— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) May 22, 2015
Since 2013 I have been working on a series of posts about the 1924 decision of Justice McKenna (see his biography) in the 1924 decision of Cook v. Tait. As you know, Cook v. Tait is always cited as the justification for U.S. citizenship-based taxation. You will find the series of posts here. My goal has been to explore and understand what is the history, basis, and rationale for “citizenship taxation”. Even if it was justifiable in 1924, it is hard to justify it today.
The problem is that although, there is agreement that Cook v. Tait stands for the legal proposition that U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” is NOT illegal, the reasoning in the decision is (in my opinion) very unclear. I have read the decision may times and to this day and have never felt comfortable that I really understand the basis of the decision (if there is one). Of possible interest is what appear to be a summary by a law student of what Cook v. Tait is about.
Interestingly, in 1925 a law review article was written by a U.S. law professor (the Michael Kirsch of 1925) about Cook v. Tait. You will find a link to a CBC interview with Professor Kirsch (along with a large number of valuable comments) at a previous post at the Isaac Brock Society.
You will find the decision in Cook v. Tait from the link in the above tweet.
I invite readers of this post to:
1. Take the time to read the decision (more than once).
2. Try to understand what exactly is the basis for Justice McKenna’s reasoning.
What I am looking for comments are answers to the following two questions:
1. What is Justice McKenna really saying?
2. What is his specific justification for what you understand him to be saying.
Please think carefully about this.
Here is the decision in Cook v. Tait may be found here.
Thanks to the comment by @Publius, you will find the most interesting arguments advanced by the lawyers here:
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) May 23, 2015