TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, August 27, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Police Video Released Of Wendi Adelson Being Told Of Dan Markel's Murder, Says Her Brother Joked About Hiring A Hit Man

ABC News, Police Video Shows Woman Hearing About Shooting Death of Her Ex, an FSU Law Professor:

When asked in her videotaped interview whether she thought someone would kill Markel for her benefit without asking her, Wendi Adelson said, “No.”

But she acknowledged being “scared someone maybe did this - not because they hate Danny but because they thought this was good somehow.”

Adelson then recalled an eyebrow-raising phone conversation with her brother Charlie earlier that day, as they were discussing what to do about a television he bought her that had broken down.

“And I was talking to him about whether it made sense to pay to fix it or I should get a new one,” she said. “And it was always his joke that, like, he knew that Danny treated me badly, and it was always his joke, he said, I looked into hiring a hit man but it was cheaper to get you this TV.”

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August 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Treasury Department Backs Apple In $19 Billion EU Tax Dispute

TAFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Treasury Department White Paper: The European Commission And Transfer Pricing:  Wall Street Journal editorial, The EU’s Tax Attack on U.S. Business:

As diplomatic broadsides go, the shot the Obama Administration fired at Europe over tax policy this week is impressive. The U.S. Treasury released a 25-page white paper explaining why the European Commission’s attempts to extract more revenue from American companies violate international tax standards and European legal principles. Too bad the Obama Administration has set such a bad tax example that other nations are now following.

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August 27, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Colorado Law School Enjoys All-Time High

Colorado Logo (2016)Colorado Law School press release:

With 170 individuals, the University of Colorado Law School’s incoming class of 2019 is the most selective and academically competitive in the school’s history. The 2016-17 admissions cycle set the school’s record for number of applications and highest median GPA of an incoming class.

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August 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1206

IRS Logo 2Vox, How President Donald Trump Could Ruin His Enemies’ Lives:

Indulge for a minute in the worst-case scenario.

A Trump Force One flight to Mar-a-Lago in early January 2017. Donald J. Trump — the pettiest, most vicious version of Trump — is preparing for the ecstasies of his inauguration. He sits by the window, scrolling through Twitter and preparing for a well-deserved weekend at home.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Corey Lewandowski and Chris Christie — yet to be named attorney general — burst into the cabin with a sheaf of notepaper and a couple of silent young attorneys in tow. "Well, boss," Lewandowski says, "we have a little bit of bad news and a whole lot of good news."

Trump raises an eyebrow. "There are some people we can’t figure out how to get back at yet, but there are a lot of people we can," Lewandowski says. ...

"Now on IRS — we’re doing Kasich and Cruz first, right?" (A nod from the president.) "We figure we just take the memo they sent out about targeting Tea Party groups and make some changes. Every group that’s ever done a fundraiser with those guys, or put up ads for them, or sent them an email, those are going to be audited first," Lewandowski says. "Bezos, we figure, probably next, maybe if the antitrust thing goes too slow. And we’re not allowing any new groups to get registered as 501(c)3s or (c)4s until we figure out who the rest of our targets are." ...

Because there are so many violations, the question of how investigators choose whom to target becomes the most important one. And the specter of politically motivated investigations is always there. This is most obvious when it comes to the IRS.

In 2013, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS had evaluated applications for new tax-exempt 501(c)3 groups, which can’t engage in "political activity," in part based on inappropriate things like whether a group had "Tea Party" in the name.

Conservatives felt this was evidence that the Obama administration was using the IRS to target conservative groups. Moulton of the Project on Government Oversight doesn’t think it quite reached the level of persecution — but still thinks the politically motivated use of the IRS, especially when it comes to tax audits, is a genuine cause for concern.

The government doesn’t even have to use all of these powers to change people’s behavior. Just the very possibility of an investigation is likely to make people tread carefully. Reporters sniffing around might worry about finding themselves snared in a costly audit. ...

In December, NBC and MSNBC correspondent Katy Tur live-tweeted a Trump rally that had been repeatedly disrupted by protesters. She received a note from Trump’s press secretary calling her coverage "disgraceful" and "not nice!" — followed by a tweet from Trump himself, calling for her and a colleague to be fired.

Then Trump singled her out at a rally in South Carolina, pointing to the press pen and saying, "She’s back there. Little Katy. … What a lie. Katy Tur. What a lie it was. Third. Rate. Reporter. Remember that."

Imagine that in 2017, Tur gets an audit request from the IRS for the past seven years of her tax information. She served as a foreign correspondent for NBC before covering the election, and the IRS sends her a letter every few weeks asking for more documentation about how she reported her income while on reporting trips abroad. ...

A vindictive president would need sympathetic political appointees in key positions: attorney general, DHS secretary, head of the IRS, maybe the director of National Intelligence. (The head of the FBI is a 10-year appointment, so James Comey — if he wants to — will be in charge until September 2023.)

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August 27, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup 2.0

SSRN LogoNote from Paul Caron:  As I explained on August 1, due to my growing other commitments, I have taken steps to reduce the amount of time I devote to TaxProf Blog. Six weeks ago, I stopped doing the weekly tax, legal education, SSRN, and student tax note roundups. I previously announced that Scott Fruehwald of our sister Legal Skills Prof Blog has agreed to take over the weekly legal education roundup. Today, I am pleased to announce that David Gamage (UC-Berkeley), Ari Glogower (Ohio State), and Daniel Hemel (Chicago) have agreed to share responsibility for the weekly SSRN tax roundup:

In addition to a list of newly posted papers, we’ll also include a write-up about at least one of the week’s additions. A quick administrative note: The best way to make sure we see your paper is to use the JEL code K34 (Tax Law) when you upload to SSRN. (If your reaction is “what’s a JEL code?”, check out  Lea-Rachel Kosnik’s overview. And for a fascinating read on the tangled history of JEL codes, see Beatrice Cherrier’s article.)

If you would like to take over the weekly tax roundup as a service to the tax community, either alone or as part of a group of co-editors, please let me know.

This week, Daniel Hemel highlights a new paper by David Hasen (Colorado), Accretion-Based Progressive Wealth Taxation, which is forthcoming in the Florida Tax Review:

HemelDavid Hasen's excellent article emphasizes the distinction between an “excise tax,” which “applies to or is triggered by a transfer or other event,” and an “accretion tax,” which “appl[ies] to the ‘same’ item over time.” Examples of “excise taxes” include consumption taxes, realization-based income taxes, and estate and gift taxes. Examples of “accretion taxes” include real property taxes, mark-to-market income taxes, and periodic wealth taxes. Hasen argues that “a federal accretion-type, progressive wealth tax would appropriately supplement either an income tax or a consumption tax and would do so more effectively than our existing excise wealth tax regime, the federal estate and gift tax.” In the following post, I'll walk through (parts of) Hasen's argument and then explain why I'm not entirely persuaded that an accretion-type wealth tax is the way to go.

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August 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Is The Authority Of A Tax Opinion Written By A Judge Under IRS Audit Who Later Was Indicted For Tax Fraud?

TCGFollowing up on my previous post, Retired U.S. Tax Court Judge Indicted For Tax Evasion While She Sat On The Court:  Tax Controversy 360, Taxpayer Argues First Circuit Should Not Follow Tax Court Decision by Judge Indicted for Tax Fraud:

On August 15, 2016, the taxpayer in Santander Holdings USA filed its brief to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in its case involving what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has labeled a “foreign tax credit generator” transaction. The taxpayer prevailed at the district court level and the IRS appealed that decision, arguing that the lower court’s opinion was contrary to existing precedent in the Tax Court and other appellate courts. Much has been written about these cases and the issue presented, but this post focuses on an interesting argument raised by the taxpayer regarding the weight to be afforded to a prior Tax Court opinion.

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August 26, 2016 in IRS News, New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Ayres & McGuire:  Using The False Claims Act To Remedy Tax Expenditure Fraud

Ian Ayres (Yale) & Robert A. McGuire III, Using the False Claims Act to Remedy Tax Expenditure Fraud:

The federal False Claims Act (FCA) might be used to combat fraudulent claims regarding tax expenditures. The FCA has been used to protect the public fisc by imposing liability upon anyone who makes a false or fraudulent claim relating to an expenditure of federal funds. A substantial share of government spending is implemented through tax credits and deductions granted to individuals and entities for taking particular actions promoted through the Tax Code. Government funds dedicated to such tax incentives — so-called “tax expenditures” — are themselves potentially subject to false claims — for example, when a borrower makes a false representation that a mortgage relates to a principle or second residence in order to claim a home mortgage interest deduction. This article explores how the FCA as currently enacted might be invoked to combat fraud that targets tax expenditures, as well as doctrinal counter-arguments to such application.

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August 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Prof Loses Assault Suit Over Shoulder Grab By Dean: 'Decade-Long Struggle For Appreciation From His Colleagues, Administrators'

GerberFollowing up on my previous post, Federal Judge Allows Prof's Lawsuit Against Law School, Faculty Colleague For Bullying To Proceed:  ABA Journal, Law Prof Loses Assault Suit Over Alleged Shoulder Grab by Colleague:

An Ohio Northern University law professor who sued over an alleged “strong and tight” squeeze of his shoulder by a colleague has lost his case.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ruled against the professor, Scott Gerber [right], in a bench trial. “This is a case seemingly ripped from the pages of a first-year torts exam, with the added twist that the parties are, in real life, law school professors,” Zouhary wrote in the Aug. 24 opinion (PDF).

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August 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Law Faculty Rankings By Judicial Citations

Valerie Aggerbeck, Nick Farris, Megan McNevin & Gregory C. Sisk (all of St. Thomas-Minnesota), Judicial Impact of Law School Faculties:

This study is a follow-up to our scholarly impact study published in 2015, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. Looking at an expanded time period (2005-2014), we assessed the extent to which extensive citations in the legal literature translated into citations by courts. It is important to acknowledge that the judicial citation rates were very low, precluding extensive analysis and making it difficult to regard some of the results as reliable and robust. Our study indicates that a certain subset of scholars are both noticed and cited by the judiciary as well as their peers.

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August 26, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mike Pence, Law School Cartoonist

The IRS Scandal, Day 1205

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, IRS Chief Faces Likely Impeachment Vote in U.S. House Next Month:

U.S. House conservatives are set to re-launch next month their effort to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, with or without Speaker Paul Ryan’s go-ahead.

Representative John Fleming says he and other conservatives are prepared to unilaterally force an impeachment vote within days after Congress returns to session on Sept. 6. “The only thing up in the air is whether it will be the first or second week we’re back,” the Louisiana Republican said in an interview.

Any action would be largely symbolic, because the effort would get blocked in the Senate if it passes the House. But Republicans remain angry at Koskinen, who they accuse of impeding an investigation into whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative non-profits. Their allegations include failing to prevent the IRS from destroying evidence and providing false and misleading information to Congress.

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August 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Circuit: Puerto Rico's Special 100% Tax Imposed Only On Wal-Mart Is Unconstitutional

Walmart Logo (2013)Reuters, Puerto Rico Cannot Enforce a Wal-Mart Tax: U.S. Appeals Court:

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said cash-strapped Puerto Rico cannot force Wal-Mart's  affiliate on the island to pay a special corporate tax that the retailer claimed was discriminatory and violated the U.S. Constitution.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a lower court order blocking Puerto Rico from imposing its alternative minimum tax against Wal-Mart Puerto Rico Inc. [Wal-Mart Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Zaragoza-Gomez, No. 16-1370 (1st Cir. 2016)]

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August 25, 2016 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On Donald Trump's Tax Returns

Richmond Welcomes 112 1Ls, Down 36% From Last Year's 175

Richmond LogoRichmond Law School (ranked #55 in U.S. News) welcomed 112 1Ls this Fall, down 36% from last year's 175.  Their median LSAT and UGPA improved to 161 and 3.55 (from 160 and 3.51); their 75th percentile LSAT improved to 163 from 161 (although their 25% percentile LSAT declined to 154 from 155).

August 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

House Republican To Unveil Sales Tax Plan for Purchases Across State Lines

Wall Street Journal, Key House Republican to Unveil Sales Tax Plan for Purchases Across State Lines:

A top House Republican will release a new proposal in coming days that attempts to resolve the long-running dispute among retailers, state governments and online retailers over how to tax purchases made across state lines.

The discussion draft from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) would introduce a new legal framework for cross-border sales, largely replacing the current system that relies on whether a seller has a physical presence in a state.

Instead, sales would be taxed according to the tax base of the retailer and a single tax rate chosen by the consumer’s state, a Judiciary Committee aide said. So, for example, an Ohio company shipping a pair of pants to Maryland would use Ohio’s rules for taxing clothing and Maryland’s tax rate. Currently, that seller only collects

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August 25, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

University Of Cincinnati Board Votes 5-4 To Reject Plan To Move Law School Downtown

Tha Banks 2Cincinnati Enquirer, UC Kills Plan to Move Law School Downtown:

The University of Cincinnati on Wednesday scrapped plans to move its law school to the Downtown riverfront, deciding to keep it on the main campus.

In a split vote during a special meeting, UC's board of trustees turned back an effort by top business leaders to build a new law school at The Banks. Business leaders were allowed to be part of the board's 2½-hour private session to make a last-ditch presentation, but it wasn't enough to convince Chairman Rob Richardson Jr., faculty and student leaders who believe the law school should remain on the Uptown campus. ...

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August 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Clinton, Trump, Taxes, And Silicon Valley

Silicon ValleyBloomberg: Trump’s Offshore Tax-Cut Pitch Falls Flat in Silicon Valley, by Lynnley Browning:

Republican Donald Trump is proposing a big tax cut for companies like Apple Inc., which would see its tax rate slashed on about $200 billion of profit it keeps offshore. Yet Apple’s boss is co-hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday for Trump’s Democratic opponent for the White House.

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August 25, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ:  The Joy Of Working At 4:00 A.M.

4 amWall Street Journal, Why 4 A.M. Is the Most Productive Hour:

Most people who wake up at 4 a.m. do it because they have to—farmers, flight attendants, currency traders and postal workers. Others rise before dawn because they want to.

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August 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1204

IRS Logo 2New York Post editorial, A Liberal Legal Icon Condemns the IRS’ Abuses:

One of the leading liberal lights of American law now says the “IRS is engaged in unconstitutional discrimination against conservative groups and must be halted.”

To be clear, Harvard prof Laurence Tribe is a convert: Early in the week, he sent out a tweet dismissing the idea of an IRS scandal as long-debunked.

But, as the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson noted at Overlawyered, for once social media actually shed light on a dispute: Others asked Tribe to read this month’s DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the IRS in the case — and he did.

That unanimous decision, reinstating lawsuits against the IRS for its targeting of righty groups, noted that there’s “little factual dispute” about the targeting and the “unequal treatment” of conservatives. More, it’s “plain . . . the IRS cannot defend its discriminatory conduct on the merits.”

Tribe read that, plus a key Inspector General report, and tweeted, “I confess error [with regard to] IRS ideological targeting. The IG report and the [DC Circuit] decision seems right to me. Inexcusable abuse.”

If a liberal icon can see the serious abuse, there’s hope for the House drive to impeach IRS chief John Koskinen for his scorched-earth defense of the cancer in his agency.

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August 25, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hemel And Maynard Push Boundaries Of Equity In Ohio State Tax Workshops

HMStephanie Hoffer (Ohio State), Hemel and Maynard Push Boundaries of Equity in Recent Workshops:

As part of its summer workshop series, Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law invites junior scholars to present works-in-progress.  This summer, we had the pleasure of hosting both Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Goldburn Maynard, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.  Both junior tax scholars are challenging the ways in which tax policy makers think about equity in the context of distributive justice.

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August 24, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Treasury Department White Paper:  The European Commission And Transfer Pricing

Treasury Department (2016)U.S. Department of the Treasury White Paper, The European Commission's Recent State Aid Investigations of Transfer Pricing Rulings (Aug. 24, 2016):

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (“U.S. Treasury Department”) shares the European Commission’s (“Commission”) concern with tax avoidance by multinational firms. The international community, including the European Union (“EU”) and its Member States, has long recognized the need to address this issue multilaterally. For more than two decades, the U.S. Treasury Department has worked closely as part of the international community to achieve a collective solution to this global problem.

Beginning in June 2014, the Commission announced that certain transfer pricing rulings given by Member States to particular taxpayers may have violated the EU’s restriction on State aid. These investigations, if continued, have considerable implications for the United States— for the U.S. government directly and for U.S. companies—in the form of potential lost tax revenue and increased barriers to cross-border investment. Critically, these investigations also undermine the multilateral progress made towards reducing tax avoidance.

In light of these consequences, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew sent a letter on February 11, 2016, to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker describing the U.S. Treasury Department’s principal concerns with the Commission’s recent State aid investigations. This White Paper provides additional detail regarding Secretary Lew’s concerns, focusing primarily on the following issues:

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August 24, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressional Staffer Charged With Failure To File Tax Returns On $170,000 Salary For Five Years

DOJ Logo (2016)Department of Justice Press Release, Congressional Staffer Charged with Failure to File Tax Returns for Five Years:

A congressional staffer was charged yesterday with five counts of willfully failing to file a tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to the criminal information and affidavit, Isaac Lanier Avant of Arlington, Virginia, is a staff member employed by the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002. For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes. Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

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August 24, 2016 in Congressional News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sturgeon:  Doing Law School (And Life) In Lane 8

Lane 8Starting to Look Up:  Life in the Outside Lane, by Al Sturgeon (Pepperdine):

Anyone with track and field experience knows that the 400 meters is a brutal, gut-wrenching, death sprint, and those same people know that the absolute worst draw is the outside lane, that lonely place where the only sounds one hears after the starter’s gunfire are screaming lungs and the invisible footsteps of your competitors—invisible until that terrible moment when they enter your peripheral vision stage left and you realize all is lost.

Which is why South African Wayde Van Niekirk’s world record in the Rio Olympics is so remarkable: his shocking destruction of the seventeen-year-old record occurred in lane eight.  Afterward, ESPN.com quoted the new world-record holder as saying, “I was running blind all the way . . . and it gave me motivation to keep on pushing.”

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Should Larry Tribe Be Disbarred For His Trump Tweet?

Tribe

Simple Justice, Disbar Laurence Tribe:

Tribe’s twit is an outrage and affront to legal ethics. He does not deserve to be part of a profession that exists to serve and protect clients. Disbar Laurence Tribe.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Laurence Tribe Tweet About Trump Sparks Controversy:

Prof. Tribe has responded in an email to Law Blog:

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Clinton’s Punitive ‘Exit Tax’: 'Banana Republic Economics'

Wall Street Journal editorial, Clinton’s Punitive ‘Exit Tax’:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are having a tax debate of sorts, with the Democrat wheeling out the familiar class-warfare artillery. Mr. Trump hasn’t replied on the specifics, but the irony is that his reform would solve the problem that Mrs. Clinton claims to be angry about—namely, the wave of American companies fleeing for foreign tax climes.

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August 24, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Back To (Law) School: The Full Report

BackBack To (Law) School: The Full Report:

About 114,000 attorney-hopefuls are headed to law school this month. Law.com has it covered, with details about new courses and educators, and a look back at the school where it all began. In addition, one first-year student explains why he’s entering law school, fully aware of the tough job market. We’ve also queried big-name attorneys about their experiences in law school to prove that, yes, there is life on the other side. Take a look.

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August 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1203

IRS Logo 2CDN, Trump Wants to ‘True the Vote’:

[S]tanding up for electoral integrity can get you noticed—in a bad way.

“My life before I spoke out for good government stands in stark contrast to the life I now lead,” says Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the anti-voter fraud organization True the Vote.

In her 2014 testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she said:

“Shortly after filing IRS forms to establish 501 (c)(3) and 501 (c)(4), an assortment of federal entities including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland [Democrat], Elijah Cummings came knocking at my door … my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”

Representative Cummings vehemently denied Engelbrecht’s charge, but subpoenaed emails from former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner showed that he and his staff did ask Lerner to give True the Vote extra special attention.

Lerner, like Clinton, never faced charges for mishandling sensitive information. Although ethics charges were filed against Cummings for “weaponizing government” on behalf of his party, nothing ever came of them.

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August 24, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Marty McMahon Named Director Of Florida Graduate Tax Program; Florida To Hire Three New Tax Faculty

McMahonUniversity of Florida Levin College of Law Names Martin J. McMahon as Director of the Graduate Tax Program:

The University of Florida Levin College of Law has announced that Martin J. McMahon, the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation has been appointed to succeed Michael K. Friel as Director of the Graduate Tax Program. Professor Friel stepped down as Director of the Director of the Graduate Tax Program when he retired at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year after serving as the Director for more than 25 years. Emeritus Professor Friel will continue to teach in the Graduate Tax Program as an adjunct professor, as have Lawrence Lokken, Emeritus Hugh Culverhouse Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Emeritus Professors David Hudson and Patricia Dilley. Professor McMahon has been a member of the faculty of the UF Graduate Tax Program since 1997.

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August 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (3)

Clinton Proposes Small Business Standard Tax Deduction

Hillary Logo (2016)Factsheet, Hillary Clinton Will Make Life Easier for Small Business at Every Step of the Way:

Work to create a new standard deduction for small businesses—like the one available to individual filers. This proposal will vastly simplify filing for small businesses and entrepreneurs—whether they’re running a business out of their own home, managing a shop on Main Street, or selling online through platforms like Etsy and eBay. Rather than having to track and file forms documenting their overhead costs—potentially including transportation, computer and phone use, maintaining an office, and more—a small business would be offered the option of taking a single, simple deduction. Hillary will ask her Treasury Department to bring together small business owners and leading experts to design this new standard deduction, including its limits and parameters, which existing expenses could voluntarily be replaced, and measures to prevent gaming and abuse—all to advance the goal of making it far easier for small businesses to file their taxes. This proposal would be focused on true small businesses, with restrictions preventing larger businesses or high-income taxpayers from claiming it. Small businesses could still opt to track and deduct their expenses individually, just like individual filers.

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August 23, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Congressional Tax Writers Oppose Proposed Debt-Equity Regs

NY Times:   Report Accuses Mexico’s President Of Plagiarism In Law School Thesis

PlagiarismNew York Times, Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis:

Already reeling from corruption scandals and a declining security situation, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was accused on Sunday of plagiarizing nearly a third of his law school thesis, according to a report by an investigative journalist. ...

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August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children

Adelson (Charlie)Following up on Saturday's post, Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder:

ABA Journal, Judge in Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena for Breast Implant Payment Records:

A judge in Florida has approved a subpoena for medical records showing who paid for breast enhancement surgery for a woman whose name has surfaced as a possible witness in the murder-for-hire case against two men accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Forward, Does ‘Dr. Boobner’ Surgery Prove Missing Link in Dan Markel Murder Mystery?:

Prosecutors investigating the mysterious murder of Florida law professor Dan Markel believe a woman’s breast augmentation surgery — performed by a surgeon who markets himself as “Dr. Boobner” — provides a crucial tie between the man accused of killing him and his ex-wife’s family.

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August 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

IRS Launches Sharing Economy Website For Airbnb Hosts, Uber Drivers

AUIRS, Sharing Economy Tax Center:

If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.

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August 23, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minnesota (-33%), Oregon (-43%) Law Schools Welcome Much Smaller 1L Classes Compared to 2011

The IRS Scandal, Day 1202

IRS Logo 2Roll Call, Freedom Caucus' Jordan Eyes Another Push to Oust IRS Chief:

Rep. Jim Jordan and other conservatives are reviving efforts to press the House to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as the embattled agency head tries to woo Democrats and undecided Republicans.

The Ohio Republican, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview that he and other allies were weighing the use of procedural tactics similar to the July bid by Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming to bring up an impeachment resolution as a privileged measure bypassing committee consideration. The measure calls for formal impeachment of Koskinen for misstatements and a failure to cooperate with a House investigation of the IRS' handling of tax-exempt status requests from conservative groups.

Congress didn't act on the measure before it left for a seven-week recess. And because the House did not take it up within two legislative days, Fleming would have to offer another one after Labor Day.

"We may have to bring that up again. We'll see," Jordan said. He said members of the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives would keep the pressure on Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and others in leadership to take action when Congress returns after Labor Day.

"We are committed to holding John Koskinen and the IRS accountable for what took place there. So, we can do that in a formal way, which is through hearings … and vote it out of the Judiciary Committee and move that direction, or we can look at going to the floor," Jordan said.

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August 23, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends On Which Taxman Asks

Amazon logoBloomberg: What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks, by Gaspard Sebag & David Kocieniewski:

Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on—and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

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August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women Ascend In Deanships As Law Schools Undergo Dramatic Change

ABA 2

ABA Perspectives: A Magazine For and About Women Lawyers, Vol. 24, No. 4, Summer 2016, at 8:

In September, [Lewis & Clark Dean Jennifer] Johnson will host the first Gathering of Women Law School Deans, a day-long event to facilitate conversations on topics of mutual interest. The challenges are especially acute now as the world of legal education undergoes a seismic shift. ...

[W]omen law deans and their male counterparts are restructuring, innovating, and charting essential decisions that will affect the future of legal education. "The qualities of a good dean are a willingness to consult broadly on the issues that you face, while not bothering the faculty on matters they don't want to be bothered with," says [former Georgetown Dean Judith] Areen, adding, "it takes judgment."

Rising Number of  Women Law Deans
As of July 31, 2016, 61 women—a solid 30 percent—hold the position of law dean in ABA-approved law schools, and the number is likely to increase by the start of the next academic year. Since 2006, the number of women law deans has doubled, and it has more than quadrupled since 1997 when only 14 women held the title of law dean. ... The percentage of women law deans still lags behind that of full-time women professors, who account for 41 percent of faculty, ... and even further behind that of women law students, who constituted 49.3 percent of the 1Ls in 2014-15.

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

WSJ:  Republicans Take New Tack On Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits

Wall Street Journal, Republicans Take New Tack on Taxing Companies’ Overseas Profits:

President Ronald Reagan once chided government’s approach to the economy as following this mantra: “If it moves, tax it.”

Today’s Republicans are following Mr. Reagan’s ideas by trying the exact opposite approach. The tax plans from House Republicans and presidential candidate Donald Trump stop aiming at the moving target of U.S. companies’ foreign profits. Their plans would alter existing rules so thoroughly that companies would get little advantage from cross-border tax maneuvers they perfected over decades and move the U.S. toward taxing immobile parts of the economy.

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August 22, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

13 Signs You’ve Gone To The Wrong Law School

Bitter Lawyer, 13 Signs You’ve Gone to the Wrong Law School:

[M]ost law schools are buzzing with new activity, with first-year students in the middle of orientation or about to head off to start their studies. But what if it’s all a big mistake? What if you’ve gone to the wrong law school? Here are thirteen important things to look for to determine if you’ve made the wrong decision. ...

2.  There is a tip jar at the front of each classroom. Professors manage to mention it at least twice during each lecture.
3.  The new career services director—the fourth one at the school in the last five months—is younger than you. You are 23. ...
8.  For internet access, law school administrators give out the Wifi password to the Holiday Inn’s wireless network next door. ...

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Law Prof Humility: Self-Promotion v. Self-Adulation

C.S. LewisLawProfBlawg, Humble Is The Path Of The Law Professor:

I remember back when I started in academia.  Then, giants roamed the earth.  Professors who were very humble, yet who had done great things.  They had argued before the Supreme Court, they had published in high-ranking journals, they had MADE law, published casebooks, and a whole host of other things.  The Supreme Court cited them. You never knew any of this unless you opened their CV, and often times, even some of those things remained hidden.  They were very keen on learning about you, touting the successes of their students, and they went out of their way to help you, with only one condition: Pay it forward.  They still roam the earth, but I fear they are becoming extinct.

Some might say these giants didn’t know how to market themselves, but I think the opposite is true.  They marketed themselves humbly.  They advocated for ideas, and any glory came from the ideas, not the person.  They advocated for others, and through helping others earned their reputation as giants.

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August 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Third Highest In World Among 173 Countries, Behind Only Chad, United Arab Emirates

Tax Foundation logoTax Foundation, Corporate Income Tax Rates around the World, 2015:

It is well known that the United States has the highest corporate income tax rate among the 34 industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, it is less well known how the United States stacks up against countries throughout the entire world. Expanding the sample of countries and tax jurisdictions to 173, the U.S.’s corporate tax rate of 39 percent is the third highest in the world, tied with Puerto Rico and lower only than the United Arab Emirates and Chad, which have rates of 55 and 40 percent, respectively. The U.S. tax rate is 16 percentage points higher than the worldwide average of 22.8 percent and a little more than 9 percentage points higher than the worldwide GDP-weighted average of 29.8 percent. As with the average tax rate among industrialized nations, the average worldwide tax rate has been declining in the past ten years, pushing the United States farther from the norm. This worldwide decline in corporate tax rates can been seen in all regions of the world.

Table 1

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August 22, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1201: Larry Tribe Says 'IRS Is Engaged In Unconstitutional Discrimination Against Conservative Groups And Must Be Halted'—'Inexcusable Abuse'

IRS Logo 2Overlawrered: Tweet of the Day: Laurence Tribe on IRS Ideological Targeting, by Walter Olson:

Yesterday Harvard law professor Larry Tribe sent out a tweet brusquely dismissing the IRS targeting episode as a debunked non-scandal. I and others promptly took issue with him, and pointed him toward the August 5 D.C. Circuit opinion laying out the scandal’s genuineness. (I also referenced my Ricochet article summarizing the decision and citing the Inspector General report from Treasury.)

Within an hour or two Prof. Tribe sent this tweet very graciously conceding error, along with several similar.

Tribe

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August 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (11)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Prestige And Rankings Can Help Law Schools Avoid The Same Fate As The 12% Of Dental Schools That Closed In 1986-1997

DentalFollowing up on my previous posts:

Eric A. Chiappinelli (Texas Tech), Like Pulling Teeth: How Dental Education's Crisis Shows the Way Forward for Law Schools:

Nearly all observers of the current law school crisis treat legal education as a unique discipline. In their view, legal education as a whole, and individual law schools, have nothing to learn from outsiders that would be useful in reacting to, or thriving in the face of, the radical changes in legal education that have resulted from the collapse of the admissions market.

I take an entirely different approach. I believe legal education is not sui generis. In fact, another profession faced a similar crisis. Its schools’ admissions market collapsed because of a fundamental change in the profession itself. Twelve percent of those schools were closed. That profession was dentistry, and the lessons from its crisis are the way forward for legal education and for law schools.

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August 21, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinton, Trump Tax Plan News

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [439 Downloads]  Dark Pools, High-Frequency Trading, and the Financial Transaction Tax: A Solution or Complication?, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  2. [315 Downloads]  The True Economic Effects of Corporate Inversions, by Doron Narotzki (Akron)
  3. [246 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  4. [228 Downloads]  The Trojan Horse of Corporate Integration, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC)
  5. [218 Downloads]  Executive Pay: What Worked? , by Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)

August 21, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Telling Our Story

HamiltonABA Journal: What 'Hamilton' Teaches Lawyers About Framing a Story, by Philip N. Meyer (Vermont):

Hamilton is a smash. We all know the story by now. Lin-Manuel Miranda recasts Ron Chernow’s life of Alexander Hamilton as a rap musical tipping the white elitist world of the founders upside down, reinventing the story with a freakishly compelling score and a superb cast of beautiful and talented multi-ethnic actors and actresses. We embrace Miranda’s adaptation because, despite the “tragic” ending, the story is basically an affirmative story wedded to a reimagined version of American history fitting our own time—a narrative that speaks to our best vision of ourselves. Miranda’s Hamilton is the outsider’s assimilationist story, a genius-immigrant’s heroic self-reinvention—as someone with the artistic ability to employ and transform words into the currency of ideas and ideals rising on the meritocratic intellectual and social landscape of the new America. Hamilton’s ascendency, like his hubristic downfall, occurs at the precise historical moment when the country was freeing itself and reinventing itself too.

Miranda’s own genius, and what lawyers can most learn from him, is in his fearless adaptations.

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August 21, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Days 1101-1200

August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)