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Editor: Paul L. Caron
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

CBO Releases The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2007 - 2016

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (SB/SE) Seeks Attorneys in Various Offices

Irs_logo_192The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill attorney position in the Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division in these offices:

SB/SE is the largest Chief Counsel division, with 440 attorneys assigned to 49 field offices. These attorneys generally work directly with IRS field agents, providing legal advice on tax cases involving individuals and small businesses, and on all cases involving collection and bankruptcy issues. When these cases go to trial, SB/SE attorneys are usually the IRS litigators, with direct responsibility for identifying the desired legal theories, developing the trial strategies, and representing the IRS in court.

Major Duties: This position is located in the Division Counsel, Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE). SBSE attorneys typically spend most of their time handling Tax Court and bankruptcy cases. Over 95 percent of the 20,000 Tax Court cases filed last year were assigned to SB/SE attorneys. In most field offices, bankruptcy cases are assigned to attorneys who are designated Special Assistant United States Attorneys. Attorneys may also be assigned to assist the Department of Justice in the handling of collection, refund and other cases in the U.S. District Courts. Through client support and litigation, SB/SE attorneys have an opportunity to further their knowledge of tax law and to develop expertise on a wide variety of complex technical, procedural, and tax issues.

Salary: $63,719 - $118,828.

Application Deadline:  Today.

For further details, see here.

January 26, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Controversy Over Diversity at Florida

Florida_1We previously have blogged press reports of a student petition at Florida complaining about the lack of diversity in the faculty and student body, as well as the administration's response.  Folks at Florida have asked me to post three additional documents:

January 26, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Students Help Enrich Prepare for Oral Argument in Cuno

Enrich_3Interesting article in the Northeastern student newspaper about how law students are helping Peter D. Enrich prepare for the March 1 oral argument in the Supreme Court in  Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler, Inc., 386 F.3d 738 (6th Cir. 2004), cert. granted, Nos. 04-1407, 04-1704 & 04-1724:

A case will go before the United States Supreme Court March 1 that will represent several years of work - most of it done by Northeastern Law School students and law professor Peter Enrich. The case, Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler, involves the constitutionality of corporate tax breaks, and stems from an article written by Enrich in the Harvard Law Review in 1996....

About a year after his article was published, Enrich was contacted by consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and he agreed to take up the cause of a group in Toledo, Ohio, including Charlotte Cuno. The group was upset that the state planned to award nearly $300 million in tax incentives to DaimlerChrysler, which planned to put a Jeep plant in the city. While DaimlerChrysler had the backing of the Ohio Attorney General's Office and a powerful Toledo law firm, the plaintiffs' lawyers "were basically a solo guy … who had never done a tax case, and me," Enrich said. "That was the entire legal team at that time."

That's where the students came in. Enrich recruited Northeastern law students, usually second and third-year students, to help with the case, as well as first-year students to help with checking sources and citations.

(Hat Tip:  JD2B.com.)

January 26, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Walker Presents Financial Accounting, Corporate Behavior, and the Promise of Offensive Accounting Today at BU

Cummings on Partnership Nonrecognition on Issuing a Capital Interest

Tax_analysts_252Jasper L. Cummings, Jr. (Alston & Bird, Atlanta) has published Partnership Nonrecognition on Issuing a Capital Interest, 110 Tax Notes 409 (Jan. 23, 2006), also available on the Tax Analysts web site as Doc 2005-25803, 2006 TNT 15-37
Here is the Conclusion:

It is entirely consistent with traditional tax policy and theory to require the partnership to recognize gain or loss on partnership property when it transfers a capital interest in the property as pay for services and claims a deduction for the value. That view has not been enough of an impediment to the creation of partnerships and the compensation of service partners to justify suggesting that there is some penumbral policy around § 721 that should preclude that gain recognition. If Treasury was thinking that it wanted to waive the "right" result for reasons of administrability, it should say so, rather than suggesting new theories about tax policy that can produce unintended results the next time a taxpayer wants to argue the policy of § 721.

January 26, 2006 in Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WSJ on Family Limited Partnerships

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, IRS Steps Up Scrutiny Of Family Partnerships Agency Uses Tougher Tactics To Gauge Legitimacy Of Popular Tax Strategy, by Tom Herman & Rachel Emma Silverman:

As part of its deepening probe into family limited partnerships, the IRS is questioning more of these transactions and taking a harder line during audits, seeking evidence of whether they really were set up for legitimate business purposes -- or merely as an elaborate tax dodge, officials say. In an increasing number of cases, auditors are interviewing taxpayers' adult children and others involved in a partnership for details on how it was set up and run. Officials are sometimes even scrutinizing partners' medical records, or interviewing doctors, to determine if a partnership was improperly created mainly to save taxes by someone on the verge of dying.

January 26, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cockfield Presents The Rise of the OECD as Informal "World Tax Organization" Today at the ATPI Roundtable

Cockfield4_1Arthur Cockfield (Queen's University) presents The Rise of the OECD as Informal "World Tax Organization" through the Shaping of National Responses to E-commerce Tax Challenges at the American Tax Policy Institute Roundtable in Washington, D.C.  Here is the abstract:

This paper assesses national and international responses to tax challenges presented by cross-border electronic commerce. Almost ten years after these challenges were first identified, a survey of national government reactions shows that many countries have not passed any significant tax legislation or administrative guidance with respect to the taxation of global e-commerce. This lack of action at the national level can be explained in large part by the leadership role taken by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in developing the guiding principles and, subsequently, the tax rules to confront the e-commerce tax challenges. The OECD’s general success with e-commerce tax reform demonstrates the potential of the OECD to act as a kind of informal (lower case) world tax organization, which emphasizes deliberation, consensus-building and the use of non-binding mechanisms such as the OECD model tax treaty. Moreover, the OECD’s success suggests that calls for a more formal (upper-case) World Tax Organization, which could impose binding tax rules on participating nations, may be misplaced.

January 25, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (FIP) Seeks to Fill Attorney Position

Irs_logo_190The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill an attorney position in the Financial Institutions and Products Division in Washington, D.C.

The Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Financial Institutions and Products) employs approximately 50 attorneys who work in Washington, DC. Financial Institutions and Products attorneys provide legal advice and litigation support on tax matters involving financial institutions and the taxation of financial products. These financial institutions and products include banks, thrift institutions, insurance companies, regulated investment companies, real estate investment trusts, asset securitization arrangements, life insurance contracts, annuities, options, futures contracts, original issue discount obligations, hedging arrangements, and other types of innovative financial instruments and entities. Duties include developing and drafting Internal Revenue regulations, private letter rulings, revenue rulings, technical advice memoranda, consents to changes in methods of accounting, and other memoranda dealing with tax problems submitted by taxpayers and their representatives, state and Federal agencies, and other Chief Counsel and IRS offices.

Major Duties:  The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS seeks an attorney to fill a position in Branch 4 of the Financial Institutions and Products (FIP) business unit. Branch 4 specializes in the taxation of insurance companies and products. The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS serves as independent counsel to the IRS Commissioner and furnishes legal advice and representation, nationwide, on matters related to the administration and enforcement of Internal Revenue laws.

Salary:  $65,048 - $118,828.

Application Deadline:  Today.

For further details, see here.

January 25, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Staudt Presents Auditing the Court: Congressional Oversight of Supreme Court Decision-Making Today at Penn

Nstaudt_2 PennNancy C. Staudt (Washington University) presents Auditing the Court: Congressional Oversight of Supreme Court Decision-Making today at Penn as part of its Institutee for Law & Economics Seminar Series.  Here is the Conclusion:

Recent academic studies have shown that Congress pays a surprising amount of attention to Supreme Court decision-making. In this paper, we investigated this Court- Congress dynamic in the economic context, and specifically in the field of taxation. We found that Congress actively monitors the Court and that monitoring is associated with codification proposals, override proposals, and “position-taking” activities. These findings suggest that the extant literature on Court-Congress relations, which focuses solely on the override process, seriously underestimates the amount of time and energy that legislators spend on Court-related issues.

In order to explain why Congress engages in these oversight activities, as well as the speed and frequency with which oversight takes place, we collected data on economic, political, and case-related factors that we hypothesized would explain congressional activity. We found that when the deficit is high, when amicus curiae file briefs with the Court, when the justices invite a congressional response, and when congressional politics are aligned with those of the Court—the likelihood of oversight increases at statistically significant levels. Although these findings are preliminary and much more diagnostic work must be done, they do provide insight into congressional motives never before explored in the literature.

The presentation takes place at 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge at Penn Law School.

January 25, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (CT) Seeks Attorneys in Various Offices

Irs_logo_190The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill attorney positions in the Criminal Tax Division in the following offices:

        • Austin, TX
        • Cincinnati, OH
        • Greensboro, NC
        • Houston, TX
        • Las Vegas, NV
        • Los Angeles, CA
        • New York, NY
        • Phoenix, AZ

Attorneys in the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, Criminal Tax, serve in over 30 offices located in cities across the country. The 70-plus Criminal Tax attorneys are responsible for advising and counseling the IRS Special Agents in Charge in all areas of the Criminal Tax function, including tax, currency and money laundering crimes and criminal procedure. They also provide legal counsel on investigative matters such as administrative and grand jury investigations, undercover operations, electronic surveillance, search warrants and forfeitures, the referral of cases to the Department of Justice for grand jury investigation, criminal prosecution, and the commencement of forfeitures. Criminal Tax attorneys also coordinate with other offices within the IRS and the Office of Chief Counsel on all matters involving Criminal Tax.

Major Duties:  The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS seeks an attorney to fill a position in the Criminal Tax (CT) business unit. The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS serves as independent counsel to the IRS Commissioner and furnishes legal advice and representation, nationwide, on matters related to the administration and enforcement of Internal Revenue laws.

Salary:  $55,360 - $101,130.

Application Deadline:  Today.

For further details, see here.

January 25, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Polsky & Charles on Regulating 527 Organizations

Charlesg_1 Polskyg_3_1Gregg D. Polsky (Minnesota) & Guy-Uriel E. Charles (Minnesota) have published Regulating 527 Organizations, 73 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1000 (2005).  Here is the abstract:

In this Essay, we consider whether the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") has the authority to regulate independent 527 organizations (e.g., Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Moveon.org, etc.) as political committees under the Federal Election Campaign Act. This issue, which was hotly debated during the last election cycle when it was considered and ultimately tabled by the FEC, is an extremely complex one that requires a deep understanding of election, tax, administrative, and constitutional law. After considering how these areas of law intersect, we conclude that the FEC lacks the authority to regulate independent 527 organizations as political committees.

January 25, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pittsburgh Looking for Tax Visitors in 2006-07

Pitt_law_2The University of Pittsburgh School of Law is looking to hire two tax visitors for the 2006-07 academic year.  For further information, contact Associate Dean (and Tax Prof) Darryll Jones here.

January 25, 2006 in Law School, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Phillips Presents Partners in Business, Partners in Law: Tax Law and the Two-Person Career Today at Toronto

Philipps TorontojpegLisa C. Phillips (Osgoode Hall) presents Partners in Business, Partners in Law:  Tax Law and the Two-Person Career at the University of Toronto today at 12:10 pm - 1:45 pm as part of the James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series (co-sponsored with the Feminism and law Worskshop Series):

Professor Philipps' research examines tax law and fiscal policy through the lenses of critical legal and social theory. Many of her research projects examine intersections of gender, class and race inequalities in tax policy and law. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on topics such as balanced budget and tax referendum laws, the role of tax law in privatization processes, judicial interpretation of tax statutes, the tax treatment of unpaid caregiving work, the distributive impact of income tax cuts, tax treatment of disability, tax incentives for charitable giving, taxation of child support payments, and the taxation of inherited wealth. Her current research includes a 3-year SSHRC-funded project on the work of unpaid family members (spouses, children, parents and other relatives) who help out in the family business, or who assist another family member to fulfill employment duties (such as the unpaid spouse of a corporate executive or government official). This project involves a comparative analysis of tax legislation and jurisprudence in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. Professor Philipps is also pursuing joint research with Professor Mary Condon for the Law Commission of Canada, on gender and economic citizenship. In this context she is researching innovations in budget processes, including experiments in gender responsive budgeting, in Canada and several other jurisdictions including New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and South Africa.

January 25, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Prof Presentations at USC Tax Institute

Usc_tax_institute_1The three-day USC Tax Institute concludes today at the Wilshire Grand Hotel Los Angeles, 930 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. Here are the Tax Profs making presentations:     

Learn about up-to-the-minute legislative, administrative, and judicial developments in estate planning from one of the country’s leading experts - and one of our perennially most highly rated speakers.

  • 12:30 p.m.Joseph Bankman (Stanford):  Luncheon and Keynote Address:

Hear the thoughts of noted academic Joseph Bankman, on current and future tax developments. Professor Bankman is perennially one of our most popular speaker.

  • 4:15 p.m.Christopher R. Hoyt (Missouri-Kansas City):  Funding Trusts in the Crossfire of Conflicting Estate Tax, Income Tax and ERISA Laws:

Funding trusts with retirement assets requires an estate planner to integrate three distinct sets of laws: income tax laws, estate tax laws, and ERISA mandatory distribution laws. This program will examine how these laws interact to create special problems, especially for sub-trusts, bypass trusts, and QTIP trusts, and will explore solutions to these problems.

January 25, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Analysts' Interview with George Yin

Tax_analysts_253Yin_4At Joe Kristan's request, we are happy to blog here Tax Analysts' interesting interview with George K. Yin, who recently departed as Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation to rejoin the faculty at Virginia, where he will be the inaugural Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation.  Joseph J. Thorndike & Heidi Glenn, Conversations:  George K. Yin, 110 Tax Notes 322 (Jan. 23, 2006), also available on the Tax Analysts web site as Doc 2006-940, 2006 TNT 15-3.  George issues this challenge to the Tax Prof community:

In particular, I would encourage the academic community to become more active in the debate. For example, legal academics who think seriously about tax policy tend to work on very "big picture" ideas for the long term. They tend to ignore debates on smaller issues being considered in the short term, or even more immediately. Sometimes they write articles after a change has been made detailing the policy arguments for and against the change. But for the most part, these arguments come too late. Thus, they tend to cede the principal debate opportunities to the inside-the-Beltway crowd who provide their input to Congress in real time.

January 25, 2006 in Tax Analysts, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

ABA Tax Section Offers Teleconference & Webcast Today on Fundamentals of Partnership Proceedings

Aba_taxThe ABA Tax Section is sponsoring a teleconference and webcast today on  Fundamentals of Partnership Proceedings: Avoiding Common Procedural Pitfalls from 1:30–3:00 p.m. EST:

The past five years has seen a dramatic increase in partnership-level tax litigation. For most tax practitioners, the unified audit and litigation procedures that apply to most partnership proceedings are a minefield of counter-intuitive rules. Even twenty years after enactment, areas of uncertainty continue to exist. This teleconference will discuss the fundamentals of partnership proceedings, with a focus on those issues that can arise leading up to or in litigation. The panel will discuss common pitfalls, and ways to avoid those pitfalls.

Faculty:

  • Moderator:  Joshua D. Odintz (McDermott Will & Emery, Washington, D.C.)
  • Speakers:
    • Ronald L. Buch (McKee Nelson, Washington, D.C.)
    • William A. Heard (Assistant Branch Chief, Procedure and Administration Division, Office of Chief Counsel, IRS)

January 25, 2006 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Tax Division Looking to Hire Criminal Tax Litigators in Washington, D.C.

Doj_1 The Department of Justice, Tax Division, is currently hiring lawyers with at least three years of litigation experience for positions in the criminal enforcement section in Washington, D.C.:

The Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking experienced attorneys with superior academic and professional qualifications for positions in its Criminal Enforcement Sections. Trial attorneys in the Tax Division’s Criminal Enforcement Sections handle or supervise criminal tax prosecutions in the federal district courts throughout the United States. The cases involve traditional violations of criminal tax laws by taxpayers having legal sources of income, as well as cases involving financial institution fraud, health care fraud, organized crime activities, and narcotics trafficking.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least three years of post-J.D. litigation experience. The applicant’s litigation experience should include criminal or civil fraud trial experience or experience as a judicial law clerk, and he or she should possess exceptional research, writing and oral communication skills. In addition, applicants must be willing to travel as may be required in connection with the handling or supervision of criminal tax prosecutions.

The salary range is GS-12 ($65,048 - $84,559) to GS-15 ($107,521 - 139,774).

Interested applicants should send a resume, law school transcript, a list of three professional references, and a writing sample by February 24, 2006 to U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division – Criminal Enforcement Sections Human Resources Office P.O. Box 813 Washington, D.C. 20044 ATTN: Attorney Recruitment Coordinator. Additional information concerning this position may be found here.

January 25, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Law Professor Blogs Network Launches Four New Blogs

Lpbn_logo_1We are delighted to announce the launch of four new blogs as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network:

Like the other blogs in our network, these blogs combines both (1) permanent resources and links, and (2) daily news and information. Our editors are leading scholars and teachers who are committed to providing the web destination for law professors in their fields.

These blogs join our growing stable of law professor blogs: 

Lexislogo200_2LexisNexis is supporting our effort to expand the network into other areas of law.  Please email us if you would be interested in finding out more about starting a blog as part of our network.

January 24, 2006 in About This Blog, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NCCU's Walter Nunnallee "Makes Tax Law Fun"

Nunnallee_2There is a wonderful article in the Herald Sun about Walter H. Nunnallee  (North Carolina Central (he also has taught tax as an adjunct at Duke and North Carolina)). Here is part of the opening of the article, NCCU Professor Making Tax Law Fun:

[T]o Walter Nunnallee and his students at NCCU's Law School, the set of IRS tax rules by which businesses may deduct depreciation is one more flower in a garden of wonkish delights.

NCCU Law has produced more seekers of an advanced law degree in taxation than usual for its size and ranking, Nunnallee said. Since 1988, when NCCU launched the first of what are now four courses in tax law, 44 students have gone on to obtain master of law degrees in taxation, he said. That may not seem like a lot out of about 100 law graduates a year, but it makes NCCU a powerhouse next to most larger law schools, including Duke and UNC.

As an arm of a historically black university, NCCU Law is better known for its graduates' contributions to civil rights and discrimination. Its part-time evening program is widely recognized as a bootstrap route to law as a second career. But its record in producing experts in taxation law is among the school's best-kept secrets, Nunnallee said. Its graduates include Nina Olson, who as the IRS's national taxpayer advocate reports directly to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson....

A professor at Duke Law School, Larry Zelenak, who also teaches tax law and has known Nunnallee for years, says he appreciates Nunnallee's infectious zeal for the subject. "He's truly remarkable in his ability to get students so enthusiastic about tax law. They not only take all the courses he offers but go on to take more," Zelenak said. "He's a real Pied Piper."

Between 25 and 30 law schools offer master's of law in taxation. Neither NCCU nor Duke nor UNC is among them. But NCCU law graduates go on to some of the nation's top law schools that do offer it, which Nunnallee said are New York University, Georgetown University and the University of Florida. The degree program is demanding, "like law school on steroids," Nunnallee said.

January 24, 2006 in Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Slate: Can Someone Else Pay Your Taxes?

Interesting article in today's Slate on the Richard Hatch trial, Can Someone Else Pay Your Taxes? Sure, But Only If You Pay Taxes on the Taxes, by Daniel Engber.  Here is the opening:

Survivor winner and criminal defendant Richard Hatch says the show's producers are to blame for his failure to pay taxes on the million-dollar prize. His lawyer claimed on Friday that the producers promised to cover Hatch's tax liability if he kept quiet about cheating among the contestants. Can someone else really pay your taxes?

Yes. It's not uncommon for corporations to pay taxes on behalf of their high-level executives. If the Survivor staff wanted to cover Hatch's taxes, they could have added the cost of the taxes to his million-dollar prize, or reimbursed him the money after tax day.

Having someone else pay your taxes can get tricky, since the government counts the amount that person pays as taxable income.

(The reporter spoke with Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh), Michael Kirsch (Notre Dame), Donald Tobin (Ohio State) and yours truly in preparing the story.)

January 24, 2006 in Celebrity Tax Lore | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

UCLA Alumni Group Abandons Plan to Pay Students to Tape Lectures by Left-Leaning Profs

Ucla_logoThe New York Times reports today that UCLAProfs.com has abandoned its plan [blogged here and here] to pay UCLA students to tape-record the lectures of left-leaning professors:

A 24-year-old conservative alumnus who announced earlier this month that he planned to pay students at the University of California, Los Angeles, to tape-record the lectures of left-leaning professors backed down after U.C.L.A. officials informed him on Monday that he would be violating school policy.The alumnus, Andrew Jones, said he abandoned the plan to save his student supporters from possible legal action by the university, even though he believed they would be engaged in a "newsgathering" effort protected by the First Amendment. Mr. Jones says he is confident that students will volunteer to tape lectures or take detailed notes in an effort to expose their professors as liberal partisans who do not tolerate dissent in their classrooms. But a U.C.L.A. official said Monday that even without the monetary incentive, students who passed tapes of lectures to Mr. Jones would be in danger of sanctions by the university and possibly the professors who were recorded without permission.

Update:  For further discussion, see:

January 24, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Tax Division Looking to Hire Tax Litigators in Dallas

Doj_1 The Department of Justice, Tax Division, is currently hiring lawyers with at least one year of experience to serve as trial attorneys in the civil trial section in Dallas, Texas:

The Tax Division represents the interests of the United States in a broad spectrum of litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Trial attorneys with the Tax Division have a unique opportunity to handle some of the most complex and important civil cases in the courts today. The cases include suits involving the legality of complex tax shelters, suits to enjoin the activities of promoters of tax scams and other fraudulent activity, and a wide variety of other affirmative and defensive litigation related to the collection of taxes and the uniform administration of the nations’s tax laws. Tax Division attorneys at all levels are given significantly more responsibility for the conduct of these cases than they would normally receive in either the public or the private sector. The trial attorneys work in a collegial professional environment with the support of experienced litigators and a robust training program. Any litigator seeking the challenge and honor of representing the United States in this vital mission should seize this opportunity to join the best law firm in the country, the Department of Justice.

The salary range is:

  • GS-12 ($64,434 - $83,760)
  • GS-13 ($76,622 - $99,604)
  • GS-14 ($90,543 - $117,705)
  • GS-15 ($106,505 - $138,454)

Interested applicants should send a resume, law school transcript, a list of three professional references, and a writing sample by February 17, 2006 to U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division Civil Trial Section-Southwestern 717 N. Harwood Street, Suite 400 Dallas, TX 75201 Attn: Raymond Pike. For further information, see here.

January 24, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schmolka on Passive Activity Losses, Trusts, and Estates

Schmolka Tax_law_review_3Leo L. Schmolka (NYU) has published Passive Activity Losses, Trusts, and Estates:  The Regulations (If I Were King), 58 Tax L. Rev. 191 (2005).  Here is the abstract:

The passive loss rules of § 469 apply to trusts and decedents' estates. How that is to come about, however, is a complete mystery since, in the 19 years since § 469's enactment in 1986, the government has offered not a shred of published guidance on the intersection of § 469 and subchapter J: no regulations, either final or proposed, no rulings, no notices, no announcements. Nothing.

This article steps into the void. It sets forth comprehensive suggested regulations that would coordinate the interaction of the passive loss rules with the rules governing the income taxation of trusts and decedents' estates. It provides the reasoning behind, and detailed explanations of, all but the most self-evident provisions.

January 24, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cohen on Misassigning Income: The Supreme Court and Attorney Fees

Tax_analysts_251 Stephen B. Cohen (Georgetown) has published Misassigning Income:  The Supreme Court and Attorney Fees, 110 Tax Notes 355 (Jan. 23, 2006), also available on the Tax Analysts web site as Doc 2005-25325, 2006 TNT 15-29.  Here is the abstract:

Last year's Supreme Court decision in Commissioner v. Banks and Commissioner v. Banaitis distorts foundational principles, known as assignment of income law, that help identify the person who must report income for federal tax purposes. The Court held that assignment of income principles require a plaintiff to report as income the portion of a recovery paid to the plaintiff's attorney as a contingent fee. As a result, the plaintiff is taxed at excessively high rates, which may in some cases equal or exceed 100%. Taxing the plaintiff on the attorney-fee portion of a recovery also undermines the objective of federal fee-shifting statutes, which is to enable a prevailing plaintiff to act as a private attorney general by employing an attorney without cost. Although recent legislation changes the result in the future for specified categories of litigation, including a wide variety of civil rights and employment claims, there remain significant classes of cases, including nonphysical torts, physical torts with punitive damages, and environmental statutes with fee-shifting provisions, to which the recent legislation does not apply and in which plaintiffs will continue to be taxed unfairly under the Court's decision.

January 24, 2006 in Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sixth Circuit Concludes that Dow Chemical's COLI Lacked Economic Substance

The Sixth Circuit yesterday issued its opinion in Dow Chemical v. United States, No. 03-2360 (6th Cir. 1/23/06).  The majority for the 2-1 panel agreed with the IRS that Dow Chemical's corporate-owned life insurance (“COLI”) policies on the lives of thousands of its employees lacked economic substance and thus disallowed deductions for interest incurred on loans used to pay the COLI premiums and for fees related to the administration of the policies.

Judge Ryan filed a spirited dissent:

My colleagues conclude that, as a matter of law, future profits contingent on taxpayer action are an appropriate component of the economic substance calculus only when that action comports with the taxpayer’s actual past conduct related to the transaction in question. I disagree. In my opinion, there is no such precedential rule of law and no warrant for creating one in this case. The validity of Dow’s COLI plans as investments having economic substance turns on the district court’s findings of fact and the sufficiency of evidence supporting those findings. I would affirm the judgment in favor of Dow because I believe that the district court correctly applied the law of this circuit to factual findings that are not clearly erroneous....

January 24, 2006 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alstott & Novick on War and Taxes: the World War I Veterans’ Bonus and the Defeat of the Mellon Plan

Ssrn_logo_72Alstott_2 Anne L. Alstott (Yale) & Benjamin Z. Novick (Yale) have posted War and Taxes: the World War I Veterans’ Bonus and the Defeat of the Mellon Plan on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In the twentieth century, two world wars transformed the federal income tax. The impact of World War I on the development of federal taxation and social provision has been far less studied than the impact of World War I. Historians have ably documented the wartime tax crisis, but the First World War, like the Second, also made a lasting change in the tax system and in the size of the federal government: the federal budget remained four times higher in the Twenties than in the prewar period. And, strikingly, the new, larger postwar government continued to raise revenue primarily from progressive income taxes on the economic elite.

In this article, we trace two pathways by which World War I exerted a lingering influence on federal tax policy and tax politics in the 1920s.

Continue reading

January 24, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mnookin on Exploding Offers

Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA) has an exceptionally thoughtful post on Exploding Offers.  And check out this first-hand account of a recipient of an exploding offer.

Update:  Dan Filler defends exploding offers here.

January 24, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Florida Administration Responds to Student Petition on Diversity

Florida_1On Sunday, we blogged press reports of a student petition at Florida complaining about the lack of diversity in the faculty and student body.  Associate Dean George Dawson yesterday sent this memo to the faculty in response to the petition:

Colleagues

Yesterday, many of you saw a copy of a one page open, unsigned letter addressed to Dean Jerry. The letter asserts that the "current numbers [of students enrolled in the group that began their legal study this month] leave little doubt that this administration lacks concern over improving cultural diversity at the law school." It goes on to state that "positive strides can be - and should be - taken by this administration to allay our concerns about the direction our law school is heading," and urges (1) reinstatement of the MPLE scholarships; (2) active recruitment of a broader pool of students; and (3) seeking active assistance from student organizations in mentoring and recruiting students. The administration of the College of Law recognizes that diversity in the legal profession is an important goal not only of the College, but also of many other groups, including the judiciary and the bar. It shares this goal and is committed to continuing and strengthening our efforts to recruit and enroll students of color in the College of Law.

The College welcomes assistance from student organizations in achieving this goal. It is important to note that the MPLE scholarship program was not a College of Law program, but one that was initiated and funded by the State of Florida and open to students attending all of the law schools in the state. Regrettably, in May 2002 the Florida Legislature enacted an immediate phase-out of the MPLE program. The justification for eliminating the MPLE program was two-fold. First, the state approved funding for two new state law schools at universities that traditionally enrolled large numbers of students of color: Florida A&M University and Florida International University. Second, the Legislature concluded that, pursuant to One Florida, all race-based scholarships sponsored by the state should be eliminated. One Florida prohibits the College of Law, and all other State University System schools, from considering the race of applicants when making admissions decisions.

Much of the text of the letter also contains data on which the letter writers base a conclusion that the College is "at the very bottom of all the top AAU public law schools" in percentages of people of color in its student body. This statement is incorrect. The letter writers have used incorrect data and have misperceived or misunderstood other data.

As a result, their conclusions about the enrollment of students of color, and the relative effectiveness of the College of Law in diversifying its student body, are wrong. First, it is correct that 17 students of color began their legal studies in January, 2006 - 2 Asian students, 7 Black students, and 8 Latino students. However, only 91 total students began their legal studies at that time, so the percentage of students of color in the group is 18.7, not 17% as the writers assert. Far more important is the fact that the percentage of students in the complete 2005 entering class is 22.8, well above the percentage reported by the letter writers. The 91 students who began their studies in January represent only a portion of a unitary class selected from a single pool of applicants in the spring of 2005. There was no separate application and selection process for the students who began their legal studies this January. Some of these students (207) began their studies in August 2005 and the balance (91) started in January 2006. Of the 298 students in the total class, there are 12 Asian students, 26 Black students, 29 Hispanic students, and 1 Native American student. This total of 68 students of color in a class of 298 constitutes an overall percentage of students of color of 22.8.

Finally, to support their conclusion that the College of Law was "at the very bottom," the writers of the letter cited percentages of students of color at a number of public law schools. They appear to have obtained their data from the 2006 Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. The percentages they cite for other law schools, however, are of students of color in the entire student body (all years) and not the percentages for first year students alone. Thus, their numbers are misleading because they compare percentages derived from different groups of students: first year students at the College of Law, and all students at other law schools. When the percentages of students of color in the first year classes at all of the law schools are used, the College of Law certainly is not "at the very bottom." Those first year class percentages for the comparator schools, and the correct percentage for the College's complete 2005 entering class, appear below:

    1. University of Illinois 37.3%
    2. University of California, Berkeley 35.3%
    3. University of California, Davis 33.8%
    4. University of Texas 31.8%
    5. University of Arizona 31.6%
    6. University of Maryland 30.6%
    7. University of Wisconsin 30.1%
    8. University of California, Los Angeles 29%
    9. University of Michigan 26.4%
    10. Ohio State University 26.2%
    11. University of Colorado 25%
    12. University of Florida 22.8%
    13. University of North Carolina 20.7%
    14. University of Minnesota 17.7%
    15. University of Washington 17.1%
    16. University of Virginia 16.9%
    17. University of Iowa 15.9%

Finally, it is important to emphasize that under One Florida the College of Law is prohibited from considering the race of applicants when making admissions decisions. Most of the other law schools on the list above are not subject to such a prohibition. The College of Law recognizes that it is vital to maintain and strengthen our efforts to increase diversity in law schools and in the legal profession. It also recognizes that there is room for improvement in the enrollment of students of color at the College of Law. It also is important, however, to understand the current factual situation correctly.

George

January 24, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 23, 2006

GAO Releases State Revenue Impacts of Internet Tax Moratorium

Gao_logo_1The Government Accountability Office today released Internet Access Tax Moratorium: Revenue Impacts Will Vary by State (GAO-06-273) (55 pages). Here are the Highlights:

The Internet tax moratorium bars taxes on Internet access services provided to end users. GAO’s interpretation of the law is that the bar on taxes includes whatever an access provider reasonably bundles to consumers, including e-mail and digital subscriber line (DSL) services. The moratorium does not bar taxes on acquired services, such as high-speed communications capacity over fiber, acquired by Internet service providers (ISP) and used to deliver Internet access. However, some states and providers have construed the moratorium as barring taxation of acquired services. Some officials told us their states would stop collecting such taxes as early as November 1, 2005, the date they assumed that taxes on acquired services would lose their grandfathered protection. According to GAO’s reading of the law, these taxes are not barred since a tax on acquired services is not a tax on Internet access. In comments, telecommunications industry officials continued to view acquired services as subject to the moratorium and exempt from taxation. As noted above, GAO disagrees. In addition, Federation of Tax Administrators officials expressed concern that some might have a broader view of what could be included in Internet access bundles. However, GAO’s view is that what is included must be reasonably related to providing Internet access.

The revenue impact of eliminating grandfathering in states studied by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would be small, but the moratorium’s total revenue impact has been unclear and any future impact would vary by state. In 2003, when CBO reported how much states and localities would lose annually by 2007 if certain grandfathered taxes were eliminated, its estimate for states with grandfathered taxes in 1998 was about 0.1 percent of those states’ 2004 tax revenues. Because it is hard to know what states would have done to tax access services if no moratorium had existed, the total revenue implications of the moratorium are unclear. In general, any future moratorium-related impact will differ by state. Tax law details and tax rates varied among states. For instance, North Dakota taxed access service delivered to retail consumers, and Kansas taxed communications services acquired by ISPs to support their customers.

January 23, 2006 in Gov't Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Tax Division Looking to Hire Tax Litigators in Washington, D.C.

Doj_1 The Department of Justice, Tax Division, is currently hiring lawyers with at least one year of experience to serve as trial attorneys in a civil trial section in Washington, D.C.:

The Tax Division represents the interests of the United States in a broad spectrum of litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Trial attorneys with the Tax Division have a unique opportunity to handle some of the most complex and important civil cases in the courts today. The cases include suits involving the legality of complex tax shelters, suits to enjoin the activities of promoters of tax scams and other fraudulent activity, and a wide variety of other affirmative and defensive litigation related to the collection of taxes and the uniform administration of the nations’s tax laws. Tax Division attorneys at all levels are given significantly more responsibility for the conduct of these cases than they would normally receive in either the public or the private sector. The trial attorneys work in a collegial professional environment with the support of experienced litigators and a robust training program. Any litigator seeking the challenge and honor of representing the United States in this vital mission should seize this opportunity to join the best law firm in the country, the Department of Justice.

The salary range is:

  • GS-12 ($64,434 - $83,760)
  • GS-13 ($76,622 - $99,604)
  • GS-14 ($90,543 - $117,705)
  • GS-15 ($106,505 - $138,454)

Interested applicants should send a resume, law school transcript, a list of three professional references, and a writing sample to U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division Human Resources Office P.O. Box 813 Benjamin Franklin Station Washington, D.C. 20044 ATTN: Attorney Recruitment Coordinator - Civil Trial Sections. For further information, see here.

January 23, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Issue of The State & Local Tax Lawyer

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (Corporate) Seeks to Fill Attorney Position

Irs_logo_190The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill an attorney position in the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Corporate):

With the IRS as its client and 1500 attorneys on staff, the Office of Chief Counsel is the preeminent employer for tax attorneys in the country. Our attorneys are valued assets and the legal experience provided in Chief Counsel is unlike any other. Chief Counsel attorneys provide top quality legal advice and representation to the IRS in the administration of the nation's tax laws.

The Associate Chief Counsel, Corporate employs approximately 80 attorneys who work in our National Office in Washington, DC. These attorneys provide published guidance, field support, and legal advice on tax matters involving corporate organizations, reorganizations, liquidations, spin-offs, transfers to controlled corporations, distributions to shareholders, debt vs. equity determinations, bankruptcies, and consolidated return issues affecting groups of affiliated corporations, among other matters.

Major Duties: The incumbent serves as an expert in several specific areas of the tax law, handling problems in a highly professional and competent manner. The incumbent performs the following major duties and responsibilities: - Considering suggestions for changes in the Internal Revenue laws. Analyzing the effects of the proposed changes and either prepares well reasoned recommendations as to the advisability of the changes, or as assigned, prepares drafts of the legislative suggestions in the proper form. - Analyzing Internal Revenue laws and other Federal laws relating to issues under the jurisdiction of the Associate Chief Counsel. Identifying regulatory and tax administration issues raised by those laws, and developing and drafting Treasury regulations interpreting or implementing those laws.

Salary:  $65,048 - $118,828.

Application Deadline:  January 23, 2006.

For more information and to apply, see here.

January 23, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schuck and Leiter Debate: Do Law Schools Need More Ideological Diversity?

Legal Affairs is hosting a debate between Perter Schuck (Yale) and Brian Leiter (Texas): Do Law Schools Need More Ideological Diversity?

Law professors are supposed to help students learn to think about issues from all sides. While law schools may have recruited more women and minorities in the past generation, they still lack ideological diversity, according to two recent studies. One reports that law professors who donate to political causes donate overwhelmingly to Democrats. The other contends that what's missing are representatives of the new mainstream in America: "Republicans, conservatives, and evangelical or fundamentalist Christians."

Do law schools need more diversity?

January 23, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Denies Medical Expense Deduction for Costs of Gender-Reassignment Surgery

Transamerica_1The IRS has ruled in Chief Counsel Advice 200603025 that male-to-female gender reassignment surgery does not qualify as a deductible medical expense under § 213:

On the taxpayer’s Year 6 return, the taxpayer reported medical and dental expenses for an amount exceeding $___.... The expenses included payments for various doctors, prescriptions, health insurance, transportation and lodging in connection with the taxpayer’s gender reassignment surgery (GRS). In a report dated July 2, Year 8, the Revenue Agent disallowed the expenses on the ground that they were for cosmetic surgery and nondeductible pursuant to § 213(d)(9).

§ 213(d)(9)(A) provides that the term “medical care” does not include cosmetic surgery or other similar procedures, unless the surgery or procedure is necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease. § 213 (d)(9)(B) defines “cosmetic surgery” as any procedure that is directed at improving the patient’s appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or treat illness or disease....

Whether gender reassignment surgery is a treatment for an illness or disease is controversial....To our knowledge, there is no case law, regulation, or revenue ruling that specifically addresses medical expense deductions for GRS or similar procedures. In light of the Congressional emphasis on denying a deduction for procedures relating to appearance in all but a few circumstances and the controversy surrounding whether GRS is a treatment for an illness or disease, the materials submitted do not support a deduction. Only an unequivocal expression of Congressional intent that expenses of this type qualify under section 213 would justify the allowance of the deduction in this case. Otherwise, it would seem we would be moving beyond the generally accepted boundaries that define this type of deduction.

January 23, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Hoyt on LLCs v. S Corps: Theory v. Practice

Hoyt_3Christopher R. Hoyt (Missouri-Kansas City) shares his thoughts on the LLC v. S Corp choice of entity question:

Trends in the real world on "choice of entity" decisions may conflict with the recommendations we might make to students. Generally I prefer an LLC to any sort of corporation, but every year there are twice as many S Corporations formed as there are LLCs. Here's my take from the IRS statistics based on Year 2002 returns:

Partnerships, LLCs, LPs and LLPs:

  • 2002 marked the first year that the number of LLC returns outnumbered general partnerships or limited partnerships. However, LLCs as a group have roughly only half of the income of the nation's general partnerships. Furthermore, they only have 40% of the income of the nation's limited partnerships, even though there are twice as many LLCs as there are LPs. I expect LPs have much wealth in real estate and family LPs ("FLPs").
  • The growth in the number of LLCs is sky-rocketing as the number of general partnerships tends downward -- there were 20% fewer general partnership returns in 2002 than there were in 1996 and there are 4 times as many LLC returns. The number of limited partnerships is fairly stable -- climbing by 21% over the 6 years from 1996 to 2002.
  • LLPs are barely making a dent. If a business is going to operate under a set of laws that is conducive for business, then the LLC laws beat the Unif. Partnership Act laws that are used by LLPs, especially with the rules for dissolutions when one partner quits.
  • Real estate and finance/insurance account for nearly 75% of the assets of all businesses operating in any sort of partnership form.

Corporations:

  • To my surprise, there were more than twice as many new Subchapter S Corporations in 2002 than LLCs -- I would have thought the opposite would have been the case.
  • There were 5.5 million corporate returns filed, of which 3.15 million (59%) were Subchapter S Corporations. Compare that to a total of 2.2 million partnership returns, of which 950,000 were LLCs.
  • In 2002, 59% of corporations were Subchapter S corporations. Twenty years ago only 23% of corporations were taxed under Subchapter S and 77% were taxed under Subchapter C. That is a staggering trend away from Subchapter C.
  • New businesses:
    • Corporations: In 2002, there were roughly 300,000 new S Corps. Roughly 220,000 were new corporations that elected S treatment and 80,000 were Subchapter C corps that switched to Sub S.
    • LLCs: In 2002, there were 138,000 additional LLC returns.

S_corp_chart_1

Update #1Joe Kristan offers several reasons why S Corps remain more popular than LLCs:

  • Self-employment and FICA taxes
  • Complexity
  • S corporation liberalization
  • General Utilities issues
  • W-2 vs. guaranteed payments
  • State Issues
  • Regulatory restrictions

Update #2Russ Cox notes two major factors working against LLCs in California:

  1. All S Corps and LLCs in California must pay a minimum state franchise (income) tax of $800 per year (or 1.5% of net income, whichever is greater). But LLCs also face a gross receipts tax, so LLCs in California are triple-taxed! The current minimum gross receipts tax (called an LLC fee) is $865 per year.
  2. Some businesses are prohibited from being in an LLC. These include professionals, such as architects and accountants. (They can form LLPs, though).

January 23, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (5)

Student-Edited Law Reviews v. Peer-Reviewed Journals

In Three Cheers for Law Reviews, Dan Solove (George Washington) argues that the current system of student-edited law reviews may be preferable to a system of peer-reviewed journals in law:

Law reviews get little respect both within and outside the legal academy. For those unfamiliar with the system, legal academics publish their articles in law reviews, which are edited and run by law students. Law students select the articles, not professors. In contrast, journals in most other fields are peer reviewed and edited. The conventional wisdom is that it is immensely silly and problematic to have students selecting and editing our articles. But while I have many gripes about the current system, there are actually many virtues to the law review approach that are not being stated. So I aim to be contrarian and (ironically) defend the status quo.

Dan suggests that student-edited law reviewes may be superior to peer-reviewed journals in three areas:

  1. Article Selection
  2. Article Content
  3. Submission Process and Editing

January 23, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Prof Presentations at USC Tax Institute

Usc_tax_institute_1The three-day USC Tax Institute kicks off today at the Wilshire Grand Hotel Los Angeles, 930 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. Here are the Tax Profs making presentations:

  • 12:30 p.m.:  Elizabeth Garrett (USC):  Luncheon and Keynote Address -- Remarks on the President’s Tax Reform Panel
  • 6:00 p.m.:  Edward J. McCaffery (USC):  Asset Location Strategies: Getting the Most Bang from Tax-Favored Savings Bucks

January 23, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wright on California Tax Shelters

Wright_jpeg Tax_analysts_250 Kathleen K. Wright (California State University, East Bay - Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems) has published California Tax Shelters -- This Time It's Federal Conformity, 39 State Tax Notes 249 (Jan. 23, 2006), also available on the Tax Analysts web site as Doc 2006-146, 2006 STT 14-12.  Here is the abstract:

Because California enacted tax shelter legislation a year ahead of the federal government, it was inevitable that the rules would be modified if the federal game plan changed. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (Jobs Act) included several of the anti-tax-shelter measures that the Internal Revenue Service had been waiting for. Those new federal rules modified previous reporting procedures in a significant way and California jumped on the new (and expanded) procedures in AB 115 (CH 05-691). This article discusses the revised California tax shelter reporting provisions and compares California's penalty regime with the new federal menu of penalties for failure to properly report.

January 23, 2006 in Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

L.A. Times: Is America's Ivory Tower Leaning Left?

Interesting post by Steve Bainbridge (UCLA), Disparate Impact in Academic Hiring, on the Sunday L.A. Times editorial page treatment of the question:  Is America's Ivory Tower Leaning Left?, prompted by the actions of UCLAProfs.com, a web site started by an alumni group to "expose UCLA’s most radical professors" (blogged here on Thursday).  Here are some interesting statistics from the L.A. Times:

Political Affiliation of Professors

1984

1999

Left/Liberal

39%

72%

Right/Conservative

34%

15%

Political Affiliation of Students

1984

1999

Left/Liberal

22%

30%

Right/Conservative

21%

24%

For other L.A. Times op-eds, see:

Update:  Steve Bainbridge has a follow-up post, Does the Academy Police Itself?

January 23, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs & Special Industries) Seeking to Fill Attorney Position

Irs_logo_190The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill an attorney position in the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries):

With the IRS as its client and 1500 attorneys on staff, the Office of Chief Counsel is the preeminent employer for tax attorneys in the country. Our attorneys are valued assets and the legal experience provided in Chief Counsel is unlike any other. Chief Counsel attorneys provide top quality legal advice and representation to the IRS in the administration of the nation's tax laws.

The Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries) employs approximately 115 attorneys who work in Washington, D.C. Passthroughs and Special Industries provides guuidance, field support and taxpayer advise on taxes of S corporations, partnerships (including limited liability companies) and trusts, estate gift, generation-skipping transfer and certain excise taxes; depreciation, depletion and other cost recovery issues; income tax credits; cooperative housing corporations; farmers' and other cooperatives; low-income housing credit; research and experimental expenditures; and certain homeowner associations.

Major Duties: The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS seeks an attorney to fill a position in the Passthroughs and Special Industries (PSI) business unit. The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS serves as independent counsel to the IRS Commissioner and furnishes legal advice and representation, nationwide, on matters related to the administration and enforcement of Internal Revenue laws.

Salary:  $65,048 - $118,828.

Application Deadline:  January 23, 2006.

For more information and to apply, see here.

January 23, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Ssrn_58This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN is the same as last week's list:       

1.  [146 Downloads]  Three Views on the Ethics of Tax Evasion, by Robert W. McGee (Barry University, Andreas School of Business) [blogged here]

2.  [92 Downloads]  Crime and Punishment in Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, and the Self-Adjusting Penalty, by Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) [blogged here]

3.  [91 Downloads]  Family Holding Companies and Section 2036, Robert T. Danforth (Washington & Lee) [blogged here]

4.  [82 Downloads]  Perpetuities or Taxes? Explaining the Rise of the Perpetual Trust, by Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestren) & Robert H. Sitkoff (Northwestern)  [blogged here]

5.  [60 Downloads]  The Ethics of Tax Evasion: A Survey of Romanian Business Students and Faculty, by Robert W. McGee (Barry University, Andreas School of Business) [blogged here]

January 22, 2006 in Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Law Students Protest Lack of Diversity at Florida

Florida_1 The Independent Florida Alligator reports that Students Petition Levin; Some Are Concerned About the Law School's Lack of Diversity:

Seventeen of the 92 incoming Fall students to the UF Levin College of Law are not white. Ten of the college's 72 faculty are not white....The law school's 18.5% minority enrollment this Fall places it near the bottom of the Association of American Universities' list of top schools this semester when ranked by minority enrollment.... About 100 students and faculty signed a petition at the UF law school today to encourage administrators to face its lack of diversity.

The minority statistics this Fall are misleading, said Associate Dean Patrick Shannon. For the first time, the law school accepted one pool of student applications simultaneously for both the Summer and Fall semesters, Shannon said. A total of 298 students enrolled in the entire group: 206 in the Summer and 92 in the Fall. Of the 298 total, 22.8% were minorities, Shannon said.

(Hat Tip:  JD2B.com.)

January 22, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Tax Papers: Pittsburgh Tax Review

Pittsburgh_tax_review_2_2The Pittsburgh Tax Review has issued a call for tax papers:

We would like to encourage people to submit any tax-related articles that they might have. We have no page limits and are open to submissions that depart from the traditional law review format. We accept papers on a rolling basis and all submissions are peer-reviewed.

For submission information, see here.

January 22, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Weekend Tax News Roundup

New York Times:

Reality television met its match when it found Richard Hatch....

Now, six years later, Mr. Hatch is starring in a different kind of survival contest. He is on trial for failing to pay taxes on his million-dollar windfall, charged in a 10-count indictment with tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Federal prosecutors have put on a parade of accountants, tax men and others who say "Survivor's" first success story cheated on his taxes by filing a return that showed him entitled to a refund, instead of reflecting the hundreds of thousands of dollars he owed the government. He is also accused of failing to pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars of other income, and of using money to renovate his houses when it was intended for a charity he formed....

Standing in the witness box for nearly five hours, frequently gesturing and looking at the jury, Mr. Hatch sought to portray his tax situation as complicated and confusing, especially for someone grappling with instant fame and stresses involving his adopted son....

Mr. Hatch testified that "Survivor's" producers at CBS had told him they would pay his taxes, even though he signed a contract saying he would pay taxes on any winnings. Mr. Hatch's lawyer, Michael Minns, a Texan who has built a career battling the Internal Revenue Service, wanted Mr. Hatch to be able to testify that the producers promised to pay the taxes because Mr. Hatch caught some people working for CBS trying to undermine his chances of winning by sneaking food to other contestants. But Judge Ernest C. Torres would not allow the jury to hear that testimony.

Wall Street Journal:

America is not competing for jobs with China. We are competing for capital. Double taxing dividend and capital gains income drives capital to China, where it earns higher after-tax returns. When that happens, American workers are left behind with falling productivity and uncompetitive companies.

Reducing or eliminating dividend and capital-gains tax rates keeps capital in America, where it makes workers productive and supports high incomes. Congress must act now to keep rates from increasing in 2008, by extending or eliminating dividend and capital gains taxes. The 2003 cuts in both dividend and capital-gains tax rates was a substantial boost for the stock market and corporate boardrooms. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 32% since Dec. 31, 2002, one week before President Bush announced the 2003 tax cuts. The S&P 500 large-cap index is up 47%. Mid-caps are up 79%, and small-caps up 81%. Overall, the value of U.S. equities increased $6 trillion (up 50% from $11.9 trillion to $17.9 trillion on Sept. 30, 2005) since the dividend tax cut first appeared in the headlines. Household net worth increased $12.1 trillion to $51.1 trillion over the same period, an increase of $40,631 for every person in America. These gains accrue to the 91 million Americans who own shares of stock directly or through mutual funds, and to more than 80 million private and government workers through their pension funds. Growth, profits, and investment spending also grew, and we have created 4.4 million jobs.

Tax cuts were a major factor in producing these gains. Dividend and capital-gains tax cuts are not trickle-down economics as claimed by opponents. They work by jolting asset markets, stock prices, and capital spending, and by altering business decisions about capital structure, dividend payout and capital deployment.

The last of the Clinton-era independent counsels, David Barrett, was finally allowed to release his report this week. And while the revelations aren't earth-shattering, the report reminds us why we don't miss the 1990s. The Barrett probe began because former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros lied to the FBI during a background check about alleged hush payments to a mistress. Mr. Cisneros pleaded guilty to that offense in 1999, and President Clinton eventually pardoned him. But Mr. Barrett also gathered evidence that Mr. Cisneros didn't report the money for those payments as taxable income. Mr. Barrett alleges that his attempts to investigate tax evasion were obstructed by officials at the Justice Department and IRS. Some of the most interesting details in the Barrett Report were rumored to concern former IRS Commissioner Peggy Richardson. But they have been redacted....

We also get to see the whistleblower's memo that launched Mr. Barrett on his tax-evasion probe. John Filan, chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Texas, wrote to headquarters in March 1997 alleging that the Cisneros tax-fraud investigation had been pulled from his office and sent to Washington with the intent to "'kill' it, regardless of the evidence." Mr. Filan added, "I am not aware of any other criminal tax cases that have been pulled from experienced District Counsel attorneys to be reviewed in Washington." He had forwarded the case to the local District Counsel with a prosecution recommendation. But Washington intervened and declined to refer it to Justice....

Mr. Barrett says he found evidence suggesting Mr. Cisneros's unreported income "exceeded $300,000" and presented Ms. Reno with a "prima facie case of multi-year tax fraud by a public official." In the end Ms. Reno allowed Mr. Barrett to investigate only one year's worth of Mr. Cisneros's tax activities, "effectively preventing any prosecution for tax offenses" because one year was not enough to prove a pattern of misconduct. The Attorney General's decision, writes Mr. Barrett, "might have resulted from activities amounting to obstruction of justice."

President Bush is expected to propose sweetening the tax breaks associated with health savings accounts, part of an effort to persuade more people to save for their own medical expenses, administration officials said. The proposal under discussion would let people deposit more money into their tax-free HSAs each year and use that tax-free money to pay health-insurance premiums. The proposal is part of a broader array of changes in the health-care system that the president is expected to propose in his State of the Union address Jan. 31....

It is unclear how much the Bush proposal would raise the threshold. Currently, HSA deposits are limited to the amount of the deductible or a maximum set by law, whichever is lower. This year, the deductible -- the amount a person must spend out of pocket each year before the insurance kicks in -- is at least $1,050 for an individual or $2,100 for a family. The maximum set by law is $2,700 for an individual or $5,450 for a family. One idea under discussion would increase the deposit threshold to the annual out-of-pocket spending limit for HSA plans. This year, that limit is $5,250 for an individual and $10,500 for a family. In practical terms, this change would let people save a few thousand more dollars each year tax-free.

Washington Post:

Thinking of quitting your job and going back to school? Thousands of Americans do that every year, but for many, finding the necessary money is a stretch. So, as they run their hungry eyes across what assets they have, their gaze often alights on their 401(k) retirement savings accounts.But while Congress seems to have envisioned cases in which workers might need to tap retirement savings to pay for school, it provided only its usual haphazard, disjointed help.Thus, workers who want to tap their retirement accounts must be careful to do it the right way, or they may find themselves subject to early-withdrawal penalties that eat up 10 percent of the money they pulled out for school. The same thing can happen to workers who tap their accounts to buy a first home.

January 22, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jackel & Huffman on Partnerships Under the Proposed Domestic Production Activities Deduction Regulations

Tax_analysts_249 Monte A. Jackel & Gary R. Huffman (both of McKee Nelson, Washington, D.C.) have published Partnerships Under the Proposed Domestic Production Activities Deduction Regulations, 110 Tax Notes 251 (Jan. 16, 2006), also available on the Tax Analysts web site as Doc 2005-25322, 2006 TNT 11-19.  Here is the abstract:

The authors describe the pertinent provisions of the proposed regulations under section 199 as they apply to partnerships and partners. The proposed regulations will be extraordinarily difficult to apply in this context by taxpayers, and it will be equally, if not more difficult, for the government to monitor taxpayer compliance. That is due to the interaction of complex cost allocation systems mandated by the regulations to the provisions of subchapter K, particularly the ability of partnerships to specially allocate items of income, gain, loss, or deduction among the partners. In addition, the failure of the regulations to apply partnership aggregate concepts, in other than very limited cases, will undoubtedly hinder many bona fide business activities conducted through partnerships, particularly when either the distribution or the management function is divided between the partnership and one or more of its partners.

January 22, 2006 in Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (SB/SE) Seeks Attorneys in Various Offices

Irs_logo_192The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill attorney position in the Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division in the following offices:

        • Cleveland, OH
        • Dallas, TX
        • Denver, CO
        • Laguna Niguel, CA
        • Lakewood, CO
        • Long Island, NY
        • Miami, FL
        • New York City, NY
        • Philadelphia, PA
        • Phoenix, AZ
        • Portland, OR
        • San Jose, CA

SB/SE is the largest Chief Counsel division, with 440 attorneys assigned to 49 field offices. These attorneys generally work directly with IRS field agents, providing legal advice on tax cases involving individuals and small businesses, and on all cases involving collection and bankruptcy issues. When these cases go to trial, SB/SE attorneys are usually the IRS litigators, with direct responsibility for identifying the desired legal theories, developing the trial strategies, and representing the IRS in court.

Major Duties: This position is located in the Division Counsel, Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE). SBSE attorneys typically spend most of their time handling Tax Court and bankruptcy cases. Over 95 percent of the 20,000 Tax Court cases filed last year were assigned to SB/SE attorneys. In most field offices, bankruptcy cases are assigned to attorneys who are designated Special Assistant United States Attorneys. Attorneys may also be assigned to assist the Department of Justice in the handling of collection, refund and other cases in the U.S. District Courts. Through client support and litigation, SB/SE attorneys have an opportunity to further their knowledge of tax law and to develop expertise on a wide variety of complex technical, procedural, and tax issues.

Salary: $55,360 - 101,130.

Application Deadline:  January 23, 2006.

For more information contact Cindy Girot by phone (202-874-1798) or email.  For further details, see here.

January 22, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Office of Chief Counsel (LMSB) Seeks Attorney in Nashville Office

Irs_logo_169The IRS's Office of Chief Counsel is seeking to fill an attorney position in the Division Counsel, Large and Mid-Size Business (LMSB) in Nashville, TN:

LMSB is headquartered in Washington, DC and has five Area Counsels located in New Jersey, Manhattan, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco. Each Area Counsel is responsible for legal work within a defined geographic area and for developing specialized knowledge of one of the industries served nationally by the IRS including: financial services; heavy manufacturing & transportation; food, mass retailers, pharmaceuticals & healthcare; natural resources & construction; & communications, technology & media.

Major Duties: Large and Mid-Size Business attorneys typically provide a full range of legal services on all issues including legal advice and handling litigation in the U.S. Tax Court as well as referrals and recommendations to the Department of Justice in refund litigation. LMSB attorneys work primarily on cases involving complex and/or sensitive corporate, partnership, and "S" corportion tax issues in a global environment.

Salary: $62,291 - 113,791.

Application Deadline:  January 25, 2006.

For more information or to apply, see here.

January 22, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Spotlight_1_1Richard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson)

        • A.B. 1984, Princeton
        • J.D. 1992, Yale

   

   

Winchester_1A tax professor both by accident and by design, I have unconsciously prepared for this line of work ever since high school.

Unlike many of my classmates at Princeton, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I found myself one of the few students admitted to the undergraduate program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, giving me the freedom to take virtually any social science course in the university. The liberal arts course of study equipped me with the strong writing and analytical skills that I now know are indispensable to any legal scholar.

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January 21, 2006 in Tax Prof Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)