TEI Says Retroactive Legislation Disrupts Taxpayer Expectations

On September 20, 2016, Tax Executives Institute, Inc. (TEI) issued a new policy statement on retroactive tax legislation. The policy statement takes the position that sound tax policy and administration require governments to provide taxpayers with certainty and fairness, and these principles are not satisfied when legislatures are permitted to enact retroactive tax legislation without meaningful limits.

In TEI's statement it asserts that allowing retroactive legislation to overrule a judicial decision "disrupts taxpayer expectations." I agree. As I have stated before in several blog posts, retroactive legislation creates unnecessary uncertainty, and unintended consequences. States have an obligation to create a stable and reasonable compliance environment that doesn't keep taxpayers guessing.