Center for Legal Reform

The Tax Foundation's Center for Legal Reform cultivates, explains, and advocates for tax legal reform. We develop innovative pro-growth ideas in tax law with leading experts, educate the legal community and the public about economics and taxpayer protections, and advocate that judicial and policy decisions on tax law promote simple, neutral, transparent, and stable tax policies.

Courts play an important role in developing tax policy, by interpreting tax codes, applying sections in individual cases, and dealing with circumstances unforeseen when legislation was drafted. Our legal team focuses on cases and issues involving one or more of the following areas:

  • (1) Limiting state tax powers to their geographic borders, preventing overreaching and protectionist barriers;
  • (2) Defining taxes and fees and preventing political definitional subterfuge that undermines taxpayer safeguards;
  • (3) Ensuring taxes are reviewed based on real-world economic impacts and not merely "legal incidence"; and
  • (4) Upholding and expanding taxpayer protections that treat like parties alike, with rules that are simple, transparent, stable, and neutral.

Since its founding in 2005, the Tax Foundation’s Center for Legal Reform has filed briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and courts in 8 states. Key victories include invalidation of a $300 million tax in northern Virginia, a successful challenge to a “tax on a tax” in San Diego, and avoiding a judicial takeover of state education funding in Indiana. We filed briefs continuously as opportunities are presented.

Read more about court cases in which the Tax Foundation has filed briefs.

Major Publications

Legal Briefs and Research