TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Democrats Plan To Examine Trump’s Tax Returns After Midterm Election; Strategy Could Be Applied To Anyone's Tax Return

Trump Tax ReturnsPolitico, Democrats Planning To Examine Trump’s Tax Returns After the Midterms:

The years-old mystery of what’s in President Donald Trump’s tax returns will likely quickly unravel if Democrats win control of at least one chamber of Congress.

Democrats, especially in the House, are quietly planning on using an obscure law that will enable them to examine the president’s tax filings without his permission.

The nearly 100-year-old statute allows the chairmen of Congress’ tax committees to look at anyone’s returns, and Democrats say they intend to use that power to help answer a long list of questions about Trump’s finances. Many also want to use it to make public confidential information about Trump’s taxes that he’s steadfastly refused to release.

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September 30, 2018 in Congressional News, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (9)

Lloyd Mayer Named To Notre Dame's All-Faculty Team At Yesterday's Stanford Game

Mayer

At yesterday's Notre Dame-Stanford football game, Lloyd Mayer was named to Notre Dame's All-Faculty Team (and included in the day's Gameday Program):

Notre Dame has a long history of outstanding student-athletes being named to All-American teams. We thought it was time for some of our most outstanding professors to receive similar recognition. ...

At every home football game, the provost will honor a different member of the faculty on the field during a timeout. These seven individuals have been chosen from across Notre Dame’s colleges and schools for their excellence in research, teaching, and service to the University.

Professor Mayer on Notre Dame

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September 30, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Profs | Permalink | Comments (4)

Emory Alum (Fulton County Commissioner) Calls For Oct. 3 Rally To Demand Firing Of Tenured Law Prof Who Used N-Word In Torts Class, As Well As Dean, President, And Anyone Else Who Opposes His Firing

Emory Law (2018)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Law.com:  An Open Letter to the Emory University Community, by Marvin S. Arrington, Jr. (Fulton County Commissioner):

Professor Paul Zwier must go today.

Using the N-word in a classroom setting by a professor is completely inconsistent with the values, goals and mission of Emory University and Emory University School of Law.

I am a 1996 graduate of the Emory University School of Law, a practicing attorney and a commissioner of Fulton County. My father, Judge Marvin Arrington Sr., was among the first blacks to graduate from Emory University School of Law in 1967.

There is no set of circumstances nor facts that make Professor Zwier’s choice to use the N-word justifiable or acceptable; his choice to use the N-word is the only fact that matters.

The mission, goals and core values of the Emory University School of Law and Emory University are stated on their websites, and the use of the N-word does not comport with any of those. ...

I implore the university and law school to follow their mission, goals and core values statements and remove him today. If not, then the university itself has no integrity and is not humane nor respectful.

I am asking for Professor Zwier to resign or to be terminated immediately. I further ask for the resignation and/or termination of anyone that thinks it is acceptable for him to stay, including the dean of the law school and the president of the university.

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September 30, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Top Five New Tax Papers

SSRN Logo (2018)This week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list:

  1. [459 Downloads]  Compelled Subsidies and the First Amendment, by William Baude (Chicago) & Eugene Volokh (UCLA)
  2. [326 Downloads]  The New Non-Territorial U.S. International Tax System, Part 1, by Daniel Shaviro (NYU) (reviewed by David Elkins (Netanya) here)
  3. [230 Downloads]  The Charitable Contribution Strategy: An Ineffective SALT Substitute, by Andy Grewal (Iowa)
  4. [193 Downloads]   The Death of the Income Tax (or, the Rise of America's Universal Wage Tax), by Edward McCaffery (USC)
  5. [175 Downloads]  Taxing the Robots, by Orly Mazur (SMU)

September 30, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

Weaponizing Student Evaluations

Student Evaluations (2017)LawProfBlawg, Weaponizing Student Evaluations:

I won’t rehash the literature about why student evaluations demonstrate sexism and racism. I don’t have time or space enough to recount all of the studies. There are a lot of them. Suffice to say is that the empirical evidence overwhelmingly shows that if you are a woman, a person of color, or worst of all for evaluation purposes, a woman of color, you will get dinged in student evaluations merely because of who you are. ...

Student evaluations become weapons. I have seen them used to try to kill the chances of tenure for a Hispanic female professor who had already won a teaching award! I have seen them ignored for white male professors who have strong publications. I have seen them used to kill faculty candidates. Worse, I hear stories that mirror the ones I have observed.

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September 29, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (21)

CALI Offers Search Engine Covering All 204 Law Schools

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition (Sept. 30 Deadline)

IFA Logo (2015)

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing a graduate degree. Any appropriate papers written in fall 2017 or spring and summer 2018.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2018.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Feb 2019.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 29, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Holderness Reviews Zelinsky's Dormant Commerce Clause Lessons From Wayfair And Wynne

This week, Hayes Holderness (Richmond) reviews Edward A. Zelinsky (Cardozo), Comparing Wayfair to Wynne: Lessons for the Future of the Dormant Commerce Clause,  22 Chap. L. Rev. ___ (2019).

Holderness (2017)South Dakota v. Wayfair captivated the state and local tax (“SALT”) world this past summer, as the Supreme Court abandoned the dormant Commerce Clause’s (“DCC”) decades-old physical presence rule for sales and use tax collection obligations. The 5-4 decision contained seemingly odd bedfellows: Justice Ginsburg joined Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Kennedy in the majority, and Chief Justice Roberts corralled Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer into his dissent. But DCC jurisprudence is an odd area of SALT doctrine, and Professor Edward Zelinsky tactfully sorts the views of the various Justices in his essay, exposing the major fault lines between their various views. With this sorting, Zelinsky is able to answer whether Wayfair’s abandonment of the physical presence rule is unique or whether it foreshadows danger for other parts of the SALT DCC jurisprudence. Spoiler alert: the DCC is not going anywhere fast.

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September 28, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Tax Policy In The Trump Administration

How Puerto Rico Became The Newest Tax Haven For The Super Rich

Puerto Rico FlagGQ, How Puerto Rico Became the Newest Tax Haven for the Super Rich:

A year after the tragedy of Hurricane Maria, the 51st state has become the favorite playground for extremely wealthy Americans looking to keep their money from the taxman. The only catch? They have to cut all ties to the mainland (wink, wink).

The party known as Cocktails and Compliance—so called for mixing alcohol with tax advice—was thrown on a Friday evening in May, in a warehouse turned art gallery in Old San Juan. The host had kept his guest list confidential: It contained the names of hundreds of ultra-wealthy mainland Americans who'd moved to Puerto Rico to avoid paying taxes, most of whom were reluctant to advertise that fact. More than 1,500 mainlanders have established residency here since 2012, when the island rebranded itself as a tax haven, and the annual Cocktails is at the center of their social calendar.

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September 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thimmesch, Shanske & Gamage: Wayfair Substantial Nexus And Undue Burden

Adam B. Thimmesch (Nebraska), Darien Shanske (UC-Davis) & David Gamage (Indiana), Wayfair: Substantial Nexus and Undue Burden, 89 State Tax Notes 447 (July 30, 2018):

This is the first of a series of essays wherein we analyze the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. In this essay, we tackle some of the more immediate interpretive questions raised by the Wayfair opinion, such as how a state should approach substantial nexus. As part of our analysis, we offer advice to state governments. Specifically, we recommend that states take note of the features of South Dakota’s law that appealed to the Court and replicate or improve on these to the extent possible.

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September 28, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Denver Law School Pays Up Big-Time Over Gender Pay Disparity

Denver Logo (2015)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Law School Pays Up Big-Time Over Gender Pay Disparity:

Everyone at the University of Denver should have known better. The school’s prestigious Sturm College of Law was accused of under-paying women. The plaintiffs were eight law professors. The private university, founded in 1864, has a boldly progressive reputation. Let all that sink in.

If it can happen among the talented legal minds, brown-bricked temples of academia and the trimmed lawns of DU, imagine the free rein that pay discrimination enjoys in the factories, restaurants and offices towers anywhere else.

Ultimately it took $2.66 million from the university to settle a suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that DU paid women professors in its law school much less than men.

Nobody knew because nobody talked about pay, a negotiating advantage that has always favored the boss who hires cheaply to ward off talent poachers from rival operations.

That broad cloak shades inequity. ...

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September 28, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

A Democratic Tax Cut Alternative To The GOP Tax Reform 2.0

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  A Tax Cut Democrats Can Back, by Ro Khanna & Ann O’Leary:

Don’t favor the top 1%. Help working Americans by expanding the child and earned-income tax credits.

In anticipation of the midterm elections, congressional Republicans have recently proposed making their tax cuts permanent. The price tag would amount to $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years. The problem with the 2017 tax law is that it was geared at the investor class, not the middle class. Making the cuts permanent would give the top 1% of income earners more than double the tax savings of those in the bottom 60%.

Democrats have an alternative vision. We believe an overwhelming majority would vote for a $1 trillion tax cut to provide relief for workers by expanding the child tax credit (CTC) and the earned-income tax credit (EITC). This would help nearly 47 million households.

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September 28, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Cut 2.0 Push Seen Ending In Whimper, But There’s Always 2025

Bloomberg, Tax Cut 2.0 Push Seen Ending in Whimper, But There’s Always 2025:

A Republican effort to make last year’s individual tax changes permanent is expected to be approved by the House on Friday, before the initiative likely gets shelved because the Senate won’t act on it.

But, if history is any guide, taxpayers who benefited from the overhaul shouldn’t think all hope is lost — they’ll just have to be patient until shortly before the provisions are set to expire at the end of 2025.

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September 28, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tax Law in Canadian Law Schools: A Critical Approach To Tax Legal Education

Ivan Ozai (McGill), Tax Law in Canadian Law Schools: A Critical Approach to Tax Legal Education:

Law schools in Canada offer students at least one course on tax law, usually as an elective introductory course on taxation. The purpose of such course is to teach students to read, interpret and apply the basic provisions of the Income Tax Act. In this paper, I suggest that Canadian law schools assume a very narrow role in legal education when teaching tax law. I argue that introductory tax law education should not focus on teaching technical details of income tax. It should aim to develop a broader understanding of the Canadian tax system and the ability to situate taxation in its social, political and economic contexts, and in domestic, transnational and international contexts.

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September 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

With Endowment Tax Looming, Harvard Still Doesn’t Know How To File Its Returns

Harvard 1Harvard Crimson, With Endowment Tax on the Horizon, Harvard Still Doesn’t Know How to File Its Returns:

Harvard is still awaiting federal guidance on how to file taxes under a law passed in Dec. 2017 that levied an “unprecedented” excise tax on some universities’ endowment returns, according to University spokesperson Melodie L. Jackson.

Harvard’s endowment, the largest University endowment in the world at $37.1 billion, would qualify for taxation under the the new tax codes Republican lawmakers passed last year. The University's endowment was previously exempt from taxes because the school is a non-profit entity.

Under the new law, Harvard would have paid an estimated $43 million on its endowment returns in 2017 had those been taxed, according to University administrators.

The new tax takes effect only for fiscal years starting after Dec. 31, 2017, and Harvard’s 2018 fiscal year began in July 2017. Endowment returns from fiscal year 2019 will be the first taxed under the new code, so Harvard won’t shell out money to the federal government until next year.

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September 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Implicit Bias In The Law School Dean Search Process

Michele Benedetto Neitz (Golden Gate), Pulling Back the Curtain: Implicit Bias in the Law School Dean Search Process, 29 Seton Hall L. Rev. __ (2019):

The dean search process can be viewed as a bellwether for the health of a law school. Within the microcosm of a civilized “dean search committee” can lie the tensions of rival factions attempting to impose their visions for the next chapter of the law school enterprise. If law school revenue is down, the factions may be fighting for their own survival.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the dean search process is a lightning rod for the stresses facing law school faculty and staff and university administrators. As a result, the implicit biases of individuals and institutions can play a major (if unseen) role in the selection of a dean. Despite the regularity of dean searches in American law schools, no scholar to date has fully examined the ramifications of implicit bias in the dean search process.

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September 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Partnership Lost

Christine Hurt (BYU), Partnership Lost, 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

A century ago, two distinct business entities existed that could best be defined by describing either one of them as simply not the other. The corporation and the general partnership were mirror images of one another and opposites on a spectrum of corporate governance, limited liability, and taxation. Partnerships, seen as small, livelihood enterprises between active-owner partners, had personal liability but passthrough taxation. Corporations, seen as larger, capital-intensive enterprises with passive-owner shareholders, had limited liability but double taxation. The tax distinctions survive today, but the stereotypical partnership does not; in fact the modern partnership is more corporation-like than partnership-like. Today, the corporation-partnership dichotomy has disappeared. “Tax partnerships” for federal tax purposes can be formed under various state statutes that mimic closely the traditional corporation: centralized management; freely transferable shares; limited liability; perpetual life; and even elimination of fiduciary duties.

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September 27, 2018 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN Logo (2018)SSRN 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.  This ranking includes downloads from two 30- and 35-page papers by 12 tax professors on the new tax legislation that garnered a lot of media attention (including the New York Times and Washington Post) and generated a massive amount of downloads (the papers are the most downloaded papers over the past 12 months across all of SSRN and the most downloaded tax papers of all-time by over 200%).  See Brian Leiter (Chicago), 11 Tax Profs Blow Up The SSRN Download Rankings. (For some reason, Mitchell Kane (NYU) — the twelfth academic co-author of the two papers — is not included in the SSRN download rankings (although the downloads are included on his individual author page)).  Here is the new list (through September 1, 2018) 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.)

174,737

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)

103,235

2

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

111,729

Daniel Hemel (Chicago)

100,208

3

David Gamage (Indiana)

107,618

David Gamage (Indiana)

95,192

4

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

105,727

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)

94,680

5

Daniel Hemel (Chicago)

104,746

Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)

94,191

6

Darien Shanske (UC-Davis)

101,644

Dan Shaviro (NYU)

93,916

7

Cliff Fleming (BYU)

97,643

Lily Batchelder (NYU)

92,285

8

David Kamin (NYU)

94,448

David Kamin (NYU)

92,013

9

Manoj Viswanathan (Hastings)

94,379

Cliff Fleming (BYU)

91,930

10

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham)

93,763

Ari Glogower (Ohio State) 

91,561

11

Ari Glogower (Ohio State)

91,934

Rebecca Kysar (Fordham) 

91,487

12

Michael Simkovic (USC)

40,836

Gladriel Shobe (BYU)

23,135

13

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

35,037

Michael Simkovic (USC)

3,741

14

Paul Caron (Pepperdine)

34,685

Jacob Goldin (Stanford) 

3,671

15

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

30,136

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

3,568

16

Richard Ainsworth (BU)

25,435

D. Dharmapala (Chicago)

3,343

17

Ed Kleinbard (USC)

25,051

Kirk Stark (UCLA)    

3,322

18

Vic Fleischer (UC-Irvine)

24,820

Joe Bankman (Stanford) 

3,251

19

Jim Hines (Michigan)

23,925

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis) 

2,902

20

Gladriel Shobe (BYU)

23,729

Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)  

2,554

21

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

23,062

Ruth Mason (Virginia) 

2,431

22

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

22,908

Sam Donaldson (Georgia St.) 

2,403

23

Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

21,427

Hugh Ault (Boston College) 

2,291

24

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

20,748

Kyle Rozema (Chicago) 

2,135

25

David Weisbach (Chicago)

20,411

Stephen Shay (Harvard)

2,037

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

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September 27, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Creator Of U.S. News Rankings Dies At 89

U.S. News Generic RankingsNew York Times, Mel Elfin, Newsman Who Built Up College Ranking Guide, Dies at 89:

Mel Elfin, a longtime Washington bureau chief for Newsweek who moved to the rival U.S. News & World Report in 1986 and helped build its college rankings feature into a major educational franchise, died on Saturday in Washington. He was 89. ...

For Mr. Elfin, overseeing U.S. News’s college rankings posed a challenge that differed from working at Newsweek, where he covered President Richard M. Nixon’s groundbreaking trip to China and developed a strong stable of reporters during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.

Now, at U.S. News, he was dealing with college presidents, educational data and algorithms.

“He was a pivotal figure,” said Bob Morse, the chief data strategist of U.S. News, who worked closely with Mr. Elfin to hone the methodologies behind the rankings. “He embraced the fact that the rankings were needed and that serving consumers was our primary mission.”

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September 27, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Call For Tax Papers And Panels: Law & Society Annual Meeting

Law & SocietyNeil Buchanan (George Washington) has issued his annual call for tax papers and panels for next year's annual meeting of the Law & Society Association in Washington, D.C. (May 30 - June 2, 2019):

For the fifteenth year in a row, I will organize sessions for the Law, Society, and Taxation group (Collaborative Research Network 31).  For the third year in a row, I am pleased to be joined in these organizational efforts by Professors Jennifer Bird-Pollan and Mirit Eyal-Cohen.

Although there is an official call for papers, please remember that you are not bound by the official theme of the conference.  We will give full consideration to proposals in any area of tax law, tax policy, distributive justice, interdisciplinary approaches to tax issues, and so on.

The deadline for submissions is before midnight (Eastern Time) Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

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September 27, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Trusts & Estates Papers And Panels: Law & Society Annual Meeting

Law & SocietyBridget Crawford (Pace) has issued a call for trusts & estates papers and panels for next year's annual meeting of the Law & Society Association in Washington, D.C. (May 30 - June 2, 2019):

Organizers of the newly-formed Trusts & Estates Collaborative Research seek proposals that explore any aspect of the law, practice or effects of trusts and estates, broadly defined. Successful proposals likely will bear in some way on succession (also referred to as inheritance) and/or wealth transfers (whether at death or during lifetime, outright or in trust). Subjects of inquiry may involve any aspect of government or social policy with respect to trusts, estates, inheritance, wealth transfer, equity or courts with jurisdiction over these issues.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a Trusts and Estates CRN panel, please submit a 500-word abstract by Monday, October 8, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. GMT to the CRN chairs, Professor Bridget Crawford and Professor Kate Galloway. The CRN chairs will then attempt to organize the papers into panels with cohesive themes.

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September 27, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Barry Presents The Transition (Under-) Tax Today At Toronto

Barry (2017)Jordan Barry (San Diego) presents The Transition (Under-) Tax at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

One of the most significant effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) was shifting the United States from a worldwide tax system to a territorial one: Before the TCJA, U.S. corporations were subject to tax on all of the income they earned, regardless of where they earned it; after the TCJA, U.S. corporations generally will not have to pay U.S. federal income tax on profits earned outside of the United States. The TCJA coupled this permanent shift with a one-time transition tax (the “Transition Tax”). The Transition Tax taxes the trillions of dollars of income that U.S. corporations earned outside of the United States, but which had not yet been subjected to U.S. tax, at a rate of either 8% or 15.5%, depending on how the income was invested. There is much to criticize about the Transition Tax.

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September 26, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hemel Presents Beyond The Marriage Tax Trilemma Today At Michigan

Hemel (2018)Daniel Hemel (Chicago) presents Beyond the Marriage Tax Trilemma at at Michigan as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Reuven Avi-Yonah:

For decades, the famous “marriage tax trilemma” has played a central role in discussions of the tax treatment of the family unit. The “trilemma” refers to the mathematical impossibility of constructing a tax system that imposes the same tax liability across all married couples with the same income (couples neutrality), neither encourages nor penalizes marriage (marriage neutrality), and taxes higher income individuals at higher rates (progressivity). Numerous articles have proposed responses to the trilemma that choose two of the legs over a third or that seek to split the difference among the competing neutrality norms that the trilemma casts as desirable. Most casebooks, meanwhile, use the trilemma to introduce students to the policy debate over the taxation of marriage and the household.

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September 26, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prisinzano Presents The Penn Wharton Budget Model: Informing The Tax Policy Debate Today At Pennsylvania

PrisinzanoRichard Prisinzano (Pennsylvania) presents The Penn Wharton Budget Model: Informing the Tax Policy Debate at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

The speaker will discuss how the Penn Wharton Budget Model works and how it has been applied to recent tax policy issues. He has provided a series of short readings for the presentation:

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September 26, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stark Presents The Power Not To Tax: State Responses To TCJA 2017 Today At San Diego

Stark (2018)Kirk Stark (UCLA) presents The Power Not to Tax: State Responses to TCJA 2017 at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series hosted by Jordan Barry and Miranda Perry Fleischer: 

One of the most controversial provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is the new limitation on the deductibility of state and local taxes Under that provision, for tax years 2018 to 2025, individual taxpayers may deduct only $10,000 in state and local taxes paid. This change in the law represents a significant increase in the after-tax cost of funding state and local public goods, particularly in those states where voters have demanded service levels requiring higher tax burdens. Perhaps not surprisingly, lawmakers representing these states have not responded favorably to these new limits. Following the enactment of TCJA, New York and several other states began considering legislation aimed at restoring the ability of their residents to fund state and local public services on a tax-favored basis.

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September 26, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bruce Springsteen's Storytelling Lessons For Lawyers (And Law Professors)

SpringsteenABA Journal, 'Springsteen on Broadway' Gives Lawyers 3 Storytelling Lessons:

There was a nor’easter last March when I drove down from Vermont to see Bruce Springsteen’s live show on Broadway. The ticket was outrageously expensive. But I had never seen Springsteen live; this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see “the Boss” perform in a small venue. ...

Springsteen’s spare set, and his skill in distilling the complexities of his life into simple stories, would define his performance and inspire me to draw my own storytelling lessons—lessons that can be useful to lawyers.

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September 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

IRS Weighs Easing Tax-Free Spinoff Rules In Boon to Tech, Pharma

Bloomberg, IRS Weighs Easing Tax-Free Spinoff Rules in Boon to Tech, Pharma:

The Internal Revenue Service is considering relaxing the rules for companies to qualify for tax-free spinoffs — a shift that could benefit drugmakers and tech firms with promising early-stage products.

The agency said Tuesday it’s looking into whether units should still be required to generate revenue before a spinoff from a larger company can be deemed tax-free. Current rules generally require units to have been engaged in a trade or business involving income collection and payment of expenses for at least five years. The change could be a way for the U.S. government to promote research and development within the country by giving companies a tax break on the spinoff transaction.

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September 26, 2018 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Trying New Teaching Techniques Tank My Student Evaluations?

Inside Higher Ed, Will Trying New Teaching Techniques Tank My Evaluations?:

Ask a group of faculty members why they're wary of experimenting with new ways of teaching, and they're likely to assert that trying new things — especially if they misfire — can bring down their student evaluation numbers, and in turn hurt their chances for tenure or promotion.

Charles R. Henderson, a professor of physics education and co-founder of Western Michigan University's Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education, hears that worry frequently as he visits campuses encouraging the use of active learning techniques and other alternatives to lecturing.

"It's a huge thing that everybody cites and believes is true, even though I'm not aware of any data to support it," Henderson says. "Usually what happens is that a professor thinks that because there are one or two students who complain about" a change in how the professor teaches, "the rest of the class must feel that way, too."

That fear can be discouraging, Henderson concedes, given the prominent role that many colleges continue to give to student evaluations of teaching in assessing professors. While some institutions have begun to de-emphasize student evaluations in their tenure and promotion processes, citing research showing mounting evidence of bias, they remain a force. ...

Charles Henderson (Western Michigan), Raquib Khan (Western Michigan) & Melissa Dancy (Colorado), Will My Student Evaluations Decrease If I Adopt an Active Learning Instructional Strategy?, 86 Am. J. Physics ___ (2018):

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September 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tax Law Prompting Flood Of Accelerated Divorces As A Dec. 31 Deadline Looms

L.A. Times, Tax Law Prompting Flood of Accelerated Divorces as a Dec. 31 Deadline Looms:

Local attorneys and judges are scrambling to finalize a flood of accelerated divorces prompted by new federal tax laws that eliminate the spousal support deduction starting Jan. 1.

Beating the deadline will allow people expecting to pay support to continue to annually deduct the money from their taxable income. Those who will receive spousal support also may have an incentive, because judges are expected to start awarding smaller payments next year as the lost tax deduction shrinks what the higher earner can afford.

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September 26, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Drumbl Presents Improving Tax Credits for the Working Poor Today At Boston College

Drumbl (2018)Michelle Drumbl (Washington & Lee) presents Improving Tax Credits for the Working Poor (Cambridge University Press 2019) at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti, Diane Ring, and Shu-Yi Oei:

The United States introduced the earned income tax credit (EITC) in 1975. The EITC is the most significant earnings-based refundable credit available in the Internal Revenue Code (Code).  The United States is the oldest example of a country using its domestic revenue system to deliver and administer social welfare benefits to lower-income individuals or families.  This approach is no longer unique to the United States: other countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, France, Canada, Australia, and Sweden have experimented with or incorporated analogous credits into their tax systems.  These other countries imported the concept from the United States. Might the U.S. be able to improve upon the administration of its EITC by importing the experiences and lessons learned in other countries?

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September 25, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Connecticut’s SALT Bypass Offers Hidden Perk For Money Managers

Bloomberg, Connecticut’s SALT Bypass Offers Hidden Perk for Money Managers:

Hedge fund and private equity managers in Connecticut may have more to like about the state’s novel workaround for a new cap on state and local tax deductions.

Not only do those who live and work in the state get a break on their property taxes, they can also shave the tax bill for their carried interest profits, a key source of earnings.

Earlier this year, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a law that creates a way for owners of so-called pass-through businesses, such as partnerships, to take bigger federal deductions to absorb the hit from the tax law’s new $10,000 SALT deduction limit. Buried in the provision is a way to further reduce the rate applied to carried interest.

For managers at some of Connecticut’s big funds such as Viking Global Investors, Lone Pine Capital, Stone Point Capital and Silver Point Capital, the measure could translate to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in federal tax savings on carried interest. Representatives for the firms didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The new tax “could create a significant benefit,” said Joseph Pacello, a tax partner in the asset management group at BDO USA. Pacello said the carried interest break is currently being discussed by fund managers in Connecticut and their accountants. ...

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September 25, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Online Law School Classes Deliver Results For Law Students

Yvonne Dutton, Margaret Ryznar & Kayleigh Long (Indiana-Indianapolis), Assessing Asynchronous Online Learning in Law Schools: Students Say Online Classes Deliver, 96 Denv. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

This is the first article to provide empirical data on the effectiveness of distance education in law schools since the ABA this summer approved increasing the total number of credits that law students could earn through online classes from 15 to 30. Our data, composed of law student surveys and focus groups, reveal not only the success of distance education in their experience, but also the methods that are most effective for them.

Margaret Ryznar, Insights on Online Teaching:

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September 25, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Internal GOP Poll: 'We've Lost The Messaging Battle' On Tax Cuts

Bloomberg, Internal GOP Poll: 'We've Lost the Messaging Battle' on Tax Cuts:

A survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee has led the party to a glum conclusion regarding President Donald Trump’s signature legislative achievement: Voters overwhelmingly believe his tax overhaul helps the wealthy instead of average Americans.

By a 2-to-1 margin -- 61 percent to 30 percent -- respondents said the law benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families,” according to the survey, which was completed on Sept. 2 by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The result was fueled by self-identified independent voters who said by a 36-point margin that large corporations and rich Americans benefit more from the tax law -- a result that was even more lopsided among Democrats. Republican voters said by a 38-point margin that the middle class benefits more. ...

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September 25, 2018 in News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Pepperdine Jobs Bell

Bell 2When I became Dean in June 2017, I set as our number #1 priority maximizing our students' return on investment in their legal education.  Only 65% of the Class of 2016 had obtained full-credit jobs (long-term, bar-passage-required/JD-advantage jobs). We re-thought our approach to career development and increased that rate to 75% for the Class of 2017, and we are projecting an 85% rate for the Class of 2018.  To symbolize our commitment to helping our students launch their legal careers, we purchased a bell to mark each time a 3L secures one of these jobs (like bells that are rung in car dealerships with each sale).

Yesterday, we held a our first bell ringing ceremony for Ashley Gebicke, who will be joining Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. in Fall 2019.

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September 25, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dependence On Income Tax Revenue Leaves California Vulnerable; Budget Experts Call For 'Political Unicorn' Of Real Tax Reform

L.A. Times, Dependence on Income Tax Revenue Leaves State Vulnerable:

While Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox campaign on their visions for the state’s next chapter, it’s the financial success of residents in Palo Alto’s 94301 and a handful of other affluent ZIP Codes that will determine whether promises to build more houses, overhaul healthcare or invest in schools can actually be kept.

The state scooped up just under $1 billion from nearly 9,000 tax returns filed in 94301 in 2016 — more revenue than from any other ZIP Code in California.

CA1

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September 25, 2018 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Henderson: Innovation Diffusion In The Legal Industry

William D. Henderson (Indiana), Innovation Diffusion in the Legal Industry, 122 Dickinson L. Rev. 395 (2018):

This article is adapted from a series of blog posts originally found in my recently-started blog entitled Legal Evolution. The foundational material set forth in this article (and in those blog posts) applies to the legal services market insights gained from disciplines other than law. This article begins by setting forth the well-established theory of an “innovation diffusion curve” and the research that has identified the factors that affect the rate of adoption of innovations. This article identifies why innovation in the legal services market is desirable and applies to the legal services field insights drawn from this research in other fields. In the course of presenting these theories, the article explains why and how research about things such as the speed of adoption of hybrid corn seed is directly relevant to lawyers and law firms. It also identifies factors that can promote innovation within a law firm and factors that can inhibit innovation within a law firm, including the challenges that firms face because factors that promote the initial stage of innovation may later hamper its widespread implementation.

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September 25, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death Of David Laro (Tax Court Judge)

LaroDavid Laro, Senior Judge of the U.S. Tax Court, died on Friday, September 21, at the age of 76.  From the family:

We are planning a celebration of David’s life at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 27th at 2:30 p.m. We will be sitting shiva at Marlene and Andrew's house (8203 Hampton Oak Court, McLean, VA) after the service until 9:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Judge David Laro Scholarship in Taxes at NYU School of Law and the Judge David Laro Tax Law Scholarship at USD School of Law.

From David's Tax Court biography:

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September 25, 2018 in Legal Education, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Clausing Presents Profit Shifting Before And After The TCJA Today At UC-Irvine

Clausing (2017)Kimberly Clausing (Reed College) presents Profit Shifting Before and After the TCJA at UC-Irvine as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series:

In recent years, estimates of profit shifting by multinational companies have indicated substantial revenue costs to the U.S. government, likely in excess of $100 billion per year. The TCJA has changed the climate for profit shifting in several important ways: the lower U.S. corporate rate should lower the incentive to shift profits away from the United States, the adoption of a territorial tax system should raise the incentive to shift profits abroad, and several novel base protection measures, in particular the GILTI and BEAT provisions, are aimed directly at profit shifting. This paper evaluates these changes, discussing their likely effect on the magnitude of profit shifting.

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September 24, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fennel Presents Money Matters Today At Loyola-L.A.

Fennell (2015)Lee Anne Fennel (Chicago) presents Money Matters at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katie Pratt:

This chapter from my forthcoming book, Slices and Lumps: Configuring Choice in Law, Markets, and Life (University of Chicago Press 2019), examines questions of lumpiness and granularity that arise in household budgeting and public finance contexts. People often have difficulty assembling the lumps of cash required to pay for indivisible goods like cars or down payments on homes. These difficulties can explain preferences that might otherwise seem puzzling, such as for lump sums rather than fragmented payment streams of higher present value. Seeming anomalies like the prevalence of income tax refunds and lottery play can be explained by the desire for lumpy consumption that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to finance. At the same time, better segmentation can help households achieve their goals, as studies showing the power of partitioning savings suggest.

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September 24, 2018 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Network Of Law Reviews: Citation Cartels, Scientific Communities, And Journal Rankings

Oren Perez, Judit Bar-Ilan, Reuven Cohen & Nir Schreiber (Bar-Ilan), The Network of Law Reviews: Citation Cartels, Scientific Communities, and Journal Rankings, 81 Mod. L. Rev. ___ (2018):

Research evaluation is increasingly being influenced by quantitative data. The legal field has not escaped the impact of such metrics. Law schools and legal journals are being ranked by multiple global rankings. The key rankings for law schools are the Times Higher Education and Shanghai University Subject Rankings for law and SSRN Ranking for U.S. and International law schools. Law Journals are measured by four different rankings: Clarivate Analytics Web of Science Journal Citation Reports (JCR), CiteScore from Elsevier, Scimago and Washington and Lee. Despite the opposition from the scientific community these metrics continue to flourish. The article argues journal rankings (as other metrics) are the consequence of theory-laden choices that can influence their structure and their pretense of objectivity is therefore merely illusory.

We focus on the influential ranking of law journals in JCR and critically assess its structure and methodology. In particular, we consider the question of the existence of tacit citation cartels in the U.S. law reviews market and the attentiveness of the JCR for the potential influence of such tacit cartel. To examine this question we studied a sample of 90 journals included in the category of Law in the JCR: 45 U.S. student-edited (SE) and 45 peer-reviewed (PR) journals. We found that PR and SE journals are more inclined to cite members of their own class, forming two separated communities. Close analysis revealed that this phenomenon is more pronounced in SE journals, especially generalist ones. This tendency reflects, we argue, a tacit cartelistic behavior, which is a product of deeply entrenched institutional structures. Because U.S. SE journals produce much more citations than PR journals, the fact that their citations are directed almost exclusively to SE journals elevates their ranking in the Journal Citation Reports in a way that distorts the structure of the ranking. This distortion can hamper the production of legal knowledge. We discuss several policy measures that can counter the adverse effects of this situation.

Law Reviews

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September 24, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Uneasy History Of Experiential Education in U.S. Law Schools

Peter A. Joy (Washington University), The Uneasy History of Experiential Education in U.S. Law Schools, 122 Dickinson L. Rev. 551 (2018):

This article explores the history of legal education, particularly the rise of experiential learning and its importance. In the early years of legal education in the United States, law schools devalued the development of practical skills in students, and many legal educators viewed practical experience in prospective faculty as a “taint.” This article begins with a brief history of these early years and how legal education subsequently evolved with greater involvement of the American Bar Association (ABA). With involvement of the ABA came a call for greater uniformity in legal education and guidelines to help law schools establish criteria for admissions and curricula. This article also discusses the influence of the ABA Standards, particularly Standard 302, in legal education. In the latter half of the 20th century, it became clear that a legal education without any professional development or practical training was deficient. A new ABA task force dedicated to “narrowing the gap” between practitioners and professors published the MacCrate Report, detailing the skills and values law students should develop before entering the profession. Lastly, although the ABA Standards have done a great deal in fixing these deficiencies, there is a great deal that law schools must do on their own.

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September 24, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study: 1L Grades, Upper Level Bar Courses Better Predictors Of Bar Passage Than LSAT, UGPA

Amy Farley,  Christopher Swoboda, Joel Chanvisanuruk, Keanen McKinley & Alicia Boards (Cincinnati), Law Student Success and Supports: Examining Bar Passage and Factors That Contribute to Student Performance:

In recent years, law schools have experienced a decline in enrollment and bar passage. Higher education has been challenged to understand this new phenomenon and conduct research that can inform law student success practices and policies. This paper presents findings from research conducted at a large, Midwestern public university that investigated the factors and student characteristics most strongly associated with bar passage. Results suggest that bar passage can be predicted by a wide battery of variables. Despite some literature that suggests otherwise, however, LSAT and undergraduate GPA are weakly predictive, while information from the first year of law school – even the performance in just one first semester course – explains significantly more variation in bar passage. These preliminary results provide important first insights into bar passage.

UC2

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September 24, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Lesson From The Tax Court: The Substantial Substantiation Rules In §170

Tax Court (2017)The great philosopher George Carlin understands the problem of stuff.  My wife and I have too much stuff.  My wife, however, hates yard sales.  And we cannot afford a bigger house.  So we give a lot of stuff away. 

When Congress ratcheted up the substantiation requirements for deducting non-cash charitable contributions in 1993, we stopped giving to Goodwill.  That is because Goodwill did not change their pre-printed receipt form to say the now-required magic language “no goods or services were given in exchange for this donation.”  While some of our donations were below the $250 threshold, the aggregate value of our donations of similar items regularly exceeded that amount.  I remember one year I had to go up several layers of management to even get a letter with that language sent to me before I could file my taxes.  So we now favor other charities.

I was not just being picky in wanting a proper contemporaneous receipt, as the recent case of Estelle C. Grainger v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2018-117 (July 30, 2018) demonstrates.  The taxpayer there was massively confused about the basic valuation rules for donations of property.  That’s one lesson here.  But I think another important lesson in this case is just how difficult the substantiation rules in §170 can be for substantial amounts of non-cash charitable contributions.  It was certainly an eye-opener for me, particularly the lesson about Form 8283.

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September 24, 2018 in Bryan Camp, New Cases, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Practice And Procedure | Permalink | Comments (10)

Arizona State To Host Tenure! Now What? Conference

Arizona State Logo (2016)Conference Announcement:  "Tenure! Now What?", Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, March 30, 2019:

In the legal academy, as in other disciplines, tenure is the most important goal of aspiring and junior professors. Yet we as a profession never talk about what happens after tenure. This conference seeks to fill that void.

We want to initiate a conversation about life after tenure. We have assembled an impressive group of panelists who will discuss service, scholarship, and teaching. The conference will conclude with a workshop for participants to create a personalized plan for their career. The conference is free and all are welcome.

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September 24, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 23, 2018

NY Times: EU Ends Inquiry Into Luxembourg’s Tax Deal With McDonald’s

McDonaldsNew York Times, European Union Ends Inquiry Into Luxembourg’s Tax Deal With McDonald’s:

The European Union has sparred with multinationals like Apple and Amazon as well as countries such as Ireland in its efforts to curb tax avoidance. In the case of McDonald’s, it is standing down.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, had been examining whether a deal that Luxembourg granted to McDonald’s may have led to the fast food chain’s paying less tax than it owed. The commission said Wednesday that these deals did not constitute illegal state aid.

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September 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can Professors Refuse To Write Letters Of Recommendations For Political Reasons?

IsraelInside Higher Ed, The Right to a Recommendation?:

Does a professor have a right to refuse to write a recommendation for a student due to his own political convictions?

A professor at the University of Michigan declined to write a recommendation for a student to study abroad upon realizing the student’s chosen program was in Israel. In an email to the student, which was posted as a screenshot ...  on Facebook by the pro-Israel group Club Z and was first reported by Israeli media, the professor cites support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions as the reason why he was rescinding an offer to write a recommendation letter. At the same time he indicated he would be happy to write other letters for the student, who is identified only as “Abigail.”

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September 23, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (18)