Anthony C. Infanti
Professor Infanti’s scholarly work focuses on two ostensibly quite different, but, in reality, quite related areas: (i) the intersection of tax and comparative legal theory and (ii) critical tax theory (i.e., the impact of the tax system on traditionally subordinated groups). Professor Infanti has published numerous articles and book chapters in these areas. He is also the author of Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians (And Those Who Care About Them) (Paradigm Publishers), coeditor of Critical Tax Theory: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press), and editor of Controversies in Tax Law: A Matter of Perspective (Ashgate Publishing).
Professor Infanti is currently working on a book that is tentatively titled Tax Time: The (In)justice of Unleashed Legal Imagination (NYU Press). In our daily lives and in our tax laws, we take time for granted as something present in our lives but beyond our control. We assume that time moves endlessly and relentlessly forward—it is ever present but always slipping away as we move along time’s arrow from the past to the future through the present. But what if life were more like science fiction? What if we could, at will, move through time in any direction? Or what if we could harness time by turning it into an exchangeable commodity, truly using time as money? In fact, there is no need to open a novel or to watch a movie to witness time move in multiple directions or be used as a medium of exchange. To do these things we need look no further than our tax laws. Like time, our tax laws are ever present as they touch so many different aspects of our lives. And like good fiction, our tax laws manage to simultaneously reflect, leave behind, and call into question conventional wisdom about our relationship to time.
Professor Infanti recently completed two book projects. The most recent project is Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (The MIT Press, 2018). This project brings together Professor Infanti’s work in comparative legal theory and critical tax theory in an attempt to shift how we see our tax system. This project uses comparative legal research to show how tax law is shaped by its social, political, and cultural context. Shaped as it is in this way, the U.S. tax system paints a picture of American society that lets us see those who are included in the collective American “self” (i.e., those whom we value, validate, and support) as well as the many “others” whom we dismiss or leave out because they fail to meet this “ideal.”
Tax Time will show how our tax laws resemble more the creative product of an author’s imagination than the rote dictates of economics. In this way, Tax Time will complicate and overturn prevailing views of how time operates in and through tax law. But it will do more than just that. In asserting that time in tax law is the product of pure imagination, Tax Time will call into question the world beyond time that we have created for ourselves. In other words, the book will ask the reader to consider the ends to which we have put our imaginative efforts. Have we used our tax imagination to work toward a more just world or merely to entrench and exacerbate the injustice that already exists in the world? Providing preliminary answers to these questions, Tax Time will then ask the reader to consider the broader and more provocative question of whether we should revisit and rework the relationship between time and our tax laws so as to move us toward the better future that we collectively hope and strive for.
Professor Infanti completed two book projects prior to embarking upon the writing of Tax Time. The most recent project is Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (The MIT Press, 2018). This book brings together Professor Infanti’s work in comparative legal theory and critical tax theory in an attempt to shift how we see our tax system. Our Selfish Tax Laws uses comparative legal research to show how tax law is shaped by its social, political, and cultural context. Shaped as it is in this way, the U.S. tax system paints a picture of American society that lets us see those who are included in the collective American “self” (i.e., those whom we value, validate, and support) as well as the many “others” whom we dismiss or leave out because they fail to meet this “ideal.”
Once we understand this expressive power of our tax system, it is easy to see that taxes are about much more than just economics or finances. Our tax laws are a reflection of ourselves—of our society as it is and as we wish it would be. This shift in perspective is important both because it provides the foundation for critical tax scholars to reframe their contributions in order to have greater impact on tax reform debates and because it helps us all to understand why we must heed critical tax scholars’ calls for reform. After all, it is only once we understand the “selfishness” of our tax laws that we can work together toward creating a fairer and more inclusive tax system—one that reflects our continuing aspiration toward a fairer and more inclusive society that embraces and benefits all Americans.
The other project that Professor recently completed is Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Professor Infanti coedited this volume with Professor Bridget Crawford of Pace Law School (with whom he earlier coedited Critical Tax Theory: An Introduction). This new book is the first volume in Cambridge’s Feminist Judgments series, which was spurred by the publication of Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (of which Professor Crawford was also one of the coeditors). In keeping with the theme of this series, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions aims to demonstrate the transformative potential of feminist analysis for tax law.
Tax law is, of course, primarily statutory in nature; however, tax statutes are rarely determinative on their own and require interpretation and application that is often influenced by the context in which the parties and the court are operating. One of the underlying claims of this book is that perspective matters in all areas of judicial interpretation, not only with respect to constitutional questions. The book demonstrates that judges may decide tax issues involving both fundamental constitutional principles, such as equal protection, as well as more prosaic statutes in ways that are consistent with their judicial roles and established methods of interpretation while applying feminist perspectives to advance the goal of equal justice. The book also combats the notion that tax law is a pseudoscientific subdiscipline of economics in which application of the law is foreordained by economic principles or precepts. Instead, the book shows that tax law is a product of the larger social, political, and cultural context in which it operates and that tax law decisions are contingent and that the history and development of tax law can take (and could have taken) a multiplicity of different paths.
Professor Infanti teaches a variety of tax courses at Pitt Law, including Federal Income Tax, Corporate Tax, and International Tax. He has also cotaught the classroom component of Pitt Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and has served as a Faculty Editor of the Pittsburgh Tax Review since its founding in 2003. Professor Infanti has received both the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award as well as an Excellence-in-Teaching Award from the graduating students of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American College of Tax Counsel, and the American Bar Foundation.
- Critical Tax Theory
- Comparative/International Tax
- Anthony C. Infanti ed., Controversies in Tax Law: A Matter of Perspective (Ashgate, 2015).
- Anthony C. Infanti and Bridget J. Crawford eds., Critical Tax Theory: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, 2009. Abstract on SSRN.
- Anthony C. Infanti, Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians (and Those Who Care About Them) (Paradigm Publishers, 2008).
- Anthony C. Infanti, Of Families and Corporations: Erasing the Public-Private Divide in Tax Reform Debates, in Controversies in Tax Law: A Matter of Perspective (Ashgate, 2015). On D-Scholarship.
- Anthony C. Infanti, Bringing Equal Protection Out of the Tax Closet, in Controversies in Equal Protection in America (Anne Richardson Oakes ed.) (Ashgate, 2015).
- Anthony C. Infanti, Qualifications of Taxable Entities and Treaty Protection: United States of America, in 99b Cahiers De Droit Fiscal International 859 (International Fiscal Association, 2014) (with Bernard Moens).
- Anthony C. Infanti, Internation Equity and Human Development, in Tax Law and Development (Miranda Stewart & Yariv Brauner eds.) (Edward Elgar Publishing 2013). On SSRN.
- Anthony C. Infanti, Special Concerns of Lesbian and Gay Couples, in A Practical Guide to Estate Planning (Jay Soled, ed.) (American Bar Association 2011).
- Anthony C. Infanti, Dismembering Families, in Challenging Gender Inequality in Tax Policy Making: Comparative Perspectives (Kimberley Brooks et al., eds.) (Hart Publishing 2011). On SSRN.
- The House of Windsor: Accentuating the Heteronormativity in the Tax Incentives for Procreation, 89 Wash. L. Rev. 1185 (2014) (invited submission for a symposium issue titled "Compensated Surrogacy in the Age of Windsor"). On D-Scholarship.
- A Critical Research Agenda for Wills, Trusts, and Estates, 49 ABA Real Prop. Tr. & Est. J. 317 (2014) (peer reviewed) (with Bridget Crawford). On D-Scholarship.
- Big (Gay) Love: Has the IRS Legalized Polygamy?, 93 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 1 (2014). On D-Scholarship.
- The Moonscape of Tax Equality: Windsor and Beyond, 108 Nw. U. L. Rev. Colloquy 110 (2013).
- LGBT Families, Tax Nothings, __ J. Gender Race & Just. ___ (forthcoming) (invited submission for symposium on Modern Families: Changing Families, Challenging Laws). On SSRN.
- Tax Reform Discourse, 32 Va. Tax Rev. 205 (2012). On SSRN.
- LGBT Taxpayers: A Collision of Others, 13 Geo. J. Gender & L. 1 (2012) (invited: principal paper for the panel on tax law, gender identity, and sexuality at the symposium on Confronting the Intersection of Tax Law, Gender, and Sexuality). On SSRN.
- Inequitable Administration: Documenting Family for Tax Purposes, 22 Colum. J. Gender & L. 329 (2011). On SSRN.
- Decentralizing Family: An Inclusive Proposal for Individual Tax Filing in the United States, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 605 (2010). On SSRN.
- Bringing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity into the Tax Classroom, 59 J. Legal Educ. 3 (2009). On SSRN. On D-Scholarship.
- Taxing Civil Rights Gains, 16 Mich. J. Gender & L. 319 (2010). On SSRN.
- Tax as Urban Legend, 24 Harv. Blackletter L.J. 229 (2008), On SSRN.
- Deconstructing the Duty to the Tax System: Unfettering Zealous Advocacy on Behalf of Lesbian and Gay Taxpayers, 61 Tax Law. 407 (2008). On SSRN.
- Tax Equity, 55 Buff. L. Rev. 1191 (2008). On SSRN.
- Demeaning Democracy at the Supreme Court, Huffington Post, June 29, 2015.
- Messing with Texas on Marriage, Huffington Post, May 13, 2015.
- Forget Reading the Tea Leaves on Marriage Equality, Huffington Post, Apr. 29, 2015.
- Reform Pa.’s Flat Tax Rate, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 2, 2015.
- Strange Tax Bedfellows, JURIST, Oct. 30, 2013.
- The IRS vs. Same-Sex Couples, Pitt. Post-Gazette, Sept. 26, 2013, at B5.
- Employers Need to Get Ahead of Same-Sex Marriage Issue, Pitt. Bus. Times, Aug. 30, 2013.
- The DOMA Tax, Politico, (Aug. 13, 2013).
- Why Gay Couples Hate the IRS More Than You Do, Bloomberg (Aug. 6, 2013).
Awards and Honors
- Fellow (elected), American College of Tax Counsel (2015-present)
- Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (2010)
- Fellow (elected), American Bar Foundation (2010-present)
- Member (elected), American Law Institute (2008-present)
- Excellence in Teaching Award (2002)
Selected Professional Activities
- Faculty Advisor, Outlaw.
- Chief Faculty Editor, Pittsburgh Tax Review
- Chair, American Bar Association, Tax Section, Teaching Taxation Committee (2015-2017)
- Vice Chair, American Bar Association, Tax Section, Teaching Taxation Committee. (2011-2015)
- Member, Board of Directors, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (2007-2008)
- Member, Board of Directors, Pittsburgh Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (2008-2012)