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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crawford: The Top 10 Estate & Gift Tax Articles of 2010

Tax Analysts Bridget Crawford (Pace) has published 2010’s Popular Reading for Estate and Gift Tax Professionals, 130 Tax Notes 469 (Jan. 24, 2011):

[T]his article identifies and summarizes the principal arguments of the 10 most downloaded articles, working papers, and other publications posted to SSRN during 2010 that relate in some way to estate and gift taxation.

  1. [2598 Downloads]  Paul L. Caron (Cincinnati), Jennifer M. Kowal (Loyola-L.A.) & Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.), Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When?:  "The article's title aptly summarizes its contents. The authors -- three experienced tax professors -- provide frank and complete advice to J.D. graduates of U.S. law schools who may be considering a graduate degree in taxation. Topics include the cost of a tax LLM degree, the reasons candidates apply to tax LLM programs, and employment opportunities for LLM graduates in the private and public sectors. The article's conclusion will surprise no one: 'Successful completion of a Tax LLM program can help prospective Tax LLM students obtain the new employment opportunities they are seeking.' (Remember, however, that can and will are not synonyms, either.) Anyone considering a tax LLM should read this article."
  2. [1271 Downloads]  Paul L. Caron (Cincinnati), Jennifer M. Kowal (Loyola-L.A.), Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.) & Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.), Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?:  "Prof. Seto joins Profs. Caron, Jennifer Kowal, and Pratt for a companion piece to the 'Why and When' article. The four authors of 'Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?' provide in-depth information about tax LLM programs at 13 U.S. law schools. Three of the authors are faculty members at one of the schools, but the discussion remains fact-oriented and evenhanded. Topics covered include tuition, scholarships, enrollments, course offerings, faculty members, degree requirements, extracurricular activities, and career services."
  3. [1194 Downloads]  Francine J. Lipman (Chapman) &  James E. Williamson (San Diego State), Social Security Benefits Formula 101: A Practical Primer:  "Those unfamiliar with the initials PIA, FRA, and AIME should read this three-page article. It is a short and digestible overview of Social Security benefits. Estate planners and advisers for clients of all wealth levels should have a basic understanding of the financial consequences of work and retirement. The monthly benefits available under the Social Security system have real financial consequences for workers and their surviving spouses, as well as many disabled individuals. As the authors explain, the 'broad distribution of meaningful monthly benefits lifts and keeps millions out of poverty.' Profs. Lipman and Williamson have written a quick reference piece that will be helpful for all tax advisers."
  4. [684 Downloads]  Andrew B. Delaney (J.D. 2010, Vermont), Taking a Sack: The NFL and Its Undeserved Tax-Exempt Status:  "Delaney is a recent law school graduate now practicing law in Vermont. This irreverent seminar-paper-turned-publication argues that antitrust and income tax exemptions for the National Football League are improper. With his tongue planted firmly in his cheek -- no, make that with his tongue figuratively wagging -- Delaney touches on the history of the league's lobbying efforts, its current salary payouts, and revenue from advertisements. He argues that the NFL should follow baseball's lead and change its status to a for-profit corporation. Taking the article on its own terms, Delaney raises interesting questions about the nature of tax exemption and the importance of periodic review of nonprofit status."
  5. [616 Downloads]  David Joulfaian (Office of Tax Analysis, Treasury Department), The Federal Estate Tax: History, Law, and Economics:  "Joulfaian of Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis has compiled a wonderful resource about the history and evolution of the estate tax. This article has several informative charts that present information on historic tax rates, credit schedules, number of returns filed, and the relative size of taxable estates. This is a must-read, foundational document for anyone -- practitioner, policymaker, or scholar -- starting a career in the field of estate and gift taxation."
  6. [527 Downloads]  Ellen P. Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), An Overview of Tax Issues for Synagogues (and Other Religious Congregations):  "Prof. Aprill has distilled into nine pages a discussion of important tax-related issues that are relevant to any religious congregation. Particularly noteworthy are compensation, fundraising, and lobbying issues. Aprill is one of those people who write with equal ease for academic, professional, and legal audiences. She generously grants permission to religious congregations to reproduce this practical work. The guide will be helpful for those who advise (and volunteer for) religious organizations."
  7. [513 Downloads]  Samuel A. Donaldson (U. Washington), 2010 Federal Tax Update:  "In the coming months, Prof. Donaldson will undoubtedly be updating his update. This version was last updated on November 15, 2010, before anyone could have predicted the flurry of legislation at year-end. Donaldson has published reliable annual update monographs every year since 2000. His analysis is comprehensive and includes many illustrative examples."
  8. [424 Downloads]   Michael Hatfield (Texas Tech), The Ethics of Tax Lawyering: An Introduction:  "This piece is a chapter-length discussion of professional responsibilities that tax lawyers face. Prof. Hatfield brings to the subject a rich practice background. He is a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, as well as a former shareholder of a San Antonio firm. Hatfield weaves together a discussion of the ABA Model Rules, guidelines of the ABA tax section's Committee on the Standards of Tax Practice, the U.S. Tax Court Rules of Practice, and state law. Law students are the target audience, but anyone interested in a refresher on ethics rules will be engaged by Hatfield's notes, questions, and hypotheticals. The chapter also could be a discussion-starter in some professional situations at law firms, accounting firms, and nonprofit organizations."
  9. [409 Downloads]  Paul L. Caron (Cincinnati), The Costs of Estate Tax Dithering:  "Caron's article is a published version of his TePoel Lecture and keynote address at the Creighton University School of Law symposium on Estate Planning: Moral, Ethical, and Religious Perspectives. Speaking on April 16, 2010, Caron bemoaned the failure of lawmakers to enact new estate tax laws by the end of 2009. Caron argued that legislative inaction, or 'dithering,' meant lost opportunities to raise revenue, increase tax progressivity, and decrease wealth concentration -- historic policy goals of the federal estate tax."
  10. [407 Downloads]  Laura E. Cunningham (Cardozo), The FLP, the Transfer Taxes, and the Income Tax:  "Prof. Cunningham argues for limitations on estate tax valuation discounts for family limited partnership interests. She criticizes the ability of taxpayers to take inconsistent positions regarding income tax basis and estate tax valuation of the same assets. Cunningham cites Miller10 and Pierre11 as evidence of the courts' inability to 'back away from the established practice of allowing significant discounts to partnerships holding even the most liquid of assets, as long as the transferor dots all of her i's and crosses all of her t's, in other words, when she is represented by skilled counsel.' Cunningham makes a succinct and blunt analysis."

For Prof. Crawford's list of the Top 10 Estate & Gift Tax Articles of 2009, see here

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The SSRN abstract number for Andrew Delaney's article on the NFL's status is 1605281 - not 160528 as in Prof. Crawford's list and carried forward here.

Posted by: K. Seavoy | Jan 26, 2011 1:54:40 PM

I think we need a playoff between the top two articles.

Posted by: mike livingston | Jan 26, 2011 2:08:06 PM