TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

WSJ: The Most Popular People At New Year's Eve Parties? Tax Accountants

Happy New YearWall Street Journal, Who’s the Center of Attention at Holiday Parties? Your Tax Accountant:

When Mark Astrinos is asked what he does, the response is typically muted. “I’ll just say, ‘I’m a CPA,’ and the conversation will end,” said the certified public accountant and financial planner with Libra Wealth in San Francisco.

Not lately, though. Thanks to the sweeping tax-overhaul bill passed by Congress and signed this month by President Donald Trump, people now “light up and they’re so intrigued and they want to know how they’ll be affected,” he said.

In part because of the attention, Mr. Astrinos said, “It’s never been a better time to be a CPA.”

Continue reading

December 31, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list. The #1 paper is #1 among 13,276 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. [41,057 Downloads]  The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches Under the New Legislation, by Ari Glogower (Ohio State), David Kamin (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) et al.
  2. [506 Downloads]  The Senate Introduced a Pragmatic and Geopolitically Savvy Inbound Base Erosion Rule, by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  3. [478 Downloads]  Tax Reform: Process Failures, Loopholes and Wealth Windfalls , by Stephen Shay (Harvard)
  4. [331 Downloads]  Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan)
  5. [206 Downloads]  Heading Off a Cliff?, by Michael Graetz (Columbia)

December 31, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1697: Budgetary Evisceration After Tea Party Targeting Allegations Has Left The IRS Incapable Of Implementing The New Tax Law

IRS Logo 2New York Times editorial, Don’t Cheer as the I.R.S. Grows Weaker:

[A]s it prepares to implement the most sweeping tax overhaul in 30 years, the I.R.S. is perhaps weaker than it has ever been. In 1986, the last time Congress passed major changes in the tax code, it included a budget increase for the agency, allowing it to hire 2,100 more employees to carry out the changes. Earlier this year, as the agency struggled to do its job with a decimated staff, a shrinking budget and decrepit computers, its commissioner pleaded with Congress to at least give it time to prepare for the big tax overhaul Republicans wanted.

That didn’t happen. Instead, Republicans rushed hastily written legislation larded with amendments through both chambers. Even before this hash hit their desks, I.R.S. officials were warning about the potential for a catastrophic breakdown that could imperil our tax system. Then, at its busiest time of year, the agency was given a week before the tax law goes into effect to translate hundreds of pages of conflicting provisions, potential loopholes and unintended consequences into coherent guidance for taxpayers. ...

Americans should reserve their rage for Republicans, who have spent years targeting the I.R.S. for political gain. Since 2010, Congress has cut the agency’s budget by nearly $1 billion, or 18 percent, adjusted for inflation, as the I.R.S. processes about 10 million more tax returns. Its work force has been whacked by 21,000, or nearly one-quarter; taxpayers who need help — often individuals preparing their own returns — have a hard time getting anyone to answer the phone. ...

There is no permanent commissioner leading the I.R.S. Its last one, John Koskinen, left in November at the expiration of his term. Mr. Koskinen had spent a big chunk of his time on Capitol Hill, being lambasted by Republicans over allegations that the Obama-era I.R.S. unfairly targeted conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status. A report released in October by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that the I.R.S. had also scoured left-leaning groups’ applications for tax-exempt status as part of its effort to identify groups focused on politics, not “social welfare,” as the rules for tax-exempt status require.

The agency apologized for its improper audits, and a Justice Department investigation found mismanagement but no evidence of a crime. Though the audits occurred before Mr. Koskinen came aboard, Republicans clamored for him to be impeached, an action not taken against an administration official besides the president since the 1870s. The dumb and unsuccessful effort was led by legislators like Jason Chaffetz, then a Republican congressman from Utah, who view the I.R.S. as symbolic of “big government” and think that killing it outright might be a good idea. ...

Pounding a perennial punching bag like the I.R.S. scores easy political points among Americans who associate the agency with an unpleasant April deadline. We get it. But if the agency that collects more than 90 percent of the government’s money stumbles, all Americans pay, and they can look to Congress, not just the I.R.S., in assigning the blame.

(Hat Tip: Bill Turnier.)

Continue reading

December 31, 2017 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (17)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Students Wait For Relief Months After Closure Of Charlotte Law School

Charlotte Logo (2016)WSOCTV, Charlotte School of Law Students Wait for Relief Months After Campus Closes:

Four months after the embattled Charlotte School of Law closed its doors, Eyewitness News learned the future is still uncertain for many people who were connected to the school when it shut down.

The American Bar Association placed the school on probation in November 2016 and the Department of Education pulled its federal student loan funding in December 2016 before the state pulled its license over the summer.

"A year later and I'm still in limbo," former student Talece Hunter said. Hunter put her dreams on hold when she withdrew from the crumbling Charlotte School of Law amid its financial and academic crisis earlier this year. Now, she's searching for a way to attend law school on the weekends so she can continue working to support herself. ...

The is one of the hundreds of students being represented by attorney Gary Jackson who want CSL and its parent company, Infilaw, to pay up for drowning students in debt and then leaving them hanging. "Many have over $200,000 in student debt. Some of these are people who have finished, graduated and still haven't passed the bar. This has obviously been an extraordinary burden on these people," Jackson said.

There are several groups suing CSL. Most of the students’ cases are slowly making their way through the courts.

Continue reading

December 30, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Almost Everything Is Wrong With the New Tax Law

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Almost Everything Is Wrong With the New Tax Law, by Alan S. Blinder (Princeton):

Dec. 20, 2017, should go down in political history as a day of infamy or absurdity, probably both. After passing a massive tax bill without a single Democratic vote—something highly unusual in itself—congressional Republicans gathered with President Trump on the White House steps that day to engage in an orgy of self-congratulation.

The president patted himself on the back so vigorously that he might have required physical therapy. One after another, Republican senators and representatives competed for the honor of offering the most unctuous praise for their Maximum Leader. But Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who was previously thought to be level-headed, set a new standard for fawning by declaring that Mr. Trump may be the greatest president ever. Ever? Not Lincoln? Not Washington?

Was this love-fest because Republicans had just passed an economically sound and wildly popular tax bill that was winning praise from tax experts and scoring marvelously in public opinion polls? Not quite. Polls show that Americans hate this bill.

Continue reading

December 30, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, December 29, 2017

NY Times: The College Sports Tax Dodge

NCAA LogoNew York Times, The College Sports Tax Dodge:

New York University does not have much of an athletic program. But 70 years ago, it ran a profitable macaroni company, leading indirectly to a decision by Congress that college sports — if not a college-owned noodle business — should be exempt from taxation.

Today, as the hugely lucrative football bowl season wraps up, colleges fear that the new tax law signed by President Trump could derail their gravy train — two provisions target coaches’ high salaries and booster donations tied to ticket purchases. But they need not worry much.

There are no plans to start taxing television revenue and corporate sponsorships, two of the biggest income streams, which together transformed intercollegiate athletics into a multibillion-dollar business. Even with the legislative changes, collegiate sports remain largely tax exempt, the beneficiary of a public subsidy that is increasingly difficult to defend.

Continue reading

December 29, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup: The Best Legal Education Articles Of 2017

Because the week between Christmas and New Years is typically slow for legal education news, I am going to discuss the best legal education articles from 2017.  Several articles in the past year showed the effectiveness of new approaches to legal education.  There have also been several excellent articles this year on professional identity development.  Finally, measuring outcomes was an important area of research in 2017.

Continue reading

December 29, 2017 in Legal Education, Scott Fruehwald, Weekly Legal Education Roundup | Permalink | Comments (6)

'Orwellian' Offshore Tax Will Hit Some Firms Harder Than Others

Bloomberg:  'Orwellian' Offshore Tax Will Hit Some Firms Harder Than Others, by Lynnley Browning:

The name that Republican tax writers gave to a new, multi billion-dollar business levy implies that it targets foreign earnings from “intangible” intellectual property — hitting tech firms and drugmakers like Apple and Pfizer.

But experts agree that the little-understood “global intangible low-taxed income” levy, or GILTI, will also apply to earnings that go far beyond patents, royalties and licensing, and could end up snaring many global firms that earn little such income. Private equity partnerships that aren’t publicly traded, including Bain Capital, stand to pay rates three times as high as corporate competitors’, tax lawyers say. Law and advertising firms with overseas offices may also be hit — as will many U.S. companies that make “excess” profit from foreign plants, equipment and inventory.

The name is “Orwellian,” said James Duncan, a tax partner at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, in a Dec. 20 webcast. “Its most significant effect is on income that is neither intangible nor low-taxed.”

Continue reading

December 29, 2017 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Confusion Reigns As People Race To Prepay (And Deduct) Property Taxes By Year-End

IR-2017-210, Prepaid Real Property Taxes May Be Deductible in 2017 if Assessed and Paid in 2017:

The Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers today that pre-paying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.

The IRS has received a number of questions from the tax community concerning the deductibility of prepaid real property taxes. In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018.  A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.  State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed.

The following examples illustrate these points.

Example 1: Assume County A assesses property tax on July 1, 2017 for the period July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.  On July 31, 2017, County A sends notices to residents notifying them of the assessment and billing the property tax in two installments with the first installment due Sept. 30, 2017 and the second installment due Jan. 31, 2018.   Assuming taxpayer has paid the first installment in 2017, the taxpayer may choose to pay the second installment on Dec. 31, 2017, and may claim a deduction for this prepayment on the taxpayer’s 2017 return.

Example 2: County B also assesses and bills its residents for property taxes on July 1, 2017, for the period July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018. County B intends to make the usual assessment in July 2018 for the period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.  However, because county residents wish to prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017, County B has revised its computer systems to accept prepayment of property taxes for the 2018-2019 property tax year.  Taxpayers who prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017 will not be allowed to deduct the prepayment on their federal tax returns because the county will not assess the property tax for the 2018-2019 tax year until July 1, 2018.

Victor Thuronyi, Can You Prepay 2018 Property Tax in 2017?:

It turns out this question get[s] more complex by the day. ...

Continue reading

December 29, 2017 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (11)

New UC-Irvine Dean Is Only Woman Of Color To Lead A Top 30 Law School

Song 2Los Angeles Times, New UC Irvine Dean Will Be Only Woman of Color to Lead a Top Law School, University Says:

UC Irvine announced that L. Song Richardson will be the new dean of its 9-year-old School of Law following the departure of founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

Richardson will take the helm Monday as the only woman of color to lead one of U.S. News & World Report’s 30 top-rated law schools, according to the university.

Richardson was named interim dean after Chemerinsky began his new position as dean of UC Berkeley’s law school in July. Richardson has been part of UCI’s law school faculty since 2014 and was a senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2016 to 2017. She teaches and writes in criminal law, criminal procedure and law and social science.

“It’s rare to find an elite law school with a world-class faculty that excels at both teaching and scholarship, a creative and multi-disciplinary approach to legal education and a commitment to creating and disseminating knowledge that improves lives and communities around the world,” Richardson said in a statement.

Continue reading

December 29, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Trump: 'I Know The Details Of Taxes Better Than Anybody. Better Than The Greatest CPA.'

From the New York Times thirty minute interview with President Trump:

"I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A."

December 29, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions

Feminist JudgmentsFeminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), eds.) (Cambridge University Press Dec. 28, 2017):

Could a feminist perspective change the shape of tax laws? Feminist reasoning and analysis are recognized as having tremendous potential to affect employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and reproductive rights laws - but they can likewise transform tax law (as well as other statutory or code-based areas of the law). By highlighting the importance of perspective, background, and preconceptions on reading and interpreting statutes, this volume shows what a difference feminist analysis can make to statutory interpretation. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions brings together a group of scholars and lawyers to rewrite tax decisions in which a feminist emphasis would have changed the outcome, the court's reasoning, or the future direction of the law. Featuring cases including medical expense deductions for fertility treatment, gender confirmation surgery, tax benefits for married individuals, the tax treatment of tribal lands, and business expense deductions, this volume opens the way for a discussion of how viewpoint is a key factor in statutory interpretation.

Tax Prof contributors: 

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Law Schools Remain Predominantly White But Women Are Gaining Ground

Indiana Road SignIndiana Lawyer, Indiana Law Schools Remain Predominantly White But Women Are Gaining Ground:

Three of Indiana’s four law schools have shrunk in recent years but overall, minority enrollment has slipped while the number of women has been increasing since 2015, according to the recently released in the Fall 2017 Standard 509 Reports from the American Bar Association.

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tax Reform’s Growth Whisperer

ToomeyWall Street Journal, Tax Reform’s Growth Whisperer:

President Trump signed tax reform into law Friday, but in late November it almost had a heart attack in committee. Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee were balking, the former over the details of business taxation and the latter over the deficit. The GOP has a bare 12-11 majority on the Senate Budget Committee, and Democrats were united in opposition, so a single Republican dissenter would have stalled the bill. But Messrs. Corker and Johnson voted aye, and it advanced.

Much of the behind-the-scenes credit for tax reform belongs to Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who as a member of both the Budget and Finance committees helped persuade a rotating cast of Republican critics. When the GOP celebrated its victory at the White House this week, Nevada’s Dean Heller mugged for the cameras toward the front. Mr. Toomey stood less conspicuously a row back. He’s the player who doesn’t dance in the end zone but stays up watching game film.

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 December 1, 2017) 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.)

74,442

Gladriel Shobe (BYU)

22,319

2

Michael Simkovic (USC)

38,095

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

13,009

3

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

33,900

D, Dharmapala (Chicago)

3569

4

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

32,606

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

3519

5

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

28,866

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

3443

6

Vic Fleischer (San Diego)

24,212

Michael Simkovic (USC)

3388

7

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

23,871

Michael Graetz (Columbia)

3020

8

James Hines (Michigan)

23,354

David Gamage (Indiana)

2895

9

Gladriel Shobe (BYU)

22,768

Andy Grewal (Iowa)

2878

10

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

22,690

Hugh Ault (Boston College)

2676

11

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

22,477

David Weisbach (Chicago)

2579

12

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

22,388

Kyle Rozema (Chicago)

2532

13

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

20,774

Daniel Hemel (Chicago)

2517

14

David Weisbach (Chicago)

19,999

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

2412

15

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

19,713

William Byrnes (Texas A&M)

2283

16

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

18,905

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)

2127

17

Brad Borden (Brooklyn)

18,887

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)

1967

18

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

18,513

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1895

19

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

18,198

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

1853

20

Francine Lipman (UNLV)

18,144

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1796

21

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

17,946

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

1746

22

Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

17,867

Jordan Barry (San Diego)

1650

23

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

16,676

Stephen Shay (Harvard)

1617

24

Steven Bank (UCLA)

16,046

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1591

25

David Walker (BU)

15,860

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

1508

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.

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Business Review: Breaking Down The New U.S. Corporate Tax Law

Harvard Business Review LogoHarvard Business Review, Breaking Down the New U.S. Corporate Tax Law:

Mihir Desai, a professor of finance at Harvard Business School, breaks down the brand-new U.S. tax law. He says it will affect everything from how corporate assets are financed to how business are structured. He predicts many individuals will lower their tax burdens by setting themselves up as corporations. And he discusses how the law shifts U.S. tax policy toward a territorial system of corporate taxes, one that will affect multinationals and national competitiveness. Finally, Desai explains what he would have done differently with the $1.5 trillion the tax cut is projected to cost. ...

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 20 Cheapest Law Schools In The U.S. News Top 100

National Law Journal, The 20 Cheapest Law Schools in the ‘U.S. News’ Top 100:

We’ve mashed together the latest nonresident tuition and fees data from the American Bar Association (which law schools provide to it) with the U.S. News numbers to present the 20 cheapest law schools ranked in the U.S. News top 100.

Continue reading

December 28, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Tax Law May Give Big Edge To Pro Sports Teams In Florida, Nevada, Texas, And Washington

Washington Post, Florida, Texas May Attract Athletes After Tax Law Change:

Teams in Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington state may have become more attractive destinations for free agents following the enactment of tax law changes.

Deductions for state and local taxes are capped at $10,000 in the year starting Jan. 1 for married couples filing jointly. That has a huge impact for athletes with seven- and eight-figure salaries.

“Obviously, the zero income-tax states have now more of an advantage than before,” said baseball agent Scott Boras, who is negotiating big-money deals this offseason for free agents J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta and Greg Holland. ...

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (1)

Can Mitchonomics Fix The Broken Higher Ed Business?

Bloomberg, Can Mitchonomics Fix the Broken Business of Higher Ed?:

Under [Mitch] Daniels, things have been generally cheery at Purdue. With return on investment increasingly important to students, given the price of attending and the corresponding debt, Purdue has something to sell: static costs and a good job if you graduate, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Purdue

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Are On The Comeback Trail

Winston-Salem Journal, Are Law Schools on the Comeback Trail?:

After some lean years, law schools might be poised for a comeback.

More people are sitting for the LSAT, the exam required for entry into most U.S. law schools. And law schools in North Carolina and around the country say applications for next fall’s class are up from last year — in some cases significantly.

The uptick in interest is welcome news for U.S. law schools, where enrollment has fallen to 40-year lows in the wake of the Great Recession.

So what’s behind this revived interest? Law school officials have some theories. ...

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Waiting Until Jan. 3 To Sign Tax Reform Would Not Have Delayed A PAYGO Sequestration

Yale Notice & CommentFollowing up on my previous posts:

Sam Wice, Waiting Until January 3 to Sign Tax Reform Would Not Have Delayed a PAYGO Sequestration, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (2017):

In an earlier post, I suggested that Republicans should wait until January 2018 to pass tax reform so that they can delay a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) sequestration.  President Trump appears to have taken this idea to heart and decided that if Congress did not waive the PAYGO sequestration, he would wait until January 3, 2018 to sign tax reform into law.  Although in a Festivus miracle Congress waived the PAYGO sequestration, for future reference I explain here why President Trump could not have delayed a PAYGO sequestration by merely waiting until 2018 to sign tax reform into law.  The plain meaning of PAYGO and prior Office of Management and Budget (OMB) practice indicated that no matter when President Trump signed tax reform, it must still have been included in the 2017 PAYGO annual report, which would have triggered an immediate sequestration. ...

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (1)

Aprill: Congress Fumbles The Ball On New Excise Tax For College Coaches And Presidents

Ellen P. Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Congress Fumbles the Ball on Section 4960:

The tax legislation signed into law by President Trump on December 22 takes aim at tax-exempt organizations that pay presidents, college football coaches, and other employees more than $1 million a year. But as with so many other aspects of the hastily drafted bill, Republican lawmakers fumbled on this provision too. While the drafters evidently intended to impose a 21% excise tax on both public and tax-exempt private institution that have employees with compensation over $1 million, they appear to have inadvertently left public universities off the hook.

As a result, the new excise tax quite likely won’t apply to public universities with highly paid employees, such as Nick Saban (who makes more than $11.1 million a year), Clemson coach Dabo Swinney ($8.5 million), or Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh ($7.0 million). It will, however, apply to private universities with their own highly compensated employees, such as Stanford coach David Shaw ($5.7 million), Texas Christian’s Gary Patterson ($5.1 million), and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald ($3.3 million). That’s good news for state-school sports fans, whose teams will now have an advantage in the scramble for top coaching talent. But it may come as a surprise to Republican lawmakers who—according to the explanation accompanying the House-Senate conference report — thought that the new excise tax would apply to state and local government employers whose income is excluded from federal income tax.

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Daniel Hemel | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Impact Of The New Tax Law On Law Firm Partners

New Tax Law Takes Aim At Higher Education’s Millionaires Club

One MillionChronicle of Higher Education, New Tax Law Takes Aim at Higher Education’s Millionaires Club:

[The new tax law imposes] a 21-percent tax on annual compensation in excess of $1 million paid to the five highest-paid employees of a nonprofit group — including college presidents, chancellors, and coaches. For medical professionals, however, compensation that is directly related to medical or veterinary services would not be taken into account. ...

According to an analysis by The Chronicle, America’s private, nonprofit colleges had 158 million-dollar employees in the 2015 calendar year, excluding medical staff members. The highest earners primarily included chief executives, athletics staff members, and investment officers. Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the men’s basketball team at Duke University, topped the list, earning $7.4 million in 2015.

Continue reading

December 27, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NY Times: MBAs And #MeToo — B-Schools Embrace Curriculum Reform In The Age Of Trump

MBAMAGANew York Times, Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump:

An M.B.A. education is no longer just about finance, marketing, accounting and economics. As topics like sexual harassment dominate the national conversation and chief executives weigh in on the ethical and social issues of the day, business schools around the country are hastily reshaping their curriculums with case studies ripped straight from the headlines. ...

At Vanderbilt, there are classes on Uber and “bro” culture. At Stanford, students are studying sexual harassment in the workplace. And at Harvard, the debate encompasses sexism and free speech.

“There’s a turning point in what’s expected from business leaders,” said Leanne Meyer, co-director of a new leadership department at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. “Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products. Now, shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.”

Continue reading

December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

New ABA Bar Pass Rate Questionnaire Will Yield Better Information But Create More Work For Law Schools

ABA Required DisclosuresABA Journal, New Bar Pass Rate Questionnaire Will Yield Better Information But Create More Work For Law Schools:

There’s no bar passage data on this year’s law school consumer information reports, which came as a surprise to some. That information, with more recent numbers than in years past, is expected to be released in March 2018. 

The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the new questionnaire at a June 2017 meeting, according to information on the ABA website, and a change is that accredited law schools must report ultimate bar passage rates along with first-time bar passage rates.

Previously, only law schools that could not demonstrate a first-time test taker bar pass rate that was within 15 percentage points of the state first-time pass rate where the school is located, for three of the last five years, would report ultimate bar passage percentages. Ultimate bar passage data covers a school’s graduates who passed a bar examination within one and two years of graduation.

Continue reading

December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ono Academic College (Israel) Hosts Tax Policy Roundtable Today On Fairness in Taxation

OnoOno Academic College Faculty of Law (Israel) hosts a Tax Policy Roundtable today on Fairness in Taxation:

  • Moshe Asher (Commissioner, Israel Tax Authority)
  • Kamil Atila (Head of Fiscal Division, Israel Department of Treasury)
  • Yuval Elbashan (Dean, Ono)
  • Sagit Leviner (Senior Lecturer, Ono)
  • Mina Zemach (Public Opinion Expert)

Continue reading

December 26, 2017 in Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On AT&T's $1,000 Tax Cut Bonus To Workers

AT&T LogoFollowing up on last week's post, AT&T's Tax Cut Bonus Isn't Just A Gimmick:

Wall Street Journal, Timing Is Vital as Companies Set Bonuses, Spending Before New Tax Law:

The timing of AT&T Inc.’s pledge this week to give $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 workers once President Donald Trump signs the tax overhaul may have saved it $28 million.

That is because committing to making the payment now could let it record the expense in 2017 for tax purposes. In AT&T’s case, that would mean a $70 million deduction under the existing 35% tax rate. By contrast, recording the bonus expense in 2018, when the new 21% corporate rate is in effect, would mean a $42 million deduction.

Similar calculations may be under way for other businesses that have also promised tax-bill bonuses or are considering charitable contributions or other year-end expenses ahead of the tax-law changes.

Wall Street Journal editorial, The Corporate Tax-Cut Dividend:

Continue reading

December 26, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (1)

1L Is The New Bar Prep

Sabrina DeFabritiis (Suffolk), 1L Is the New Bar Prep, 51 Creighton L. Rev. 37 (2017):

Law school graduates, in growing numbers, are failing the bar exam. This reality is all the more staggering when we consider that these graduates have been preparing for the bar exam since their first year of law school. First-year legaI-writing courses teach students specific fundamental skills that are the foundation for success on the bar exam. This Article provides the perspective that the goal of passing the bar exam and teaching Iaw students to think and write like lawyers is a symbiotic relationship. It directly analyzes the correlation between the fundamental skills associated with thinking like a lawyer and successful bar-essay writing.

Continue reading

December 26, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

TaxProf Blog Holiday Weekend Roundup

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Hallelujah Christmas

A Pepperdine Christmas

Christmas And The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’

Fire RoadWall Street Journal op-ed:  The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’, by Kim Phuc Phan Thi (author, Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace (Oct. 2017):

You may not recognize me now, but you almost certainly know who I am. My name is Kim Phuc, though you likely know me by another name. It is one I never asked for, a name I have spent a lifetime trying to escape: “Napalm Girl.”

You have probably seen my picture a thousand times. Yes, that picture. The image that made the world gasp. Some called it a turning point in the Vietnam War—a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of me in 1972, age 9, running along a puddled roadway in front of an expressionless soldier. I was photographed with arms outstretched, naked and shrieking in pain and fear, with the dark contour of a napalm cloud billowing in the distance. ...

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. Forty-five years later I am still receiving treatment for the burns that cover my arms, back and neck. But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain. For years I bore the crippling weight of anger, bitterness and resentment toward those who caused my suffering. Yet as I look back over a spiritual journey that has spanned more than three decades, I realize the same bombs that caused so much pain and suffering also brought me to a place of great healing. Those bombs led me to Jesus Christ.

My salvation experience occurred on Christmas Eve.

Continue reading

December 25, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where Jesus Would Spend Christmas

Lesbos 3New York Times op-ed:  Where Jesus Would Spend Christmas, by Stephanie Saldaña:

In the city of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, Christmas is approaching. A tree on the main square is alight in blue; a Nativity scene has Mary and Joseph standing vigil beside the baby Jesus. Locals are busily shopping for gifts and sipping coffee at cafes.

Just 15 minutes up the road, at the refugee and migrant camp called Moria, it is not Christmas but winter that is approaching. More than 6,000 souls fleeing the world’s most violent conflicts — in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo — are crowded in a space meant for 2,330. The scene is grim: piles of trash, barbed wire, children wailing, rows of cheap summer tents with entire families crammed inside and fights regularly breaking out on the camp’s periphery. The stench is overwhelming.

I have visited many refugee camps in the Middle East, but never have I seen anything like Moria, a place Pope Francis has likened to a concentration camp. I have also never understood the true meaning of Christmas — a story in which Jesus was born into a family that became refugees — until I visited the people who are now forced to call it home. ...

Continue reading

December 25, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Hoc Anno Domini

The Wall Street Journal has published this wonderful editorial each Christmas since 1949, In Hoc Anno Domini:

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

Continue reading

December 25, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Legal Edition)

Twas 6

Check out the original and legal versions of the classic poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas [click on chart to enlarge]:

Twas_the_night_before_christmas_pag

Continue reading

December 24, 2017 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Law Schools Outpace National Trend, Increase 1L Enrollments 4%

Texas Lawyer, Texas Law School Enrollment Outpaces National Percentage Growth:

The size of this year’s entering class at Texas law schools rose by 4 percent this year compared to last. ... There were 2,199 first-year law students at the 10 Texas law schools in the Fall of 2017, which is 89 students more than the Fall of 2016.

Compared to national figures, the 4 percent jump in Texas 1L students is significant. The 203 accredited law schools across the country counted 37,398 1L students, which is just 0.8 percent more than last year, according to data from the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Texas

Continue reading

December 24, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list. The #1 paper is already #1 (by over 25,000 downloads) among 13,266 tax papers in all-time downloads:

  1. [37,967 Downloads]  The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches Under the New Legislation, by Ari Glogower (Ohio State), David Kamin (NYU), Rebecca Kysar (Brooklyn) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) et al.
  2. [477 Downloads]  The Senate Introduced a Pragmatic and Geopolitically Savvy Inbound Base Erosion Rule, by Itai Grinberg (Georgetown)
  3. [443 Downloads]  Tax Reform: Process Failures, Loopholes and Wealth Windfalls , by Stephen Shay (Harvard)
  4. [290 Downloads]  Once More, with Feeling: The 'Tax Cuts and Jobs' Act and the Original Intent of Subpart F, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Nir Fishbien (S.J.D. 2018, Michigan)
  5. [191 Downloads]  Heading Off a Cliff?, by Michael Graetz (Columbia)

December 24, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

The New Tax Law Is 'Manna From Heaven' For Tax Lawyers, Especially Young Tax Lawyers

Law 360, Tax Bill Like ‘Manna From Heaven’ For Work-Hungry Firms
National Law Journal, Brew a Pot of Coffee, This Big Law Tax Attorney Is Burning the Midnight Oil:

[T]ax attorneys have already been hard at work ever since the bill started down the fast track in Congress, according to corporate tax lawyer David Miller, a partner at Proskauer Rose in New York. ... We asked Miller about how the tax bill has already impacted his work life, and the legal business that tax lawyers expect to see once Congress passes the new law. ...

On a scale of one to five, with five being the busiest, what’s your prediction for your practice next year?
For me and tax lawyers generally, definitely a five. The tax bill represents the most significant change in the federal tax laws in the last 30 years, and businesses will seek advice on how to restructure to take advantage of the new regime, and help implement the changes. ...

Continue reading

December 23, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times: How To Build A Successful Team

TeamNew York Times, How to Build a Successful Team:

Building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills. Over the course of interviewing over 500 leaders for Corner Office, I asked them all about the art of fostering a strong sense of teamwork. Their insights can help you lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, cooperate and innovate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

Make a Plan:  You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.

  • Hiring Well Isn't Enough
  • Create A Clear Map
  • Have A Shared Scorecard
  • You May Feel Like A Broken Record ...

Continue reading

December 23, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Glogower Reviews Hasen's The Tax Treatment Of Gifts

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new work by David Hasen (Florida), How Should Gifts Be Treated Under the Federal Income Tax?, 2018 Mich. St. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming). 

Glogower (2016)David Hasen’s new work revisits the question of how gifts should be treated under the income tax.  His essential point:  It depends.

Consider the simple case of donor A making a gift to donee B. There are three plausible treatments under the income tax: (1) single donor tax (no deduction to A and B excludes), which is the treatment under current law, (2) single donee tax (A deducts and B includes), and (3) double tax (no deduction to A and B includes). 

How is one to choose? Hasen argues that there is no clear answer, because there is no clear normative definition of income that would suggest one answer or another. Rather, the income definition, and its implication for the proper taxation of gifts, will depend upon one’s normative views on the purpose and shape of the tax system.

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

Tax (And Other) Profs:

Other:

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The Farmer, The Pickup, And The Elephant: A Post-Modern Fable

Once upon a time in West Texas there lived a farmer. In addition to raising crops, he kept a collection of interesting animals as a hobby. Always keen to make some money, however, he used the output of the animals for compost and sold the excess to surrounding farms. More about that below the fold. But first I need to tell you about the farmer’s pickup truck, “Iris.”

The farmer’s dad had bought a fine Ford F250 in the early 2000’s. His dad was very fond of the truck and called it “Iris.” But the farmer did not like Iris and so he used it exclusively to haul the animal product to market. Of course that meant Iris stank. The stink offended people, who thought Iris was to blame for payload the farmer asked Iris to carry.

When the farmer took over farming operations from his dad in 2008 he began neglecting Iris by not putting in the money to make needed upkeep and repairs. For example, he used a really cheap motor oil because he liked its name “Liberty,” and he liked the pennies he saved. But that oil actually did the exact opposite of what oils are supposed to do: it exacerbated the wear on the engine Then the farmer started using an even cheaper lubricant: chicken grease. When the once proud 5.2L Voodoo V8 engine failed, the farmer replaced it with an 4-cylinder engine taken from a Ford Fiesta, ‘cause that was cheap. More pennies saved! As parts failed, Iris became increasingly unreliable.  Still, the farmer kept relying on Iris to carry the load for him.

And now, for the Elephant part, below the fold.

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Bryan Camp, IRS News, Tax, Tax Policy in the Trump Administration, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 2017 California Bar Exam Results

California State BarThe California State Bar has released school by school data on the July 2017 California Bar Exam.  Here are the results for first time test takers for the 21 California ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (California and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)

 

School

US News Rank

CA (Overall)

1 (96%)

Stanford

1 (2)

2 (89%)

UC-Berkeley

2 (12)

3 (88%)

UCLA

3 (15)

3 (88%)

USC

4 (19)

5 (83%)

UC-Irvine

5 (28)

6 (79%)

UC-Davis

6 (39)

6 (79%)

Santa Clara

11 (132)

8 (78%)

San Diego

10 (77)

9 (73%)

Loyola-L.A.

8 (65)

70%

Statewide Ave. (CA ABA-Approved)

10 (65%)

Pepperdine

9 (72)

10 (65%)

Cal-Western

Tier 2

12 (64%)

Chapman

12 (134)

13 (62%)

McGeorge

13 (142)

14 (61%)

UC-Hastings

7 (54)

15 (57%)

Southwestern

Tier 2

16 (56%)

Western State

Tier 2

17 (54%)

San Francisco

Tier 2

18 (51%)

Golden Gate

Tier 2

19 (41%)

La Verne

Tier 2

20 (38%)

Whittier

Tier 2

21 (30%)

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

Update

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pepperdine Seeks To Hire A Legal Research & Writing Professor

Pepperdine Law School (2017) (Logo) (High-Res).jpgPepperdine Seeks to Hire a Legal Research and Writing Professor:

Pepperdine University School of Law is conducting a nationwide search seeking a LEGAL RESEARCH and WRITING PROFESSOR. Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, have excellent academic credentials, be committed to teaching Legal Research and Writing, and support the goals and mission of the University. Applicants should have at least two to three years of post-J.D. experience in a position or positions requiring substantial legal writing. The position comes with a market-competitive salary, employment benefits, and the title of Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing.

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mazur: Taxing Social Impact Bonds

SIBOrly Mazur (SMU), Taxing Social Impact Bonds, 20 Fla. Tax Rev. 431 (2017):

An exciting new way to fund social services has recently emerged. This new financing mechanism, called a social impact bond (SIB), has the potential to help us tackle some of our nation’s most challenging social problems. Broadly speaking, a SIB is a type of “pay for success” contract where private investors provide the upfront capital to finance a social program, but only recoup their investment and realize returns if the program is successful. Like any new financing instrument, SIBs create numerous regulatory challenges that have not yet been addressed. One unresolved issue is the tax implications of a SIB investment. This Article argues that the current law allows for multiple possible characterizations of the SIB arrangement for tax purposes.

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

More On The Most Underrated Law Schools In America

2018 U.S. News Law 2Following up on my previous posts:

ABA Journal, These 7 Law Schools May Be the Most Underrated:

The most underrated schools are:

  1. Brigham Young (ranked 20th based on student credentials and 46th by U.S. News, a 26-spot differential.)
  2. Pepperdine (47th on student credentials and 72nd by U.S. News, a 25-spot differential.)
  3. University of Nebraska (37th on credentials and 57th by U.S. News, a 20-spot differential.)
  4. College of William & Mary (24th on credentials and 41st by U.S. News, a 17-spot differential.)
  5. Northeastern (48th on credentials and 65th by U.S. News, a 17-spot differential.)
  6. Southern Methodist University (35th based on credentials and 46th by U.S. News, an 11-spot differential.)
  7. George Mason (32nd based on credentials and 41st by U.S. News, a nine-spot differential.)

Continue reading

December 22, 2017 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)