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Individual Home-Work Assignments for State Taxes

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June 1, 2023 in ONLINE EDITION

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Abstract: The surge in work-from-home arrangements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens serious disruptions to state tax systems. Billions of dollars are at stake at this pivotal moment as states grapple with where to assign income earned through these remote work arrangements for tax purposes: the worker’s home or the employer’s location? Some states—intent on modernizing their income tax laws—have assigned such income to the employer’s location, but have faced persistent challenges on both constitutional and policy grounds in response.

This Article provides a vigorous defense against such challenges. The Supreme Court has long interpreted the Constitution to be deferential to state tax actions; new laws for the age of remote work surely satisfy constitutional demands. Moreover, assigning income from remote work to the employer’s location is more equitable than assigning the income to the worker’s home, justifying modernization efforts from a policy perspective. The solution to this homework assignment problem is evident: the states must revise their tax laws to face the evolving nature of work.

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December 1, 2023 in PRINT EDITION

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