Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2004

Publication Title

Nevada Law Journal

Publication Title (Abbreviation)

Nev. L.J.





First Page


Last Page



The Boyd School of Law is a vibrant place, and our trajectory continues to move strongly in the right direction. One of the things that has been so important to us is the excellent support we have received from so many in and around Nevada. An example of that support brings us together tonight. The Wiegand Foundation has endowed a professorship at the Law School to support the study of tax law. I am fortunate to be the current holder of that professorship. This address is the first formal event memorializing the Wiegand Foundation’s support for scholarship and for Law School. My thanks and the School’s thanks to the Wiegand Foundation for its support and for what that support will enable.

Our topic is simplification of the federal tax law, particularly the federal income tax. Simplification has been called the “Holy Grail” of tax policy. Like the Grail, simplification is both important and elusive. Quests for both are easy to start but difficult to bring to successful conclusion. We will consider the topic from five perspectives. First, the federal income tax is now our main tax, and it probably will continue to be. So, our attention should be on fixing the income tax to the greatest extent possible. Second, in fixing the income tax, simplification should be a high priority. Third, effective simplification requires putting heavy emphasis - far more than it receives today - on administrability. Fourth, we'll consider precedents: examples of administrability-based income tax provisions already in the Code. Finally, I’ll offer three administrability-based simplifying income tax reforms that could be effected immediately.


© 2004 Steve R. Johnson


First published in Nevada Law Journal.

Faculty Biography