TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, October 31, 2016

Indiana Tech Law School To Close June 2017 Following $20 Million In Losses

Michael Simkovic Leaves Seton Hall For USC

Simkovic 3Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall) has accepted a lateral offer with tenure from USC. His recent articles include:

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October 31, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Viswanathan Presents Tax Compliance In A Decentralizing Economy Today At Loyola-L.A.

ViswanathanManoj Viswanathan (UC-Hastings) presents Tax Compliance in a Decentralizing Economy at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Tax compliance in the United States depends heavily on centralized institutions acting as intermediaries between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service. Income reported on intermediary-provided forms constitutes the overwhelming majority of both reported (and taxed) income. This information reporting is the primary mechanism by which the IRS evaluates taxpayer returns for compliance.

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

Pickett Presents The Psychological And Social Costs Of Inequality Today At NYU

PickettKate Pickett (University of York) presents Income Inequality and Health: A Casual Review and The Enemy Between Us: The Psychological and Social Costs of Inequality (both with Richard Wilkinson (University of Nottingham)) at the NYU High-End Inequality Colloquium Series (more here) hosted by Robert Frank (Cornell) and Dan Shaviro (NYU):

Income Inequality and Health: A Casual Review
There is a very large literature examining income inequality in relation to health. Early reviews came to different interpretations of the evidence, though a large majority of studies reported that health tended to be worse in more unequal societies. More recent studies, not included in those reviews, provide substantial new evidence. Our purpose in this paper is to assess whether or not wider income differences play a causal role leading to worse health. We conducted a literature review within an epidemiological causal framework and inferred the likelihood of a causal relationship between income inequality and health (including violence) by considering the evidence as a whole. The body of evidence strongly suggests that income inequality affects population health and wellbeing.

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

Muller:  Why Is The ABA Still Accrediting Law Schools?

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Why Is the ABA Still Accrediting Law Schools?:

Perhaps we have legal education [because] we believe that attorneys should be, somehow, perhaps, well-rounded and well-educated individuals, apart from their ability to pass the bar exam? That would seem to be the driving concern—we think (perhaps you don't, but work with the assumption) lawyers shouldn't just be able to pass the bar and practice law; they should have some kind of training and background before they practice law and something that qualifies them apart from the bar exam's test of "minimum competence." ...

But there is a different, perhaps reverse, form of the question: if legal education provides students with three years of sound education and a degree at the end, why is the bar exam even needed? Isn't graduating from a law school after three years of thickly-regulated education sufficient to make one eligible to practice law? Indeed, it's a reason why the state of Wisconsin offers "diploma privilege" to graduates of its two law schools. ...

[W]hy is the ABA still accrediting law schools given its new obsession with the ability of graduates to pass the bar exam? ... There are two principal, and opposing, kinds of responses one could make to my query.

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

Halloween #ScaryStoriesIn5Words: You Have To Teach Tax

Scary

October 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wisconsin Welcomes 149 1Ls, Down 20% From 2015 (39% From 2010)

Wisconsin LogoWisconsin Law School (ranked #33 in U.S. News) welcomed 149 1Ls this Fall, down 20% from 2015 (186) and down 39% from 2010 (246).

Here are Wisconsin's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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

EU Releases Corporate Tax Reform Package


European Commission, Corporate Tax Reform Package:

The corporate reform package proposal published on 25th October, 2016 provides three new proposals to provide for a more modern and fairer tax system for business, to close loopholes between EU countries and non-EU countries, and to provide new dispute resolution rules to relieve problems with double taxation for buinesses.

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October 31, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1271: President Obama Lied About The IRS’s Targeting Of Conservatives

New York Post op-ed: Obama Told Us He’s Honorable — But He’s Just Another Liar, by Kyle Smith:

At least President Obama is honest. Or so goes the common perception. He tried, maybe he made mistakes, the other side was mean to him, but through it all, he didn’t lie.

That view got smithereened this week. It was always hard to believe the president’s repeated claim that he didn’t know his own secretary of state was using an off-the-books e-mail server to avoid public scrutiny, in the process virtually guaranteeing that she would commit multiple felonies by taking classified information into the open.

Now we know Obama was lying. His own aides said so, in e-mails uncovered by WikiLeaks and made public this week. ...

Obama lied about the IRS’s targeting of conservatives, even contradicting his own statements that the harassment was “inexcusable” and made him “angry” on May 15, 2013. Less than a year later, when the heat was off, he said there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” and the IRS’s vendetta against right-leaning groups was totally excusable as a bureaucratic snafu.

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October 31, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chicago Cubs Unite Jews, Christians And Muslims Who Identify With 108-Year Exile

Cubs5Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Cubs Are the Official Team of Jews—Also Christians, Buddhists and Muslims:

Jews, Christians, Muslims see affinity in club’s 108-year exile.

All religions, to some extent, seek to understand the value, meaning and purpose of suffering. That includes everyday plagues, such as enduring a calamitous baseball losing streak. It’s no accident spiritual thinkers make the connection.

“All this attention on the Cubs has me thinking about hope, the most underappreciated Christian virtue,” Michael Laskey, a Yankees-loving National Catholic Reporter columnist, wrote last year. Lauding Cubs fans for braving horrible weather in support of often-terrible teams, Mr. Laskey wrote that “this type of hope—showing up when things are hard—might be exactly the virtue the church most needs right now.”

A rabbi who is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post recently hailed the Cubs as “the Jews of the sports world,” an idea seconded by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, who made a stop at Wrigley Field on a swing through Chicago this month. “The Cubs might be the most Jewish team in America,” said Mr. Dermer. “They’ve experienced a long period of suffering, and now they’re hoping to get to the promised land.”

There are Cubs-themed yarmulkes and caps spelling the team’s name in Hebrew. “What did Jesus say to the Cubs?” says a popular T-shirt in Chicago. “Don’t do nothin’ til I get back.”

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October 30, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Reform For Our Century

Room to GrowRyan Ellis (Conservative Reform Network), Tax Reform For Our Century:

In his book as part of the Room To Grow series, Ryan Ellis identifies four fundamental flaws that beset America’s current tax code and offers principled, practical solutions to reform the system.

First, our business tax code is a barrier to growth, replete with tax rates that are among the highest in the developed world, often approaching 50 percent. The code also levies multiple layers of taxation against certain kinds of income and imposes an arbitrary, punitive system that inhibits business investment. To reform the business tax code, Ellis proposes several solutions, including establishing a lower, more competitive tax rate, reducing taxes on capital gains, and allowing businesses to deduct 100 percent of their investments in the year they are made.

Second, the tax code burdens middle-class families, particularly in the form of payroll taxes and a low, per-child tax credit, which hasn’t been increased since 2001. To provide them with much needed relief, Ellis offers several suggestions, including reducing the payroll tax and increasing the per-child tax credit.

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October 30, 2016 in Tax, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5. The #1 paper is now #23 in all-time downloads among 12,312 tax papers:

  1. [3,727 Downloads]  Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump's Latest Tax Plan, by Lily L. Batchelder (NYU)
  2. [214 Downloads]  Taxation and Human Rights: A Delicate Balance, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  3. [207 Downloads]  Law and Macroeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions, by Yair Listokin (Yale)
  4. [204 Downloads]  The Up-C Revolution, by Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)
  5. [184 Downloads]  Aggressive Tax Planning & the Ethical Tax Lawyer, by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings)

October 30, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experts Expect Charlie And Donna Adelson To Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder

Adelson FamilyVice, ​Who Put the Hit Out on a Florida Criminal Justice Professor?:

In the hours before and after Dan Markel was shot in the head outside his home in Tallahassee, Florida, two years ago, his former brother-in-law Charlie Adelson called a paramour, Katherine "Katie" Magbanua, at least nine times. While the conversations were not recorded, the phone calls are among several key pieces of evidence cops believe connect Adelson and his lover to the two men they've formally accused of actually killing Markel, according to a recent probable cause affidavit charging Magbanua with orchestrating the Florida State professor's murder. ...

"I believe and investigators believe that at one point [Magbanua] called Charlie to tell him the deal is done," Leon County County state attorney William "Willie" Meggs told me recently over the phone. "What proof do we have? None at the moment. It will probably come, but we are not there yet."

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October 30, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1270: Why The IRS Matters This Election

IRS Logo 2Seattle Times, Why It Matters: IRS:

The Issue:
The Internal Revenue Service touches everyone, not just taxpayers but anyone who receives a government check, drives on roads made possible by tax revenue or sends a child to a school helped by Washington. It’s a touch that can come with a heavy hand, in the eyes of critics who believe the agency’s far-reaching powers are abused and the agency needs to be cut down to size.

Why It Matters: ...
With some 90,000 employees, a massive stockpile of information on citizens and powers to dig deep into the lives of those it decides to investigate, the IRS is in the face of Americans like no other agency. That’s become even more so since it was handed the job of enforcing the mandate that people carry health insurance.

The potential for abusing power is obvious, and it has happened — most vividly at the hands of President Richard Nixon but also in the administrations of John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt and more, historians say.

During the Obama administration, the IRS has acknowledged mistreatment of tea party groups by subjecting them to excessive scrutiny in their bid for tax-exempt status. But investigations by the Justice Department and the IRS’ independent inspector general found no evidence that actions against the conservative groups were politically motivated.

Koskinen took over after the IRS actions in question but has not been clear of the controversy. Conservative lawmakers pressed unsuccessfully to impeach him, accusing him of lying to Congress, not answering subpoenas and overseeing an agency that destroyed documents in the tea party case. He denied the accusations and told lawmakers that when he testified in June 2014 that no documents had been destroyed since congressional investigations began, he didn’t know that IRS workers had mistakenly destroyed backup tapes bearing thousands of emails.

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Syracuse Dean (And Tax Prof) Craig Boise: 'The Only Harley-Riding, Piano-Playing, Calf-Roping Law Dean In The Country'

SyracuseDaily Orange, College of Law Dean Craig Boise Described as the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’:

His friends describe him as the closest a real person could come to being James Bond.

Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig Boise is a man of many talents. When he meets someone for the first time, odds are it’ll take that person a while to discover his collection of talents — he’s a skilled classical pianist, scuba diver, sailor, motorcyclist, corporate international tax law guru, salsa dancer, world traveler and a former SWAT team member whose roots lie in small-town Missouri.

“I don’t think there are many deans who have kicked down doors on drug busts and also played classical piano,” said Andrew Morriss, law school dean at Texas A&M University and Boise’s longtime friend and colleague. “He’s kind of like the most interesting man in the world from the tequila commercials.”

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October 29, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

IRS Demands $5 Billion From Facebook For Tax Strategy Devised By EY, Approved By Facebook's Auditor (EY)

EYFBloomberg, EY Created Facebook’s Tax Plan. And Lo, It Was Good, Declared EY:

Potential conflict seen in firms’ review of their own tax work.

Facebook is having an argument with the Internal Revenue Service, which the social media giant says could cost it as much as $5 billion. The dispute involves a tax strategy designed by EY, formerly Ernst & Young, that helped Facebook slash billions from its U.S. tax bill since 2010. Part of Facebook’s defense is that the plan was fully reviewed by its outside auditors. The accounting firm that signed off on EY’s tax plan? EY.

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October 29, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chicago Law Profs And The Cubs

CubsNational Law Journal, Chicago Law Profs Don’t Need Lecture on Cubs’ Chances:

Chicagoans are abuzz with excitement over the possibility of a Cubs championship, which would be the first since 1908, and the legal academy is not immune. [David] Rudstein [(Chicago-Kent)] is just one of many professors at the city’s six law schools who are following the team with either sense of unbridled optimism or dread that it could fall apart at any moment. These are the Cubs, after all. ...

Ann Lousin, a professor at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, had the unenviable task of teaching her three-hour sales transactions class during the first night of the World Series. Students still showed up, but by hour two she noticed pleading looks in their eyes. “You try to teach the Uniform Commercial Code while the World Series is going on,” she said the following morning. “It’s brutal.”

Other Chicago Law Profs quoted in the story:

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October 29, 2016 in Celebrity Tax Lore, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1269: The Dark Art Of Political Intimidation

KS

Power Line, FREE KIM STRASSEL!:

YouTube has restricted Kim Strassel’s PragerU short course on The Intimidation Game. It’s almost like they want to prove her point

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October 29, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Daniel Hemel (University of Chicago) reviews a new article by Stephen Shay (Harvard), J. Clifton Fleming (BYU), and Robert Peroni (Texas), R&D Tax Incentives: Growth Panacea or Budget Trojan Horse?, 69 Tax Law Review 419 (2016).

HemelFollowers of this blog likely know already that any article by the trio of Shay, Fleming, and Peroni will be well worth reading. And, no surprise, their latest installment very much fits that bill. Here, they present a forceful critique of the various R&D incentives embedded in the Internal Revenue Code, culminating in an ambitious proposal to repeal these incentives and use the resulting revenues to increase direct federal spending on basic research.

One significant contribution that Shay, Fleming, and Peroni make in this article (though far from the only) is to expand our view of R&D tax incentives beyond the section 41 credit for increasing research activities and the section 174 deduction for research and experimental expenditures. 

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October 28, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses Jackson v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2016-69 (Oct. 24, 2016).

KristanSometimes love isn’t all you need. Compensation causes income tax. Gifts don’t. This made all the difference in a Tax Court case this week.

A Florida man, who we will call Mr. J., was pastor of a little church with “approximately 25 to 30 active members.” His wife was a “director” in the church.

Mr. J. made an offer to the congregation, according to Tax Court Judge Guy:

Mr. J… informed the church’s board of directors that he did not want to be paid a salary for his pastoral services but that he would not be opposed to receiving “love offerings”, gifts, or loans from the church.

Mr. J. was in a position to keep the love coming:

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October 28, 2016 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Florida Hosts 12th Annual International Tax Symposium

Florida Logo (GIF)The University of Florida Graduate Tax Program hosts its Twelfth International Taxation Symposium today at 8:15 am–1:00 pm EST (live stream here):

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

NYU Conference On Divergent Country Views Of Base Erosion And Profit Shifting

NYU Law (2016)NYU hosts a Global Tax Conference today on Divergent Country Views of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting:

Panel #1:  European Commission State Aid Cases

  • Dan Shaviro (NYU) (moderator)
  • Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  • Hein Vermeulen (University of Amsterdam)
  • Dennis Webber (University of Amsterdam)

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

Law School Formerly Known As South Texas Agrees To Change Name From Houston College Of Law, Subject To Approval Of University Of Houston

Houston South TexasFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Houston Chronicle, Law School in Trademark Fight Will Change its Name Again:

By the end of 2016, the private law school in downtown Houston will have yet another new name, attorneys said on Wednesday.

Houston College of Law, formerly known as South Texas College of Law, has agreed to change its name one more time in the next two weeks to avoid going to trial in a federal trademark lawsuit brought by the University of Houston, which said the new name and red-and-white color scheme was confusing to consumers.

Lynne Liberato, one of the lawyers for the school with a soon-to-be-announced name, said the college has taken down a banner on campus, removed merchandise from its store and plans to have several billboards taken down, possibly as soon as this week.

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October 28, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

42nd Annual Notre Dame Tax And Estate Planning Institute

ND

The 42nd Annual Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute concludes today.  Tax Profs with speaking roles include:

  • Mitchell Gans (Hofstra), The Most Important Estate and Income Tax Decision No One Knows: The Impact of the 1958 Supreme Court Decision in Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Co. v. Smith on Installment Sales and Private Annuities 
  • David Herzig (Valparaiso), The Intersection of Business Transactions and Estate Planning: What Every Estate Planner Needs to Know About Business Law in the Context of Tax Planning

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1268: Sen. Whitehouse — Republicans Are Using Koskinen Impeachment To Bring IRS To Heel On Dark Money Campaign Financing

IRS Logo 2The Hill op-ed: The Republican Mission to Quell the IRS, by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI):

It looks like any other slick political ad on your TV. There’s ominous music, a dramatic voice-over, a grainy picture of President Obama. But this isn’t just another campaign commercial.

The news broke recently that a Republican mega-donor plans to spend about $1 million a week on ads calling on Congress to impeach John Koskinen, the commissioner of the IRS. It seems like an odd way to spend your millions. While it’s true that the IRS is the right’s favorite whipping boy, why the campaign-style ad blitz?

Well, in my years as a prosecutor, it’s become a habit to consider motive. So it got me thinking: What motive do the Republicans have to impeach the IRS commissioner? Maybe it’s just emotional acting-out against an agency they hate because it collects the taxes they hate. Maybe it’s an outbreak of political madness.

Or maybe there is method to their madness.

Let’s look at the Republican Party and how it is funded. While it raises a healthy amount for its campaign committees, Republicans and their allies depend increasingly on the super PACs and shadowy outside spending groups made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. ...

An under-funded and harried IRS has been unwilling to police the activities of powerful social welfare groups after an effort to separate out new applicants blew up in its face. In 2013, the IRS signaled it would begin the process of drafting a rule to better enforce our laws limiting dark money in elections. It later put the rulemaking process on hold after an especially loud outcry from conservative groups. The agency also came under heavy fire in the press from conservatives and Republicans in Congress who feared having the hose to their political oxygen crimped. And since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, they’ve worked to slash the IRS budget. Funding in 2016 was $11.2 billion, or 17 percent below 2010 levels, adjusted for inflation.

So the dark-money floodgates remain wide open, deluging our politics in special-interest slime.

The GOP’s crusade against Commissioner Koskinen may seem overblown, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider motive: Republicans need dark money, and dark money needs a cowering IRS.

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October 28, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Yale Student Newspapers Risk 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status To Endorse Hillary Clinton; 94% Of Yale Profs' Political Donations Go To Democrats, 95% Of Conservative Students Feel Their Opinions Are Unwelcome At Yale

YHRCDaily Caller, Tax-Exempt Yale Daily News Appears To Violate Law By Endorsing Hillary Clinton:

The Yale Daily News appears to have violated tax laws by endorsing Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, despite being prohibited from doing so as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization.

Yale Daily News, News’ View: Hillary Clinton Law ’73 for President:

In 1969, the same year Yale College went coed, a young woman entered Yale Law School. Like many of us, she was an idealist: She took on child abuse cases and provided free legal advice to the poor. Like many of us, she was a go-getter who worked at the Child Study Center and conducted research on migrant labor. Long before she became Secretary of State Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, Hillary Diane Rodham was working to make our country a better place. Almost four decades later, the News is proud to endorse her for president.

We do not endorse Clinton solely because of the disqualifying flaws of her opponent, Donald Trump, whose campaign has disgusted and astonished our board. Indeed, our endorsement of Clinton should come as no surprise: A recent survey conducted by the News found that a vast majority of students support her candidacy. We endorse her because we, as young people, recognize this election is a turning point for our country. And the choice couldn’t be more clear.

Voting for Clinton is our obligation to ourselves and to future generations. ... Like the young woman who arrived in New Haven in 1969, we have the power to realize a different future. That power lies in our vote. Let’s use it to elect Hillary Clinton.

Independent Journal Review, Non-Profit Yale Record Magazine Taunts IRS With Editorial 'Not Endorsing' Hillary Clinton:

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October 27, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

BigLaw Moneyball

MoneyballLaw.com, Big Law Moneyball:

Littler Mendelson is the second Am Law 100 firm (after Drinker Biddle & Reath) to follow in the Oakland A’s footsteps by hiring a dedicated head of data analytics. It’s only a matter of time before Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are playing Big Law partners.

In job interviews with half a dozen law firms last year, Zev Eigen quizzed firm leaders as much as they probed him. They wondered what a data scientist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could do for them.

He was curious what they would let him do.

Eigen, a Cornell-educated lawyer who was on the faculty at Northwestern University School of Law at the time, developed a test for what he calls “status quo bias” at law firms. He told managing partners that their firms should be teaching and training their own would-be first-year associates in jurisdictions such as California and New York that allow apprentices to sit for the bar exam. The plan would save firms $880,000 in salary per associate over a 10-year timeframe.

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October 27, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sales Factor Apportionment Would Eliminate Global Profit-Shifting, Inversions, And Favoring Multinational Over U.S. Companies (And Should Unite Democrats And Republicans)

American Prospect, The Progressive Tax Reform You’ve Never Heard Of:

AP“Profit Shifting” is the biggest lawful tax avoidance strategy in the United States and the world. Tax professor Kimberly Clausing of Reed College estimates that 31 percent of corporate tax revenue was lost due to profit shifting in 2012. In other words, the IRS collected $242 billion in corporate tax revenue that year, but should have collected another $111 billion if profit shifting to foreign jurisdictions did not exist. The problem rapidly accelerated from 2004 to 2012, and continues to increase dramatically. In 2016, it is possible that more than 40 percent of potential corporate tax revenue will be lost.

Some reformers on the Democratic side may be missing the mark when focusing on tax loopholes, tax breaks, and statutory rates while preserving the taxation of U.S. corporations’ worldwide income. Most developed countries tax income generated in their country; this is called a “territorial” income tax system. While the worldwide taxation system we have may, at first, seem like a good idea to progressives who want U.S. multinationals to be taxed properly, our system is having the opposite effect, and it can’t be corrected through tinkering.

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October 27, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (7)

Florida Seeks To Hire Professor Of Tax Practice

Florida Logo (GIF)The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law seeks to hire a full-time, non-tenure track Professor of Practice in Taxation to begin no later than the fall 2017 semester:

The Professor of Practice will be expected primarily to teach graduate level tax classes to LL.M. and S.J.D. students as part of the College's highly regarded Graduate Tax Program. Applicants for this position should hold a J.D. or LL.B. degree from an accredited law school and have significant legal experience in the field of taxation, with a national or international record of distinction in non-academic achievement, and have demonstrated applied and practical professional experience in taxation. This position will require ongoing professional engagement in taxation, including maintaining professional credentials, and contributions to teaching, research, and service. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

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October 27, 2016 in Tax, Tax Prof Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Holderness:  The Unexpected Role Of Tax Salience In State Competition For Businesses

Hayes R. Holderness Jr. (Illinois),  The Unexpected Role of Tax Salience in State Competition for Businesses, 84 U. Chi. L. Rev. ___ (2017):

Competition among the states for mobile firms and the jobs and infrastructure they can bring is a well-known phenomenon. However, in recent years, a handful of states have added a mysterious new tool to their kit of incentives used in this competition. Unlike more traditional incentives, these new incentives — which this Article brands “customer-based incentives” — offer tax relief to a firm’s customers rather than directly to the firm. The puzzle underling customer-based incentives is that tax relief provided to the firm’s customers would seem more difficult for the firm to capture than relief provided directly to the firm — strange, as a state’s primary goal is to subsidize the firm’s investment in the state.

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October 27, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wendi Adelson's Novel: Art Imitating Life?

AdelsonFollowing up on my previous post, What Wendi Adelson's Novel Reveals About Dan Markel's Murder:  Above the Law, The Dan Markel Case: Insights From Wendi Adelson’s Novel:

Over at Outside the Law School Scam, blogger “dybbuk123” took one for the team and read This Is Our Story, the “criminally lousy” novel written by Dan Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson. ...

A source of mine who also read This Is Our Story shared additional interesting observations:

The basic premise of Attorney Lily’s life is that she married a professor (Joshua Stone). She says that she married him too quickly, and that at the time she was “absolutely sick and tired of dating” and saw “dating, at its best, as nothing more than a romantic interview. ‘Are you the kind of person who would produce good looking, smart and nice children and never cheat on me and help me clean up the kitchen and love me even when I’m grouchy and not trade me in for a younger model and not join the other team?'”

This is, you may recall, pretty much exactly what Wendi said about Dan in her writing-class podcast — that she married a man she lacked passionate love for because she figured he would be a good father.

Joshua gets a job at North Florida State University in Hiawassee Springs (“the ‘Wassee), a small town in the Florida panhandle. Lily moves there because that’s where his job is, but she hates it. She takes many digs at “the Wassee” throughout the book — making fun of the people, their speech, their clothing, calling the town “irrelevant.”

This is consistent with what sources have described as Wendi’s dislike and disdain for Tallahassee, which she fled in favor of cosmopolitan Miami as soon as she could after Dan’s death.

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October 27, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yale:  Residential Solar And The Federal Income Tax

Ethan Yale (Virginia), Residential Solar and the Federal Income Tax:

Residential solar systems are becoming commonplace in many regions of the United States. Use of such systems raises issues in tax doctrine and policy that are not well appreciated and have not yet been systematically analyzed. The goals of this article are threefold: (1) to identify the main issues and to organize them into a coherent framework, (2) to analyze the doctrinal and policy ramifications of present law, and (3) to suggest improvements to present law.

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1267: Court Orders IRS to Give Account For Targeting Conservatives

IRS Logo 2One News Now, IRS to Give Account for Targeting Conservatives:

A Christian legal group recently scored a legal victory against the IRS, which was ordered to issue outstanding determinations and answer for its political targeting of conservative groups and citizens to whom it unjustly denied tax exemptions for years. ...

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) was pleased to announce last week its latest victory against the agency many Americans love to hate. “Three years after we filed a lawsuit on their behalf – and for some, nearly seven years after they submitted their applications for tax-exempt status – the grassroots conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS for their political views are finally receiving some of the relief to which they have long been entitled – determinations on those applications.”

After the IRS refused to change its unlawful discriminatory dealings with conservatives by continuing its abuse of the system through punishing those not embracing the administration’s Leftist politics, the lawsuit filed against it pressed forward in the courts.

“In early August, the federal appellate court for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the plaintiffs who filed suit in Linchpins of Liberty, et al. v. United States, et al. in 2013 had set forth allegations sufficient to obtain actual evidence about the IRS’s targeting of conservative tax-exempt applicants based on their names and political positions,” the ACLJ reported. “The D.C. Circuit thus reversed the decision of the district court (which had previously dismissed the claims on the grounds that the IRS had apparently ceased the targeting conduct) and sent the case back to the lower court, explaining that the IRS had failed to demonstrate that either the targeting scheme, or its effects on plaintiffs, had actually ended.”

ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow maintains that the court was no longer willing to allow the IRS to drag its feet – ordering it provide information about its alleged shady dealings targeting conservative groups over the years. “[Earlier this month], District Judge Reggie B. Walton held a status conference to resume the lower court proceedings in the case,” Sekulow announced. “While the IRS’s attorney, once again, took the position that most of the claims are moot because most of the plaintiff organizations have received determinations, the court picked up where the D.C. Circuit left off, and ordered that the IRS cease delaying determinations on any outstanding tax-exempt applications of Tea Party groups and other grassroots organizations. He gave the IRS 30 days to comply.”

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October 27, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ainsworth Presents Blockchain Technology Might Solve VAT Fraud Today At Pennsylvania

AinsworthRichard T. Ainsworth (Boston University) presents Blockchain Technology Might Solve VAT Fraud, 83 Tax Notes Int'l 1165 (Sept. 26, 2016) (with Andrew B. Shact (Mimecast, Boston)), at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20-23, 2016, more than 800 technology executives and observers were asked when they think governments will begin collecting taxes using blockchain, a type of cryptographic software. The average response was 2023, with 73 percent of respondents saying 2025. The survey did not ask respondents to name the tax collected or the jurisdiction that would collect it, so we do not know where they expect blockchain to be used or what they expect it to collect. This article argues that the EU VAT will be an early adopter, if not the earliest adopter, of blockchain, which will bring substantial efficiency to VAT collection and reduce costs and build trust in intergovernmental relationships.

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October 26, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Market Myth And Pay Disparity in Legal Academia: We Should Amend The Equal Pay Act To Prohibit Market Excuses For Pay Differentials

Paula A. Monopoli (Maryland), The Market Myth and Pay Disparity in Legal Academia, 52 Idaho L. Rev. 867 (2016):

The definition of merit in academia is highly subjective, based in large part on the rank of the journal one publishes in and how often one publishes. ... There have been two high profile cases in legal academia in the past several years. ... The first case is that of Professor Lucy Marsh ... of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Marsh was the lowest paid faculty member at the school after forty years of teaching. The second case involved the release of documents pursuant to a Texas Public Information Act request by faculty members at the University of Texas School of Law documenting previously undisclosed compensation in the form of six-figure forgivable loans to certain faculty members, very few of whom were women. A discussion of the two cases ... illustrates why market excuses are so pernicious in terms of gender pay disparities in legal academia. ...

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

Scharff:  Limits On Municipal Taxing Authority And What to Do About Them

Erin Adele Scharff (Arizona State), Powerful Cities?: Limits on Municipal Taxing Authority and What to Do About Them, 91 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 292 (2016):

Cities are once again on the rise and have become the site of major public debates, from income inequality and immigration policy to where and how Americans should live. While municipal leaders are often eager to fill the void in political leadership left by Congress and state elected officials, they are often hamstrung by state home rule laws, which define the powers states grant to municipalities. These laws limit, among other things, municipal taxing authority. Recently, local government scholars have wrestled with whether and how to grant municipalities more fiscal authority, but such scholarship has not provided a unified theory of municipal taxing authority.

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October 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Using Machine Learning To Predict Outcomes In Tax Law

BlueJBenjamin Alarie, Anthony Niblett & Albert Yoon (Toronto), Using Machine Learning to Predict Outcomes in Tax Law:

Recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have bolstered the predictive power of data analytics. Research tools based on these developments will soon be commonplace. For the past two years, the three of us have been working on a project called Blue J Legal. We started with a view to understanding how machine learning techniques can be used to better predict legal outcomes. In this paper, we report on our experiences so far. The paper is set out in four parts.

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October 26, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Millennial International: Sponsor A Millennial Today

October 26, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (15)

A Boy’s Allowance: Never Safe From The IRS

FATCAWall Street Journal op-ed: A Boy’s Allowance: Never Safe From the IRS, by Ragheed I.Moghrabi:

My 10-year-old wanted to open a bank account with $100. Then the trouble began.

As an American banker based in the Middle East for over 10 years, I have links back home that alternate between infrequent visits as well as the occasional get-together with compatriot working professionals in Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Dubai. Living in Lebanon with my family, I’ve grown used to the Byzantine world of U.S.-initiated tax rules on Americans abroad. But when a tax rule extends to my children—in this case an unemployed fifth-grader—I sit up, take notice and worry.

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October 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

CrimeStoppers Reduces Reward For Tips In Dan Markel Murder Investigation From $25k To $3k

Markel 3WCTV, Reward for Information in Dan Markel Case Decreased:

Big Bend Crime Stoppers announced Tuesday that the reward for information leading to an arrest in the murder case of Florida State professor Dan markel has been decreased.

BBCS says effective immediately, tipsters will receive the standard amount, which is up to $3,000. They say the adjustment is due to a change in donor reward participation.

Tallahassee Democrat, Reward in Dan Markel Case Reduced

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October 26, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1266: Obama Denies Any ‘Major Scandals’ In His Administration — What About The IRS Scandal?

IRS Logo 2The Daily Signal, 9 Controversies Obama Didn’t Mention When He Denied Any ‘Major Scandals’:

President Barack Obama discarded eight years of controversies surrounding his administration, including the targeting of conservative groups, veterans lacking health care, the administration’s response to a terrorist attack weeks before the 2012 election, and a botched gun sting.

During a Democratic fundraising event in San Diego Sunday, Obama attacked Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, for the various investigations into the administration.

“Here’s a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history, despite the fact that actually, we have not had a major scandal in my administration,” Obama told Democratic donors. ...

Here’s a list of nine controversies that Obama didn’t mention at the Democratic fundraiser, but that nevertheless leave many unanswered questions. ....

1. IRS Targeting Scandal

In 2013, Lois Lerner, former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, admitted that officials in the IRS’ Cincinnati office acted improperly. The move was meant to preempt the release of a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which found a sustained targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Lerner asserted her innocence in the matter before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, then invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination to avoid cross-examination of her claims. The House voted to find her in contempt of Congress.

Justice Department prosecutor Barbara Bosserman, who had donated $6,750 to Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee from 2004 to 2012, investigated the matter and declined to bring up charges.

House investigators did not find a direct link from the White House to the IRS scandal.

The Justice Department was aware of the matter two years before Congress and took no action, according to documents obtained by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act.

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October 26, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

IRS Releases 2017 Inflation Adjustments

IRS Logo 2The IRS has released various inflation-adjustments for 2017 (IR-2016-139, IR-2016-141, Rev. Proc. 2016-55, Notice  2016-62), including:

  • Gift Tax Exemption:  $14,000 (same as 2016)
  • Unified Credit:  $5,490,000 (up $40,000 from 2016)
  • Top 39.6% Income Tax Rate:  $415,050 single/$466,950 joint (up $1,850/$2,100 from 2016)
  • Standard Deduction:  $6,350 single/$12,700 joint (up $50/$100 from 2016)
  • Personal Exemption:  $4,050 (same as 2016)

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October 25, 2016 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clemens Presents The Minimum Wage And The Great Recession Today At Columbia

ClemensPhoto2Jeffrey Clemens (UC-San Diego) presents The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession (with Michael Wither (UC-San Diego)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

We estimate the minimum wage’s effects on low-skilled individuals’ employment and income trajectories following the Great Recession. Our approach exploits two dimensions of the data we analyze. First, we compare individuals in states that were fully bound by the 2007 to 2009 increases in the federal minimum wage to individuals in states that were not. Second, we use variation in the minimum wage’s bite across skill groups to separate our samples into “target” and “within-state control” groups. Using the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Current Population Survey, we find that binding minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers.

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October 25, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Use Of Metrics To Assess Scholarly Performance: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

BibliometricsInside Higher Education, Can Your Productivity Be Measured? (reviewing Yves Gingras (University of Quebec), Bibliometrics and Research Evaluation: Uses and Abuses (MIT Press, 2016):

“Since the first decade of the new millennium, the words ranking, evaluation, metrics, h-index and impact factors have wreaked havoc in the world of higher education and research.” ...  Ultimately, Bibliometrics concludes that the trend toward measuring anything and everything is a modern, academic version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in which — quoting Hans Christian Andersen, via Gingras — “the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever to appear holding up a train, although, in reality there was no train to hold.”

Gingras says, “The question is whether university leaders will behave like the emperor and continue to wear each year the ‘new clothes’ provided for them by sellers of university rankings (the scientific value of which most of them admit to be nonexistent), or if they will listen to the voice of reason and have the courage to explain to the few who still think they mean something that they are wrong, reminding them in passing that the first value in a university is truth and rigor, not cynicism and marketing.”

Although some bibliometric methods “are essential to go beyond local and anecdotal perceptions and to map comprehensively the state of research and identify trends at different levels (regional, national and global),” Gingras adds, “the proliferation of invalid indicators can only harm serious evaluations by peers, which are essential to the smooth running of any organization.”

And here is the heart of Gingras’s argument: that colleges and universities are often so eager to proclaim themselves “best in the world” -- or region, state, province, etc. -- that they don’t take to care to identify “precisely what ‘the best’ means, by whom it is defined and on what basis the measurement is made.” Put another way, he says, paraphrasing another researcher, if the metric is the answer, what is the question?

Without such information, Gingras warns, “the university captains who steer their vessels using bad compasses and ill-calibrated barometers risk sinking first into the storm.” The book doesn’t rule out the use of indicators to “measure” science output or quality, but Gingras says they must first be validated and then interpreted in context. ...

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October 25, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

American University Symposium:  Taxing Remote Sales In The Digital Age

AmericanSymposium, Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age, 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1115-1271 (2016):

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October 25, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Soled & Thomas:  Regulating Tax Return Preparation

Jay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Regulating Tax Return Preparation, 58 B.C. L. Rev. ___ (2016):

Every year the U.S. government collects nearly $3 trillion of income and employment taxes, a large share of which is used to deliver social welfare benefits to the poor. With respect to these collections and deliveries, the Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) seeks to ensure taxpayer accuracy. In the twenty-first century, there are two sets of key players that dominate the Form 1040 preparation and submission process, namely, tax return preparers and tax return preparation software companies. The former hand-hold taxpayers through the entire tax return preparation and submission process while the latter provide taxpayers with the necessary tools to complete and submit tax returns on their own. These two groups – tax return preparers and tax software companies – thus stand as vital intermediaries between the government and taxpayers, assisting in the preparation of over 90 percent of all individual tax returns.

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October 25, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Santa Clara Welcomes 246 1Ls, Down 5% From 2015 (But Up 62% From 2014)

Santa Clara Law School (2016)Santa Clara Law School (ranked #129 in U.S. News) welcomed 246 1Ls this Fall, down 5% from 2015 (260) and down 22% from 2010 (314), but up 62% from 2014 (152). Here are Santa Clara's 25%/50%/75% LSAT scores for those years:

  • 2010 class of 314:  158/160/162
  • 2014 class of 152:  156/157/160
  • 2015 class of 260:  153/155/157
  • 2016 class of 246:  151/154/157 

Here are Santa Clara's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

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October 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)