Congratulations to Orly Mazur LL.M. ’13, the winner of the 2013 David F. Bradford Memorial Prize for Best Paper in Taxation. The Bradford Prize is dedicated to the memory of David F. Bradford, who taught at Princeton University and NYU School of Law.
Orly’s paper is titled “Taxing the Cloud”. A brief abstract of the paper follows:
After decades of expanding worldwide, companies have now reached the clouds. The cloud represents a new method of using information technology resources that may forever change how we use our computers and the Internet. Instead of purchasing or downloading software, we can now use the Internet to access software and other fundamental computing resources located on remote computer networks operated by third parties. These transactions offer companies lower operating costs, increased scalability and improved reliability, but also give rise to a host of international tax issues. Despite the rapid growth and prevalent use of cloud computing, U.S. taxation of international cloud computing transactions has yet to receive significant scholarly attention. This Article seeks to fill that void by analyzing the U.S. tax implications of operating in the cloud. Such an analysis shows that the technological advances associated with the cloud put pressure on traditional U.S. federal income tax principles, which creates uncertainty, compliance burdens and liability risks for companies and a potential loss of revenue for the government. In light of these problems, federal attention is warranted to clarify how U.S. federal income tax principles apply to businesses operating in the cloud. Thus, this Article proposes that Congress and Treasury issue guidance that clearly addresses the U.S. tax implications of international cloud computing services. Specifically, Congress should issue new statutory guidance to clarify the characterization, source, and taxation of global cloud computing transactions and collaborate with other countries to achieve international consensus on these issues. Together these changes will ensure that the United States appropriately taxes the cloud and does so in a manner that minimizes double taxation and promotes efficiency, equity and administrative simplicity.
– Orly Mazur