William B. Barker

Distinguished Professor of Law and Polisher Family Faculty Scholar

William Barker, who also has a standing appointment as visiting professor of law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is an expert on income taxation and is one of a small group of United States legal scholars who have made the study of international and comparative taxation a focus of research and writing.

In 2003, Professor Barker received a Fulbright grant to research and teach in South Africa at the Universities of Cape Town, Free State, and Witwatersrand. In 2005, he was awarded his second Fulbright grant to teach and consult in Latvia at the Riga Graduate School of Law. In 2006, he received his third Fulbright grant to return to the Riga Graduate School of Law which is now part of the University of Latvia. In summer 2006, Professor Barker was awarded an ATAX Research Fellowship to visit the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia to support the research programs of one of the largest tax research centers in the world.

Professor Barker speaks on comparative and international tax matters with some authority since he has taught United Kingdom, South African and European Tax Law. He has taught at Oxford University, Trinity College (University of Dublin), and the University of Vienna. Before coming to the Law School, Professor Barker was a trial attorney with the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice and served as law clerk to the Honorable Marion Bennett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where he was responsible for many international tax cases.

William B. Barker

Email  wbb3@psu.edu

Phone  717-240-5263


Faculty Impact

J.D., B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo

Research Interests
The role of tax avoidance and important social values in the development of tax law in societies adopting free market, and democratic systems in both the developed and emerging and transitional economies

Current Courses
Advanced Federal Income Tax

Basic Federal Income Tax

Comparative International Tax Law

Tax Policy Seminar

Taxation of Business Entities

Barker’s Publications

William B. Barker, The Dialectical Relationship Between Taxation and The Political Balance of Power in The United States in HISTORY & TAXATION: THE DIALECTICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TAXATION AND THE POLITICAL BALANCE OF POWER (Peter H.J. Essers ed., IBFD 2022).

Tax Law’s Imperium: Income Tax’s Role In Society, 51 Memphis Law Review 19-69 (2020) (lead article).

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: The SALT Deduction, Tax Competition, and Double Taxation, 56 San Diego L. Rev. _____ (2019).

The Disconnect Between Tax Concepts and the World of Fact: State Law as the Gatekeeper, 57 Washburn L.J. 129 (2018).

The Ideology of Tax Avoidance 387 in Rutledge’s Companion to Tax Avoidance (Rutledge pub scheduled Fall 2017).

Concorrencia Tributaria Interestadual Como Reflexo da Concorrencia Tributeia International 139, in ESTADO FEDERALE TRIBUTACAO DAS ORIGENS A CRISE ATUAL II (Arraes, December 2015) (A copy is in our library) (42, 300 word pages).

A Comparative Study of Peer Review in Tax Research: Selection and Qualification of Referees, in Peer Review of Scientific Publications in Taz Law (IBFD, publication pending).

A Common Sense Corporate Tax: The Case for a Destination-Based, Cash Flow Tax on Corporations,” 61 Catholic U. L. Rev. 955 (2012). ​

International Tax reform Should Begin at Home: Replace the Corporate Income Tax with a Territorial Expenditure Tax, 30 N.W. J. Int’l L & Bus. 647 (2010) Northwestern Law School Symposium, International Tax Reform in a Reset Economy). The article was reviewed in Ronald J. Jensen, Notable Corporate Tax Articles in 2010, 130 Tax Notes, 1570 (March 28, 2011). 

“The U.S. Approach to Separation of Powers in Tax Matters,” in Taxation and Separation of Powers (Ana Paula Dourado, ed. IBFD 2010). 

“Tax Reform in the (Inter)National Interest: Why Wait?,” 124 Tax Notes 828 (August 24, 2009). 

“The Ideology of Tax Avoidance,” 39 U. Loy. Chi. L. Rev. 229 (2009).

“An International Tax System for Emerging Economies, Tax Sparing and Development: It Is All About Source,” 29 U. Penn. J. Int’l L. 349 (2007). 

The Concept of Tax (edited by William Barker & Bruno Peeters, IBFD 2007). 

“A Normative Approach to the Concept of Tax,” in The Concept of Tax 21 (IBFD 2007). 

“The Three Faces of Equality: Constitutional Requirements in Taxation,” 57 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 1 (2006); republished in 2007-2 Diritto E Practica Tributaria Internationale 405 (Univ. of Turin). 

Expanding the Study of Comparative Tax Law to Promote Democratic Policy: The Example of the Move to Capital Gains Taxation in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” 109 Penn St. L. Rev. 703 (2005). 

Statutory Interpretation, Comparative Law, and Economic Theory: Discovering the Grund of Income Taxation,” 40 San Diego L. Rev. 821 (2003). 

Optimal International Taxation and Tax Competition: Overcoming the Contradictions,” 22 Nw. J. Int’l L. & Bus. 161 (2002). 

“A Comparative Approach to Income Tax Law in the United Kingdom and the United States,” 46 Cath. L. Rev. 7 (1996). 

International Tax reform Should Begin at Home: Replace the Corporate Income Tax with a Territorial Expenditure Tax, 30 N.W. J. Int’l L & Bus. 647 (2010) 

(Northwestern Law School Symposium, International Tax Reform in a Reset Economy). The article was reviewed in Ronald J. Jensen, Notable Corporate 

Tax Articles in 2010, 130 Tax Notes, 1570 (March 28, 2011).

Barker’s Affiliations and Service to Community

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
Organizer, starting February 2023

Barker’s Presentations and Panels

Dialectical Relationship, European Association of Tax Law Professors, University of Antwerp (June 4, 2021). (paper presentation and panel member).