Closing the Tax Gap through Modern Information Technology

PictureBy Sam Hampton

Congratulations—you just hit a $5000 jackpot on a slot machine! Would you be more likely to report this income on your 1040 (as you should) if you knew the casino would report the winnings to the IRS? Would you be more likely to report a cash tip income if you found out that a waiter had been prosecuted for tax fraud for failure to report his tips? A recent New York Times article suggests that taxpayers are much more likely to report in either of these situations—and modern information technology provides new avenues for both auditing and monitoring taxpayers. Continue reading

Internet Pirates Need Not Fear the ITC—For Now

Untitled1By Mackenzie Olson

Imagine that you are the CEO of an entertainment company such as TimeWarner or Disney, and illegal downloading costs your company millions in lost revenue each year. How do you solve this problem? Do you change your business model? HBO is the creator of Game of Thrones, the most pirated TV show in the world. Some viewers who download the show illegally have explained that they pirate the program because they do not want to pay for a full cable subscription to watch one show. This year, HBO debuted a stand-alone streaming service that does not require a cable subscription. Currently, this may be HBO’s best option for reducing the rate of piracy of its programs in the United States; the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) does not have the authority to prosecute foreign websites that contain pirated content in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. ITC. Continue reading