How is it possible to owe federal income taxes if you have never received any income? Charles and Kathleen Moore are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to answer this question. More than 15 years ago, the Moores invested in KisanKraft, a friend’s business in India that sells affordable farming equipment. Although the business has expanded to serve poor rural farmers across India, the Moores never received a penny from it. But Congress passed a law that deems the retained profits used to grow KisanKraft to be the Moores’ own income and then taxed them on it – to the tune of $15,000. After paying the tax, the Moores are trying to get their money back. CEI and Baker & Hostetler will help ask the Supreme Court to hear the Moores’ case. If the Court issues a decision on this matter, it could have profound implications on proposals to impose a federal wealth tax.

For decades, it has been settled law that the Sixteenth Amendment requires that income tax can only be levied on realized income. But the Ninth Circuit, when it upheld the Moores’ tax bill, held that “realization of income” is constitutionally irrelevant and that, as a result, “there is no constitutional prohibition against Congress attributing a corporation’s income pro-rata to its shareholders” and then taxing them on it. That decision, if not overturned by the Supreme Court, could usher in a new era of federal taxes on stock, asset appreciation, and property.

Please join us for an online panel discussion on the legal issues that the Moores’ case raises, such as wealth taxes and liability for unrealized income.

When: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Questions: [email protected] or 202.331.2764
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Registration confirmation and event reminder emails will be sent from CEI Events at [email protected]   

Hank Adler is an associate Professor of Accounting at Chapman University. Mr. Adler was in public accounting for thirty-four years, the last twenty as a tax partner at Deloitte & Touche. He joined the faculty at Chapman University in 2003. Mr. Adler has served on several corporate and community boards of directors. His interests include theories of taxation and board governance. 

Dan Greenberg is the General Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His research focuses on civil asset seizure and regulatory reform. From 2017 to 2021 he was a senior policy advisor at the Department of Labor, where he served as the expert on occupational licensing reform. Prior to that he was an Arkansas state legislator.

Andrew Grossman leads Baker & Hostetler’s Appellate and Major Motions practice. He is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Buckeye Institute and an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute.

Devin Watkins is an attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Previously, he worked at the Cato Institute and the Institute for Justice. At the Cato Institute, Watkins worked on a variety of Supreme Court cases. He holds a Juris Doctor cum laude from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

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