TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, March 31, 2016

George Mason Renames Law School The Antonin Scalia School Of Law For $30 Million

Goldin Presents Rethinking The Taxation Of Single Parents Today At Duke

GoldinJacob Goldin (Stanford) presents Beyond Head of Household: Rethinking the Taxation of Single Parents (with Zachary Liscow (Yale)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Under current law, unmarried taxpayers with children can take advantage of the head of household filing status (HHFS) to reduce their federal income taxes. We argue that the design of the filing status is largely obsolete, geared toward alleviating a “marriage penalty” in the tax code that is much less important than when the filing status was first established. At the same time, the growth in the fraction of Americans raising children outside of traditional two-parent households has dramatically raised the cost of the filing status to the fisc.

In this article, we highlight two features of the design of HHFS that undermine its goal of providing support to single parent households.

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March 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bank Presents Executive Pay: What Worked? Today At UCLA

Bank (2016)Steven Bank (UCLA) presents Executive Pay: What Worked? (with Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple)) at UCLA today as part of its Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium Series hosted by Jason Oh and Eric Zolt: :

CEO pay is a controversial issue in America but there was a time, often overlooked today, when chief executives were not paid nearly as much as they are now. From 1940 to the mid-1970s executive pay was modest by today’s standards even though U.S. business was generally thriving. What worked to keep executive pay in check? Economist Thomas Piketty and others credit high marginal income tax rates, leading to calls for a return to a similar tax regime. This paper casts doubt on the impact tax had and also shows that neither the configuration of boards nor shareholder activism played a significant role in constraining executive pay.

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March 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Raskolnikov Presents From Deterrence to Compliance: Legal Uncertainty Reexamined Today At Colorado

Raskolnikov (2015)Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia) presents From Deterrence to Compliance: Legal Uncertainty Reexamined at Colorado today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by David Hasen and Sloan Speck:

Law is imperfect. It is full of standards that are neither clear nor socially optimal. How do rational actors respond to these standards? How should we evaluate these responses? What happens when legal advisors tackle legal uncertainty? These questions have few answers in law and economics. This article investigates a model of rational decisionmaking under uncertain law from the perspective of legal compliance rather than optimal deterrence. It does so by combining economic analysis with a practical understanding of the market for legal advice. Some of the results are unsurprising from both theoretical and practical perspectives; others are unexpected.

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March 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

O'Brien Presents The Relationship Between Taxation And Investment Agreements Today At British Columbia

O'BrienMartha O'Brien (University of Victoria, Faculty of Law) presents The Relationship Between Taxation and Investment Agreements at the University of British Columbia today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Canada has entered into numerous bilateral investment Treaties (BITs), and is in the process of ratifying both the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union and its 28 member states, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with 11 other Pacific rim nations including Canada’s NAFTA partners. These international trade and investment agreements (IIAs) contain significant commitments to investors of national treatment, most-favoured nation treatment and fair and equitable treatment by the host state; they prohibit expropriation of investments and provide for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) through arbitration. The implications of such commitments for the tax systems of the parties to these agreements means that issues of direct taxation are almost entirely carved-out of the investment agreement and are resolved under the relevant double taxation treaty or domestic tax law.

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March 31, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. News:  Five Law School Pioneers

2017 U.S. News LogoU.S. News & World Report, Law Schools Innovate With Hands-On Learning: These Five Pioneers Are Among the Law Schools Overhauling Programs to Build in Extensive Hands-On Practice:

Law school continues to be more of a buyer's market than in years past, as many programs invent new ways to reel in applicants who've been wary of the poor job outlook and steep tuitions. The legal education community is still trying to regain its footing after the Great Recession forced firms to radically tighten their belts, shutting out many new grads and sending applications into a spiral.

Among the more unconventional curricular experiments law schools will keep an eye on are several new programs. ... Meanwhile, more established schools continue to recast their programs by condensing coursework, addressing tuition and adding intensive on-the-job training, perhaps the biggest trend of all. Here's a look at what's happening at a few of the pioneers. ...

Pepperdine University School of Law
Students in Pepperdine Law School's accelerated J.D. program get their experiential learning at a somewhat reduced cost by packing three years of law school into two. But most students who choose accelerated programs like Pepperdine's have already been out in the professional world and are willing to double down to get back to it sooner.

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March 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016 Florida Tax Institute

Florida Tax InstituteThe two-day 2016 Florida Tax Institute (program), sponsored by the Florida Tax Education Foundation with all proceeds benefiting the University of Florida Graduate Tax Program, concludes today.  Tax Prof speakers include:

  • Karen Burke (Florida) & James Sowell (KPMG), Hot Asset Distributions and New Rules Under Section 751(b)
  • Sam Donaldson (Georgia State), Current Developments in the Transfer Tax Arena

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March 31, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conference On The Fate Of Scholarship In American Law Schools

FateBaltimore hosts a two-day conference beginning today on The Fate of Scholarship in American Law Schools:

The conference will reexamine first principles of legal scholarship – its value (to legal education, to the legal profession, to society) and its essential aspects – and will survey particular issues of contemporary concern, including emerging scholarly forms and technologies and the relationship among legal scholarship, journalism and new media.

The two-day conference will consist of themed plenary sessions, concurrent small-group sessions, opportunities to interact informally and a keynote address by Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

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March 31, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

IRS Releases FY 2015 Data Book

IRS Data BookIR-2016-52 (Mar. 30, 2016), IRS Releases FY 2015 Data Book:

The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2015 IRS Data Book [individual tables], a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

The 2015 Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015 and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance and the IRS budget and workforce, among others. This edition also contains charts that show trends, such as the decline in the number of audits and the reduction in telephone and in-person tax assistance, but increases in the use of online resources and volunteer tax assistance.

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March 31, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hackers Breach Computer Systems At Cravath, Other BigLaw Firms

Diamond:  Lawyers Get A Raise

Stephen F. Diamond (Santa Clara), Lawyers Get a Raise:

One of the enduring myths about lawyers is that there is a deep incurable structural crisis in incomes and jobs for lawyers. In fact, lawyer incomes and the number of employed lawyers has increased steadily over the last twenty years.

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported its latest data on employment and, once again, the number of lawyers employed* as well as lawyer incomes have increased. The BLS reports that the total number of lawyers employed as of May 2015 is 609,930 as compared to 603,310 in May 2014. The mean annual wage for lawyers has climbed from $133,470 to $136,260. The median has climbed from $114,970 to $115,820. ...

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March 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (29)

California Auditor:  University Of California Favors Less Qualified Out-Of-State Applicants Over More Qualified California Residents For Increased Tuition Revenue

UCCalifornia State Auditor, The University of California: Its Admissions and Financial Decisions Have Disadvantaged California Resident Students:

As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report concerning the University of California’s (university) enrollment, executive compensation, and budget. This report concludes that over the past several years, the university has undermined its commitment to resident students. Specifically, in response to reduced state funding, the university made substantial efforts to enroll nonresident students who pay significantly more tuition than residents. The university’s efforts resulted in an 82 percent increase in nonresident enrollment from academic years 2010–11 through 2014–15, or 18,000 students, but coincided with a drop in resident enrollment by 1 percent, or 2,200 students, over that same time period.

The university’s decision to increase the enrollment of nonresidents has made it more difficult for California residents to gain admission to the university. According to the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, which proposes the roles for each of the State’s institutions of higher education, the university should only admit nonresidents who possess academic qualifications that are equivalent to those of the upper half of residents who are eligible for admission. However, in 2011 the university relaxed this admission standard to state that nonresidents need only to “compare favorably” to residents. Combined with the university’s desire to enroll more nonresidents because of the additional tuition that they pay, the relaxing of this admission standard had dramatic results. During the three-year period after this change, the university admitted nearly 16,000 nonresidents whose scores fell below the median scores for admitted residents at the same campus on every academic test score and grade point average that we evaluated. At the same time, the university denied admission to an increasing proportion of qualified residents at the campus to which they applied—nearly 11,000 in academic year 2014–15 alone—and instead referred them to an alternate campus. However, only about 2 percent of residents who the university referred actually enrolled. Moreover, increasing numbers of nonresident students have enrolled in the five most popular majors that the university offers at the same time that resident enrollment has generally declined in those same majors.

Figure 6

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March 31, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1057

IRS Logo 2Waterbury Republican-American editorial, Barack H. Nixon:

Infamously, President Obama‘s Internal Revenue Service harassed conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. As we noted in a number of editorials, most news-media organizations – aside from those with conservative leanings – demonstrated little interest in what some have dubbed “IRSgate.” We deemed this an outrageous dereliction of duty. It is clear the harassment was systemic, and American democracy cannot exist under a partisan and/or ideological tax agency.

The vindictiveness of the Obama IRS reminds one of Richard Nixon‘s notorious administration. Of course, Mr. Nixon largely was unsuccessful in siccing the tax agency on his political opponents. Three IRS commissioners – Randolph W. Thrower, Johnnie Mac Walters and Donald C. Alexander – resisted his dark plans.

To our pleasant surprise, the most recent “IRSgate” development has received some coverage from non-conservative news agencies. A three-judge panel from the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has unanimously ruled that the IRS must release a list of targeted conservative groups. This will allow a cadre of groups, led by NorCal Patriots, to proceed with a lawsuit against the IRS. Judges Raymond Kethledge, David McKeague and Damon Keith upheld a ruling issued nearly a year ago by U.S. District Court Judge Susan J. Dlott. ...

Hopefully, the coverage afforded thus far simply is the tip of the iceberg. Americans of all political persuasions deserve to know the full story of the IRS’ sleaziness and the victims’ efforts to seek justice. If mere scheming to politicize the IRS was enough for the House Judiciary Committee to approve an article of impeachment against Mr. Nixon in 1974, the actual weaponization of the tax agency at least warrants a substantial amount of news-media coverage.

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March 31, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sarah Lawsky Leaves UC-Irvine For Northwestern

LawskySarah B. Lawsky, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at UC-Irvine, has accepted a lateral offer to join Northwestern's faculty in the fall.  After working as a tax associate in New York City for five years, Sarah joined the George Washington faculty in 2007.  She moved to UC-Irvine in 2010 (and will receive her Ph.D. in philosophy there in 2017).  She visited Northwestern in Fall 2015 (and Virginia in 2009-10).  Her recent publications include:

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March 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bradley Presents Two Patent Box Papers Today At Penn

DrexelSebastien Bradley (Drexel) presents two patent box papers (with Estelle Dauchy (New Economic School) & Leslie Robinson (Dartmouth)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Center for Tax Law and Policy Seminar Series:

Cross-Country Evidence on the Preliminary Effects of Patent Box Regimes on Patent Activity and Ownership:

This paper evaluates the initial impacts of patent box regimes in light of their primary stated objectives: stimulating domestic innovation and retaining mobile patent income to limit base erosion. Despite their lack of nexus requirements, we find that patent box regimes yield a 3 percent increase in new patent applications for every percentage point reduction in the tax rate on patent income. We find no significant impact of these regimes on deterring outward cross-border attribution of patent ownership, or on attracting ownership of foreign inventions. Increased patenting activity hence appears focused on inventions involving co-located (domestic) patent owners and inventors.

The Impact of Patent Box Regimes on the M&A Market:

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March 30, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hayashi Presents The Effects Of Refund Anticipation Loans On Tax Filing And Compliance Today At Toronto

HayashiAndrew Hayashi (Virginia) presents The Effects of Refund Anticipation Loans on Tax Filing and Compliance at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

The IRS has an uneasy relationship with the use of paid tax return preparers by low-income taxpayers. Preparers may improve filing and take-up of benefits like the earned income tax credit (EITC), but many preparers also profit from financial products sold in connection with tax preparation that have been viewed as exploitative. Can we have a market for low-income tax preparation without such products, and should we? I estimate the effects of regulation curtailing the market for refund anticipation loans (RALs) on a variety of outcomes, including demand for paid tax preparation, EITC take-up, and demand for other financial products, to explore the source of RAL demand and the relationship between RALs and tax compliance.

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March 30, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Rankings By Influential Judicial Alumni Measured By H-Index: Michigan Is #1

Ravel, The Law School with the Most Influence Will Surprise You:

Forget Yale and Harvard as the training grounds for future judges. It turns out that Michigan Law has the most concentrated impact on national jurisprudence. Surprised? So were we.

In Ravel’s new power ranking of law schools based on which schools turn out influential judges, Michigan Law tops the list. Instead of looking just at the number of judges a school graduated, we used a new data analysis to rank judges based on both quantity and quality of their work, and then we connected that analysis to where the most influential judges studied.

Judges 2

More About Our Methodology
We based Ravel’s Influence Score on Hirsch’s index. Originally, the h-index was used to compute the impact of researchers in the scientific community, with the goal being to quantify the impact and relevance of an individual’s scientific output. Studies have shown that the h-index is predictive of career trajectory and that it could be applied to compute the impact of research groups. For more on how an h-index score is calculated, check out this explanation.

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March 30, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Liscow & Woolston:  How Income Taxes Should Change During Recessions

Zachary D. Liscow (Yale) & William A. Woolston (Stanford), How Income Taxes Should Change during Recessions:

This paper offers recommendations for how the design of labor income taxes should change during recessions, based on a simple model of a recessionary economy in which jobs are rationed and some employees value working more than others do. The paper draws two counter-intuitive conclusions for maximizing social welfare. First, subsidize non-employment. This draws marginal workers out of the labor force, creating “space” for those who really need jobs. Second, subsidize employers for hiring, not the employees themselves.

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March 30, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seven Fired Professors Return To Work At Charleston Law School, Despite 48% Decline In Enrollment

Charleston LogoFollowing up on my earlier posts (links below):  Charleston Regional Business Journal, Fired Professors Set to Return to Work at Charleston Law School:

Former Charleston School of Law professors who were fired in May, including some who later sued the school, are returning to work, according to Dean Andy Abrams.

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March 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through March 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time

 

Recent

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

54,150

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich)

9988

2

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

30,903

Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)

4778

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

30,485

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3897

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

25,873

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

2436

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

25,518

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

2238

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

22,042

Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)

1912

7

James Hines (Michigan)

21,480

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1870

8

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

20,727

Robert Sitkkoff (Harvard)

1842

9

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

20,717

Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)

1741

10

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

19,431

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

1723

11

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

18,469

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1611

12

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

17,322

Chris Hoyt (UMKC)

1588

13

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

16,709

Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)

1548

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

16,557

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

1536

15

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

16,281

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

1479

16

David Weisbach (Chicago)

16,520

Gregg Polsky (N. Carolina)

1467

17

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

16,168

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

1434

18

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

16,136

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

1431

19

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

15,897

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1283

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

15,616

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

1192

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

15,299

Ruth Mason (Virginia)

1147

22

David Walker (BU)

14,867

Yariv Brauner (Florida)

1146

23

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

14,465

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

1135

24

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

13,082

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1128

25

Steven Bank (UCLA)

12,719

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

1052

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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March 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minnesota Seeks To Hire A Part-Time Tax Clinician

Minnesota LogoPosition Description:

University of Minnesota Law Clinics, the clinical program of the University of Minnesota Law School, welcomes applicants for the Adjunct Clinical Supervising Attorney-Qualified Tax Expert position in its Ronald M. Mankoff Tax Clinic. The Tax Clinic is an in-house clinic partially subsidized with a grant from the I.R.S. Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) program. The position is a 12-month, part-time (40% time) position. The Tax Clinic is a 7-credit course that runs Fall through Spring.

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March 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Will Yale Move To Florida To Avoid Proposed Connecticut Tax On Its Endowment?

Yale FloridaFollowing up on last week's post, Connecticut Bill Would Tax Yale's $25.6 Billion Endowment:

Press Release, Gov. Scott Renews Call for Connecticut Business to Move to Florida – Including Yale University:

Today, Governor Rick Scott called on Yale University to consider moving operations to Florida following news that the Connecticut state legislature is proposing to levy a 7 percent tax on the net investment profits of Yale University’s $25.6 billion endowment.

Governor Rick Scott said, “With news that the Connecticut Legislature wants to unfairly tax one of the nation’s most renowned universities to deal with the state’s budget shortfall, it is clear that all businesses in Connecticut, including Yale, should look to move to Florida.  Since I took office in 2011, we have not raised any taxes or fees in Florida.  In fact, we have cut taxes 55 times, including $1 billion in tax cuts over the last two years, which saved Floridians $5.5 billion. This has not only resulted in a million new jobs in five years, but our state has a budget surplus of more than $1 billion.

“If Connecticut lawmakers are seriously considering another tax on Yale, businesses and families should be concerned about the other tax increases their Legislature will consider. We would welcome a world-renowned university like Yale to our state and I can commit that we will not raise taxes on their endowment. This would add yet another great university to our state.”

Tom Conroy (Press Secretary, Yale):

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March 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1056

Microsoft IRSFollowing up on my previous posts on the IRS's claim that it had erased the hard drive of its director of transfer pricing operations despite a court order to preserve all documents concerning the IRS's hiring of an elite law firm to assist its audit of Microsoft (The IRS Scandal, Days 987, 989, 994, 1002):

Statement of U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorneys, Microsoft v. IRS, Nos. 2:15-cv-00369, 00850 (D.C. W.D. Wa. Mar. 25, 2016) (record citations omitted):

On January 15, 2016, the Department of Justice, Tax Division, notified the Court that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) had reported that it inadvertently had not captured a computer hard drive used by one agreed-upon custodian, Samuel Maruca, and that the hard drive had been sanitized. Since then, there have been two developments regarding Mr. Maruca’s hard drive. First, the IRS continued to look for responsive records, and in doing so 19 it located potentially responsive user-generated content that had been previously on Mr. Maruca’s hard drive and saved elsewhere in July, 2014, only several weeks before Mr. Maruca separated from the IRS. The Department of Justice disclosed this source of potentially responsive  documents to Microsoft’s counsel on February 11, 2016.

Second, during discussions on and from March 14 through March 23, 2016, IRS Chief Counsel attorneys notified the undersigned Department of Justice counsel that the IRS located a hard drive that appears to be Mr. Maruca’s hard drive. The IRS Chief Counsel attorneys believe that the hard drive has not been sanitized, the hard drive is in working condition, and the hard drive contains user-generated content. The IRS Chief Counsel attorneys informed Department of Justice counsel that they are presently processing the content for review and then will review the content for potentially responsive records. Non-exempt responsive records not already produced 10 to plaintiff will be produced as part of the on-going production by the IRS.

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March 30, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stewart Presents Transnational Tax Law: Fiction Or Reality, Future Or Now? Today At NYU

StewartMiranda Stewart (Australian National University) presents Transnational Tax Law: Fiction or Reality, Future or Now? at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico:

There is an increasing contemporary literature on transnational law. In the tax law context, there is a substantial literature on international tax law. Recently, Genschel and Rixen (2015) have analysed what they term a “transnational legal order” of international tax. Yet tax law has historically been seen as a bastion and expression of national sovereignty, funding public goods in the nation state and legitimated by legislative authority. What does it mean to identify a transnational legal order for taxation? Does transnational tax law really exist? If so, what is its authority and legitimacy? Who are its subjects and its agents? How is it enacted, interpreted and enforced in national or international spheres and how is it embedded in practice?

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March 29, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faulhaber Presents The Long Reach Of European Union Law: Patent Boxes And The Limits Of International Cooperation Today At Georgetown

Faulhaber (2016)Lily Faulhaber (Georgetown) presents The Long Reach of European Union Law: Patent Boxes and the Limits of International Cooperation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg:

From 2013 to 2015, the forty-four member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 worked together on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, which was focused on curbing corporate tax avoidance. This article argues that the outcomes from that project show that European Union law is no longer just a concern of EU Member States. Instead, EU law and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) place constraints on non-EU countries by creating downward pressure on international standards.

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March 29, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rosenbloom Presents The Implications Of BEPS For A Rational United States Today At Case Western

RosenbloomH. David Rosenbloom (James S. Eustice Visiting Professor of Practice and Taxation and Director, International Tax Program, NYU; Partner, Caplin & Drysdale, Washington, D.C.) delivers the Norman A. Sugarman Memorial Lecture on The BEPS Project of the OECD: Implications for a Rational United States at Case Western today:

The project of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development on "Base Erosion and Profit Shifting" has launched a revolution in the field of international taxation. This lecture begins with the genesis of that project, proceeds to its core themes and recommendations, and identifies its foreseeable impacts. It concludes with an examination of both how the United States is likely to be affected and how, as a (perhaps counter-factually) rational country, it might appropriately respond.

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March 29, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oei Presents The Tax Lives Of Uber Drivers Today At Southwestern

OeiShuyi Oei (Tulane) presents The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at Southwestern today as part of its Faculty Speaker Series:

In this Article, we investigate the tax issues and challenges facing Uber and Lyft drivers by studying their online interactions in three internet discussion forums: Reddit.com, Uberpeople.net, and Intuit TurboTax AnswerXchange. Using descriptive statistics and content analysis, we examine (1) the substantive tax concerns facing forum participants, (2) how taxes affect their driving and profitability decisions, and (3) the degree of user sophistication, accuracy of legal advising, and other cultural features of the forums.

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March 29, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Rise Of The ‘Gentleman’s A’ And The GPA Arms Race

Washington Post:  The Rise of the ‘Gentleman’s A’ and the GPA Arms Race, by Catherine Rampell:

The waters of Lake Wobegon have flooded U.S. college campuses. A’s — once reserved for recognizing excellence and distinction — are today the most commonly awarded grades in America.

That’s true at both Ivy League institutions and community colleges, at huge flagship publics and tiny liberal arts schools, and in English, ethnic studies and engineering departments alike. Across the country, wherever and whatever they study, mediocre students are increasingly likely to receive supposedly superlative grades.

WaPo 3

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March 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Blinder & Watson:  The U.S. Economy Grows Faster Under Democratic Presidents

Alan S. Blinder (Princeton) & Mark W. Watson (Princeton), Presidents and the U.S. Economy: An Econometric Exploration, 106 Am. Econ. Rev. 1015 (2016):

The U.S. economy has grown faster--and scored higher on many other macroeconomic metrics--when the President of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican. For many measures, including real GDP growth (on which we concentrate), the performance gap is both large and statistically significant, despite the fact that postwar history includes only 16 complete presidential terms. This paper asks why. The answer is not found in technical time series matters (such as differential trends or mean reversion), nor in systematically more expansionary monetary or fiscal policy under Democrats. Rather, it appears that the Democratic edge stems mainly from more benign oil shocks, superior TFP performance, a more favorable international environment, and perhaps more optimistic consumer expectations about the near-term future. Many other potential explanations are examined but fail to explain the partisan growth gap.

1A

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March 29, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

NY Times:  Federal Judge In Puerto Rico Calls 100% Tax On Walmart Unlawful

WalmertFollowing up on my previous post, Walmart Sues Puerto Rico Over 91.5% Tax Rate Applicable Only To Walmart:  New York Times, Federal Judge in Puerto Rico Calls Walmart Tax Unlawful:

A federal judge in San Juan on Monday threw out a new tax that Puerto Rico had tried to impose on the American retailing giant Walmart, calling it unlawful [Wal-Mart Puerto Rico v. Zaragoza-Gomez, No. 3:15-CV-03018 (D.P.R. Mar. 28, 2016)].

Walmart had argued that the new tax would confiscate more than 100 percent of its profit from operations in Puerto Rico, making it one of the most onerous taxes on earth.

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March 29, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

GAO:  IRS Refusal To Address Previously Identified IT Deficiencies Leaves Confidential Taxpayer Data 'Unnecessarily Vulnerable'

GAO (2016)Government Accountability Office, IRS Needs to Further Improve Controls over Financial and Taxpayer Data (GAO-16-398) (Mar. 28, 2016):

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made progress in implementing information security controls; however, weaknesses in the controls limited their effectiveness in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of financial and sensitive taxpayer data. During fiscal year 2015, IRS continued to devote attention to securing its information systems that process sensitive taxpayer and financial information. Key among its actions were further restricting access privileges on key financial applications and continuing its migration to multifactor authentication across the agency. However, significant control deficiencies remained. For example, the agency had not always (1) implemented controls for identifying and authenticating users, such as applying proper password settings; (2) appropriately restricted access to servers; (3) ensured that sensitive user authentication data were encrypted; (4) audited and monitored systems to ensure compliance with agency policies; and (5) ensured access to restricted areas was appropriate. In addition, unpatched and outdated software exposed IRS to known vulnerabilities.

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March 29, 2016 in Gov't Reports, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Firms Try 'Hoteling' For Some Partners

National Law Journal, The Law Offices of the Future Are Here, and Your Name Might Not Be On the Door:

Reed Smith may be among the first Am Law 100 firms to try "hoteling" for some of its partners.

When Reed Smith moved 35 lawyers from a Falls Church office building into the new Tysons Tower on Monday, two partners gave up the very thing they had worked years for: Their names on office doors.

Those Northern Virginia-based lawyers and others in the San Francisco office are part of a pilot program Reed Smith has started to try “hoteling,” or the practice of lawyers sitting at changeable temporary desk spaces when they work out of their home office buildings.

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March 29, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1055

IRS Logo 2National Review, Consequences Are for Schmucks:

People like Hillary Rodham Clinton do not go to jail without first becoming governor of Illinois or mayor of Detroit, and Herself always has her sights set on a higher office than those. But even relatively lowly players in her world escape jail time. Lois Lerner turned the Internal Revenue Service into a branch of the Obama campaign, using the agency’s fearsome investigatory powers to harass tea-party groups and conservative organizations. She’s enjoying a fat pension right now rather than the federal hospitality she so richly deserves. Kamala Harris, who is trying to do much the same thing with the office of the attorney general in California, probably is headed to the Senate. The Texas prosecutors who harassed Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay, and Rick Perry for wholly imaginary crimes are in no danger of facing real recriminations.

(Hat Tip: Mark Fitzgibbons.)

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March 29, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Oei Presents The Tax Lives Of Uber Drivers Today At Pepperdine, UC-Irvine

OeiShuyi Oei (Tulane) presents The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) today at Pepperdine (as part of our Tax Policy Workshop Series funded in part by a generous gift from Scott Racine) and UC-Irvine (as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian):

In this Article, we investigate the tax issues and challenges facing Uber and Lyft drivers by studying their online interactions in three internet discussion forums: Reddit.com, Uberpeople.net, and Intuit TurboTax AnswerXchange. Using descriptive statistics and content analysis, we examine (1) the substantive tax concerns facing forum participants, (2) how taxes affect their driving and profitability decisions, and (3) the degree of user sophistication, accuracy of legal advising, and other cultural features of the forums.

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March 28, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Map Of The Top 50 Law Schools:  1/3 Are West Of The Mississippi River

U.S. News & World Report, Map: See the Top 50 Law Schools in the U.S.:

The law schools on the map below placed in the top 50 of the 2017 Best Graduate Schools rankings. The map includes data on each school's acceptance rate, tuition costs and more. Due to ties, there are 54 law schools represented on the map.

USN

March 28, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Crawford:  Widening The Critical Tax Lens

JotwellBridget Crawford (Pace), Widening the Critical Tax Lens (Jotwell) (reviewing Lily Kahng, The Not-So-Merry Wives of Windsor: The Taxation of Women in Same-Sex Marriages, 101 Cornell L. Rev. 325 (2015)):

In the wake of the Windsor and Obergefell decisions, some tax scholars have drawn important attention to legal issues created in the period between Windsor and Obergefell for same-sex couples whose states did not recognize their marriages, as well as challenges faced by those who choose civil unions over marriage. Other tax scholars are wary of Obergefell’s glorification of marriage as the highest form of human fulfillment, and are skeptical that marriage is the correct foundation for a variety of procedural and substantive rules.

Enter into this conversation Lily Kahng’s thoughtful examination at how women in same-sex couples might fare from a tax perspective in a post-Windsor, post-Obergefell world.

For almost twenty years, Kahng has been a leading and consistent voice in critiquing the fiction of marital unity in the tax law. In The Not-So-Merry Wives of Windsor: The Taxation of Women in Same-Sex Marriages, Kahng turns on its head the assumption that same-sex marriage is a salutary shift in the legal landscape for same-sex couples. Kahng argues that under federal law, women in same-sex couples will be taxed unfavorably compared to women in different-sex couples. ...

For anyone interested in understanding the tax implications of the Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage, Kahng’s article is a must-read. Writing squarely within the critical tax tradition, Kahng looks at the tax system to ask important questions about advantage and disadvantage. For years, critical tax theorists have taken up the challenge of identifying ways in which the tax system privileged different-sex couples over same-sex couples. With this article, Kahng widens the critical tax lens further, inviting readers to consider the ways that women in same-sex couples might experience the tax law differently than men in same-sex couples or men and women in different-sex couples. The quest for fairness in taxation must be a nuanced one, as Lily Kahng’s careful work demonstrates.

March 28, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Denver Aims To 'Leapfrog' Colorado, Become The Stanford Of 'Silicon Mountain'; Law School Offers 'Experiential Advantage Curriculum' (Students Work One Year In Legal Practice)

DSDenver Post, Building the Stanford of Denver at the Speed of an Entrepreneur:

Within eight months of becoming the dean of the University of Denver's computer school, entrepreneur J.B. Holston started something that could change the institution forever. Together with the deans of the law and business schools, Holston created a program infused with entrepreneurship. But this isn't just about curriculum. It's about connecting to local businesses and the community and creating an ecosystem that becomes so sustainable, it merits its own nickname.

"This is all part of my sneaky vision to turn DU into the Stanford of Denver," Holston said after hiring Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association, this month to lead the effort called Project X-ITE. "Just as Silicon Valley needed a Stanford, Denver needs DU to make this happen."

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March 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Odds Of An IRS Tax Audit

The Motley Fool, Here Are the Odds of an IRS Tax Audit:

The IRS publishes an annual Data Book that shows how many returns were filed, and how many returns received additional scrutiny. With this information, we can roughly quantify your odds that the IRS audits your 2015 tax returns. ...

IRS Audit Index

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March 28, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Academia Is Not (And Cannot Be) A Meritocracy:  Positive Feedback Loops, Matthew Effect Citation Bursts, And Social Networks Can Predict Success, Not Stars

Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon), Who Sits in the 41st Chair?:

This post is about why academia isn’t a meritocracy, at no intentional fault of those in power who try to make it one. None of presented ideas are novel on their own, but I do intend this as a novel conceptual contribution in its connection of disparate threads. Especially, I suggest the predictability of research success in a scarce academic economy as a theoretical framework for exploring successes and failures in the history of science. But mostly I just beat a “musical chairs” metaphor to death.

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March 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Death Of Ira Shepard

ShepardFrom Marty McMahon (Florida):

I am deeply saddened to let you know that my dear friend Ira Shepard, Professor Emeritus at the University of Houston Law Center, passed away earlier today.  Ira and I have been friends for over thirty years and have worked closely together.  Over the past twenty-five years, Ira and I made some seventy-five odd CLE current development presentations all over the country, including over 20 consecutive years at the ABA Tax Section Mid-Winter Meeting and the University of Texas Tax Conference and seventeen years at Southern Federal Tax Institute and North Carolina Tax Institute, as well as many others.  We published our current developments outline in the Florida Tax Review every year since 2000.

Ira was smart, erudide, witty, and had a keen sense of humor.  He always provided great insights as to the history of tax law and practice, made me laugh, and was a wonderful companion at the many speaking engagements we did together.  I doubtless ate more meals with Ira than anyone who is not a member of my own family.

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March 28, 2016 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Joint Tax Committee Releases Estimated Revenue Effects Of Tax Provisions In President Obama’s FY2017 Budget

NYU B-School Did Not Provide GMAT Scores To U.S. News, Falls From #11 To #20 In Rankings

NYUUSNRobert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report), Why New York University Fell in the Best Business Schools Rankings:

When U.S. News calculates our annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools, we get all the statistical data we use from the schools themselves. This means U.S. News depends on those schools to provide accurate and complete data in response to our statistical surveys.

When a school does not provide data that are used in the rankings methodologies, that can have a significant effect on its position in the rankings.

During the statistical data collection process for the newly released 2017 edition of Best Business Schools, New York University's Stern School of Business did not submit its data for the number of new entrants to both its full-time and part-time MBA programs who provided GMAT scores. These data were for the fall 2015 entering class. ...

The data are used as part of the calculation to compute a value for a school's average GMAT and GRE scores. This measure is included in the rankings to determine the strength of a school's entering class relative to other full-time and part-time MBA programs. The average GMAT and GRE scores have a weight of 16.25 percent in the full-time MBA rankings and 15 percent in the part-time MBA rankings.

The Stern School of Business' position in both the full-time and part-time MBA rankings for the 2017 edition were negatively affected as a result of the data omission. The school is ranked at No. 20 in the full-time rankings and No. 10 in the part-time rankings. In the 2016 edition of the rankings, the school tied for No. 11 among full-time programs and ranked fourth among part-time programs.

Stern later provided U.S. News with the omitted data points, which are noted on its profile page on usnews.com. These data points are only visible to U.S. News Grad School Compass users, as is the case for all business schools.

U.S. News will not recalculate NYU’s rankings – or any other school’s rankings – because of nonreporting.

NYU Press Release, Why Stern’s Ranking Fell to 20, and Why You Shouldn’t Take it at Face Value:

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March 28, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1054

IRS Logo 2Investor's Business Daily editorial, It’s Past Time To End The IRS’ Reign Of Terror:

Corruption: A federal court has harshly judged the IRS for harassing conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. We hope this brings far more trouble for the agency than it gave those groups.

Don’t think we’re downplaying what happened to these organizations. The IRS committed a serious offense. Its conduct was beyond outrageous. It held up nonprofit-status applications from Tea Party and conservative groups for political reasons, singled out the groups for unforgiving scrutiny and was actively looking for right-of-center organizations to grind in its 21st century inquisition.

On Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals censured the IRS, ordering it to turn over the list of groups it had targeted so that a class-action lawsuit filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots against the tax collector can move forward with those groups as plaintiffs. An agency that has long acted above the law has now been told it is accountable. This is significant.

The three-judge panel was not sparing in its judgment. It noted that “among the most serious allegations a federal court can address are that an executive agency has targeted citizens for mistreatment based on their political views.” It also told the IRS lawyers that they had conducted themselves in a manner unworthy of the government’s tradition of impartiality and decency as they fought the lawsuit. ...

How can such an agency exist in a free society? But then, we’re not truly free if the IRS or any other agent of the government has the latitude to carry on as the IRS has for decades. Free people don’t live in constant fear of a government inquiry and are not perpetually afraid that the tax collector’s boot will suddenly land on their neck. Nor are they ever anxious that an innocent slip-up will wreck their lives.

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March 28, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is Income, Wealth Inequality In The United States Less Than We Think?

CNNCNN, The Top 1% Haven't Recovered Yet, Either:

The income of the Top 1% is also below where it was before the Great Recession, largely because America's richest took a massive hit during the economic downturn. They have yet to recover, despite the fact that they've captured the majority of the income gains since then.

The Top 1% had an average income of $1.26 million in 2014, down from $1.56 million in 2007. That's a 19.1% drop, according to an analysis of tax data by Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley, and Thomas Piketty, Paris School of Economics. ... The Bottom 90%, meanwhile, saw their average incomes fall 10.7% to $33,068 in 2014, from $37,017 in 2007. ... The tippy top of the ladder — the Top 0.01% — actually have the farthest to go in order to return to pre-2007 levels. Their incomes are down 27.4% to $29 million in 2014.

Slate:  Maybe Wealth Inequality Isn’t Surging After All, by Jordan Weismann:

Economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman appeared to upend much of the old wisdom about America's wealth distribution in 2014, when they released an innovative study that gave readers a peek into the exploding fortunes of the top 0.1 percent. ... The top 1 percent's portion of the nation's pie had climbed to 42 percent. The top 0.1 percent's share had more than tripled, from 7 percent in 1978 to 22 percent in 2012. ...

The findings seemed like a blockbuster sequel to Saez's work with Thomas Piketty, with whom he popularized the idea of using tax information to trace income inequality. They also seemed to dispel the idea that the wealth gap wasn't growing in line with the income gap. Piketty himself endorsed the new numbers, saying they were more reliable than the statistics he had used in his best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

But now they seem to be facing some stiff criticism. In a working paper presented during a recent Brookings conference, a group of economists from the Federal Reserve Board and the University of Pennsylvania argue that while wealth inequality is indeed growing, its rise has been much slower and less dramatic than the surge depicted by Saez and Zucman.

[Jesse Bricker, Alice Henriques & John Sabelhaus (Federal Reserve Board) & Jacob Krimmel (Wharton), Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data:

Abstract:  Most available estimates of US wealth and income concentration indicate that top shares are high and rising in recent decades, but there is some disagreement about specific levels and trends. Household surveys are the traditional data source used to measure top shares, but recent studies using administrative tax records suggest that those survey-based top share estimates may not be capturing all of the increasing concentration. In this paper we reconcile the divergent top share estimates, showing how the choice of data sets and methodological decisions affect the levels and trends. Relative to the new and most widely-cited top share estimates based on administrative tax data alone, our preferred estimates for both wealth and income concentration are lower and rising less rapidly in recent years.]

The disagreement between the two sides starts with their data sources. ...  For many years, the Federal Reserve's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances was considered the most important trove of information on American wealth. But Saez and Zucman chose to rely on tax data instead, arguing that it was more likely to capture the wealth of the extremely rich, who respond to government surveys less frequently than other Americans. Because the IRS doesn't actually track anybody's net worth, however, the duo had to reverse-engineer their estimates using what's known as the "capitalization" method: First they looked at IRS records to find the distribution of income from things like stocks and bonds, then they calculated how much wealth would be required to generate that money based on likely rates of return.

In their new paper, the Fed-Penn team contends that the Survey of Consumer Finances in fact does a fine job tracking down the superaffluent. There is one major omission, however: The survey purposely doesn't include any members of the Forbes 400, the decades-old ranking of America's richest (so no Warren Buffett or Donald Trump). To fix that flaw, the authors construct a new wealth measure that uses the Survey of Consumer Finances as a base, then adds the Forbes data (which makes the rich look richer), along with the total value of all defined-benefit pensions (which makes the middle class look richer). The final outcome: A relatively gentle but sustained rise in inequality since the 1980s, such that the top 1 percent now claim about 33 percent of household wealth (9 percentages points below Saez and Zucman's estimate), while the top 0.1 percent claimed less than 15 percent (about 7 percentage points below Saez's and Zucman's estimate). ...

5A

5B

Why does their approach find such lower levels of wealth concentration? The authors offer three main reasons.

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March 27, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere 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. [423 Downloads]  What Now? A Boomer's Baedeker for the Distribution Phase of Defined Contribution Retirement Plans, by Richard Kaplan (Illinois)
  2. [307 Downloads]  Lexisnexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance: Chapter 1, by Willliam Byrnes (Texas A&M) & Robert J. Munro (Texas A&M)
  3. [258 Downloads]  The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums, by Shu-Yi Oei (Tulane) & Diane M. Ring (Boston College)
  4. [205 Downloads]  Taxing Wealth Seriously, by Edward J. McCaffery (USC)
  5. [201 Downloads]  Ownership of the Means of Production, by E. Glen Weyl (Chicago) & Anthony Lee Zhang (Stanford)

March 27, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Next Big Thing In Employee Benefits:  401(k)s For Student Loan Repayment

401kNew York Times, Medical, Dental, 401(k)? Now Add School Loan Aid to Job Benefits:

Fidelity will apply up to $2,000 annually to the principal of its employees’ student debts. ... Fidelity is one of the more prominent employers to announce the student loan repayment benefit in recent months, a policy that seems likely to gain traction. The benefit helps address what some employers describe as a challenge attracting and retaining younger workers, many of whom can’t see beyond the burden of their student debt. Most employers that are offering the new perk also cap their costs at, say, $10,000 total per employee.

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March 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1053

IRS Logo 2News Busters, It’s Been 513 Days Since Any Big 3 Network Has Touched the IRS Scandal:

The latest stunning development in the IRS targeting scandal, that a federal appeals court on Tuesday scolded the IRS for failing to turn over its full list of groups it targeted, has yet to be reported on any of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network evening or morning shows.

However, as NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock reported, all three networks on Thursday found time to gush over Barack Obama’s “fancy footwork” and “dancing diplomacy” in Argentina.

In fact, it’s been 513 days since any network has touched the IRS scandal. The last mention arrived on the October 28, 2014 edition of CBS This Morning when John Dickerson noted voters in states that would decide control of the Senate in the 2014 midterms were skeptical of the government due to a “series of different things from the Secret Service to Ebola to the IRS scandal.”

The last time NBC noted the IRS scandal was 540 days ago on the October 5, 2014 Today show, when NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd briefly noted that public skepticism about the government’s handling of the Ebola crisis was well-earned due to “Secret Service blunders, IRS losing e-mails, the Veteran Affairs Administration botching all these wait times.” 

But that’s nothing compared to the IRS scandal news drought on ABC. The last time the IRS targeting imbroglio got any airtime on ABC was 686 days ago in a 16 second brief by Amy Robach on the May 8, 2014 edition of Good Morning America, when Robach reported that “six Democrats have joined Republicans in the House” to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. ...

Since then there have been multiple revelations gone unreported by the networks ...

Of course, Fox News did the reporting the networks refuse to do on the latest IRS scandal development.

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March 27, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Court Allows Pace Law Grad Working As Secretary After Failing Bar To Discharge $15,000 Bar Loan; $300,000 Student Loan Debt Remains

Pace (2016)Wall Street Journal, Judge Says Bankrupt Law Grads Can Cancel Bar Loans:

A federal judge ruled law-school graduates who file for bankruptcy protection can cancel the debt they racked up while studying for the bar exam, finding such loans are different from traditional federal student loans that are rarely canceled by bankruptcy.

In an opinion filed Thursday [Campbell v. Citibank, No. 14-45990 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2016)], Judge Carla Craig of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., said bar-exam loan debt is “a product of an arm’s-length agreement on commercial terms” and doesn’t fall into the category of student loans that stick with a borrower who files for bankruptcy.

The decision, which is the most thorough recent ruling on the matter, contradicts the widely accepted notion that student loan-related debt can be canceled in bankruptcy only under rare cases of extreme financial hardship.

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March 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)