless people, beating the logic of such high taxes.
  • Tax Law Reforms and Individual Tax Burden Two tax reforms that were discussed in the podcast by AICPA are the reduction in corporate tax rates and qualified business income deductions.
  • Taxes Analysis in the State of Arizona Arizona’s state income tax is 2% of an individual income based on the payroll statement, while Arizona’s sales tax is 8.6% of the total amount of goods purchased.
  • Tax Research Problem Parent Corporation The parent corporation must raise its ownership to eighty percent for it to qualify for the non-recognition requirement before the full liquidation of the subsidiary corporation.
  • Aspects of Corporation Tax The paper discusses taxes. They normally decrease the amount of wage the employees take home. In most situations the taxation effects are evident.
  • Source Income and Foreign Tax Credits All passive incomes are taxed at a flat rate of 30 percent and neither deductions nor exemptions are allowed on the income.
  • The Role of Tax System, Tax Reform in Hong Kong The major revenue for Hong Kong has been extremely volatile with the amounts approximated to the nearest billion.
  • Tax Model in Hong Kong Tax Reform The Hong Kong tax system provides practical evidence for developed country`s tax legislation. Hong Kong does not impose a tax on the general income tax nor does its taxation rates.
  • Systems of Hong Kong Tax Reform The purpose of taxation can be summarized as very straightforward and understandable, for a good performance of a state.
  • International Tax Treaties for Multinational Firms Companies engage in business to make profits after which they either reinvest back into the company to expand the company.
  • Contemporary Taxation Issue: Green Tax System The paper debates the objectives of environmental taxes, assesses the arguments on a green tax shift, and examines the approach the UK has adopted in the past two decades.
  • Obamacare’s Impacts on Taxes The Obamacare insurance scheme is meant to ensure that even the low-income families in the United States of America can secure a health insurance plan.
  • Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages A recent debate concerning the proposal of Tax on Sugary Beverages has created a huge controversy and divided opinion.
  • Is the United States Earned Income Tax Credit Fair? The United States Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refers to a government initiative that aims to improve the financial stability of citizens by giving tax refunds to citizens.
  • Tax Research Problem of Selling Rare Coins According to the definition advanced by IRC, capital assets include assets that are held by the taxpayer either for personal or business use.
  • S-Corporations and C-Corporations Transition and Taxes After transiting from a C-corp to an S-corp the S-corp might find itself in tax consequences from earning and also profits that have accumulated from the time of regular taxation.
  • Cigarette Tax Policy and Health Care The purpose of this paper is to discuss the health and financial effects of a proposed policy to increase the excise tax on cigarettes.
  • Tax Issues Affecting Non-US Citizens The purpose of the research paper will be to look at taxation issues that affect non-US citizens in the country.
  • Tax Research Problem: Determination of Taxable Income This document examines the facts, issues, and authorities involved in determining taxable income in situations where property improvements are being made.
  • Collaboration Agreement: A Partnership for Tax Purposes A collaboration agreement between A Corporation and B Corporation is a partnership for tax purposes under the current regulations.
  • Multijurisdictional Tax Planning Multijurisdictional tax planning has become an integral part of all financial matters in the trading industry.
  • Tax Research Problem of Espionage Fees Mr. Towers is liable for failing to pay tax for the one million he withdrew from the account provided by the Soviet Union.
  • Tax Planning for Executive Compensation The efficiency of executive compensation for shareholders is something that boards of directors and companies strive to achieve by maximizing their tax deductibility.
  • The Sources of Tax Revenue in the US From an economic perspective, taxes fall on the one who caters to their burden, be it an establishment such as a business or consumers of manufactured goods.
  • Towards a Successful Personal Income Tax System in Hong Kong It is the purpose of this paper to critically evaluate how a successful personal income tax system can be implemented in Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong’s Tax System Any country will adopt a particular tax system as a way of solving most of the social and economic problems faced by the nation.
  • Personal Income Tax in Hong Kong and China This paper assesses the salary taxes in Hong Kong in relation to those in the US giving a close analysis to the willingness of the respective citizens to pay up for the taxes.
  • Tax System for Decrease of Cigarette Consumption This paper seeks to determine the effectiveness of the taxation system in controlling cigarette consumption behaviors through an economic analysis.
  • Tax Research Memo and Calculations This paper can confidently say that since the financial institution bought this annuity from Barry at a discount, the proceeds they would get from this annuity until maturity.
  • The US Estate Tax Reform The controversy around the estate tax reflects the conflict between individual property rights and democratic notions of equality.
  • Tax Forecasting for the Republic of Vardar This paper seeks to revise a tax collection in the Republic of Vadar, make recommendations and build the forecast.
  • CPA Firm: Outsourcing the Basic Tax Revenues Outsourcing the company using basic tax returns affects the effectiveness and efficiency of the company, since the prices of services raise and increase income and investments.
  • Tax Cuts and the Economy Even though tax cut draws a lot of arguments for and against them, the tax cut could be really influential in the recovery process of the economy.
  • Walmart Organizational Specifications: Increasing Taxes and Lack of Proper Treatment for Employees The essay describes the organizational problems of Walmart company, such as increased taxes on the products and firing the employees without any pension.
  • Political Science: Tax Cuts in America: Are They Good? Americans argue about the increases in taxes. Some believe that tax cuts to all income brackets help to stimulate economic growth.
  • Income Tax versus National Sales Tax The question of the best kind of taxation system favorable for use has raised great concerns to many people and governments.
  • US Tax System: Deferred Compensation Definition The concept of deferred compensation is an essential maneuver in order to alter the tax value. Despite the ongoing theoretical synthesis of various aspects of taxation, there is no specific concept.
  • Sugary Drink Tax as a Public Health Policy This paper concentrates on the initial stage of the initiation of the tax on sugary drinks and the part played by a nursing professional in the process.
  • Tax Reform: Corporate Tax Reduction and Its Consequences The paper is aimed to discuss the reduction of corporate tax, and the role of the state in corporate relations.
  • State vs. Federal Taxes: Which Must Be Abolished The purpose of this paper is to examine the unique benefits of federal and state taxes and propose a new model whereby one of the two is abolished.
  • Fiscal Policy: Federal Investment and Taxes The main instruments of fiscal policy are the revenues and expenditures of the state budget, which are taxes and government spending.
  • How Taxes Affect Deadweight Loss? Deadweight loss is the loss in social surplus that occurs when a market produces an inefficient quantity. Deadweight loss appears in case demand and supply are unbalanced.
  • Tax Benefits and Social Security Welfare economics lays significance on how the health of citizens contributes to economic growth and development.
  • “Alberta Should Tax Its Way Out of the Hole” by Lamphier Lamphier’s “Alberta Should Tax its Way out of the Hole” offers suggestions on how to deal with the Canadian province of Alberta’s revenue deficit.
  • The US Highway Trust Fund and Federal Fuel Tax The current paper provides an overview of the US Highway Trust Fund’s existing issues and identifies several solutions that may address the problem.
  • Tax Incentives Functions and Application The paper discusses probable approaches for the application and utilization of the tax incentives to enhance the social and economic condition of the community.
  • Economics: Carbon Tax vs. Cap-and-Trade System The carbon tax discourages the usage of environmentally hazardous vehicles. Cap-and-trade system involves a smooth transition from one type of energy production to another.
  • Carbon Tax and Cap-and-Trade System The problem of carbon emission into the atmosphere is highly associated with the greenhouse effect that has become a paradox in the world’s environmental economics.
  • Taxes in Australian Gambling Industry The increase in taxes in the gambling industry in Australia cannot directly respond to the problem of gambling costs as well as to many social and moral issues.
  • Australian Tax Office’s Transformation Program The Australian Tax Office initiated a 10-year transformation program that was aimed at overhauling its IT platform to enhance its ability to serve its clientele in the year 2000.
  • Accofirm Bookkeeping and Tax Compliance Services This report focuses on how the company to be established will help small and medium-sized firms tackle issues from bookkeeping, financial management, auditing, and tax compliance.
  • Inflation and Capital Gains Taxes in a Small Open Economy
  • International Experiences With Securities Transaction Taxes
  • Income Taxes and Dividend Policy
  • Corporate Taxes, Strategic Default, and the Cost of Debt
  • Debt Policy, Corporate Taxes, and Discount Rates
  • Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition
  • Direct and Indirect Taxes in India
  • Integrating Business and Personal Income Taxes
  • Interdependent Behavior and the Effect of Taxes
  • Europe`S New Border Taxes
  • Effective Property Taxes and Tax Capitalization
  • Corporate Leverage and Taxes in the U.S. Economy
  • Flat Taxes and Effective Tax Planning
  • Demography and the Composition of Taxes: Evidence From International Panel Data
  • Economic Development: Raising Revenues Without Increasing Taxes
  • Disability, Taxes, Transfers, and the Economic Well-being of Women
  • Energy Taxes and Aggregate Economic Activity
  • Federal Taxes Are Used to Fund the Government
  • Customs Unions and Domestic Taxes
  • Environmental Taxes and Industry Monopolization
  • Deferred Taxes, Earnings Management, and Corporate Governance: Malaysian Evidence
  • Inflation, Taxes, and the Durability of Capital
  • Estate Taxes, Consumption Externalities, and Altruism
  • Labor Taxes, Productivity and Tax Competition
  • Company Dividends and Taxes in the UK
  • Inflation, Taxes, and Interest Rates
  • Income Taxes and Urban Spatial Structure
  • Domestic Taxes and the External Debt Laffer Curve
  • Interest Rates, Income Taxes, and Anticipated Inflation
  • Income Taxes and the Composition of Pay
  • Insurance and Corrective Taxes in the Health Care Market
  • Business Cycles With Distorting Taxes and Disaggregated Capital Markets
  • Liquidity, Taxes, and Short-term Treasury Yields
  • Inflation, Taxes, and the Composition of Business Investment
  • Comparing Progressive and Regressive Taxes
  • Deferred Taxes and Bond Ratings: A Canadian Case
  • Fiscal Federalism and Optimal Income Taxes
  • Interest Rates, Taxes, and Corporate Financial Policies
  • Fiscal Competition Over Taxes and Public Inputs
  • Inflation, Income Taxes, and Owner-occupied Housing
  • Aging, Taxes, and Pensions in Switzerland
  • Income Taxes, Sorting, and the Costs of Housing
  • House Prices and Local Taxes in the UK
  • Environmental Taxes and the Double Dividend
  • Government Deficits, Distortionary Taxes, and the Current Account
  • Estate and Gift Taxes and Incentives for Inter Vivos Giving in the US
  • Globalization and the Mix of Wage and Profit Taxes
  • Income Taxes and Entrepreneur’ Use of Labor
  • Energy Taxes and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Australia
  • Fiscal Federalism Spending and Taxes
  • Capital Income Taxes and the Benefit of Price Stability
  • Financial Activities Taxes, Bank Levies and Systemic Risk
  • Corporate Taxes, Leverage, and Business Cycles
  • Government Spending, Taxes, and Economic Growth
  • Government Revenue Sources Are Taxes and Borrowing Money
  • Contribution Ceilings and the Incidence of Payroll Taxes
  • Income Taxes, Property Values, and Migration
  • Deferred Taxes and Cost of Debt: Evidence From Japan
  • Inflation, Taxes, and the Public Debt
  • Marginal Taxes and the Asset Portfolios of Swedish Households
  • Have State and Local Taxes Contributed to the South’s Economic Rise?
  • Are Progressive Income Taxes Stabilizing?
  • Should Rich People Pay More Taxes Than Poor People?
  • Are Consumption Taxes Really Better Than Income Taxes?
  • How Different Are Income and Consumption Taxes?
  • Would Cutting Payroll Taxes on the Unskilled Have a Significant Effect on Unemployment?
  • Can Capital Income Taxes Survive in Open Economies?
  • Are Canadian Provincial Tax Systems Becoming More Regressive?
  • Why Didn’t the Tax Reform Act of 1986 Raise Corporate Taxes?
  • Can Fat Taxes and Package Size Restrictions Stimulate Healthy Food Choices?
  • Are High Taxes Restricting Indiana’s Growth?
  • How Effective Are Emissions Taxes in an Open Economy?
  • Can Green Car Taxes Restore Efficiency?
  • Are Corporate Tax Burdens Racing to the Bottom in the European Union?
  • Can Increasing Taxes Reduce the Budget Deficit?
  • Should the Government Increase Taxes for Companies That Are Heavy Polluters?
  • Are Corporate Tax Reductions Real Benefits Under Imputation Systems?
  • How Does State Ownership Affect Optimal Export Taxes?
  • Can Taxes Stabilize the Economy in the Presence of Consumption Externalities?
  • Are Current Tax and Spending Regimes Sustainable in Developing Asia?
  • Does Business Development Raise Taxes?
  • What Advantages Might Indirect Taxes Have Over Direct Taxes?
  • Are Family Firms More Tax Aggressive Than Non-family Firms?
  • Does Paying Taxes Improve the Quality of Governance?
  • Are Local Tax Rates Strategic Complements or Strategic Substitutes?
  • What Are the Major Arguments for and Against Cutting Taxes?
  • Did Tax Policies Mitigate US Business Cycles?
  • Are Multinational Corporate Tax Rules as Important as Tax Rates?
  • Why Should Property Taxes Be Lowered for Farmers?
  • Does Culture Influence Tax Morale?

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StudyCorgi . "174 Tax Research Topics to Write About." March 1, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/taxes-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2022. "174 Tax Research Topics to Write About." March 1, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/taxes-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Tax were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on January 9, 2024 .

How to Conduct Federal Tax Research

How to Conduct Federal Tax Research


What is tax research and why is it necessary?

What tax research methodology should i use, how can i conduct tax research if i’m new to the topic or issue, how should i use technology to improve my tax research.

[Learn more about Bloomberg Tax Research tools to help you recommend and make the right tax planning decisions and strategies.]  

Why is tax research so important? Because it’s impossible to memorize the entire Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and the way it changes over time. Add to that the regulations and other interpretive rules that are necessary to implement the statutory rules of the IRC, and it can be extremely difficult to find everything you need to effectively communicate your findings to stakeholders. And that’s only federal tax law.

That’s why even experienced tax professionals turn to a comprehensive resource like Bloomberg Tax Research as they go through the steps of the tax research process. Bloomberg Tax Research pairs the proven expertise and perspective of its network of 1,000+ leading tax practitioners in our renowned Tax Management Portfolios with integrated news, in-depth analysis and insights, primary sources, and practice tools to help you understand complex tax topics and make informed decisions.

As the source for the most comprehensive and practical analysis of more than 500 tax and accounting topics, Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolios give you objective and balanced perspectives as well as real-world insights and guidance to help you complete your research.

[Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolios integrate expert analysis and guidance with primary sources, practice tools, and news to enhance and accelerate your search. Complete a demo to receive a free portfolio .]

The purpose of tax research is to help you properly define the tax effect or impact of certain tax positions. The results help your company and/or your clients make informed decisions for tax strategies, planning, and compliance. Tax research can also help you prepare for an IRS audit.

Tax research identifies relevant binding and persuasive authorities for a specific point of tax law or issue. For tax issues, this includes legislative, administrative, and judicial authorities.

When you conduct tax research, you’re looking for binding authorities (also known as controlling or mandatory authorities) and persuasive authorities. Binding authorities are anything that a court must follow (such as constitutions, legislation, and some court decisions depending on the jurisdiction) because they bind the court. Persuasive authorities are anything that the court may follow (including some cases, statutes, and regulations, but also opinions, law review articles, and other secondary sources) but does not have to follow.

There’s another categorization as well. Primary sources are source law such as statutes, regulations, and case law. Secondary sources are discussions of source law such as law review articles.

Given all the different sources of information you’ll need for your research, the most efficient way to approach it is to rely on a comprehensive resource that brings together everything you need in one place.

When a complex question comes up, we can start with the code, go to the regulations, build an argument and be able to support and document it – all made possible by the tools within the Bloomberg Tax platform.

It’s important to follow proven steps for conducting tax research. Following a trusted process can help you make sure you’ve done your due diligence when researching tax issues.

The steps for tax research include:

  • Identifying and defining the facts and issues
  • Collecting relevant authorities
  • Analyzing the research
  • Developing conclusions and recommendations
  • Communicating the results

Fortunately, there is a one-stop resources available that make it easier and faster to conduct your tax research, leaving you more time to develop your conclusion and communicate recommendations. Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolios can help you complete the tax research process with confidence by providing comprehensive and practical analysis on the issue you’re researching.

Our Tax Management Portfolios help you understand the potential implications and considerations for both tax and nontax issues. You get commentary as well as citations to relevant authorities – from statutes to cases to administrative pronouncements.

Bloomberg Tax also goes beyond simple citations by integrating with our advanced research tools, including:

  • BCite: A proprietary case citator for detailed analysis and updated information on tax cases, relevant court opinions, strength of authority, and the judicial history of a case to ensure it remains good law.
  • Points of Law: Leverages machine learning and our database of court opinions to quickly finds the best language to support legal arguments. It includes links to other relevant case law, the citation map, and related points of law.
  • Versions Compare: Easily compare current and prior Treasury regulations and the Internal Revenue Code with a redlined side-by-side view.

The portfolios are particularly helpful and save considerable time in researching a niche question related to a broader practice area. Instead of trying to read through separate treatises, the IRC , or cases, you can get up to speed with practical analysis before drilling down into the most relevant primary sources.

Daily Tax Report

The first steps in the tax research process are to analyze the available facts, pinpoint the legal issues involved, and formulate an appropriate tax question (or questions) to be researched. But what if you don’t have enough knowledge to be able to identify the specific issues to research?

That’s where it helps to have explanations and analysis from more than 1,000 expert tax practitioners at your fingertips. You can start with an overview of the more general topic in Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolios or Tax Practice Series.

The overview can help you formulate initial keywords and phrases to further explore the topic. Extensive planning points, practical examples, what-if scenarios, and comments by our expert authors help you confidently navigate and understand the issue.

Then, you can find the latest news on the topic from the Daily Tax Report , a comprehensive source for news on federal, state, and international legislative, regulatory, and judicial tax-related developments, including pensions and accounting. Daily Tax Report’s extensive network of Capitol Hill reporters and national correspondents keep you up to date with the news that impacts your company and clients as it happens.

With the Federal Tax Developments Tracker, you can track administrative documents, cases, legislation, and regulation across a wide breadth of topics in a concise summary that links to the source document. It’s the most timely and up-to-date place to find federal tax developments

Our practice guides are another place to gain a baseline understanding of a topic. These concise, easy-to-use, practitioner-written guides give you a quick overview of a topic. They’re linked to relevant Tax Management Portfolios for a deeper dive, and contain downloadable checklists.

With Bloomberg Tax, we can conduct our own research, write a position paper, and develop a conclusion before asking for a review or opinion from an external advisor.

While the internet contains nearly 5 million terabytes of data, you shouldn’t rely on a service like Google for your tax research. That’s because Google doesn’t vet the information it’s indexing. There are no standards for quality and accuracy. There’s also no curation of content to make sure it’s relevant, up to date, and from trusted sources.

Which is why research technology specifically developed and managed for tax professionals will always be the most efficient, expedient, and comprehensive approach to tax research. Bloomberg Tax Research is a comprehensive tax research and planning solution designed by tax practitioners for tax practitioners.

Practice Guide

With Bloomberg Tax Research, you can improve your research by:

  • Quickly navigating between the IRC, analysis, and related tax research tools
  • Using Practice Guides & Checklists for a quick overview of the topic
  • Relying on the BCite citatory tool to help you document your research and conclusions
  • Reading Daily Tax Report to stay up to date with the news as it happens
  • Staying current with trackers to automate and track upcoming legislation and changes

Corporate Tax Resources

R&d tax credits and deductions.

R&D credits can save your organization thousands of dollars per year. Learn more about these credits and deductions, if you qualify, and more.

How to Calculate GILTI Tax on Foreign Earnings

Learn how to calculate the GILTI worldwide minimum tax on foreign earnings, including what income is subject to GILTI and how it relates to Subpart F.

Complying With EU’s DAC7 Reporting Directive

Learn about the EU’s new DAC7 directive, including who is affected, covered activities, deadlines, and how to comply.

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Taxation is the process of imposing levies on citizens in return for government services. Taxation is crucial for a country's success. Estonia has the best tax policy among OECD countries. Taxation is a key component of the national economy and contemporary research is needed. Thus, students must look for appealing and meaningful taxation dissertation topics for their dissertation modules.

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Guide to Researching US Tax Policy

General tips, ask your professor, general guides to choosing a topic, browse cilp, ssrn, or bepress, newsletters, circuit splits, blogs & web resources, table of contents.

  • Finding Books
  • Congressional Research Service Reports
  • Finding Articles
  • Finding Statutes
  • Legislative History & Bill Tracking
  • Finding Cases by Headnote
  • Federal Administrative Law
  • Web Resources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Decoding Abbreviations
  • Bluebook Citation 101 -- Academic Format
  • Citation Management Services
  • Law Student Guide to Identifying & Preventing Plagiarism
  • Law Library Useful Links
  • Accessing Databases & E-Resources
  • Get Help & About the Author

If this is for a seminar class, you will want to consult with your professor about what is required from you. Some faculty prepare a list of topic ideas. When choosing a topic, keep the following things in mind: 

(1) choose something you find interesting since you will be spending a large amount of time living with this topic;

(2) think carefully about the scope of the topic – avoid overly broad or general topics as well as topics that are too narrow; and

(3) write about something new or look at an issue in a new light.

If you are writing a paper for a seminar class, your professor may have a list of topics that you can use or give you some ideas.

In addition to the Volokh and Falk books that were listed under Writing an Article - General Tips , the following are guides on finding a topic:

Available on HeinOnline, Lexis, Westlaw.

This Article has two sections. The first suggests ways to find an appropriate topic; the second outlines a procedure for "vetting"-- checking for preemption of the topic.

  • Note Topic Selection on the LexisNexis Services This does reference Lexis.com resources rather than Lexis Advance.
  • Westlaw, Guide to Legal Research for Law Review

By looking at what others are currently writing about, you can often find ideas about what you want to write about.

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Bloomberg Law Reports

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Home — Essay Samples — Economics — Political Economy — Taxation

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Essays on Taxation

Taxation is a crucial aspect of society that affects everyone, making it an important topic to explore in an essay. Whether you're writing for a class assignment or just want to delve into the world of taxation, there are plenty of interesting and relevant topics to choose from.

When choosing a topic for your taxation essay, consider the different types of essays you can write. For an argumentative essay, you'll want to choose a topic that allows for debate and discussion, such as the impact of taxation on small businesses or the effectiveness of different tax policies. If you're interested in cause and effect, consider topics like the relationship between taxation and income inequality or the environmental impact of tax policies. For an opinion essay, you could explore your own thoughts on taxation reform or the fairness of different tax systems. And for an informative essay, there are plenty of topics to explore, from the history of taxation to the different types of taxes and how they work.

To help you get started, here are some example topics for each type of essay: - Argumentative essay: The impact of taxation on economic growth, the fairness of progressive taxation, the role of taxation in reducing income inequality, the effectiveness of tax incentives for businesses, the impact of taxation on consumer behavior. - Cause and effect essay: The relationship between taxation and government spending, the impact of taxation on investment and savings, the effects of taxation on income distribution, the environmental consequences of different tax policies, the relationship between taxation and social welfare programs. - Opinion essay: My thoughts on taxation reform, the fairness of property taxation, the role of taxation in addressing social issues, the impact of taxation on personal finance, the importance of tax compliance. - Informative essay: The history of taxation, the different types of taxes and how they work, the impact of taxation on different industries, the process of tax collection and enforcement, the role of taxation in funding government services.

Now that you have some ideas for your taxation essay, let's take a look at some examples of thesis statements, s, and s to help you structure your essay effectively.

Reflection About Taxes

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Taxation Law: History and Classification

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Recommendation in Income Tax

Tax avoidance in developed countries and its impact on global business, the effect of tariffs on country development, analysis of tax avoidance and tax planning, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

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Definition and Description of Value-added Tax (vat)

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sample research topics in taxation

Free Taxation Essay Examples & Topics

Writing an essay on taxes can be a chore. Yet, it will seem much more manageable once you sort out the details. So, let’s explore some definitions:

Taxation refers to the situation when an authority, such as the government, imposes a financial charge on individuals or businesses. In exchange, it delivers various public provisions. They include infrastructure development, security, etc. Since the dawn of civilization, this process has been a part of human society.

The importance of taxation lies in it being the primary source of revenue for governmental institutions. Locally, taxes account for running and maintaining services (e.g., the fire department or public libraries). They also fund transit systems and institutions such as schools at the state level. Federally, the government uses taxes to run the welfare system and redistribute income.

In your tax essay, you have the opportunity to discuss and highlight topics that are important to you and your community. Here, our experts have gathered some advice that will help you begin your work. Furthermore, you will also find tax essay topics and samples below.

Tips on Writing a Taxation Essay

An essay about taxes will require a significant amount of research and analysis. You will also have to follow the rules of the academic writing style. In this section, we’ve explained which tips can assist you in your writing.

To compose a successful tax essay, rely on this advice:

  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with the topic. Regardless of whether it is given or chosen, explore it in detail. Establish which country’s laws you are analyzing or whether you are contrasting differences in taxation systems. Keep in mind that various areas will have different legislations.
  • Conduct your research thoroughly. Once you have an idea of what to look for, take the time to delve into the relevant laws. You can always find or get a summary to read first to save yourself some time. Some texts may have references to particular articles of the source law. These can guide you to the key materials immediately.
  • Make sure you have all your resources in order. Double-check everything you’ve gathered so far. Think of what you are trying to accomplish and whether your information is enough. For example, if you are writing a comparative paper. Then, you will need to gather data sets that are notably different.
  • Work on your essay structure . Any essay will include the basic elements: an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Jot down the arguments you will be providing and where they will go in the paper.
  • Be clear with your terminology. Legal jargon can be overwhelming. Thus, clarify all the concepts that may be unfamiliar for your readers. Laws rely on exact wording to avoid misinterpretation. Take extra care when choosing your phrasing not to make any mistakes.
  • Use evidence and citations wherever necessary. Depending on your essay type, you may need to use more or less proof to support your claims. You can make assumptions about your topic. However, make sure they are not baseless. Provide ample citations and add a formatted bibliography in the end.

17 Tax Essay Topics

Once you have sorted through our writing tips, feel free to look for the right idea. Over here, you will find taxation essay topics for your assignment. And if you realize that these are not enough, you can always use our title generator . It will create an original title for an essay about taxes.

  • Studying how to counter tax evasion of multinational corporations.
  • Comparing income tax revenue between the US and the UK.
  • How can we counter the phenomenon of pink tax?
  • Examining Adam Smith’s four principles of taxes.
  • Do we really need to tax rich people? Pros and cons of income tax for billionaires.
  • Appropriate strategies for deciding taxation levels for goods and services.
  • How feasible is the optimal tax theory in practice?
  • Exploring the differences between tax avoidance and tax evasion.
  • Mexico and the fast-food tax – a case study.
  • Outlining the long-term benefits of paying taxes.
  • Analyzing the impacts of the 2017 US tax reform.
  • Principles of the budgeting process behind the federal income tax.
  • How can tax money be extracted from cryptocurrency?
  • Exploring the key differences in tax systems of China and Japan.
  • Why do we pay taxes? A brief history of taxation leading back to Ancient Egypt.
  • Is there a need to tax cigarettes and alcohol more heavily than other products?
  • Evaluating the Tyco accounting scandal and the many iterations of tax fraud.

Thank you for reading through our article! We hope that these tips and topics will be of use to you. Now, you can proceed to browse through our selection of taxation essay examples.

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The Reporter

A Summary of Recent Corporate Tax Research

Taxes are thought to influence corporate decisions in many ways. For that reason, in the past decade a number of changes (or proposed changes) to the U.S. tax code have been made in an attempt to affect corporate behavior. For example, U.S. and European authorities have raised the possibility of eliminating or reducing the ability of companies to deduct interest payments from taxable income, because the tax-favored status of debt has reduced tax revenue collection and allegedly encouraged a "debt bias" of corporations. It is believed that by using too much debt financing, firms may have exacerbated economic downturns. Also, during the last two recessions, in an attempt to stimulate the corporate sector, the U.S. government has temporarily granted companies the ability to carry current-year losses back five years, in order to receive a refund on taxes paid during the past five years. Further, equity tax rates have been decreased for retail investors in an attempt to reduce the corporate cost of capital, and these changes are thought to have increased dividend payout. And, there have been proposals to disallow multinational companies from avoiding income taxes on profits earned overseas by their reinvesting those profits overseas. In this report, I summarize academic research on these and related issues.

In 1958 Modigliani and Miller (M&M) laid the groundwork for modern corporate finance research by demonstrating that when capital and informational markets are perfect, firm value is not affected by financial decisions. Five years later they showed that the existence of taxation can create an environment in which financial decisions affect firm value. In particular, M&M demonstrated that when corporate income is taxed and debt interest is a deductible expense, firm value can be increased by using debt financing rather than funding entirely from equity.

Several branches of research emanated from these basic insights. The first addresses whether the tax environment leads to firm-specific optimal capital structures and value enhancement. If there are costs to using too much debt (for example, expected financial distress costs or personal taxes on interest income), then firms with the greatest benefit to shielding taxes (for example, firms facing higher income tax rates) should be the ones with the greatest incentives to use debt financing. Much of my tax research focuses on how to measure these tax incentives in the context of a dynamic tax code.

One important feature of the tax code is that a firm can "carry back" current losses (by refiling past tax returns) to receive a tax refund for taxes paid in recent years. Alternatively, if carrying back losses is not attractive, then firms can carry forward losses to offset taxable income in future years. Therefore, because the dynamic tax code allows firms to move income through time, it is necessary to forecast future taxable income to estimate current-period tax rates and tax incentives.

Capital Structure Choices and Simulating Corporate Marginal Income Tax Rates

In my early work, I simulated dynamic corporate marginal income tax rates that could explain the probability that a firm will be nontaxable and that allow it to carry losses forward and backward. I then used these simulated tax rates to document that firms respond to tax incentives when they make incremental financing choices, 1 and when they choose the level of debt and the level of leasing. 2 These corporate tax incentives hold up even in the presence of high personal tax rates on interest income. 3

Most tax and capital structure research, including the work just mentioned, uses data drawn from financial statements, not data from actual tax returns. Given that financial statements consolidate worldwide income statements and balance sheets for multinational firms, but that tax rules and tax incentives vary by country, one might wonder how closely financial-statement-based research mirrors tax return data. 4 In recent work, Lillian Mills and I access confidential tax returns to explore how closely tax rates estimated from financial statement data parallel those based on tax return data. 5 Fortunately, we find that simulated tax rates based on financial statement data are very highly correlated with tax variables based on tax return data.

Capital Structure - Debt Bias

Documenting that tax rates are correlated with corporate capital structure choices suggests that firms may increase value by choosing debt optimally. However, some argue that an increased use of debt in response to tax incentives leads to negative outcomes. After all, the extent to which firms are able to increase value occurs directly because deducting interest expenses deprives the government of tax revenues. More than just reducing tax revenues, a "debt bias" -- using extra debt in response to tax incentives -- could result in too much debt in the system, increasing the probability that firms will become financially distressed, and thereby exacerbating or perhaps even causing economic downturns. Critics of debt bias argue that the ability to deduct interest should be eliminated or at least reduced. For this argument to have its greatest force, it should be the case that 1) tax incentives lead to a large increase in the use of debt, and that 2) the "extra" debt that firms use in response to tax incentives should lead to a material increase in the probability of experiencing financial distress.

Regarding whether taxes have a first-order effect on the use of debt, I have documented that a tax rate that is 10 percentage points higher (for example, 34 percent instead of the mean 24 percent) leads to debt usage that is 0.7 percent higher. Thus, while taxes do affect capital structure, the effect is moderate, providing only partial evidence of the first debt bias consideration. Regarding whether the extra debt usage increases the odds of encountering distress, two co-authors and I search for these effects when one might expect the negative effects of excess leverage to be at their worst: during the severe economic contractions during the Great Depression and during the years 2008-9. 6 In the first stage of our analysis, we show that firms did in fact use more debt because of tax incentives during the Depression. However, we do not find any evidence that this extra debt increased the probability of encountering distress. Similarly, we do not find any evidence that debt bias led to negative outcomes during the recent recession. It is important to note that our failure to find negative effects of debt bias could be attributable to noise in the data (especially during the Depression era) and to our focus on nonfinancial firms. Clearly, there needs to be more research on this important issue in general, and with respect to financial firms in particular.

Capital Structure - Tax Benefit Functions

One way to measure how much interest tax savings contribute to firm value involves estimating marginal tax benefit functions -- that is, measuring the marginal tax benefit of each incremental dollar of tax deduction. By adding up the value created by each incremental dollar of interest deduction, one can estimate the contribution to firm value associated with the tax savings that flow from a given level of interest deductions. Two co-authors and I follow this approach and estimate that the equilibrium, gross tax benefit of interest deductions (ignoring all costs) equals about 10.5 percent of value across all firms, and about twice that much for the top decile of companies. 7

Analogous to using supply shifts to identify demand curves, we use exogenous variation in benefit functions to deduce the cost-of-debt function that justifies the capital structure choices that firms make. By summing the area under the cost functions up to a given amount of debt, we estimate that the equilibrium all-in expected cost of debt equals about 7 percent of firm value. By summing up the area between the cost and benefit functions, we estimate that the equilibrium net benefits of debt (net of all costs) are about 3.5 percent of firm value. Again, these numbers are fairly moderate and do not suggest pervasive high leverage caused by severe debt bias.

Tax-Loss Carrybacks and Economic Stimulus

For the most part, U.S. companies in recent decades have been able to carry back current-period losses to receive a refund for taxes paid in the past two years. This feature of the tax code serves as an economic stabilizer by providing an infusion of liquidity to (previously profitable) companies that are currently struggling. During the last two recessions, the carryback period was temporarily lengthened to five years in an attempt to stimulate the corporate sector during an economic downturn.

Hyunseob Kim and I examine the economic impact of the stimulus during the most recent recession. 8 Companies were given the option to carry back losses from either their 2008 tax year or their 2009 tax year to receive a refund for taxes paid during the previous five years. Had the carryback period remained at two years, we estimate the carryback feature of the tax code would have provided $77 billion in tax refunds; allowing losses to be carried back an additional three years added an incremental $54 billion in tax refunds to corporate coffers (this estimate ignores TARP recipients and the tax benefits granted to them). Interestingly, the increased benefit was particularly valuable to sectors that were hugely profitable during the economic boom of the mid-2000s but then suffered the greatest losses during the recession: housing, finance, and autos. That is, the U.S. government supported firms in these industries via changes to the tax code.

Payout Policy

One feature of the famous 2003 "Bush tax cuts" was to reduce the maximum tax rate on both qualifying dividends and capital gains to 15 percent, from 38 percent and 20 percent, respectively. This relative reduction in dividend taxation thus made dividends more attractive to taxable individual investors. 9 Given this increased investor preference for dividends, one might expect companies to begin to pay out a larger proportion of profits via dividends. Research shows that there was a surge of dividend initiations following the May 2003 implementation of these tax breaks and that dividend hikes were largest at the companies that had the greatest net tax incentive to increase dividends, such as firms with proportionally more individual investors (which makes sense given that the tax cut was focused on individuals). Chetty and Saez show that the dividend increases were less likely to occur in firms for which the executives owned substantial stock options (which makes sense because options are not dividend protected, meaning that paying a dividend reduces the value of existing options). 10

Thus, investor-level taxes affect corporate payout choices. However, are taxes the dominant force driving payout policy? Based on surveys and one-on-one interviews, three co-authors and I document that CFOs agree with the general conclusion that firms increased dividends in response to the reduction in retail investor dividend tax rates -- but we conclude that the 2003 tax effect on corporate payout decisions was overall moderate. 11 Executives indicate that non-tax conditions (such as generating long-run, sustainable earnings or facing lower growth prospects) are the first-order factors that determine payout policy and also determine whether a particular firm is at a margin where taxes would affect its payout decisions. In summary, most CFOs say that tax considerations matter but taxes are not the dominant factor in their decisions about whether to increase dividends or choose dividends over share repurchases.

Taxes on Foreign Profits

Economics and politics have merged into a contentious debate related to the extent to which U.S. firms should pay U.S. taxes on profits earned by their foreign divisions and subsidiaries. Under current law, taxes are paid to foreign authorities as the profits are earned - but taxes are not paid to the U.S. tax authority until the profits are returned home ("repatriated") to the domestic parent. By surveying tax executives, two-coauthors and I learn that the ability to defer paying U.S. taxes is in fact one of the most important reasons that U.S. companies invest overseas. 12 Opponents of these tax rules argue that evidence like this is proof that U.S. firms shift jobs overseas to the detriment of domestic employment. (Supporters of the repatriation tax rules argue that they help U.S. firms compete overseas.)

If foreign profits are repatriated home, they are then taxed at a rate essentially equal to the degree to which the U.S. tax rate exceeds the tax rate in the foreign jurisdiction in which they were earned (for example, profits earned and taxed at an Irish corporate tax rate of 13 percent would be taxed an additional 22 percent when returned to the United States because the U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent). In 2004, Congress passed the American Jobs Creation Act, which allowed firms to repatriate profits to the United States subject to a tax rate of no more than 5.25 percent and often much lower. Our research documents that many firms embraced this tax break and bought profits home to the United States. Perhaps surprisingly, we also show that some firms did not repatriate earnings, even at low repatriation tax rates, and even though repatriation would have a positive effect on actual cash flows, because it would lead to a reduction in reported earnings. That is, even at low tax rates repatriation is at times avoided by firms because it reduces earnings per share, which financial executives believe in turn hurts stock price. Interestingly, Senator Kay Hagen recently proposed instituting another "one time" reduction in taxes owed on repatriated profits. Justification for such a proposal is unclear given that, overall, academic research into the 2004 reduction in repatriation taxes does not provide clear evidence that on net firms used the funds brought home to increase investment or hiring.

In summary, the tax code is constantly under revision, in part in an attempt by authorities to alter corporate behavior. Recent research documents that tax incentives do affect corporate behavior, but often the effects are often modest. I look forward to future research that helps explain why tax effects are not always as large as we might expect, whether the reason be measurement issues, offsetting nontax influences, or unanticipated changes in corporate behavior that occur as the economy re-equilibrates.

1.   J. R. Graham, "Debt and the Marginal Tax Rate,"  Journal of Financial Economics , 41, 1996, pp. 41-74. 2.   J. R. Graham, M. Lemmon, and J. Schallheim, "Debt, Leases, Taxes, and the Endogeneity of Corporate Tax Status,"  Journal of Finance , 53, 1998, pp. 131-62. 3.   J. R. Graham, "Do Personal Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?"  Journal of Public Economics , 73, 1999, pp. 147-85. 4.   For details, see J. R. Graham, J. Raedy, and D. Shackleford, "Accounting for Income Taxes," NBER Working Paper No.  15665 , January 2010, and  Journal of Accounting and Economics  forthcoming 5.   J. R. Graham and L. Mills, "Using Tax Return Data to Simulate Corporate Marginal Tax Rates", NBER Working Paper No.  13709 , December 2007, and  Journal of Accounting and Economics , 446:2-3, 2008, pp.366-88. 6.   J.R. Graham, S. Hazarika, and K. Narasimhan, "Financial Distress during the Great Depression", NBER Working Paper No.  17388 , August 2011, and  Financial Management  forthcoming. 7.   J. van Binsbergen, J. R. Graham, and J. Yang, "The Cost of Debt", NBER Working Paper No.  16023 , May 2010, and  Journal of Finance  65:6, 2010, pp.2089-136. 8.   J.R. Graham, and H. Kim, "The Effects of the Length of the Tax-Loss Carry back Period on Tax Receipts and Corporate Marginal Tax Rates", NBER Working Paper No.  15177 , July 2009, and  National Tax Journal , 62, 2009, pp.413 - 27. 9.   Alok Kumar and I find that individual investors form clienteles based on tax preferences of holding dividends and that individual investors shift holdings to tax-deferred accounts in response to higher income tax rates. See J.R. Graham and A. Kumar, "Do Dividend Clienteles Exist? Evidence on Dividend Preferences of Retail Investors",  Journal of Finance  61, 2006, pp. 1305-336. 10.   R. Chetty and E. Saez, "Dividend Taxes and Corproate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut", NBER Working Paper No.  10841 , October 2004; J. Poterba, "Taxation and Corporate Payout Policy", NBER Working Paper No.  10321 , February 2004; J. Bouin, J. Raedy, and D. Shackelford, "Did Dividends Increase Immediately After the 2003 Reduction in Tax Rates?" NBER Working Paper No.  10301 , February 2004. 11.   A. Brav, J. R. Graham, C. R. Harvey and R. Michaely, "Payout Policy in the 21st Century," NBER Working Paper No.  9657 , April 2003, and  Journal of Financial Economics , 77:3, 2005, pp. 483-527. 12.   J.R. Graham, M. Hanlon, and T. Shevlin, "Real Effects of Accounting Rules: Evidence from Multinational Firms Investment Location and Profit Repatriation Decisions",  Journal of Accounting Research , 49, 2011, pp.137-85.


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Statistically Efficient Methods for Computation-Aware Uncertainty Quantification and Rare-Event Optimization

He, Shengyi

The thesis covers two fundamental topics that are important across the disciplines of operations research, statistics and even more broadly, namely stochastic optimization and uncertainty quantification, with the common theme to address both statistical accuracy and computational constraints. Here, statistical accuracy encompasses the precision of estimated solutions in stochastic optimization, as well as the tightness or reliability of confidence intervals. Computational concerns arise from rare events or expensive models, necessitating efficient sampling methods or computation procedures. In the first half of this thesis, we study stochastic optimization that involves rare events, which arises in various contexts including risk-averse decision-making and training of machine learning models. Because of the presence of rare events, crude Monte Carlo methods can be prohibitively inefficient, as it takes a sample size reciprocal to the rare-event probability to obtain valid statistical information about the rare-event. To address this issue, we investigate the use of importance sampling (IS) to reduce the required sample size. IS is commonly used to handle rare events, and the idea is to sample from an alternative distribution that hits the rare event more frequently and adjusts the estimator with a likelihood ratio to retain unbiasedness. While IS has been long studied, most of its literature focuses on estimation problems and methodologies to obtain good IS in these contexts. Contrary to these studies, the first half of this thesis provides a systematic study on the efficient use of IS in stochastic optimization. In Chapter 2, we propose an adaptive procedure that converts an efficient IS for gradient estimation to an efficient IS procedure for stochastic optimization. Then, in Chapter 3, we provide an efficient IS for gradient estimation, which serves as the input for the procedure in Chapter 2. In the second half of this thesis, we study uncertainty quantification in the sense of constructing a confidence interval (CI) for target model quantities or prediction. We are interested in the setting of expensive black-box models, which means that we are confined to using a low number of model runs, and we also lack the ability to obtain auxiliary model information such as gradients. In this case, a classical method is batching, which divides data into a few batches and then constructs a CI based on the batched estimates. Another method is the recently proposed cheap bootstrap that is constructed on a few resamples in a similar manner as batching. These methods could save computation since they do not need an accurate variability estimator which requires sufficient model evaluations to obtain. Instead, they cancel out the variability when constructing pivotal statistics, and thus obtain asymptotically valid t-distribution-based CIs with only few batches or resamples. The second half of this thesis studies several theoretical aspects of these computation-aware CI construction methods. In Chapter 4, we study the statistical optimality on CI tightness among various computation-aware CIs. Then, in Chapter 5, we study the higher-order coverage errors of batching methods. Finally, Chapter 6 is a related investigation on the higher-order coverage and correction of distributionally robust optimization (DRO) as another CI construction tool, which assumes an amount of analytical information on the model but bears similarity to Chapter 5 in terms of analysis techniques.

  • Operations research
  • Stochastic processes--Mathematical models
  • Mathematical optimization
  • Bootstrap (Statistics)
  • Sampling (Statistics)

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Sample Course Syllabuses: Undergraduate Accounting Majors

  • Individual Income Taxation
  • Specialized Issues

Note: The following syllabuses accompany the August 2014 Campus to Clients column, “The Model Tax Curriculum: 2014 Revisions Provide a Valuable Tool for Accounting Programs,” available here . The syllabuses provide potential ordering of topics in the course, and the hours provide suggestions for the extent of topical coverage. Instructor discretion may dictate different ordering of topics and hours devoted to the topics.

Both sample syllabuses start with an introduction to tax, discuss tax authorities, introduce tax research, and discuss basic principles of tax planning strategies. The sequencing of technical tax content for each syllabus is described below.

Syllabus A introduces basic principles in accounting for income taxes. It then covers gross income inclusions and exclusions; introduces tax years and tax accounting methods; and covers deductions and losses, tax consequences of property transactions, C corporation taxation, partnership taxation, and individual taxation (including discussion of fringe benefits and retirement plans). Syllabus A concludes with a discussion of professional responsibility in tax practice.

Syllabus B provides an overview of individual taxation and then covers gross income inclusions and exclusions, individual taxation, general business income taxation issues, and tax consequences of property transactions. Syllabus B then introduces business tax entities, covers C corporation taxation and partnership taxation, and concludes with S corporation taxation.

The primary differences between Syllabus A and Syllabus B are as follows:

  • Syllabus A covers business entity taxation and then individual taxation. Syllabus B first covers individual taxation and then business entity taxation.
  • Syllabus A begins the technical coverage with an overview of accounting for income taxes. Syllabus B does not provide for direct coverage of accounting for income taxes.
  • Syllabus A discusses book-tax differences for entity taxation throughout the different technical modules. Syllabus B emphasizes book-tax differences in the C corporation taxation discussion.
  • Syllabus A provides for a class session of discussion solely for professional responsibilities in tax practice while Syllabus B incorporates this discussion into the tax research and tax authority discussion.

In terms of technical coverage, Syllabus A and Syllabus B compare as follows:

  • Both Syllabus A and Syllabus B provide for 7.5 contact hours (375 minutes) relating specifically to individual taxation.
  • Both Syllabus A and Syllabus B provide for 13.5 contact hours (675 minutes) on tax issues relevant to both individual taxpayers and business entities.
  • Syllabus A provides for 10.5 contact hours (525 minutes) covering tax issues specific to business entities. Syllabus B provides for 13.5 contact hours (675 minutes) covering tax issues specific to business entities.
  • Both Syllabus A and Syllabus B provide for two 1.5 hour (75 minutes) exams.



  • Demonstrate knowledge of the components of the basic income tax formula for individuals and business entities, understand when income and deductions are recognized, and describe when they are excluded (or disallowed) or deferred.
  • Explain the interrelationships and differences between financial accounting and tax accounting.
  • Apply analytical reasoning tools to assess how taxes affect economic decisions for individuals and business entities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct tax research.
  • Understand tax-related professional and ethical obligations and identify tax-based community service opportunities.
  • Explain basic tax policy considerations underlying common tax regimes.

I. INTRODUCTION (75 minutes)

  • Political process
  • Economic and social policy implications
  • Criteria for a good tax
  • Interrelationship between local, state, federal, and foreign taxing jurisdictions
  • Types of taxpayers
  • Tax formula
  • Other types of tax systems

II. INTRODUCTION TO TAX RESEARCH (75 minutes plus coverage integrated throughout other topics)

  • Sources of authority
  • Tax research process

III. INTRODUCTION TO TAX PLANNING (75 minutes plus coverage integrated throughout other topics)

  • Basic principles of tax planning
  • Basic applications of tax planning

IV. INTRODUCTION TO ACCOUNTING FOR INCOME TAXES (75 minutes plus coverage integrated throughout other topics)

  • Basic principles under ASC 740
  • Steps in calculating income tax provision

V. GROSS INCOME (225 minutes)

  • Taxable year
  • Methods of accounting, cash vs. accrual
  • Includible/excludable items
  • Identify book-tax differences as permanent or temporary


  • Deductible vs. nondeductible
  • Timing of expense recognition
  • Business vs. personal
  • Losses and loss limitations
  • Depreciation and amortization



  • Amount realized and recognized
  • Capital gains, Section 1231, and recapture
  • Nontaxable sales and exchanges

IX. C CORPORATIONS (225 minutes)

  • Pros/cons of incorporation
  • Transfers to corporations
  • Computing corporate taxable income
  • Alternative minimum tax
  • Reconciling book income to taxable income
  • Completion of Schedule M-1

X. PARTNERSHIPS (150 minutes)

  • Overview of partnership taxation
  • Forming a partnership
  • Reporting operating results
  • Basis and loss limitations
  • Transactions with partners


XII. S CORPORATIONS (150 minutes)

  • Eligible corporations and S election
  • Basis limitations
  • Choice of business entity

XIII. INDIVIDUAL (300 minutes)

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Dependents and exemptions
  • Filing status
  • Deductions for and from AGI
  • Individual tax credits


  • Qualified fringe benefits
  • Types of retirement plans


  • Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs)
  • Key elements of Circular 230
  • Volunteer opportunities for tax professionals


Total 2,100 contact minutes = 42 contact hours (50 minutes per contact hour)


  • Who cares about taxes and why?
  • What qualifies as a tax?
  • How to calculate a tax
  • Ways to measure tax rates
  • Tax rate structures
  • Types of taxes
  • Sufficiency, equity, certainty, convenience, economy


  • Due dates, extensions, statutes of limitation
  • Tax law sources
  • Tax research
  • Tax professional responsibilities
  • Taxpayer and tax practitioner penalties


  • Tax planning overview
  • Timing strategies
  • Income-shifting strategies
  • Conversion strategies
  • Limitations to tax planning strategies
  • Tax avoidance vs. tax evasion


  • Individual income tax formula
  • Personal and dependency exemptions


  • What is included in gross income?
  • Income concepts
  • Timing of income recognition
  • Types of income
  • Exclusion and deferral provisions


  • Trade or business expense
  • Rental and royalty expenses
  • Flowthrough entities
  • Loss limitation rules
  • Tax basis, at risk, and passive loss
  • Rental use of home
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs
  • Moving expenses
  • Health insurance for self-employed
  • Interest on qualified education loans
  • Deduction for qualified education expenses


  • Phaseout of itemized deductions
  • Standard deduction
  • Phaseout of personal and dependency exemptions


  • Regular federal income tax computation
  • Employment and self-employment taxes
  • Tax credits



  • Business gross income
  • Business deductions
  • Limitations on business deductions
  • Specific business deductions
  • Accounting methods
  • Comparison of accrual and cash methods
  • Changes in accounting methods


  • Personal property
  • Real property
  • Immediate expensing
  • Bonus depreciation
  • Luxury automobiles
  • Amortization


  • Realized and recognized gain or loss
  • Character of gain or loss
  • Depreciation recapture
  • Deferral transactions


  • Legal classification
  • Nontax characteristics
  • Entity tax classification
  • Entity tax characteristics



  • Transfers of property to a corporation
  • Corporate taxable income
  • Common permanent book-tax differences
  • Common temporary book-tax differences
  • Corporate specific deductions
  • Corporate alternative minimum tax


  • Computing earnings and profits
  • Ordering of E&P distributions
  • Distributions of noncash property
  • Constructive dividends


  • Flowthrough overview
  • Acquiring partnership interests
  • Accounting periods, methods, and tax elections
  • Reporting partnership operations
  • Distributions
  • Loss limitations


  • Termination
  • Operating issues
  • Liquidating distributions
  • Comparison of C and S corporations and partnerships



Below are descriptions of several course projects intended to supplement in-class topical coverage in meeting the MTC learning objectives.

Tax Research and Writing Project

A typical tax research and writing project could be structured as a research case study. The assignment would expose students to complex tax issues for which clear-cut solutions are not obvious. The case provides students the opportunity to identify and analyze tax issues, search for relevant legal authorities, and relate the results of their research and analysis in concise written communication. The project submission could be presented in a brief paper written in the form of a file memorandum. Thus the students would adopt the role of tax professionals advising a client.

This project is targeted at the tax research objective of the MTC. However, it can be tailored to any technical topic for which the instructor desires additional coverage. It can also be structured around a proposed transaction to incorporate tax planning aspects.

VITA Service Project

Where available, participation in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program could be incorporated into an introductory tax course as a required or optional project. VITA requires technical training on specific individual tax topics, a certification exam, and participation in tax return preparation at VITA sites during tax season.

This project addresses the professional responsibilities and community-based service opportunity object of the MTC. It also encompasses a variety of individual-focused technical topics, the individual income tax formula, and tax credits.

Tax Planning Case

A tax planning project could ask students to analyze alternative structures for a proposed transaction and make a recommendation for the optimal structure meeting the taxpayer’s tax and nontax objectives. Results of the analysis could be submitted as a written paper and/or communicated via an individual or team-based oral presentation.

This project requires students to apply analytical reasoning tools to assess how taxes affect economic decisions, a primary learning objective of the MTC. It can be tailored to any technical topic for which the instructor desires additional coverage.

Tax Return Project

This project requires students to calculate taxable income and tax liability for a realistic taxpayer fact situation and complete IRS forms required to file the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. The project could be an individual and/or corporate tax return problem.

A corporate tax return project would challenge students to identify book-tax differences in order to complete Schedule M-1 of Form 1120. Further, it would provide students with an opportunity to comprehensively address a variety of business technical topics as well as interrelationships and differences between financial accounting and tax accounting.

An individual tax return project would allow students to review the many individual tax rules they learned during the semester. It would also help students understand the manner in which this information flows through a tax return.

Dual consolidated losses: Recapture considerations

Sec. 338(g) elections for foreign corporations and ‘creeping acquisitions’, the sec. 645 election to treat a trust as part of the estate, wealth transfer strategies amid shifting interest rates, interim guidance for sre expenditures.

sample research topics in taxation

This article discusses the history of the deduction of business meal expenses and the new rules under the TCJA and the regulations and provides a framework for documenting and substantiating the deduction.


sample research topics in taxation

CPAs assess how their return preparation products performed.


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Onboarding New Employees in a Hybrid Workplace

  • Dawn Klinghoffer,
  • Karen Kocher,
  • Natalie Luna

sample research topics in taxation

New research from Microsoft on how much time new hires should spend in the office during their first 90 days.

As you’re navigating hybrid work, it’s a good moment to assess how your onboarding processes enable or empower your new hires to thrive. Researchers at Microsoft have conducted and identified studies that suggest that onboarding to a new role, team, or company is a key moment for building connections with the new manager and team and doing so a few days in person provides unique benefits. But just requiring newcomers to be onsite full time doesn’t guarantee success. The authors explain and offer examples of how onboarding that truly helps new employees thrive in the modern workplace is less about face time and more about intention, structure, and resources.

During the pandemic, companies around the world explored new ways of working that challenged long-held assumptions and beliefs about where work gets done. Many companies, including Microsoft , saw the benefits of flexible work and wanted to offer employees a chance to continue to work in a hybrid environment, while balancing the needs of the organization.

  • Dawn Klinghoffer is the head of people analytics at Microsoft.
  • KK Karen Kocher leads the future of work, workforce of the future and talent & learning experiences at Microsoft.
  • NL Natalie Luna is on Microsoft’s employee listening team, leading employee lifecycle and daily surveys, and researching onboarding, culture and hybrid ways of working.

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