CU Law Professor Tapped By Treasury Department

Published: March 11, 1997

University of Colorado School of Law Professor Norton Steuben has accepted a two-year assignment from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance to serve as resident tax policy adviser to the government of Ukraine.

A faculty member since 1968, Steuben will begin his residence in July in Kiev, Ukraine, which gained its independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Steuben is an expert on tax law and real estate law and has received the university’s prestigious President’s Teaching Scholars award.

The Treasury Department provides technical assistance and policy advice to senior government officials and central bank and market participants in nearly 30 countries throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The department assists and advises in such areas as designing and implementing comprehensive tax and budgeting systems, debt restructuring and bank policy.

Steuben will work with officials in the Ministry of Finance, state tax administration and members of the Rada, or parliament. He said he is charged with assisting in the “development of a tax code that is simple, enforceable and fair.” The new code will include individual income tax, a business profits tax and a value added tax.

“Among the many needs of developing countries is to have a broad-based tax system. Such a system should be designed to support governmental activities at a reasonable and manageable cost to the citizens, including businesses,” said Steuben. “For example, placing a huge tax burden on business -- it could be as much as 62 percent of payroll in Ukraine -- discourages free enterprise and foreign investment.”

Part of his work will be with the government’s budget office because, he said, “One-half of any budget is income.”

The Treasury Department previously provided tax policy assistance on a short-term basis to Ukraine. Now that the government is moving forward with a large economic reform package which includes tax reform, it was decided to have a resident policy adviser to provide continuity to the program.