On 18 and 19 February 2009, the American Tax Policy Institute (ATPI) sponsored a conference in Washington, DC, on "Structuring a Federal VAT: Design and Coordination Issues." The conference was co-organized by Charles E. McLure, Jr. of Stanford University and the present writer, and featured many of the world's leading VAT experts from academia, government, and the private sector.

The purpose of the conference was to lay the ground for a potential future adoption of a federal VAT in the United States by discussing some of the technical issues related to two broad topics: Firstly, how should such a US federal VAT be designed, and secondly, how should it be coordinated with existing state Retail Sales Taxes (RST). The assumption underlying the conference was that, as in other OECD countries, the US federal VAT would be levied in addition to, and not as a replacement for, the existing US federal income tax.

This article summarizes the conference papers. The papers are being revised for publication, so what appears below does not necessarily represent the final views of the authors but summarizes the conference proceedings.


Tax Law

Date of this Version

May 2009

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