Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

ORCID (Links to author’s additional scholarship at ORCID.org)

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3271-8768

Abstract

Experts predict that the use of smart contracts and other applications of blockchain technology could revolutionize the manner in which we do business. Blockchain technology promises the elimination of middlemen, increased trust and transparency, and improved access to shared information and records. Thus, it is no surprise that companies and entrepreneurs are developing blockchain solutions for an array of markets, ranging from real estate to health care. But can this new technology revolutionize tax administration?

This Article is the first to consider blockchain technology’s role in addressing the shortcomings of our current administration system— namely, a large tax gap, high compliance and administrative costs, and operational inefficiencies. To mitigate these problems, this Article introduces two innovative uses of blockchain technology in the tax space: a blockchain-based platform for information returns and a blockchain-based platform for digital invoices. Implementing these blockchain-based platforms for tax administration presents significant opportunities to digitalize and automate certain tax processes, improve tax compliance and enforcement, and minimize many inefficiencies currently involved in the tax administration process.

This Article also considers the broader implications of using technology to improve tax administration by demonstrating that any blockchain tax initiative is unlikely to make meaningful improvements to tax processes without additional government action. It, therefore, sets forth normative steps for policymakers to take in supporting the use of blockchain and other technologies in the tax space. By doing so, this Article promotes a proactive approach to exploring and understanding blockchain technology’s benefits, limitations, and implications to ultimately place the government in the best position to modernize our tax administration system.

Publication Title

Penn State Law Review

Publication Date

2022

Document Type

Article

Keywords

blockchain, tax, tax policy, technology, tax administration, tax gap, tax compliance

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