TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teaching Federal Income Tax

TeachingThe Institute for Law Teaching and Learning has made available for free on its website Teaching the Law School Curriculum (Steven Friedland & Gerald F. Hess, eds.) (Carolina Academic Press, 2004):

Teaching the Law School Curriculum draws upon the wisdom of hundreds of legal educators to provide ideas, materials, and alternatives for teaching a variety of law school courses. The book offers guidance for new and experienced law teachers to plan and deliver effective courses. ...

Chapter 10: Federal Income Tax


  • Teaching Tax through Stories – Paul L. Caron
  • Goals, Philosophy, and Coverage – Nancy Shurtz
  • Statutory Interpretation and the Development of a Civic Perspective – Kim Brooks
  • Problems, Previews, Participation, and Preparation – Leandra Lederman
  • Providing a Framework for Learning – Mary L. Heen
  • Statutory Analysis, Not Arithmetic – Eric Lustig
  • TaxProf: A Virtual Tax Community – Paul L. Caron


  • Tax Case Limericks – Leandra Lederman
  • Tax Stories: An In-Depth Look at Ten Leading Federal Income Tax Cases – Paul L. Caron
  • Tax Returns, Casebooks, and Slides – Eric Lustig
  • Text and Handouts – Nancy Shurtz
  • General Outline of Federal Income Tax (Handout) – Leandra Lederman
  • Computing Taxable Gain (Handout) – Leandra Lederman
  • Introduction to Deductions Problems (Handout) – Leandra Lederman


  • Introducing Statutory Interpretation with Song Lyrics – Kim Brooks

Brief Gems

  • Role-Playing – Nancy Shurtz
  • "Boot" – Leandra Lederman
  • Cartoons – Nancy Shurtz
  • IRC 212 Area Code – Leandra Lederman
  • Getting the Class Started and the Power of Bruce – Kim Brooks
  • "How Would the IRS Ever Know . . ." – Leandra Lederman

Feedback and Evaluation

  • Designing Writing Assignments and Exams Based on Course Objectives – Kim Brooks
  • The TaxProf Exam Bank: Practical Help for the Tax Professor – Paul L. Caron
  • Research Paper, Midterm, and Final Exam – Nancy Shurtz

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If you need a song lyric or a limerick to understand (or be interested in) tax law, then you should pick a different profession. I'd be pretty scared if one of my future doctors is memorizing human anatomy with some silly little jingle. It should just be easy for them. Why do we keep trying to force incapable people through the system? Oh right, self-preservation.

Posted by: JM | Apr 17, 2013 10:57:32 AM

That book looks fun to read, and I don't even teach tax!

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Apr 17, 2013 1:51:55 PM

It's not my field, but haven't medical students traditionally memorized anatomy and a variety of other facts with sily mnemonics?

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Apr 18, 2013 5:45:43 AM