TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

There is a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new paper debuting on the list at #5:

1.  [626 Downloads]  A Guide to Starting Social Security Benefits, by Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois)  [blogged here]

2.  [312 Downloads]  Toward a New Framework and a Better Understanding of Credit Default Swaps, by Ari Joshua Brandes (Georgetown)  [blogged here]

3.  [303 Downloads]  The Coming Showdown Over University Endowments: Enlisting the Donors, by Sarah Waldeck (Seton Hall)  [blogged here]

4.  [302 Downloads]  Cobra Strikes Back: Anatomy of a Tax Shelter, by Karen C. Burke (San Diego) & Grayson M.P. McCouch (San Diego)  [blogged here]

5.  [249 Downloads]  An Overview of the Tax Gap, by Dave Rifkin (Attorney-Advisor to Tax Court Judge Juan F. Vasquez; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown)  [blogged here]

August 31, 2008 in Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CB&PP: Big Misconceptions About Small Business and Taxes

The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities has published Big Misconceptions About Small Business and Taxes, by Chye-Ching Huang & James R. Horney:

Supporters of various tax benefits for high-income households often claim that failure to maintain them would have an undue effect on many small businesses. But even assuming a broad definition of “small business,” such claims are often exaggerated or false. This paper examines three such claims.

First, critics charge that allowing the 2001 tax cut’s reduction in the top two marginal income tax rates for individual taxpayers to expire as scheduled would affect a large proportion of small-business owners. In fact, only 1.9% of filers with any small-business income are projected to face either of the top two income tax rates in 2009. By contrast, more than 14% of filers with small-business income claim the EITC for low-income workers. Thus, strengthening the EITC could help more than seven times as many small businesses as reducing the top income tax rates.

Second, critics often greatly exaggerate the burden of the estate tax on small businesses. Only a tiny proportion of the few estates that pay any estate tax have significant small business or farm assets. Furthermore, the small businesses and farm estates that do pay estate tax benefit from special provisions designed to help them reduce their estate tax liability.

Third, critics often falsely claim that proposals to eliminate tax breaks for hedge fund managers would harm “mom and pop” businesses. Even the most expansive definition of a small-business owner does not fit the typical hedge fund executive.

This paper analyzes these claims. It likely overestimates the number of small businesses adversely affected by changes to the top two marginal tax rates, the estate tax, and loopholes available to hedge-fund managers because it: (1) adopts an extremely generous definition of “small business” and (2) does not consider many valuable tax breaks that small businesses and small-business owners enjoy. Yet it still finds that the claims typically made about small businesses and taxes are highly exaggerated, misleading, or false.

August 31, 2008 in Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Tax Section Submits Comment Letters

Ryan: The Past, Present, and Future of 527 Organization Political Activity Regulation

Paul S. Ryan (FEC Program Director and Associate Legal Counsel, The Campaign Legal Center) has published 527s in 2008: The Past, Present, and Future of 527 Organization Political Activity Regulation, 45 Harv. J. on Legis. 471 (2008).  Here is the abstract:

In 2004 and 2006, political organizations with tax-exempt status under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code spent large sums to influence elections without registering as political committees or abiding by the campaign finance regulations that go along with political committee status. Although many of these organizations later paid substantial fines to the Federal Election Commission, the FEC has yet to offer adequate guidance about which 527 organizations are required to register as political committees. As a result, many organizations are likely to attempt to influence future elections without registering as political committees, and to claim in later proceedings that they were unclear about their status. This Article analyzes federal and state campaign finance law, court decisions, and FEC settlement agreements to clarify what factors determine whether a given 527 political organization must register as a political committee. The Article proposes legislation to institute a presumption that groups which identify themselves as political organizations under section 527 are political committees unless they fall into a limited range of exceptions.

August 31, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Graetz: A Multilateral Solution for the Income Tax Treatment of Interest Expenses

Michael J. Graetz (Yale; moving to Columbia in '09) has posted A Multilateral Solution for the Income Tax Treatment of Interest Expenses on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Recent developments - including greater taxpayer sophistication in structuring and locating international financing arrangements, increased government concerns with the role of debt in sophisticated tax avoidance techniques, and disruption by decisions of the European Court of Justice of member states' regimes limiting interest deductions - have stimulated new laws and policy controversies concerning the international tax treatment of interest expenses. National rules are in flux regarding the financing of both inbound and outbound transactions.

Continue reading

August 30, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Update on The Green Bag's "Deadwood" Law School Rankings

I previously blogged the Green Bag's forthcoming annual ranking of law schools -- the "Deadwood Rankings": Fair Warning to Law Schools ... , 11 Green Bag 2d 139 (Spring 2008).  The Green Bag has posted an update:  Deadwood Report Update: Paperweight, 11 Green Bag 2d 414 (Summer 2008).  Here is the abstract:

When we introduced the Deadwood Report in our Winter 2008 issue, we staked out two main positions on what we would treat as scholarship when assessing faculty productivity. Fair Warning to Law Schools..., 11 Green Bag 2d 139, 144. We are standing by one of those positions and abandoning the other, at least for now. First we said, "Not all writing is scholarship and not all scholarship is the same" - a position we still like. For now we plan to proceed with a simple independent-sufficiency-for-tenure standard: We know that a professor can satisfy the scholarship requirement for tenure with a record consisting exclusively of articles in scholarly journals or exclusively of books. We know of no law school that grants tenure based on a record consisting exclusively of any other form of publication. But the Green Bag is not all-knowing, and so, as we said in our Winter 2008 issue, we will make exceptions. We do hope to provide some insight into one touchy area: the relative worth of student, faculty, and practitioner judgments about scholarly value. As with the weighting of teaching, we will be asking deans for help. See Deadwood Report Update: Pick Your Own Weight, 11 Green Bag 2d 275. The draft survey below invites deans to assign weights to a variety of scholarly products, including articles appearing in journals edited by students, professors, and practitioners. As before, we welcome your comments on the draft. Second we said, "Inbreeding is bad policy" - a position we cannot justify now. For a variety of reasons, works appearing in organs published by your school or your students, or on which a member of your faculty serves as an editor or in some similar capacity, do count.

Green_bag_chart

August 30, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gerzog: The New Regs on Alternative Date Valuation

Wendy C. Gerzog (Baltimore) has published The New Regs on Alternative Date Valuation, 120 Tax Notes 797 (Aug. 25, 2008):

Treasury recently announced proposed regulations under section 2032 explaining valuation rules for assets when the decedent elects to apply the alternate valuation date. The regulations first provide background information about the statute, including legislative history and case law interpretation, and then underline their departure from Kohler [T.C. Memo. 2006-152] a 2006 Tax Court memorandum decision.

August 30, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Corporate Tax Planning and the Economic Substance Doctrine

Jason Quinn (J.D. 2009, George Mason) has published Comment, Being Punished for Obeying the Rules: Corporate Tax Planning and the Overly Broad Economic Substance Doctrine, 15 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1041 (2008).  Here is the Conclusion:

As the use of prepackaged corporate tax planning has wound its way through the judicial system, the appellate bias against such tax packages has become increasingly apparent. Circuit courts have shown little restraint in expanding traditional judicial doctrines to disallow the use of a tax package, even if the only apparent reason to do so is that a different taxpayer has previously used the same package illegitimately. There is an alternative to this expansion of existing judicial doctrines. Circuit courts have two important guides when examining tax packages: the I.R.C. framework and the fact-finding of the trial courts. The I.R.C. provides objective rules for taxpayer behavior and the results of those rules, whether intentional or unintentional, are only the result of carefully considered legislative action. Where substantial tax benefits are not the result of clear taxpayer disingenuousness (i.e., where there was a possibility of economic benefit from the transaction and the taxpayer recognized that fact) those benefits should not be disallowed. To aid in the search for clearly disingenuous behavior, trial courts in tax package cases frequently develop comprehensive factual findings. These are of paramount importance, as they often serve to differentiate sincere behavior in one case from quasi-fraudulent behavior in another. In deference to the legislative framework and trial court fact-finding, appellate courts in tax package cases should strive to clarify the existing judicial doctrines, so that taxpayers may conclude with some certainty where the lines have been drawn separating acceptable tax benefits from unacceptable tax benefits.

August 30, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 29, 2008

IRS Agrees to Suspend AMT on Exercise of ISOs Through Sept. 30

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley today announced that he has secured a commitment from the IRS to suspend for one month the collection of the AMT (including interest and penalties) arising out of employees’ exercise of incentive stock options. The suspension gives Congress time to enact legislation that would ease these burdens on affected taxpayers.

August 29, 2008 in Congressional News, IRS News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (2)

Warning to College Presidents (and Faculty): Do Not Take a Picture Like This

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today that Robert A. Paxton, President of Iowa Central Community College, resigned this week after this picture was published in The Des Moines Register (the former president is the one holding the spigot of a mini-keg over the young woman's mouth):

Bilde_3

The picture in question is of a boat party on an Iowa lake, about 100 miles from the community college's Fort Dodge campus. The scene is not exactly a modern version of Renoir's famous "Luncheon of the Boating Party," although both depict young women imbibing alcohol.

Mr. Paxton, 52, is handling a small Coors Light keg being held over the woman's mouth. Nearby, another woman appears to be tipping a bottle of vodka.

After circulating around Fort Dodge, the photograph eventually arrived at the state's flagship newspaper, The Register.

Mr. Paxton initially defended himself when questioned by a reporter, saying he never actually opened the keg's tap.

"The thing didn't work," he said. "If I was doing anything, I was grabbing it and trying to put it back down."

None of those drinking at the party were underage, said Mr. Crimmins, and neither of the young women in the photo were students. Mr. Paxton's son, John, is in the picture. The senior Mr. Paxton said his son, a student at the college, was not drinking on the boat. But in another damaging revelation, the newspaper reported that John Paxton was arrested and charged with drunk driving the day after the picture was taken. He has pleaded not guilty. ...

In his comments to The Register, Mr. Paxton said that he was not drinking the day of the boat party and that his detractors were intruding into his private life. "A girl takes a picture on a boat and somehow somebody gets hold of it and runs it up the flagpole," he said. "I mean, you could be in the same situation. Any of us could."

It is probably a stretch to say that a newspaper would publish an embarrassing photograph of the average citizen. But for college presidents, the risk is real.

Press and blogosphere coverage:

(Hat Tip: Jim Maule.)

August 29, 2008 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Azam: E-commerce Taxation and Cyberspace Law

Rifat Azam (Gornitzky & Co., Tel Aviv, Israel) has published E-commerce Taxation and Cyberspace Law: The Integrative Adaptation Model, 12(5) Va. J.L. & Tech. 1 (2007).  Here is the abstract:

This article argues that the current debate on international taxation of e-commerce is totally tax oriented and ignores cyberspace law and that this separation is unjustified and harmful to the development of e-commerce taxation law. Mutual intellectual feeding and integrative debate that is open and interesting to the general legal scholarly community is necessary to improve ecommerce law.

Continue reading

August 29, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Portions of Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

Here are the tax portions of Barack Obama's amazing acceptance speech at last night's Democratic Convention:

  • Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?
  • How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement? ...
  • Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
  • You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
  • You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. ...
  • I will -- listen now -- I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class. ...
  • Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. ...
  • I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected, because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

August 29, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Calculate Your Obama Tax Cut

Calculate your Obama tax cut here.  (The methodology is explained here.)

For a fuller explanation of the presidential candidates tax positions, see The Tax Policy Center:  A Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans (Aug. 28, 2008):

See also The Washington Post:  Obama and McCain Tax Proposals:

Wapo_2 

August 29, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)

Fischel: Serrano and Proposition 13: The Importance of Asking the Right Question

Tax_analystsWilliam A. Fischel (Dartmouth College, Department of Economics) has published Serrano and Proposition 13:  The Importance of Asking the Right Question, 49 State Tax Notes 535 (Aug. 25, 2008).  Here is the Conclusion:

Statewide polls have not asked the right questions about Proposition 13. That is not merely an academic issue. By persistently asking the wrong questions, polls have misled scholars and public officials about the causes of Proposition 13. California voters are thought to be irrational or excessively selfish or systematically misled by demagogues like Howard Jarvis. Therefore, officials despair of fixing the adverse effects of Proposition 13. But if the Serrano story has more than a grain of truth, voters might be willing to modify Proposition 13. A modification of Serrano to allow local property taxes to connect more closely to local school spending could convince voters to accept modifications of Proposition 13. But we will not know that until there is more widespread understanding of the true causes of Proposition 13.

August 29, 2008 in Scholarship, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Court Upholds Revocation of Catholic Hospital's Tax Exemption

John Colombo (Illinois) blogs the Illinois 4th District Court of Appeals' revocation of a Catholic hospital's property tax exemption (Provena Covenant Medical Center v. Illinois Department of Revenue, No. 06MR597 (Ill. App. Ct., 4th Dist., Aug. 26, 2008)) here, here, and here.

August 29, 2008 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mitchell: Consider the Research Tax Credit in M&A Deals

Kreig D. Mitchell (Law Office of Kreig Mitchell) has posted Consider the Research Tax Credit in M&A Deals on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Our tax laws include a number of provisions that attempt to prevent taxpayers from buying and selling business tax attributes. Notwithstanding these provisions, taxpayers may still buy and sell businesses with the aim of increasing their own research and development tax credits. This presents taxpayers with some unique tax planning opportunities, and potential tax pitfalls. This article describes a few of these opportunities and pitfalls.

August 29, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mann Presents Do Tax Breaks for Ethanol Reduce Global Warming? Today at Oregon

Roberta Mann (Widener; visiting at Oregon) presents Do Tax Breaks for Ethanol Reduce Global Warming? today at Oregon.

August 28, 2008 in Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

2d Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Indictment Against 13 KPMG Tax Shelter Defendants

The Second Circuit today affirmed the dismissal of indictments against 13 former partners and employees of KPMG, who were charged with criminal tax fraud and conspiracy.  United States v. Stein, No. 07-3042-cr (2d Cir. Aug. 28, 2008):

We hold that KPMG’s adoption and enforcement of a policy under which it conditioned, capped and ultimately ceased advancing legal fees to defendants followed as a direct consequence of the government’s overwhelming influence, and that KPMG’s conduct therefore amounted to state action. We further hold that the government thus unjustifiably interfered with defendants’ relationship with counsel and their ability to mount a defense, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, and that the government did not cure the violation. Because no other remedy will return defendants to the status quo ante, we affirm the dismissal of the indictment as to all thirteen defendants.

Press and blogosphere coverage:

August 28, 2008 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Disgruntled Alabama Taxpayer Rams Car Into IRS Building

(Hat Tip: Ben Cunningham.)

August 28, 2008 in IRS News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Dilley Receives Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Award

Tax Prof Patricia E. Dilley (Florida) has received a Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Award for her proposal, Restoring Old Age Income Security for Low Wage Workers.  See press releases from the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

August 28, 2008 in Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rating the New Forbes College Rankings

I previously blogged Forbes' new ranking of 569 colleges and universities, based on this methodology:

  • Listing of Alumni in Who's Who in America (25%)
  • Student Evaluations of Professors from RateMyProfessors.com (25%)
  • Four- Year Graduation Rates (16 2/3%)
  • Enrollment-adjusted numbers of students and faculty receiving nationally competitive awards (16 2/3%)
  • Average four year accumulated student debt of those borrowing money (16 2/3%)

Today's Inside Higher Ed has two op-eds with very different views on the utility of the Forbes rankings:

Let me compare the two most recent rankings, by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report. Full disclosure: I was the lead investigator in compiling the Forbes rankings. ...  There are two features of the Forbes rankings that make them somewhat superior in my judgment.

First, they require no cooperation from the schools, using only data from external sources beyond their control. Thus Forbes ranks Sarah Lawrence (which refuses to provide data) but US News does not. It is harder to “game” the Forbes rankings. Second, and more important, a statistical analysis of all 569 schools in the Forbes rankings shows no statistically significant relationship between spending per student and rankings. It is spending neutral, and buying yourself to the top of the rankings is not an option.

Rankings mania reached a new low recently when Forbes magazine entered the “best college” sweepstakes. Exalting RateMyProfessors.com and Who’s Who in America as dubious measures of academic quality, the Forbes list comes off more as a parody than any real competition for the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” edition, which has its own well-publicized problems with credible outcomes data. Once again, greed trumps truth while masquerading as a consumer service. ...

Pretending to measure instructional quality, Forbes uses the profoundly scurrilous RateMyProfessors.com for 25 percent of its scoring method. Why stop there? Why not add a category for the number of campus sluts outed on JuicyCampus.com? RateMyProfessors invites just as much vicious gossip and cruel slander while providing no legitimate assessment of excellence in teaching.

August 28, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Tax Papers: Constitutional and Supranational Review on Tax Legislation Across the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) has issued a call for tax papers for a workshop on Constitutional and Supranational Review on Tax Legislation Across the Mediterranean as part of the 10th Mediterranean Research Meeting to be held on March 25-28, 2009.  Here is the workshop abstract:

The objective of the seminar is to assess, in a comparative approach, the current trends of Legal, Constitutional, Religious and Supranational Limitations on the Taxing Power of domestic legislatures across the Mediterranean (and in nearby Countries as well); to evaluate and compare the impact of fundamental principles, concepts and rights on the taxing power of the sovereign states. ...

Under a theoretical perspective, Adams Smith was perhaps the first one to develop "canons or maxims of good tax" in the Western world, i.e. tax should be certain, fair, efficient and considers the taxpayer's needs and situation. This model of "Good Tax" has become a benchmark for most of the legislatures and policy-makers around the world.

Nearly two centuries after Adam Smith's canons of good tax, nearly all the courts in Europe began to question the taxing power of the Sovereign State according to various principles (Constitutions, where available, Fundamental principles, Ethical and even Religious). In Europe, we ultimately are experiencing restraints of Supranational nature.

The EU has introduced new limitations that however are not related to a social dimension but rather to market-economic approach. At the same time, it could be argued that other consideration are used in the Mediterranean countries, such as national constitutions, legal traditions, ethical, principles of distributive justice and even religious concepts.

The more the Mediterranean sea is considered a common area to share experiences and face common challenges, it is relevant to compare the various approaches to taxation according to the various aims pursued by the states and to the limits found within the fundamental principles of each one of them.

Applications (with a C.V. and 500-1000 word paper proposal) are due September1, 2008.  Decisions will be announced September 30, 2008, and final papers are due January 15, 2009.

(Hat Tip:  Reuven Avi-Yonah.)

August 28, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Law Student Tax Challenge Releases This Year's Problem

2008_lstc_3The ABA Section of Taxation Young Lawyers Forum yesterday released the Problem, updated rules (J.D.; LL.M.), and entry forms (J.D.; LL.M.) for the 8th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

For the eighth consecutive year, the Young Lawyers Forum of the ABA Section on Taxation will sponsor its Law Student Tax Challenge competition. An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Inspired by the setting for the Section's 2009 Midyear Meeting, this year's problem asks students to advise a fictional client on a favorable tax strategy in order to take advantage of tax credits available for economic development in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to examining the role of tax credits, the problem also asks participants to consider the allocation of such credits back to the funding entity.

Teams competing in the Law Student Tax Challenge will be evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to the client explaining the result. Based on this written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division will receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) for the Section's 2009 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, where they will defend their submissions before a panel of some of the country's top tax lawyers.

Upcoming Deadlines:

  • Nov. 7, 2008: Written Submissions Due
  • Dec. 19, 2008: Semi-Finalists Notified
  • Jan. 9, 2009:  Oral Rounds at Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting

For the results, problems, winning answers, judges, and entrants for the prior competitions (2001-2007), see here. For TaxProf Blog coverage of prior winners, see 2007, 2006, and 2005.

August 28, 2008 in ABA Tax Section, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Court Treats IRS Auditor's Greyhound Business as a Hobby

The Tax Court yesterday denied an IRS auditor's claimed $75k loss (over three years) in breeding greyhounds for racing because the actiivity was not engaged in for profit within the meaning of § 183Whitecavage v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2008-203 (Aug. 27, 2008).  The court also sustained an accuracy-related penalty because "Petitioner has not shown (or even expressly claimed) that he had reasonable cause or acted in good faith with respect to his understatements of income tax. Any such defense appears especially problematic in the light of petitioner’s employment as an IRS auditor."

August 28, 2008 in IRS News, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Manchester Grand Hyatt Suffering From Growing Number of Boycotts

I previously blogged (here, here, here, here, and here) the AALS's decision to move all AALS events at the January 2009 annual meeting out of the Manchester Grand Hyatt because the owner of the hotel, Doug Manchester, had made a $125,000 contribution in support of a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California.  The San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday:

Officials at the Manchester Financial Group have argued for weeks that a boycott by gay rights and union groups hasn't hurt business at its two San Diego hotels, the Manchester Grand Hyatt and The Grand Del Mar.

But a top company official, in an e-mail obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune, painted a different picture, saying the boycott could have dire consequences for hotel owner Doug Manchester that could cost him millions of dollars in lost business.

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman & Richard Winchester.)

August 28, 2008 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Problems With Peer-Review

David B. Resnik (East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine), Christina Gutierrez-Ford (University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine) & Shyamal Peddada (National Institute of Health) have published Perceptions of Ethical Problems with Scientific Journal Peer Review: An Exploratory Study, 14 Science & Engineering Ethics (Sept. 2008).  The article reports the results of an anonymous survey of researchers at a government research institution concerning their perceptions about ethical problems with journal peer review:

  • 62%:  Incompetence
  • 51%:  Bias
  • 23%:  Being required to include unnecessary references to the peer reviewers’ publications
  • 18%:  Personal attacks in reviewer comments
  • 10%:  Reviewers delayed publication so they could publish a paper on the same topic
  •   7%:  Breach of confidentiality
  •   5%:  Using ideas, data, or methods without permission

For more, see Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

August 28, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mason: Efficient Management of the Wealth of Nations

Ruth Mason (UConn) has posted Efficient Management of the Wealth of Nations, 120 Tax Notes ___ (2008), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This comment considers arguments for and against stricter regulation of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), either by tightening securities laws or increasing the tax burden on SWFs. Concerns about SWFs fall into two broad categories: fears that (1) investments will be politically, rather than financially, motivated, and that (2) to the extent that SWFs are politically motivated in their investment choices, they are inefficient investors that distort capital markets. While acknowledging these legitimate concerns, this comment explains how foreign equity investment by such funds may paradoxically promote global capital market efficiency because sovereign investors may behave more like private investors when they invest in abroad than when they invest at home.

August 27, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bell: Z-Scores in 2009 U.S. News Law School Rankings

Tom Bell (Chapman), featured in yesterday's front page Wall Street Journal article, Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter "Gaming," has published the Z-Scores in his model of the 2009 U.S. News Law School Rankings:

U.S. News & World Report publishes scores for each of the hundred or so schools that it ranks highest, and offers some of the data that goes into calculating those scores. To really understand how each of those schools fared relative to its peers, however, you need to know its z-score in each category of data that USN&WR measures. My model of the rankings aims to recreate those z-scores, and thus the rankings themselves, by duplicating both the data and the methodology that USN&WR uses.

As I did in 2005, 2006, and 2007, I here offer the z-scores used in my model of the USN&WR law school rankings. (Please see those earlier posts for fuller explanations of z-scores and why they matter.)

August 27, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Toilet Paper

1040_lrg If your tax bric-a-brac tastes are more low-brow than yesterday's Form 1040 Puzzle, you can bid on your very own roll of Form 1040 toilet paper:

Does it pain you to fill out a tax form each year? Does knowing that the IRS takes a large chunk of your salary give you the runs? This product isn't deductible, but it'll sure make you feel better. A collage of the 1040 IRS Form is printed throughout the whole roll!

The toilet paper is also available here and here

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Roundup of Commentary on WSJ Article on Law School Gaming of US News Rankings

Following up on yesterday's post on the front page Wall Street Journal article, Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter "Gaming," by Amir Efrati:

August 27, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

California Ballot Initiative to Impose 45% Income Tax, 55% Wealth Tax & 36%-54% Exit Tax

A California activist is trying to gather the 694,354 signatures needed to place a tax initiative on the ballot that would:

  • Impose a new 35% income surtax (in addition to federal taxes and the existing 10.3% top state rate) -- 17.5% (on all of the taxpayer's income) when income exceeds $150,000 (single)/$250,000 (joint), and an additional 17.5% (again, on all of the taxpayer's income) when income exceeds $350,000 (single)/$500,000 (joint).
  • Impose a one-time 55% wealth tax on assets exceeding $20 million held by a California resident or held in California by nonresident.
  • Impose an exit tax of between 36.5% to 54.3% on both income and unrealized appreciation in asset values over $5 million when a resident dies or leaves California.

See Roth & Co., Tax Foundation, and Taxable Talk.

August 27, 2008 in News | Permalink | Comments (76) | TrackBack (2)

5th Circuit Sides With 11th Circuit and Taxpayer in Lisle, Orders Tax Court to Adopt Special Trial Judge's Report

The 5th Circuit on Monday sided with the 11th Circuit and the taxpayer in the long-running Ballard - Kanter - Lisle saga in Lisle v. Commissioner, No. 07-60862 (Consolidated with 07-60863 & 07-60864) (5th Cir. Aug. 25, 2008):

In this appeal, unlike the first, we have the benefit of the fact findings and conclusions of the Special Trial Judge that were rejected by the Tax Court and obscured in the first appeal. With the benefit of a complete record, our equivocal findings in the first appeal, and the findings of the Eleventh Circuit in the appeal of the related case affecting taxpayer Ballard, Ballard v. Comm’r, 522 F.3d 1229 (11th Cir. 2008) (Ballard III), we conclude that the Tax Court reviewing the report of the Special Trial Judge failed to give due regard to the factfindings of the trial judge and erred in issuing a judgment contrary to those findings. Accordingly, for the reasons set forth below, we vacate the Tax Court’s judgment as to the Lisles and remand with instructions to issue a final order adopting the Special Trial Judge’s report.

August 27, 2008 in New Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Planks in Democratic Party Platform

2008democraticplatformbycmte08130_2 Here are the tax planks in the 2008 Democratic Party Platform approved Monday night:

  • We must reform our tax code. It’s thousands of pages long, a monstrosity that high-priced lobbyists have rigged with page after page of special interest loopholes and tax shelters. We will shut down the corporate loopholes and tax havens and use the money so that we can provide an immediate middle-class tax cut that will offer relief to workers and their families. We’ll eliminate federal income taxes for millions of retirees, because all seniors deserve to live out their lives with dignity and respect. We will not increase taxes on any family earning under $250,000 and we will offer additional tax cuts for middle class families. For families making more than $250,000, we’ll ask them to give back a portion of the Bush tax cuts to invest in health care and other key priorities. We will end the penalty within the current Social Security system for public service that exists in several states. We will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans can do their taxes in less than five minutes..
  • [W]e will eliminate all income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 per year. Lower and middle income seniors already have to worry about high health care and energy costs; they should not have to worry about tax burdens as well.
  • [W]e will ... increase the Earned Income Tax Credit so that workers can support themselves and their families.
  • We will expand the childcare tax credit ....
  • We will invest in women-owned small businesses and remove the capital gains tax on start-up small businesses.
  • We will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans. In exchange for the credit, students will be expected to perform community service. ...  We will enable families to apply for financial aid simply by checking a box on their tax form.
  • We will ... make the Research and Development Tax Credit permanent.
  • We will invest in American jobs and finally end the tax breaks that ship jobs overseas.
  • We will exempt all start-up companies from capital gains taxes and provide them a tax credit for health insurance. We will provide a new tax credit for small businesses that offer quality health insurance to their employees.
  • We will end tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas, and provide incentives for companies that keep and maintain good jobs here in the U.S.
  • We will not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000, and will eliminate all income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000. We recognize that Social Security is not in crisis and we should do everything we can to strengthen this vital program, including asking those making over $250,000 to pay a bit more.
  • And if you invest in America, America will invest in you: we will ... establish tax incentives for college students who serve, and create scholarships for students who pledge to become teachers.
  • We will support fathers by ... removing tax penalties on married families....

For more, see the Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog.

August 27, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

ABA Tax Section Offers Teleconference & Webcast Today on Tax Treatment of “Carried” Interests

The ABA Tax Section offers a teleconference and webcast today on Carried Away: A Discussion of the Current Tax Treatment of “Carried” Interests and the Prospects for Change from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST:

This panel will discuss a wide array of issues regarding “carried” and other compensatory interests, including their tax treatment under current law and administrative guidance, proposed regulations, and proposed legislation.

Speakers:

  • Susan M. Mello (Prudential Real Estate Investors, Parsippany, NJ) (Moderator)
  • Adam M. Cohen (Holland & Hart, Denver, CO)
  • Stanley E. Ramsay (Weil Gotshal & Manges, New York, NY)
  • Eric Sloan (Deloitte Tax, New York, NY)

August 27, 2008 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Form 1040: The Puzzle

Thanks to Leandra Lederman, I am the proud owner of a Form 1040 Puzzle, which I have added to my extensive collection of tax bric-a-brac:

Form_1040_puzzle_box

August 26, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Law School Dean to Speak Tonight at Democratic Convention

Franklin Pierce Dean John D. Hutson, a life-long Republican and former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, speaks tonight at the Democratic National Convention at around 7:45 p.m. EST, immediately following the Keynote Speech by Virginia Governor Mark Warner.  For the text of Dean Hutson's speech, see here.

August 26, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bakija & Heim: How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income?

Jon Bakija (Williams College) & Bradley T. Heim (Office of Tax Analysis, Treasury Department) have posted How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? Dynamic Panel Estimates Accounting for Predictable Changes in Taxation on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

We estimate the elasticity of charitable giving with respect to its price and after-tax income using a panel of over 550,000 disproportionately high-income tax returns spanning the years 1979 through 2005. Improvements relative to the previous literature include: using state tax variation to help identify our model while controlling for both individual- and time-specific unobserved heterogeneity; carefully dealing with expectations; allowing people at different income levels to have different degrees responsiveness to taxation and different time paths of unobservable influences on giving; and using a measure of charitable giving that more closely approximates current donations. To address the omitted variable bias that would otherwise arise from failing to control for unobservable expectations of future prices and future incomes, we use predictable changes in future federal and state marginal tax rates and tax liabilities, arising from their pre-announced and phased-in nature, as instruments for future changes in prices and income. Our estimate of the elasticity of giving with respect to a persistent price change for the full sample is about -0.7; this elasticity is generally larger when the sample is limited to high-income people and we control for time-varying unobservable influences on charity in a flexible fashion. We find some evidence, particularly among very high-income people, of re-timing giving in response to expected future changes in price, but this finding is sensitive to the source of identification for the price effects. Our estimates are broadly consistent the permanent income hypothesis. Expenditures on charitable giving are estimated to respond more strongly to persistent changes in income than to transitory fluctuations in income. Moreover, we find evidence in some specifications that people will increase their charitable giving now in response to a predictable reduction in future tax liability arising from tax reform.

August 26, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Front Page WSJ Story on Law School Rankings

Riveting front page story in today's Wall Street Journal:  Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter "Gaming," by Amir Efrati:

The most widely watched ranking of U.S. law schools may move to stop an increasingly popular practice: schools gaming the system by channeling lower-scoring applicants into part-time programs that don't count in the rankings. U.S. News & World Report is "seriously" considering reworking its ranking system to crack down on the practice, says Robert Morse, director of data research at the magazine, who is in charge of its influential list.

Such a move could affect the status of dozens of law schools. It would likely reverse gains recently made by a number of schools that have helped their revenue by increasing their rosters of part-time students with lower entrance-exam scores and grade-point averages, without having to pay a price in the rankings.

In some cases the part-timers' course load is barely less than that of full-timers, and they are able to transfer into the schools' full-time programs in their second year. Statistics about second-year students' pre-law school scores also aren't counted in the rankings. ...

A change in criteria would "catch the outliers but punish part-time programs that have existed forever and aren't doing it to game the system," says Ellen Rutt, an associate law-school dean at the University of Connecticut. If U.S. News makes the move, many schools with part-time programs would have a tough choice: Leave their admission standards for part-timers unchanged, which could hurt their rank, or raise the standards, likely shrinking the programs and cutting revenue.

Tom W. Bell, a law professor at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., who developed a rankings model that mimics the one used by U.S. News, says that if the change had already taken place this year, some schools could have fallen from the magazine's "first tier" of the top 50 schools to the second tier, and some from the second to the third. For example, Southern Methodist University and the University of Connecticut, tied at 46th, might have fallen out of the top 50, and Hofstra and Stetson universities might have sunk below 100. Representatives for the schools didn't dispute his analysis, done at the request of The Wall Street Journal.

[Other projected losers under the change in methodology are:]

Sb121971712700771731_page_1_2

It's become an open secret that many law-school deans strategize specifically to improve their rank in the magazine's annual publication, to try to reap more interest by employers in their students and energize alumni donors. Even movements of one point in median LSAT scores, or a few hundredths of a point in median undergraduate grade-point averages, can change a school's position on the list.

One of the top beneficiaries of the current U.S. News criteria is Phillip Closius, former dean of the University of Toledo's law school. He led the school's rise from the list's fourth tier to its second tier within a few years.

After he took the helm of the University of Baltimore law school last year, that school also quickly climbed the rankings, to 125 this year from 170 last year, he says. (Schools in the third and fourth tiers aren't publicly ranked -- instead they are grouped together -- but deans can find out where they placed.)

Mr. Closius's winning strategy in both places: Cut the number of full-time students accepted into the program to boost the median LSAT scores and GPAs, which together account for more than 20% of a school's ranking. In their place, the schools add more part-time students, who can transfer to full-time the second year. ...

"U.S. News is not a moral code, it's a set of seriously flawed rules of a magazine, and I follow the rules...without hiding anything," he says. ...

The rankings played a role in the 2006 resignation of Nancy Rapoport, who was dean of the University of Houston Law Center, which had fallen to 70th from 50th in the span of a few years. (It's now tied for 55th.) Ms. Rapoport, who is now a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says managing the rankings as a dean is "like trying to meet analysts' quarterly expectations by massaging the numbers."

For blogosphere commentary, see

August 26, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (2)

Biden to Left of Obama on Tax Policy

Tax_analystsChuck O'Toole, Biden Seen as Traditional Democrat on Tax Policy, 2008 TNT 166-3 (Aug. 26, 2008):

[O]n taxes, Biden has followed a path more overtly populist than the one Obama has walked, pushing for a more progressive tax code that shifts the tax burden away from lower- and middle-income families and onto high earners and businesses. ...

Though Obama also wants a more progressive tax code, and supports rolling back those tax cuts passed in 2001, 2004, and 2006 that benefit wealthy households, he has also supported a corporate tax rate cut.

n recent years, Biden has voted against corporate tax cuts, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-222), and a motion to consider a permanent repeal of the estate tax. But in National Journal's ratings of congressional voting records, he gets a 94 percent on the liberal scale on economic issues, while the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative advocacy group, rated him an "F" for voting its way only 4% of the time. (The NTU also gave Obama an F, but he got 5%.)

Biden has reliably backed Democratic initiatives such as an end to IRS contracts with private debt collection agencies, tighter basis reporting requirements for securities transactions, and incentives promoting renewable energy production. In 2003 he repeatedly proposed raising the top four income tax bracket rates to finance the war in Iraq.

August 26, 2008 in Political News, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

Jensen Reviews Making America Work

Making_america_workErik M. Jensen (Case Western) has published Book Review, 5 Pitt. Tax Rev. 165 (2008) (reviewing Jonathan Barry Forman (Oklahoma), Making America Work (Urban Institute Press, 2006)).  Here is the abstract:

Except for a few snotty remarks of the sort a reviewer has to make to keep his union card, this review praises Jonathan Barry Forman's monumental Making America Work (2006). Forman is concerned about (1) perverse incentives that keep Americans from working to full capacity or, in some cases, from working at all; and (2) increasing economic inequality in the United States, where the distribution of work's rewards doesn't seem to correspond to any reasonable, non-market-based conception of justice. Forman advances six integrated proposals, all breathtaking in their scope, to revamp the tax system, the welfare system, Social Security, pensions, health care, and labor markets. Although the set of proposals is not perfect (what is?), Forman's work is so thoughtful and wide-ranging that he has elevated the national discussion.

August 26, 2008 in Book Club, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hasen: Legal Transitions -- Reliance Redux

David Hasen (Michigan) has posted Legal Transitions -- Reliance Redux on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The recent literature on legal transitions is noted for its welfarist approach to the analysis of legal change. This approach tends to efface, and purports to debunk, a number of distinctions that are salient to conventional understandings of legal transitions. According to a welfarist analysis, these distinctions have no significant role to play in the analysis of legal change.

This article examines the theoretical apparatus on which these criticisms are based, with a principal focus on taxation. The examination demonstrates that the apparatus suffers from significant conceptual shortcomings. They include the unwarranted assimilation of legal to factual change, the naturalization of conventional arrangements, and the unfounded disregard of the distinction between making law and finding it. The result is an account of legal transitions that is unable either to explain actual transitions or to provide a novel normative theory of how legal change should take place. In the end, the older view of legal transitions is more capable than the welfarist approach of providing an adequate normative and positive framework for understanding legal transitions.

August 25, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

National Jurist Law School Rankings: Attrition Rates & Clinical Opportunities

The September 2008 issue of the National Jurist is out, with two new rankings of law schools: by (1) 1L attrition rates, and (2) clinical opportunities available per student:

Dropping Like Flies:  1L Attrition Numbers Top 30% at Some Law Schools (pp. 12-13):

1.  Whittier:  51.5%
2.  Touro:  37.4%
3.  Golden Gate:  36.9%
4.  Western State:  32.6%
5.  Widener (PA):  30.5%
6.  St. Thomas (FL):  28.5%
7.  Barry:  27.6%
8.  Thomas Cooley:  26.0%
9.  Widener (DE):  25.7%

Best in Practical Training (pp. 26-29):

1.  Yale:  90.3%
2.  Drake:  45.7%
2.  Wisconsin:  45.7%
4.  District of Columbia:  45.0%
5.  Maryland:  44.7%
6.  Georgia:  42.8%
7.  Florida A&M:  42.6%
8.  Puerto Rico:  41.3%
9.  Minnesota:  41.3%
10. Kansas:  35.7%
11. CUNY:  34.8%
12. Connecticut:  33.6%
13. Rutgers-Newark: 32.4%
14. New Mexico: 32.4%
14. Stanford: 32.4%
16. BYU:  31.3%
17. Northwestern:  30.6%
18. UCLA:  29.7%
19. SMU:  29.1%
20. North Carolina Central:  28.9%
20. Chicago-Kent:  28.9%
22. Pepperdine:  28.6%
23. San Diego:  27.6%
24. Wyoming:  27.3%
25. Cornell:  26.7%
26. Harvard:  26.6%
27. Seattle:  26.5%
28. Western New England:  25.5%
29. Tennessee:  24.5%
30. Quinnipiac:  23.9%
31. Idaho: 23.2%
32. William Mitchell:  22.9%
33. Franklin Pierce:  22.7%
34. Washburn:  22.5%
35. Denver:  22.2%
36. Florida International:  22.0%
37. Brooklyn:  21.8%
38. Colorado:  21.5%
39. Ohio State:  21.1%
40. Santa Clara:  20.7%
40. Chicago:  20.7%
42. Southern:  20.6%
43. Gonzaga:  20.4%
44. Florida Coastal:  20.1%
45. Boston College:  20.0%
46. Boston University:  19.2%
47. Oregon:  18.8%
48. Arkansas-Luttle Rock:  18.7%
49. Faulkner:  18.3%
49. Toledo:  18.3%
51. Alabama:  18.2%

The issue also contains several articles on topics previously covered on TaxProf Blog:

August 25, 2008 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bibliography of Books and Articles on Active Learning and Other Techniques for Teaching Law

Karen Burke Posts Tax Papers on SSRN

Karen C. Burke (San Diego) has posted a number of her tax papers on SSRN:

August 25, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Ethics and Economics of American Legal Education Today

The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues has published a symposium issue on The Ethics and Economics of American Legal Education Today:

University legal education, like higher education generally in the United States, has become sharply more expensive in the past three decades. Many law students now take on substantial loans to attend law school, and it is common to graduate with debts of $100,000 and more.

At many if not most accredited law schools today the academic style is broadly similar, including an emphasis on faculty scholarship which was not characteristic of “non-elite” law schools before the 1970s or 80s.

Are the economics of legal education viable in the medium to long run? In particular, are the economics viable for the broad middle range of “non-elite” law schools?

And is the existing model normatively desirable or defensible? Is the academic style of legal education which is now nearly universal in the United States the right model in the interests of the legal profession and of American society?

Will there be pressures for substantial reform of American legal education in the foreseeable future? Ought there to be? And if so, what direction is reform liable to take, and what are the likely consequences

Panel #1: Warnings About Legal Education

Panel #2:  Reflections and Responses From Law School Deans

Panel #3:  Sociology of Legal Education

Panel #4:  Reform of Legal Education

August 25, 2008 in Law School, Law School Rankings, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Prof Movie Recommendation: Henry Poole Is Here

It is rare that our high schoolers will consent to being seen with their parents on a Saturday night.  For a variety of reasons, that turned out to be the case last Saturday, and we saw the new movie Henry Poole Is Here.  It's a great movie -- Roger Ebert hits the nail on the head:

Henry Poole Is Here achieves something that is uncommonly difficult. It is a spiritual movie with the power to emotionally touch believers, agnostics and atheists -- in that descending order, I suspect. It doesn't say that religious beliefs are real. It simply says that belief is real. And it's a warm-hearted love story.

August 25, 2008 in Celebrity Tax Lore | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Tax Advisors' Guide to the Canada - U.S. Tax Treaty

David Kerzner, Vitaly Timokhov & David Chodikoff have published The Tax Advisors' Guide to the Canada - U.S. Tax Treaty (Thomson-Carswell, 2008):

This book is a unique cross border tax service that comprises “three books” in one. The service combines three subjects of international tax law: Canadian International Taxation (Inbound); U.S. International Taxation (Inbound); and Treaty Taxation. The volume, prepared by cross border tax experts, identifies and explains the detailed Canadian and U.S. domestic tax rules applicable to each Treaty Article. This multi-source research tool provides a cross border technical road map to enable the tax advisor to quickly identify and understand the critical domestic and Treaty issues that may require attention in planning and advising clients.

This one-stop reference book, through its supplemented format, provides up-to date and practical advice to tax practitioners for cross border business transactions, investments, services (including employee relocation), individual taxation, estate planning, and compliance. The volume incorporates the language of the Fifth Protocol, September 21, 2007, and the latest commentary.

August 25, 2008 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Firefox: The Researcher’s Browser of Choice

Firefoxthumb_2Great post on Res Ipsa Blog:  Become an Efficient Researcher: Top Twenty Firefox Add-ons that Make Firefox the Researcher’s Browser of Choice:

Firefox was introduced in 2004 as a free open-source replacement for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Firefox offered improved security and introduced tabbed browsing, an integrated spell checker, and a download manager. Today, Firefox is the second-most popular browser, with almost twenty percent of the browser market share. The popularity of Firefox continues to grow primarily because of its speed, ease of use, and the availability of free “add-ons” which allow users to add additional features to customize the Firefox browser.

As the amount of scholarly material available on the web increases, so to does the need to an efficient means to find, sort, organize and cite the material. Below are twenty of the best tools available on Firefox that researchers can choose from to build a customized, highly efficient research tool.

August 25, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sad Ending in Case of Iowa Prof

Sad ending to the bizarre tale of Unviersity of Iowa political science professor Arthur H. Miller, who was accused of offering female students higher grades if they would let him fondle their breasts:  police report that a body found in an Iowa City park may be Professor Miller.

August 24, 2008 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (2)