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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Ssrn_logo_85There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads on SSRN, with a new paper debuting at #5.  Stephen Cohen's paper has risen to #35 all-time (out of 1761 tax papers on SSRN):

1.  [438 Downloads]  Words!  Words!  Words!  Teaching the Language of Tax, by Stephen B. Cohen (Georgetown) [blogged here]

2.  [205 Downloads]  Financial Accounting and Corporate Behavior, by David I. Walker (BU) [blogged here]

3.  [176 Downloads]  Inside Zarin, by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) [blogged here]

4.  [169 Downloads] Earnings Management and Corporate Tax Shelters, by Mihir A. Desai (Harvard Business School) & Dhammika Dharmapala (University of Connecticut, Economics) [blogged here]

5.  [105 Downloads]  Is the Tax System Beyond Reform?, by George K. Yin (Virginia)  [blogged here]

April 30, 2006 in Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Code Podcast Project Comes Up 3,277 Sections Short

Ipod_picture_1We previously blogged Tax_code_7Tax Prof Jack Bogdanski's Internal Revenue Code Podcast Project, launched on April 7 with the audacious goal of making the entire Tax Code available via podcast through daily recordings of one section per day.  Unfortunately, the project has come up 3,277 Code Sections short:  after thirteen consecutive days of recording, Jack has put the podcasts "on hiatus while the author seeks the guidance of a mental health professional. Check back here for updates as his various medications are adjusted."  In the meantime, you can listen to Jack's swan song here:  a 13 minute, 45 second recording of section 25A.

For those now with room in their iPod shuffle, you may want to download Ron Brown & Joe Grohman on The Rule Against Perpetuities.

April 30, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (3)

ABA Tax Section Task Force on International Tax Reform Completes Report

Aba_tax_31 The ABA Tax Section convened a Task Force on International Tax Reform to provide policymakers with objective criteria by which to evaluate reform proposals and to identify and analyze possible modifications to the U.S. international tax rules.  The Task Force recently completed a 200-page Report, which will be published in 59 Tax. Law. 649 (2006).  The unedited final draft of the Report’s Table of Contents and first Chapter, which sets out the objectives and overview of the Report, is available here.   Here are excerpts from the Objectives of the Report:

This Report considers the taxation of U.S. persons’ foreign business income. The Report identifies and evaluates possible changes to current law, but does not make legislative recommendations.

While there is current questioning as to whether an income tax should be replaced with a consumption tax, the income tax is unlikely to be displaced. The problems of transition and the rates that would be required to achieve revenue neutrality, as well as other problems, are extremely daunting. The Report proceeds on the assumptions that the income tax will be retained as a material element of the U.S. tax system and that the United States will continue to impose an income tax on business income.

April 30, 2006 in ABA Tax Section | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dynarski & Scott-Clayton on The Cost of Complexity in Federal Student Aid: Lessons from Optimal Tax Theory and Behavioral Economics

Susan Dynarski & Judith Scott-Clayton (both of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University) have posted The Cost of Complexity in Federal Student Aid: Lessons from Optimal Tax Theory and Behavioral Economics on the Kennesdy School web site.  Here is the abstract:

The federal system for distributing student financial aid rivals the tax code in its complexity. Both have been a source of frustration and a focus of reform efforts for decades, yet the complexity of the student aid system has received comparatively little attention from economists. We describe the complexity of the aid system, and apply lessons from optimal tax theory and behavioral economics to show that complexity is a serious obstacle to both efficiency and equity in the distribution of student aid. We show that complexity disproportionately burdens those with the ! least ability to pay and undermines redistributive goals. We use detailed data from federal student aid applications to show that a radically simplified aid process can reproduce the current distribution of aid using a fraction of the information now collected.

April 30, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kotlikoff on Grading the President’s Tax Reform Panel’s Plan

Lk Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University, Department of Economics) has published Grading the President’s Tax Reform Panel’s Plan,  The Economists' Voice: Vol. 3: No. 6, Article 3 (2006).  Here is the abstract:

Laurence Kotlikoff gives the current tax system a D, the President’s Tax Reform Panel proposal a B+ and explains what his A+ tax system would look like.

Here is the article's concluding paragraph:

The U.S. tax system needs radical surgery. The FairTax is radical. But it’s also transparent, efficient, and progressive. It’s adoption would reduce economic distortions, enhance generational equity, and set a global expenditure budget. It would also position the country to best handle its enormous long-term entitlement obligations. The sooner we adopt the FairTax the better.

April 30, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Spotlight_1_1Nina J. Crimm (St. John's)

        • B.A. 1972, Washington University
        • M.B.A. 1979, Tulane
        • J.D. 1979, Tulane
        • LL.M. (Tax) 1981, Georgetown

 

Crimm_1 Scrabble and crossword puzzles always fascinated me. Each has interlocking parts. Scrabble requires players to construct new words upon those existing on the board. One is not sure where the word building will lead – but physical connections must be maintained. Crossword puzzles also have word connections. Artful clue phrases hint at words, and resulting words must connect in a defined grid. Each game and puzzle is entertaining; no Scrabble game unfolds exactly as another and no crossword puzzle is exactly alike. No wonder that I was playfully captivated by the artful phrases, clues, and connections of the Internal Revenue Code. When I was introduced to the Code, I believed that if I could spend my life playing its games and puzzles at work, why not?

Continue reading

April 29, 2006 in Tax Prof Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Boston Globe: IRS Scrutinizing Charities' Political Work

Interesting article in today's Boston Globe:  IRS Scrutinizing Charities' Political Work, by Michael Kranish:

An increasing number of churches and other charities are violating laws prohibiting involvement in political campaigns, prompting increased enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service and calls for a further crackdown.

April 29, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kinsley on The Windfall Profits Tax

Interesting op-ed in the Washington Post, Tax the Windfall, by Michael Kinsley:

The oil companies, like other big corporations, are mostly owned by ordinary citizens, either directly or through mutual and retirement funds. Presumably some of them support the war and others don't. Do any of these shareholders, pro-war or antiwar, want to pocket $45 billion (or whatever number you choose) from a war that is costing others so much?

April 29, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Laity on The Competence of Nations and International Tax Law

Laity Ssrn_logo_127 Eric T. Laity (Oklahoma City) has posted The Competence of Nations and International Tax Law on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article proposes a conceptual foundation for the field of international tax law. The article refers to this foundation as the institutional competence of nations in global economic development. A nation's institutional competence is its discretion to make decisions in pursuit of our collective goal of global economic development, discretion that is subject to a number of standards and limitations.

The article constructs the institutional competence of nations in global economic development from institutional economics, simple game theory, and the literature on social norms. The article expresses the institutional competence of nations through standards and limitations that reduce the abuse of sovereign discretion and address international collective action problems in the pursuit of global economic development. These standards and limitations allocate prescriptive jurisdiction among nations over the global income tax base.

Continue reading

April 29, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vanderbilt Hosts Conference Today on Legal Education: Past, Present & Future

VanderbiltVanderbilt concludes its two-day conference today on Legal Education: Past, Present & Future.  Here are today's panels and papers:

Panel 4: The Future of Legal Education

  • Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow (Georgetown): Taking Law and … Really Seriously
  • Todd D. Rakoff (Harvard), Different Methods for Different Cases
  • Edward L. Rubin (Vanderbilt): Legal Education for the 21 st Century
  • Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt), Moderator

April 29, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Johnson Discusses Righteous Anger at the Wicked States on C-Span Today

Book_tv Righteous Calvin Johnson (Texas) discusses his book, Righteous Anger at the Wicked States: The Meaning of the Founders' Constitution, today at noon on the Book TV Program on C-Span 2:

Calvin Johnson chronicles the history of the U.S. Constitution in his book Righteous Anger at the Wicked States. The author argues that the U.S. Constitution was adopted because of the Founding Fathers' anger at the states for their failure to pay the requisitions that would have helped pay off the Revolutionary War debt. This event was hosted by the Harvard Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

April 29, 2006 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Bloggership Conference Today at Harvard

Berkman_logo_4Our symposium on Bloggership:  How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship is being held today at Harvard Law School.  The symposium is sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and will be held in the Ames Courtroom.  It is free and open to the public; registration is not required.  Here is the schedule, with links to all of the papers on the SSRN Conference Site:

8:30 - 8:40 a.m.: Welcome: John Palfrey (Executive Director, The Berkman Center for Internet & Society)

8:40 - 9:00 a.m.: Introduction: Paul Caron (Cincinnati; Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Law Professor Blogs Network)

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Law Blogs as Legal Scholarship

11:00 - 12:30 p.m.: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 - 3:30 p.m.: Law Blogs and the First Amendment

3:45 - 5:15 p.m.:  The Many Faces of Law Professor Blogs

April 28, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vanderbilt Hosts Conference Today on Legal Education: Past, Present & Future

VanderbiltVanderbilt kicks off a two-day conference today on Legal Education: Past, Present & Future.  Here are today's panels and papers:

Panel 1:  How Did We Get Here? Why Have We Stayed?

  • Robert W. Gordon (Yale): The Geologic Strata of the Law School Curriculum
  • Thomas C. Grey (Stanford): The Case Method and Legal Realism
  • Robert D. Cooter (Cal-Berkeley): What is Law and Economics? Why did it Succeed?
  • John Henry Schlegel (Buffalo): A Damn Hard Thing to Do
  • John C. P. Goldberg (Vanderbilt), Moderator

Panel 2:  Current Practices: Problems and Potential

  • Ernest J. Weinrib (Toronto), Can Law Survive Legal Education?
  • Mark D. West (Michigan), Making Lawyers (and Gangsters) in Japan
  • Wayne S. Hyatt (Hyatt & Stubblefield), A Lawyer's Lament: Law Schools and the Profession of Law
  • Susan L. Kay (Vanderbilt), Moderator

Panel 3:  Pedagogic Bias? Diagnosis and Correctives

  • Lani Guinier (Harvard) & Susan P. Sturm (Yale), The Pedagogical Matrix: A Framework for Rethinking Legal Education
  • Geraldine Downey (Columbia) & Bonita E. London (Columbia): Psychological Theories of the Educational Engagement of Women and Ethnic Minority Group; Members: A Multi-Method Analysis of Institutional Change
  • Elizabeth E. Mertz (Wisconsin), Inside the First Year Law School Classroom: Toward a New Legal Realist Pedagogy
  • Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt), Moderator

Closing Remarks by E. Gordon Gee (Vanderbilt University Chancellor)

April 28, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rice Hosts Conference Today on Is It Time For Fundamental Tax Reform?

Rice The Tax and Expenditure Program of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University concludes its two-day conference on Is It Time For Fundamental Tax Reform? The Known, the Unknown and the Unknowable.  Today's panels and papers are:

Session 3: Consumption Tax Reform: The Known, The Unknown, and The Unknowable

A live webcast of today's proceedings is available here.

April 28, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Batchelder Presents Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Credits Today at NYU

Batchelder_3 Lily Batchelder (NYU) presents Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Credits at the NYU Wagner School today.  Here is the abstract:

Recent policy discussions have revealed increasingly heated debate about whether refundable tax credits are an appropriate part of the tax system. This article seeks to reframe this debate by setting aside distributional and administrative objectives and focusing instead on a relatively overlooked issue: the efficient form for tax incentives. Based on theoretical analysis and original empirical findings, it concludes that the arguments put forward by refundable credit opponents generally are unpersuasive on their own terms or fail to counter efficiency-based justifications for refundable credits. In particular, we argue that refundable credits are by default the most efficient way to structure tax incentives designed to encourage behavior generating positive externalities, absent clear evidence that the desired behavior or externalities vary by income class. The efficiency benefits of refundable credits are further magnified by their tendency to smooth household income and macroeconomic demand. In light of these findings, we conclude that serious consideration should be given to restructuring existing tax incentives, and designing new ones, as refundable tax credits.

April 28, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York Law School Hosts Annual Tax Lawyering Workshop on Attorney-Client Privilege and Circular 230

Nyls_logo The New York Law School Graduate Tax Program hosts its Annual Tax Lawyering Workshop -- Topics for 2006: Attorney Client Privilege in the Practice of Tax Law and Update on Circular 230 today from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p..m. at the Wellington Conference Center, New York Law School.  For a list of speakers and their topics, see here.

April 28, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York State Property Taxes Are Highest in U.S.

The Office of the New York State Comptroller has released Property Taxes in New York State.  Among the many findings:

Per capita property tax burdens in New York are 49% higher than the national average and property taxes measured as a share of personal income are 28% higher.

See the press release here.  For New York Times coverage, see Property Taxes Rising Too Fast, Report Warns, by Jennifer Medina:

New York State residents are paying the highest property taxes in the country, increasing at triple the rate of inflation over the last five years, according to a report released on Wednesday by the state comptroller. Suburban homeowners, the report said, bear the biggest burden.

April 28, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Bloggers-Meet-Readers" Tonight in Cambridge

Über blogger Eugene Volokh has organized a "Bloggers-Meet-Readers"  social tonight at the Zephyr Lounge in the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, 575 Memorial Drive, from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.  I will be there along with 18 of the other participants (list here) in town for our Bloggership Conference tomorrow. I hope readers in the Boston area will stop by to say hello.

April 27, 2006 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SSRN Releases New Business School Rankings

Ssrn_71 SSRN has released a new service which ranks the Top Business Schools (both U.S. and Foreign).  Like the Top Law Schools rankings, the business school rankings are based on the number downloads of their faculty's papers from SSRN.  Here are the Top 20 U.S. Business Schools ranked by the number of downloads over the past twelve months:

    1. Harvard
    2. Chicago
    3. Penn
    4. Yale
    5. NYU
    6. MIT
    7. Michigan
    8. Columbia
    9. Dartmouth
    10. Rochester
    11. Duke
    12. Texas
    13. Stanford
    14. USC
    15. Northwestern
    16. Ohio State
    17. Cornell
    18. Indiana
    19. Cal-Berkeley
    20. Illinois

April 27, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Likhovski on Training in Citizenship: Tax Compliance and Modernity

Likhowski_1 Ssrn_logo_126Assaf Likhovski (Tel-Aviv University) has posted Training in Citizenship: Tax Compliance and Modernity, 31 Law & Social Inquiry ___ (2006), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Do the attempts of modern states to foster tax compliance reflect wider attributes of modernity? This article analyzes the history of the creation of a tax compliance culture in Israel of the 1950s and the various practices, techniques and discourses that were deployed by the state to create model taxpaying citizens. It shows how the specific history of tax compliance can be understood as part of a wider phenomenon, the desire of modern states to create self-policing, normalized subjects. By interpreting the history of tax compliance critically, as part of the attempt of the state to control its citizens, the article suggests a new way of understanding the history of 20th century tax compliance generally and more specifically the history of judicial attempts to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance.

April 27, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

TIGTA Questions IRS Tax Gap Projections

Treasury_3 The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has released Some Concerns Remain About the Overall Confidence That Can Be Placed in Internal Revenue Service Tax Gap Projections.  Here is the synopsis:

In April 2004, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Max Baucus, called for 90% voluntary tax compliance by 2010. Senator Baucus stated, in part, that “Today, I’m calling on the IRS to achieve a 90% voluntary compliance rate by the end of the decade, which would raise at least an additional $100 billion each year without raising taxes.” Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the IRS is finding ways to improve the VCR.

Using different terms, Senator Baucus challenged the IRS to reduce what is commonly known as the tax gap. The IRS defines the gross tax gap as the difference between the estimated amount taxpayers owe and the amount they voluntarily and timely pay for a tax year. In February 2006, the IRS estimated the gross tax gap at $345 billion for Tax Year 2001.

To determine whether the IRS can achieve the VCR called for by Senator Baucus, we first evaluated the reliability of the IRS developed tax gap figures. We concluded the IRS still does not have sufficient information to completely and accurately assess the overall tax gap and voluntary compliance. The IRS has significant challenges in both obtaining complete and timely data and developing the methods for interpreting the data. However, it is important to tax administration and tax policy decision makers that an estimate be developed that is within tolerable parameters. Otherwise, inappropriate decisions can be made on how to address the tax gap. If one assumes that, in Tax Year 2010 the total tax liability is the same as it was in Tax Year 2001, noncompliant taxpayers would have to timely and voluntarily pay an additional $134 billion to achieve the Senator Baucus challenge to reach a 90% VCR by 2010.

April 27, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WSJ: Alcatel Hits NOL Motherlode in Lucent Merger

Interesting article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:  Alcatel Stands to Reap Tax Benefit on Merger; Lucent's Operating Losses In Wake of Tech Bubble May Allow Big Deductions, by Jesse Drucker & Sara Silver:

Alcatel SA is merging with Lucent Technologies Inc. to gain access to the vast U.S. telecommunications-equipment market. But the French company will get an added bonus from that $13.4 billion deal: It probably won't have to pay federal taxes on its new U.S. business for years. The lucrative tax savings for Alcatel stem from the wonky world of "net operating losses," a provision of the U.S. corporate-tax code that lets companies carry over tax benefits from years when they lose money to help offset taxes when they return to profit.

During the telecom meltdown that began around 2000, Lucent accumulated some $10 billion in net operating losses, but the Murray Hill, N.J., telecom-equipment maker, which returned to profit in 2003, hasn't been able to use up these credits quickly, largely because it hasn't had much taxable income. Now, thanks to projected earnings from Alcatel and likely savings from merging the two companies, the combined Alcatel-Lucent could generate $3.5 billion in U.S. tax savings from the net operating losses, or NOLs, as they are known in the bookkeeping business. The merged company will have up to 20 years to apply the deductions.

April 27, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Congressional Research Service Releases New Tax Reports

Crs_3Our sister Law Librarian Blog has collected abstracts of the following new Congressional Research Service tax reports:

  • Major Tax Issues in the 109th Congress
  • Proposed Federal Income Tax Exclusion for Civilians Serving in Combat Zones
  • Taxes and Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Reconciliation: A Brief Summary
  • Tax Preferences for Sport Utility Vehuckes (SUVs): Current Law and Legislative Initiatives in the 109th Congress
  • The Effects of Government Expenditures and Revenues in the Economy and Economic Well-Being: A Cross-National Analysis
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals: Legislative Initiatives and their Revenue Effects
  • An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

April 27, 2006 in Gov't Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Taxability of Former Illinois Gov. Ryan's Free Legal Defense

Interesting article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune:  Is Ryan's Free Legal Defense Taxable? Connections Cloud Issue of Outright Gift, by Susan Chandler:

Some critics complained that former Illinois Gov. George Ryan received an unfair, political insider's advantage when one of Chicago's most powerful law firms agreed to provide him with top-flight criminal defense free of charge. But the legal services provided by Winston & Strawn did not save Ryan from a guilty verdict in his corruption trial and it may set him up with a tax problem he was not expecting. The millions of dollars in pro bono legal services Ryan received from the firm could be viewed by the IRS as taxable income, according to the IRS and several tax experts contacted by the Tribune. ...

At the crux of the matter is whether Winston & Strawn was making a gift to Ryan of its services or whether the firm expected to receive something in exchange, which is known as a quid pro quo....

In the Ryan case the law firm got front-page exposure in exchange for its legal services, argues David Cameron, associate director of the Graduate Tax Program at Northwestern University Law School. That applies even though publicity is an intangible benefit and in the Ryan case it was not all favorable, he said. "There's a strong argument here that there is income on George Ryan's part," Cameron said. "The case is bringing a great deal of attention to the firm. The firm is receiving the benefits of that as well as the chance to have its young associates engaged in major litigation," he said. "They're getting something from this."

(Hat Tip:  Howard Bashman.)

April 27, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

Senate Finance Committee Requests Tax Returns of Oil and Gas Companies

Senate_14 The Senate Finance Committee yesterday issued a press release and accompanying letter to the IRS requesting copies of the tax returns since 2000 for the 15 largest U.S. oil and gas companies to make sure the tax bills square with the industry's record profits:

“We all know there can be a slip between cup and lip on corporate profits made and taxes paid. I want to make sure the oil companies aren’t taking a speed pass by the tax man."

April 27, 2006 in Congressional News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Rice Hosts Conference Today on Is It Time For Fundamental Tax Reform?

Rice The Tax and Expenditure Program of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University hosts a two-day conference beginning today on Is It Time For Fundamental Tax Reform? The Known, the Unknown and the Unknowable.  Today's panels and papers are:

Session 1: What Does Empirical Analysis Teach Us about Past Tax Changes: The Known, The Unknown and The Knowable

Session 2: The Taxation of Capital Income: The Known, The Unknown, and The Unknowable

A live webcast of today's proceedings is available here.

April 27, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Tax Section Releases Several Comments and Reports

IRS Details Record-Setting 2006 Filing Season

Irs_logo_241 The IRS announced yesterday (IR-2006-67) that the recently completed 2006 filing season set a series of records, highlighted by 70 million tax returns being filed electronically this year and home computer usage jumping 18%. Through April 21, 2006, the IRS had received:

  • 70 million returns through IRS e-file — up 6% from the same time last year.
  • Almost 20 million taxpayers filed from a home computer — up 18% from the same time last year and almost 3 million more than for all of 2005. The IRS will continue to receive returns filed from home computers until October 16.
  • 50 million returns from tax professionals, up 9% from the same period last year.

By April 21, the IRS had issued 85 million refunds averaging $2,237 per refund. More than 60% — 53 million — were issued through direct deposit, representing a 7% increase from last year. Direct deposit gets refunds to the taxpayer a week sooner than issuing a check.

Usage of IRS.gov, this filing season climbed more than 7%. So far this year, there have been 122 million visits to IRS.gov, up from 113 million for the same period last year. 

April 27, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Times: Brand U.

Interesting op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, Brand U., by Stephen Budiansky:

I recently did some research for a satirical novel set at a university. The idea was to have a bunch of gags about how colleges prostitute themselves to improve their U.S. News & World Report rankings and keep up a healthy supply of tuition-paying students, while wrapping their craven commercialism in high-minded-sounding academic blather. I would keep coming up with what I thought were pretty outrageous burlesques of this stuff and then run them by one of my professor friends and he'd say, Oh, yeah, we're doing that....

I knew that Tom Lehrer, the great satirical songwriter of the 60's, had said he had to give up satire when it kept being overtaken by reality. The final straw, he said, was Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize. My final straw came when a friend at Case Western Reserve University (now referred to as Case, after their consultant concluded that all great universities have single-word names) sent me a packet of information on the university's new showcase undergraduate seminar program. Called SAGES (this supposedly stands for Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship), the program offers as an essential component of its core intellectual experience an upscale cafe that serves Peet's Coffee and is "staffed by baristas whose expertise in preparing espresso is matched only by their authoritative knowledge of all things SAGES."

(Hat Tip:  Ann Murphy.)

April 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Sponsor: Foundation Press, West & RIA

FoundationWe are delighted to announce that our Law Professor Blogs Network has signed a three-year exclusive sponsorship agreement with Thomson, the corporate parent of Foundation Press, West Group, and RIA.  We are grateful for the support we have received from LexisNexis, our prior sponsor, and are looking forward to working with Thomson for many years to come. 

   

April 26, 2006 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Becker & Posner Debate Rising Income Inequality in America

Gary Becker and Richard Posner debate the rising income inequality in America:

Income inequality widened, particularly between urban and rural households after China began its rapid rate of economic development in 1980....I make this observation in reaction to the great concern expressed by politicians and many others in the United States over the rather substantial increase during the past 25 years in earnings inequality among Americans. The China and India examples illustrate that whether rising inequality is considered good or bad depends on how it came about. I believe that the foundation of the growth in earnings inequality of Americans has mainly been beneficial and desirable.

Becker explains the rising income inequality in the United States persuasively; I would add only that as society becomes more competitive and more meritocratic, income inequality is likely to rise simply as a consequence of the underlying inequality--which is very great--between people that is due to differences in IQ, energy, health, social skills, character, ambition, physical attractiveness, talent, and luck. Public policies designed to reduce income inequality, such as highly progressive income taxation and middle-class subsidies, are likely to reduce the aggregate wealth of society, and therefore should not be adopted unless rising income inequality is a social problem.

April 26, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Top B-School Deans Are Top Scholars

Amanda H. Goodall (Warwick Business School) has posted an interesting paper, Does it Take an Expert to Lead Experts? An Empirical Study of Business School Deans, on the Cornell ILR School web site.  Here is the abstract:

Should knowledge-intensive organizations be led by experts? To explore this, the paper studies the case of the world s leading business schools. It asks the question: are top scholars leading the top schools? A statistically significant correlation is presented. The higher a business school is in a global ranking, the higher the number of life-time citations of the dean. The paper offers a theory to explain this. Interview evidence is also provided.

Today's Inside Higher Ed reports on the paper in Academics In Charge at B-Schools:

Whether scholars or executives make better business school deans is an inherently subjective question — and one that is discussed around the world. What’s clear, based on a recent study, is that top business schools favor hiring leaders with extensive publishing records. Business schools that finished highest in the 2005 Financial Times Global MBA ranking have deans with the highest levels of lifetime citations, which are measures of one’s references in scholarly papers and one indicator of academic reputation

This paper follows up on Goodall's earlier work, Should Top Universities be Led by Top Researchers and Are They? A Citations Analysis, 62 Journal of Documentation ___ (2006) (blogged here).

These findings are directly contrary to my argument in What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Texas L. Rev. 1483, 1552-53 (2004), that law school deans need not be top scholars:

The conventional wisdom in legal education — by insisting that deans when hired be leading scholars and that they continue to be engaged in substantial scholarship during their deanship — is contrary to the lessons in Moneyball. Billy Beane’s example suggests that the revolutionary dean . . . may turn out to rank below the mid-range in scholarly productivity and impact measures. But Dean Beane will have the requisite talents, tenacity, and temperament to drive all law school players to better performance. Dean Beane will confront tradition head on, challenging the conventional wisdom with the certainty of one who has seen (and lived) its limits first-hand.... The innovative law school of the future (like the Oakland A’s of today) very well might be one which would never have hired its dean as a faculty member (or its general manager as a player) in the first place.

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

Hymel on Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy

Ssrn_logo_128 Hymel_4 Mona L. Hymel (Arizona) has posted The United States’ Experience with Energy-Based Tax Incentives: The Evidence Supporting Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Developing sustainable markets for renewable energy technologies presents complex challenges. Financial, institutional and informational obstacles impede advancement of these technologies. Tax incentives are often utilized to assist policy makers in dealing with these challenges. Because tax incentives and subsidies generally decrease governmental revenues, understanding their costs and benefits is critical in determining policy choices. For almost 90 years the United States has granted tax incentives, direct subsidies and other support to the energy industry in an effort to enhance U.S. energy supplies. Historically, those incentives targeted only the petroleum industry. Since the late 1970s, however, Congress has enacted incentives to encourage investment in technology and production of alternative and renewable energy sources. Studies evaluating the effectiveness of these tax incentives (both for conventional energy sources and alternative energy technologies) vary in their conclusions. Drawing upon these studies, this paper appraises the use of tax incentives to stimulate alternative fuel sources, renewable and non-renewable. Ultimately, criteria must be developed to assist policy makers in designing tax incentives to promote the development of renewable fuel sources and reduce the U.S. dependence on fossil fuels.

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April 26, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Race v. Rankings

Interesting article in yesterday's USA Today:  Law School Verdict's Still Out: Race vs. Ranking, by G. Jeffrey MacDonald:

Law schools eager to raise their national rankings are demanding higher scores on the Law School Admission Test, but they're paying a price in terms of racial diversity as fewer and fewer black applicants make the cutoff. That's the controversial argument of John Nussbaumer, an associate dean at Michigan's Thomas M. Cooley Law School and author of a widely debated paper in this month's edition of the St. John's University Law Review. His thesis says schools increasingly ignore their mandate not to overemphasize the LSAT. It is striking chords far beyond academic circles as the legal profession ponders how to reverse a steady, 10-year decline.

Since 1994, when first-year black enrollment peaked at 3,432, that number has dropped 13% to 2,975, according to data from the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT. By contrast, Asian and Hispanic enrollments have climbed: Asians by 44% to 3,759, and Hispanics by 26% to 2,610. Blacks are getting denied at the gate, Nussbaumer says, because schools are increasingly concerned with LSAT scores: The average law student's score has jumped from 154.3 in 2001 to 157.3 in 2005. And because blacks as a group consistently score about 9 points below the national average, a heightened focus on that one benchmark means blacks are getting a disproportionate share of rejection letters.

"Students with low scores can succeed and can be good lawyers," Nussbaumer says, adding that factors such as life experience and work habits don't get tested on the LSAT. "But if you over-rely on the LSAT, some of these folks get cut out of the chance to try."

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

More on Houston Dean Rapoport's Resignation Following Drop in U.S. News Rankings

We previously have blogged Houston Dean Rapoport's resignation following controversy over the school's drop in the U.S. News rankings (here and here).  The Texas Lawyer has a very long article on the controversy, Rankings Rift Hastens UH Law Dean's Resignation, by Mark Donald:

The agenda items up for discussion at the April 7 faculty meeting at the University of Houston Law Center seemed fairly benign: honor code revisions, an update on the self-study program and a presentation on computer software that had caused some glitches during the last exam period. But there was one item within the Dean's Report that had caused more than 100 law students to cram into the small campus meeting room: the law school's marked decline in the newly released U.S. News & World Report 2007 law school rankings. Although the UH Law Center had only fallen five spots to 70th position among the magazine's "Top 100 Schools" there had been a precipitous slide of 20 slots during much of Dean Nancy Rapoport's six-year tenure....

But rather than deal with the issue that concerned the students, Rapoport proceeded with other agenda items. "I don't believe that students run faculty meetings," she says. "But it is fair to say that maybe there were other agendas at stake." Those agendas "began to dawn on her," she claims, when law professor John Mixon and other tenured faculty members began urging her to allow the students to speak. Mixon, who has served on the UH Law Center faculty for 50 years, declines to comment on the dean's resignation. "I think it is best that I not respond," he says. "I am willing to sit and let anyone comment on it as they choose." But Rapoport contends that Mixon "has been very public about his view that the rankings are very important to the school, and that it is my fault that we are not higher in the rankings."...

What did bring her to tears, she says, was the realization that only one faculty member at the meeting was willing to stand up for the dean and voice agreement with her vision for the school. "My vision has the rankings as an indicator that we are doing the right thing, rather than an end in itself, and that has bothered some folks for six years," Rapoport says. Instead, Rapoport says the meeting "became an opportunity for some folks who have not been happy for a while to do a little rallying and express disagreement with the direction I was taking the school."

Defending herself at the meeting, Rapoport says, "I turned to Mixon and said, "All of your e-mails haven't gotten rid of me.' " She would later contend that Mixon was part of a group of tenured faculty members who predated her deanship and had for years attempted to undermine her by using the rankings decline as proof that her vision for the school was misguided....

Professor Ira Shepard who teaches tax law at UH and attended the meeting says he doesn't believe he witnessed a power struggle, but rather viewed it as "an escalating confrontation between two people who very much love the law center and both want it to be the finest possible law school it can be. They may just have a different idea as to how to reach that commonly shared goal, and therein lies the problem." ...

Rapoport remains convinced that the main difference between Mixon and her is one of "pedigree vs. performance — basically, he is more focused on credentials and I am more focused on what people actually do." Mixon's e-mailed response to questions from Texas Lawyer does reflect a penchant for pedigree — certainly regarding his vision for strengthening the faculty, which he already regards as "very strong." "Specifically, our paradigm for new professors should be a recent graduate from a top-twenty law school with law review and Coif standing and federal clerking experience, preferably at the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals level . . ." Mixon writes. "[T]o regain our national position and ensure long term academic strength, we must avoid risky hiring decisions that weaken our national standing." Rapoport, on the other hand, believes that a low-risk faculty hire "isn't someone who is freshly-minted from Columbia or Yale, with a Supreme Court clerkship. The safest bet is hiring someone with a proven track record who has taught as a visiting professor somewhere and has already published articles," Rapoport says. To Mixon and others, "this is heresy."...

Even with Rapoport waiting for someone to defend her vision, at least one faculty member felt this was a futile exercise. "Nancy feels that if a group of colleagues went to [Mixon] and told him to stop being critical of her, then John would stop being critical," Shepard says. "But John cares passionately about the law school. He is not going to be deterred."

After the faculty meeting, in what might have been a last-ditch effort to heal her rift with students, Rapoport sent an April 10 e-mail to "students, faculty and staff." In the e-mail, she announced the immediate creation of a committee, "the RTF, for "Rankings Task Force' — consisting of students, faculty members, and alumni who will investigate all possible avenues and action steps that could help improve our standing in the USN&WR rankings."...

Rapoport says she never did find her defender; none amongst her faculty came forward. "I was waiting for someone to step up to the plate, but I didn't see any plate-stepping. That is when I decided to resign."

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

"Bloggers-Meet-Readers" Night in Cambridge on Thursday, April 27

Über blogger Eugene Volokh has organized a "Bloggers-Meet-Readers" social the night before our Bloggership Conference.  Nineteen Law Prof bloggers (including yours truly; complete list here) will be hanging out at the bar at the conference hotel (the Zephyr Lounge in the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, 575 Memorial Drive) from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. this Thursday, April 27.  I hope readers in the Boston area will join us.

April 26, 2006 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

McIntyre on Comments on the OECD Proposal for Secret and Mandatory Arbitration of International Tax Disputes

Mcintyre_1 Ssrn_logo_129 Michael J. McIntrye (Wayne State) has posted Comments on the OECD Proposal for Secret and Mandatory Arbitration of International Tax Disputes on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The OECD has proposed amendments to its Model Tax Convention and Commentary that would establish a system for the mandatory arbitration of tax disputes between two treaty countries when the tax officials of those countries have been unable to resolve those disputes within a two-year period. The proposal is undoubtedly well-meaning and does address a small but significant problem - the “rare cases” (OECD characterization) of potential double taxation that are unresolved through the existing tax-treaty mechanism. Nevertheless, the public policy goals of this proposed system are at best obscure, and the risks to sound administration of national tax systems are great.

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April 26, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Tax Section Offers Teleconference & Webcast Today on Net Worth Tax Pitfalls

Aba_tax_7 The ABA Tax Section is offering a teleconference and webcast today on Net Worth Tax Pitfalls and Techniques to Avoid Them or What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST:

States including Illinois, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, among others, impose significant franchise taxes based on a company’s net worth. Business advisors should be knowledgeable about these taxes when recommending a business restructuring or assisting with an acquisition or merger. The form of the transaction may trigger (or save) significant annual net-worth taxes. Learn how having a multi-tiered structure, making a § 338(h)(10) election, or employing push-down accounting, including the use of a “revaluation-capital account” when recording a business acquisition, may have a meaningful impact on a company’s annual franchise tax liability. The panel will also discuss the requisite “nexus” for a state to impose a net worth or franchise tax, and explain the differences between the nexus standards for franchise, net income, and sales/use taxes. The panel will also discuss recent court developments with respect to net worth and franchise taxes.

Faculty:

April 26, 2006 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wealthy Families Behind Estate Tax Repeal

Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy released a report today claiming that the 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax has been financed and coordinated by just 18 families: 

  • Allyn-Soderberg Family (Welch Allyn Inc.)
  • Blethen Family (Seattle Times Co.)
  • Cox Family (Cox Enterprises, Inc.)
  • DeVos and Van Andel Families (Alticor/Amway)
  • Dorrance Family (Campbell Soup Company)
  • Gallo (E&J Gallo Winery)
  • Harbert Family
  • Johnson Family (BET, RLJ Development Co.)
  • Koch Family (Koch Industries)
  • Mars Family (Mars Inc.)
  • Mayer Family (Captiva Resources)
  • Nordstrom Family (Nordstrom Inc.)
  • Sobrato Family (Sobrato Development)
  • Stephens Family (Stephens Inc.)
  • Timken Family (The Timken Company)
  • Walton Family (Wal-Mart)
  • Wegman Family (Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.)

Report:  Spending Millions to Save Billions: The Campaign of the Super Wealthy to Kill the Estate Tax:

April 25, 2006 in Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

Atax Issues Call for Papers on Taxation and Development

Atax_2The Australian Taxation Studies Program (Atax), University of New South Wales, has issued a Call for Papers for the first International Network for Tax Research Conference on Taxation and Development to be held at the University of Michigan on November 3-5, 2006:

The International Network for Tax Research (“INTR”) is an informal research network that was launched in July 2005 by a group of academics and research institutions with the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. The INTR aims to promote a global view of tax issues and to encourage input from developing as well as developed countries in its research projects. INTR priorities are topics that can benefit from comparative analyses and may have an impact on the formulation of public policies in OECD member countries and non OECD Economies. INTR wishes to favour a multidisciplinary approach including tax lawyers (international and domestic), economists, accountants, tax administrators and those working in related areas.

The first area of work for the INTR will be on taxation and development. This topic was identified by the group as the most suitable for a pilot project because of its multidisciplinary dimension and the wide interest it could present for OECD as well as non-OECD countries. It will be the main subject for the first INTR conference.

Papers or abstracts/outlines of papers should be submitted by May 31, 2006 to Caroline Silberztein.

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

New Google Scholar Rankings

Google_3Google Scholar has introduced a rankings element in their increasingly popular Google Scholar search engine:

How are articles ranked? Google Scholar aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature. The most relevant results will always appear on the first page.

The Official Google Blog explains:

Today [April 20] we're launching a feature of Google Scholar which will make it easier for researchers to keep up with recent research.... It's not just a plain sort by date, but rather we try to rank recent papers the way researchers do, by looking at the prominence of the author's and journal's previous papers, how many citations it already has, when it was written, and so on. Look for the new link on the upper right for "Recent articles" -- or switch to "All articles" for the full list. Scholarly endeavors are about learning what has already been done and building on it. We hope this feature will help researchers worldwide learn from and build on the latest advances.

(Hat Tip:  Feminist Law Professors.)

April 25, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Joint Tax Committee Releases Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for 2006-2010

BluebookThe Joint Committee on Taxation today released Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2006-2010 (JCS-2-06):

Part I of this report contains a discussion of the concept of tax expenditures.  Part II is a discussion of the measurement of tax expenditures.  Estimates of tax expenditures for fiscal years 2006-2010 are presented in Table 1 in Part III.  Table 2 shows the distribution of tax returns by income class, and Table 3 presents distributions of selected individual tax expenditures by income class.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has issued a critical report, Joint Tax Committee Estimate Shows that Tax Gimmick Being Designed to Evade Senate Budget Rules Would Increase Long-Term Deficits:

House and Senate conferees negotiating an agreement on the tax reconciliation bill are widely reported to have decided to use a change in Roth IRAs to help “offset” the cost of capital gains and dividend tax cuts in years after 2010. If the tax reconciliation bill increases the deficit after 2010, it would violate a Senate rule that a reconciliation bill may not increase long-term deficits, and the bill would be subject to a 60-vote point of order on the Senate floor. The Roth IRA provision, in conjunction with other provisions, is supposed to address this problem.

New estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation show, however, that the Roth IRA proposal is a gimmick — while it would raise revenues in the first few years it was in effect, it would produce sizeable revenue losses in the years after that (see the Figure below and the Joint Tax Committee document below). The new Joint Tax Committee estimates confirm that the proposal represents a flagrant deception, under which conferees would seek to create an illusion they were not increasing long-term deficits when in fact that would be precisely what they were doing.

April 25, 2006 in Gov't Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BNA Tax Management Advisory Board Meets Today on Estate & Gift Tax

Bna_2The BNA Tax Management Advisory Board meets today at 6:30 p.m. at the World Trade Club, One Ferry Plaza, San Francisco, to discuss three Estates, Gifts and Trusts papers:

  • Proposed Cost Sharing Regulations and the High Tech Industry, by Walter M. Kolligs (Ernst & Young, San Francisco
  • Trustees and the Duty to Diversify, by Christopher P. Cline (Holland & Knight, Portland)
  • Economic Substance Doctrine — Current Developments, by Yoram Keinan (Ernst & Young, Washington D.C.)

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

Panel on the Nonprofit Sector Issues Nine Supplemental Recommendations

The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector has issued a Supplement to its June 2005 Final Report on Strengthening Transparency, Governance, and Accountability of Charitable Organizations, with nine recommendations on:

  1. International Grantmaking
  2. Charitable Solicitation
  3. Compensation of Trustees of Charitable Trusts
  4. Prudent Investor Standard
  5. Nonprofit Conversion Transactions
  6. Taxation on Sales of Donated Property
  7. Consumer Credit Counseling Organizations
  8. Disclosure of Unrelated Business Activities
  9. Federal Court Equity Powers and Standing to Sue

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

April 25, 2006 in Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alm & McKee on Audit Certainty, Audit Productivity, and Taxpayer Compliance

Ssrn_logo_130James Alm (Georgia State) & Michael McKee (Tennessee) have posted Audit Certainty, Audit Productivity, and Taxpayer Compliance on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Strategies for dealing with evasion include such standard policies as stricter enforcement (e.g., increased audit rates, more extensive audits, larger penalties). However, the exact responses of taxpayers to these enforcement measures are quite difficult to measure with existing field data, and so are not known precisely. In this paper we use experimental methods to examine how individuals respond in their compliance decisions to a "certain" probability of audit and to information concerning the "productivity" of an audit. Our design informs some individuals that their return will be audited with certainty prior to making their compliance decision, while other individuals receive information that they will not be audited; we also inform individuals of the productivity of the audit by stating how much unreported income will be discovered via the audit. We find that the announcement of audits increases the compliance rate of those who are told that they will be audited. However, the compliance rate of those who know that they will not be audited falls, and the net effect is that overall compliance falls.

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

IRS: Alaska & Hawaii Are States for Tax Purposes

Irs_logo_240The IRS recently released Information Letter 2006-0025:

This letter responds to your letter dated November 4, 2005. In your letter, you requested information on whether Alaska and Hawaii, after their admission as States, are included within the definitions of “State” and “United States” contained under Employment Tax Regulation § 31.3121(e)-1. The simple answer is that Alaska and Hawaii are included within these definitions of “State” and “United States.”

April 25, 2006 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

NLJ: Law Schools Mean Business

Interesting article in this week's National law Journal:  Law Schools Mean Business, by Leigh Jones:

As head of InfiLaw Corp., [Rick] Inatome oversees operations of three for-profit law schools, which include Florida Coastal School of Law, Phoenix International School of Law and Charlotte School of Law. The institutions are part of a contingent of for-profit law schools that have sprung up in the 10 years since the American Bar Association began permitting them to seek accreditation.  And even though InfiLaw's schools and the other for-profits across the country make up a small -- if not stigmatized -- portion of law schools, their businesslike approach is one that their nonprofit competitors are increasingly utilizing.

April 25, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Colorado Releases Report on Tenure

Colorado_5The University of Colorado System has released a detailed report of its Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes.  Check out the wealth of sources here and here.  For press coverage, see:

April 25, 2006 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Papers for Bloggership Conference at Harvard on Friday, April 28

Berkman_logo_4All of the twelve papers are available on the SSRN Conference Site for our symposium on Bloggership:  How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship to be held this Friday, April 28 at Harvard Law School:

8:30 - 8:40 a.m.: Welcome: John Palfrey (Executive Director, The Berkman Center for Internet & Society)

8:40 - 9:00 a.m.: Introduction: Paul Caron (Cincinnati; Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Law Professor Blogs Network)

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Law Blogs as Legal Scholarship

11:00 - 12:30 p.m.: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 - 3:30 p.m.: Law Blogs and the First Amendment

3:45 - 5:15 p.m.:  The Many Faces of Law Professor Blogs

The symposium is sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and will be held in the Ames Courtroom.  It is free and open to the public; registration is not required.

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

Avi-Yonah Presents The Three Goals of Taxation Today at Tel Aviv University

Aviyonah_8 Tel_aviv_2Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) presents The Three Goals of Taxation at Tel Aviv University today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium.  Here is the abstract:

The current debate on whether the US tax base should be income or consumption has been waged in terms of the traditional criteria for evaluating tax policy - efficiency, equity and administrability. Proponents of the consumption tax have argued that it is superior to the income tax on all three grounds. If that argument is correct, it is difficult to understand why most countries have both income and consumption taxes, and why countries like the United States adopted the income tax as a substitute for consumption taxes. This paper argues that the debate omits consideration of the goals of taxation in the modern era, which are (1) to raise revenue for government activities, (2) to mitigate unequal distributions of wealth in society, and (3) to regulate private economic activity. When these goals are taken into consideration, it is clear that both income and consumption taxes have a role in modern tax policy, and that the US should follow the path of other developed countries and employ both at the federal level.

April 24, 2006 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)