Tax Law for the Closely Held Business blog author Lou Vlahos was extensively quoted in Peter J. Reilly’s latest Forbes column. He opined on the constitutionality of a wealth tax.

Below is Lou’s commentary:

[The wealth tax] is clearly a direct tax – period – which means that it has to satisfy the apportionment requirement. Given the geographic concentration of wealth (NYC, Miami, LA, etc.), how can such a tax ever be “apportioned” among the States according to their populations, in the commonly-accepted sense of that word? Or do we need to reconsider what we mean by apportionment or the relevant population?

We will hear legal arguments from every side of the debate. Unfortunately, much of it will be a question of semantics and wordplay. Much of it will be politically-motivated, in the worst sense of that phrase.

Moreover, if any legislation were enacted, the lawyers would be the primary beneficiaries of interpreting and planning for the new rules. (Just witness what has followed the TCJA.)

I am not going to comment on the impetus for such a tax, or on the need for it, or on the wisdom of imposing it. Nor am I going to comment on providing more funds to a dysfunctional Washington via a new tax rather than through an existing tax – the consequences will be the same.

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