Cross-border tax experts are not looked upon favorably in my world. They are expensive. They don't speak English. They are lawyers.
Phil Hodgen is a lawyer but unlike many of his confrères he is clear, interesting and funny. Reading Hodgen is almost as good as going to an AA meeting (a place that, surprisingly enough, often resembles a comedy club). His humor can be just as dark and irreverent.
"Tax law, he says, " is written by 10,000 authors of wildly varying intelligence and intention. Different pieces were written at different times — sometimes decades apart.
Hodgen compares the writing of the U.S. tax code to how the Bible was written and it's a good metaphor. (Yes, I am a Roman Catholic but I do have a sense of humor and I suspect our new pope is not lacking in that regard either.) Let's face it, in human hands, even something as pure as the Divine Will gets muddled over the course of 2000+ years. Though, as Christians, we do believe that God stepped in and kept his servants from doing too poor a job of it. Pity the poor American tax lawyer who has only the IRS as his Higher Power.
So tax law is firmly in the City of Man and we all know what Saint Augustine had to say about that place.
Hodgen's conclusion? "In short, don’t take tax law too seriously. Gently laugh at the whole system and treat it as a game or an elaborately authored work of fiction."
But tomorrow is another story because Saint Augustine, while trying to pull us up toward the City of God, had this to say about the City of Man and justice: