Mathews Vattamala’s article, “The Myth of Cross-Border Cooperation: Mutual Assistance for the Collection of Tax Claims in Cross-Border Insolvencies,” will be published by the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal this fall. Vattamala, who graduated from Brooklyn Law School in June and is now a candidate for an LL.M. in Taxation at Georgetown Law Center, wrote the article for Professor Steven Dean's Tax Policy Seminar and Professor Edward Janger's Advanced Topics in Bankruptcy Seminar. “The Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal is one of the very best bankruptcy oriented scholarly journals,” said Professor Janger. “Mathews is very deserving of this honor.”
Vattamala’s article draws upon the thesis “No country is an island to itself.” In it, he argues that cross-border tax cooperation and compliance are crucial to the health of the United States’ economy and the protection of its tax base. Yet, foreign courts administering cross-border insolvencies may deny a U.S. tax claim, even when such claims are treated as secured claims under local law. In a similar vein, a U.S. bankruptcy court recently refused to recognize the tax claim of a foreign government in reliance of the anachronistic common law doctrine, known as the “revenue rule.”
To ensure that other governments extend the U.S. the necessary cooperation to collect its tax claims in the cross-border context, Vattamala recommends that the U.S. government revoke the revenue rule, or at minimum grant an exclusion to employee pension and insolvency related claims; amend its current network of bilateral tax treaties to incorporate specific provisions to provide mutual assistance in the collection of tax claims in cross-border insolvencies; and initiate a dialogue with the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to create measures that protect the tax base of every nation without discouraging competition or the cross-border flow of business, capital, and ideas.
While in Law School, Vattamala concentrated on tax law, working as a research assistant to tax professor Bradley Borden, with whom he published an article entitled, “Series LLC’s in Real Estate Transactions” in the Real Property Trust & Estates Law Journal (46 Real Prop., Trust & Est. L.J. 225 (2011)). During law school, he also worked at the Brooklyn Law Consumer Counseling and Bankruptcy Clinic, and with the Brooklyn Incubator and Policy Clinic where he worked on comparative tax issues. He spent his last semester of law school as a legal intern at the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Chief Counsel in their Large Business and International Division.