This Article examines the interpretation of tax statutes and the changing concept of income. The author begins by explaining the traditional view of how tax statutes were interpreted both in the United Kingdom and the United States. He then discusses the United States Supreme Court’s early approach to the concept of income as found in Eisner v. Macomber. Next, the author addresses the change from a formalistic interpretation regarding income to a more purposive approach associated with the legal process theory. The author then discusses the history and context of income taxation in America, including the purpose of Congress and the American people in instituting income taxes, which was to overcome economic inequality. The author argues that we should not depart from a broad concept of income because it would ignore the original intent of income taxation statutes.
William B. Barker,
Statutory Interpretation, Comparative Law, and Economic Theory: Discovering the Grund of Income Taxation,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol40/iss3/3