Same Questions, Different Answers: A Comparative Look at International and State and Local Taxation

This Essay is a primer on the income taxation of cross-border transactions, comparatively examining the approaches of the U.S. federal government and the American states, and focusing on the problems of residency, enforcement jurisdiction, sourcing, and transfer pricing. The sourcing rules of each level of government share common flaws, while the approaches to the problem of transfer pricing offer the sharpest contrast. The differences between the two systems often are explained by the higher level of integration within the federal system, but as the global economy continues to integrate, the approaches may begin to converge.