Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy

The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy


First edition: October 1999
Number of Pages: 452
Editors: Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, Jane G. Gravelle
Publisher: Urban Institute Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0877666822
ISBN-13: 978-0877666820

Second edition: November 30, 2005
Editors: Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 518 pages, ISBN 978-0-87766-752-
Number of Pages: 499 (518)
Publisher: Urban Institute Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0877667527
ISBN-13: 978-0877667520

The first edition of this reference work was selected, in 1999, as an “Outstanding Academic Book of the Year”by Choice magazine.

From the First Edition

Work on the Encyclopedia began in 1994 when “members of the National Tax Association (an organization that represents a cross section of tax practitioners and administrators, policymakers, business executives, and academics) realized that there was no single, concise source of peer-reviewed research on tax issues that was both learned and readable. To produce such a volume, more than 150 tax practitioners and administrators, policymakers, and academics contributed entries covering a wide range of issues. Included are broad essays on fundamental economic concepts and behavior, detailed treatment of specialized economic and tax concepts, essays on types of taxes levied in the United States and abroad, and coverage of issues involving tax measurement, accounting, administration, analysis, and institutions. Each of the book’s 200 essays provides a list of references for further reading.

But the Encyclopedia is more than a simple collection of essays. It reflects the guidance and expertise provided by its three editors: Joseph J. Cordes, a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute, who formerly chaired the department of economics at George Washington University; Robert D. Ebel, executive director of the National Tax Association, who serves as principal economist at the World Bank for intergovernmental relations and local financial management; and Jane G. Gravelle, a senior analyst at the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service, who specializes in the effects of tax policies on economic growth and resource allocation.

The editors point out in the preface (to the first edition) that taxation and tax policy are gaining more attention because of decentralization of fiscal power in many countries, the collapse of command economies, and the globalization of the marketplace in an era of record public-sector presence. In addition, the explosion of electronic commerce is putting pressure on revenue sources from conventional tax bases.”

Second Edition


“More than 150 tax practitioners and administrators, policymakers, and academics have contributed. The result is a unique and authoritative reference that examines virtually all tax instruments used by governments (individual income, corporate income, sales and value-added, property, estate and gift, franchise, poll, and many variants of these taxes), as well as characteristics of a good tax system, budgetary issues, and many current federal, state, local, and international tax policy issues. The new edition has been completely revised, with 40 new topics and 200 articles reflecting six years of legislative changes. Each essay provides the generalist with a quick and reliable introduction to many topics but also gives tax specialists the benefit of other experts’ best thinking, in a manner that makes the complex understandable. Reference lists point the reader to additional sources of information for each topic.”


Ability to pay
Adjusted current earnings
Adjusted gross income
Airport and Airway Trust Fund
Alcoholic beverage taxes, federal
Allocation rules, multinational corporations
Alternative minimum tax, corporate
Alternative minimum tax, personal
Automatic stabilizers
Average effective tax rate

Banks, state taxation of
Basis adjustment
Benefit principle
Border tax adjustments
Budget-balance requirement
Budgeting, state
Budget policy, state and local
Budget process, federal
Budget processes, state
Business location, taxation and

Capital cost recovery
Capital export neutrality
Capital gains taxation
Capital import neutrality
Charitable deductions
Child care credit
Child tax credit
Circuit breaker
College savings plans
Commuter taxes
Congressional Budget Office
Consumption taxation
Corporate reorganizations
Cost of capital
Cross-border shopping

Deferral of tax
Delaware holding company
Depletion, cost and percentage
Depository institutions, federal taxation of
Depreciation recapture
Destination principle
Dividends, double taxation of
Dividends-received deduction
Dynamic revenue estimating
Dynamic scoring

Earmarking of taxes
Earned income tax credit
Earnings and profits
Economic substance doctrine
Education financing, state and local
Education tax credits, higher education, federal
Elasticity, demand and supply
Elasticity of substitution between labor and capital
Electronic tax filing, state
Employee stock ownership plan
Energy taxes
Enterprise zones
Environmental taxes, federal
Environmental taxes, state
Estate and gift tax, federal
Estate, inheritance, and gift tax, state
Excess burden
Excess profits tax
Excise taxes
Expenditure tax
Export tax subsidies

Fairness in taxation
Family, tax treatment of
Finance Committee, U.S. Senate
Fiscal architecture
Fiscal disparities
Fiscal equalization
Fiscal federalism
Flat tax
Flypaper effect
Foreign corporations, federal taxation of
Foreign corporations, state taxation of
Foreign tax credit
Franchise/privilege tax, state
Fringe benefits
Fuel taxes, federal

Gaming taxation, state
General-equilibrium models
Generational accounting

Head tax
Health expenditures, tax treatment of
Highway Trust Fund, federal
Homeowner preferences, individual income tax
Homestead exemption and credit programs
Horizontal equity

Implicit taxes
Imputed income
Incidence of taxes
Income tax, corporate, federal
Income tax, corporate, state and local
Income tax, federal
Individual retirement accounts
Inflation indexation of income taxes
Inflation tax
Infrastructure financing
Insurance industry, federal taxation of
Insurance industry, state taxation of
Intangible assets, income tax treatment of
Integration, corporate tax
Interest deductibility
Intergovernmental grants
Inventory accounting
Inverse elasticity rule
Investment tax credits
Itemized deductions

Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Congress
Labor supply, taxes and
Land value capture taxes
Life cycle model
Lottery tax, implicit
Low-income housing credit
Lump-sum tax
Luxury taxes

Marginal effective tax rate
Marriage penalty
Median voter theorem
Medicare Trust Fund
Mortgage interest deduction
Multinational corporations, taxation of
Multistate Tax Commission

National neutrality
National Tax Association
Nonprofit organizations, federal tax treatment of
Nonprofit organizations, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs)
Nonprofit organizations, state tax treatment of

Office of Tax Policy
Offsetting collections and receipts
Optimal taxation
Origin principle
Original issue and market discount

Passive activity losses
Payroll tax, federal
Pensions, tax treatment of
Personal exemption, federal
Portfolio choice
Presumptive taxation
Profit-sharing plans
Progressivity, measures of
Property tax assessment
Property tax, farm
Property tax, motor vehicle taxes
Property tax, real property, business
Property tax, real property, residential
Property value banding
Proposition 13/property tax caps
Public utilities, taxation of

Rainy day funds (budget stabilization, budget reserve funds)
Rehabilitation tax credit
Research and experimentation tax credit
Residence principle
Retail sales tax, national
Retail sales tax, state and local
Revenue elasticity (tax elasticity)
Revenue estimating, federal
Revenue estimating, state
Revenue forecasting, federal
Revenue-maximizing tax rates
Ricardian equivalence

Sales tax relief programs, state
Saving, taxes and
Severance tax, state
Site value taxation and single tax
Social Security benefits, federal taxation of
Social Security Trust Fund
Source principle
Standard deduction, federal
State and local tax deductibility
State formula apportionment
Subchapter S corporation
Sumptuary taxes

Tax abatement programs
Tax administration mechanisms for intergovernmental cooperation
Tax administration, federal
Tax administration, state, private, and public cooperation in
Tax amnesty
Tax and revenue capacity
Tax and revenue effort
Tax arbitrage
Tax competition
Tax equity analysis
Tax evasion
Tax-exempt bonds
Tax expenditures
Tax exportation
Tax illusion
Tax increment financing
Tax limitations
Taxpayer compliance measurement program (TCMP)
Tax price
Tax reform, federal
Tax reform, state
Tax shelters
Taxable income, corporate
Tax transparency
Tax versus book accounting
Telecommunications and electronic commerce, state taxation of
Throwback rules, multistate corporations
Tiebout model
Tobacco taxes
Tourist taxes
Trade taxes
Transfer pricing, federal
Transfer taxes, real estate
Treaties, income tax
Tribal taxation, state

Uniform capitalization rules
Unitary taxation
User charges, federal

Value-added tax and federalism
Value-added tax, national
Value-added tax, state
Vertical equity

Ways and Means Committee
Wealth taxation
Willingness to pay for public services
Withholding of taxes


Zakat (Islamic almsgiving)
Zero rating
Zoning, property taxes, and exactions


Some selected texts from the Preface:

“Far-reaching economic developments have forced policymakers, analysts, and the public they serve to revisit basic questions on the structure and level of the public’s finances and government’s role in determining both. These developments range from marketplace globalization and the accompanying difficulty of taxing mobile factors of production, a continuing shift to an economy based on services and communications instead of bricks-and-mortar manufacturing, a growth in e-commerce and electronic technology that can either erode or broaden tax bases and simplify or complicate tax administration, and an aging population that demands public expenditures but is less readily taxable by many conventional means.

In the past 25 years, the frontiers of public finance theory have been expanded, and the literature on how to finance the public sector and how taxes work and affect behavior has burgeoned. Frameworks for public-sector decisionmaking have evolved (e.g., public choice theory, cost-benefit analysis, optimal taxation), and so have the tools (from sophisticated spreadsheet models and dynamic scoring techniques to the development and maturity of mathematical and statistical microsimulation techniques). Meanwhile, new fields are appearing.”

In sum, the issues of taxation and tax policy combine the best human motives-paying for needed services that people acting privately have little or no incentive to offer-and, for some, the worst social organization-using government’s power to commandeer part of one’s income for collective pursuits. These motives and misgivings energize but also cloud broad debates on such issues as the “proper”criteria for distributing the tax payment responsibility, the structure of fiscal relationships among governments, and the art of forecasting and monitoring tax flows. They even permeate questions about details-for example, inventory accounting, trust fund finance, apportionment of multistate and multinational business income, the fair and efficient treatment of various business sectors, and tax shelters.

But whether the topics are as broad as the principles of just taxation or as narrow as the mechanisms of a tax credit for low-income housing, what pulls it all together and makes it important is that a system of taxation is more than a compendium of dry tax law and economic data. It is also an expression of community relationships among individuals and between the people and their governments.

Because in 1995 there was “no single source of rigorously peer reviewed but highly readable information on the key issues of public finance,”it “prompted the best tax scholars and practitioners to put together the Encyclopedia on Taxation and Tax Policy. The goal is to provide a reference book on tax and tax-related public sector issues in a format that generalists and seasoned experts alike can use to get a quick and reliable introduction to a topic and specialists can rely on for the best thinking of other experts. For some, this volume will serve as a quick one-stop source for definitions concepts and topic overviews. However, others may want to read the book cover to cover to get an overview of the discipline and a sense of how various tax issues relate to one another.

The essays in this book cover the full range of U.S. tax issues. Entries included cover

(i) fundamental economic concepts and behavior (e.g., tax incidence, effects of taxes on labor supply, savings, portfolio choice);

(ii) more specialized economic and tax concepts (e.g., capital export neutrality, cost of capital, and tax illusion);

(iii) each type of tax levied (e.g., income, sales, property) and taxes levied in other countries or under consideration in the United States (e.g., a national value-added tax) and on non tax revenues;

(iv) important features of current taxes (e.g., deductions for charitable contributions, taxation of multinational corporations; circuit-breakers);

(v) tax measurement and accounting (e.g., revenue estimating and forecasting, basis, depreciation, deferral);

(vi) tax administration and related topics (e.g. tax evasion, intergovernmental cooperation, economic substance doctrine, property tax assessment);

(vii) techniques and tools of tax analysis (e.g. generational accounting, general equilibrium models, progressivity measures);

(viii) institutions (e.g., nature and role of congressional committees, federal and state tax offices, and public interest groups), and

(ix) important related public finance issues (e.g., budgets and budget processes, federalism).”

Review from the First Edition

“The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy is a first-class work that will be an important addition to the library of any researcher or student of American and international tax policy. It provides an exhaustive list and description of special tax policy concepts that often confront an analyst. I look forward to using it often in my own work.”

“The Encyclopedia will become an essential reference for academics and practitioners of taxation. In it, the leading experts provide a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of taxation. With ‘fairness in taxation’ following ‘the export source rule,’ everyone interested in taxation will learn from this book.”

“An invaluable reference for researchers, policymakers, and tax practitioners alike. It provides a pithy introduction to an extraordinary range of issues in tax policy, along with helpful references to guide those who wish to know more. This is a volume that one will consult again and again.”

“The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy is a solid contribution of high-quality articles written by world-class experts… I congratulate the Urban Institute for publishing this valuable book, and I recommend that it be read and studied by all interested in understanding our systems of taxation.”

“The Encyclopedia provides not only an opportunity for readers in the taxation and economic areas to be exposed to leading authors in these fields but also a wealth of information on cutting-edge issues.”

“Finally, a clear and concise glossary of common but often arcane tax and budget jargon. Full of examples and suggested readings, this handy reference is a must for policy analysts, writers, legislators, teachers, and anyone else who must follow economic and business debates.”

“An exhaustive and informative overview of tax theory and tax policy by leading academics and tax practitioners. It will prove a very useful guide for tax experts and tax novices alike.”

“The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy is likely to become a standard reference work for both tax professionals and nonprofessionals interested in tax policy.”

“The Encyclopedia contains a comprehensive collection of statements defining, explaining, and providing further bibliographical sources about tax concepts, institutions, and practices… The organizers of this volume and the authors have engaged in a major educational enterprise that will serve the American citizenry well for some years. Those in other countries will also find much of interest, both intrinsically and in understanding taxes in the United States.”

See Also

Enciclopedia Giuridica
Oran’s Dictionary of the Law
Wolters Kluwer Bouvier Law Dictionary
Leff Dictionary of Law
Dahl’s Law Dictionary



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