TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Department Of Education Rejects Panel's Recommendation, Will Not Suspend ABA's Power To Accredit Law Schools

Department of Education LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, ABA Won't Be Suspended From Accrediting New Law Schools:

The U.S. Department of Education will not implement a panel recommendation that called for suspending the ABA from accrediting new law schools for one year.

In a letter sent to Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Emma Vadehra, the department’s chief of staff, wrote that she was accepting the recommendation of department staff to allow the ABA to continue accrediting new law schools rather than the recommendation for a one-year suspension made by the National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

Continue reading

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

Hillary Clinton's Proposed 65% Estate Tax Rate Causes Dilbert Creator Scott Adams To Switch His Endorsement To Trump

TrumpFollowing up on Friday's post, Hillary Clinton Proposes Raising Estate Tax Rate From 40% To 65%:  Dilbert.com, Why I Switched My Endorsement from Clinton to Trump:

As most of you know, I had been endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, for my personal safety, because I live in California. It isn’t safe to be a Trump supporter where I live. And it’s bad for business too. But recently I switched my endorsement to Trump, and I owe you an explanation. So here it goes.

Clinton proposed a new top Estate Tax of 65% on people with net worth over $500 million. Her website goes to great length to obscure the actual policy details, including the fact that taxes would increase on lower value estates as well. See the total lack of transparency here, where the text simply refers to going back to 2009 rates. It is clear that the intent of the page is to mislead, not inform.

So don’t fall for the claim that Clinton has plenty of policy details on her website.

Continue reading

September 27, 2016 in Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speed Matters In Law School Exams: More Words = Higher Grades

SpeedKif Augustine-Adams (BYU), Candace Berrett (BYU) & James R. Rasband (BYU), Speed Matters:

What, if any, is the relationship between speed and grades on first year law school examinations? Are time-pressured law school examinations typing speed tests? Employing both simple linear regression and mixed effects linear regression, we present an empirical hypothesis test on the relationship between first year law school grades and speed, with speed represented by two variables: word count and student typing speed. Our empirical findings of a strong statistically significant positive correlation between total words written on first year law school examinations and grades suggest that speed matters. On average, the more a student types, the better her grade. In the end, however, typing speed was not a statistically significant variable explaining first year law students’ grades. At the same time, factors other than speed are relevant to student performance.

In addition to our empirical analysis, we discuss the importance of speed in law school examinations as a theoretical question and indicator of future performance as a lawyer, contextualizing the question in relation to the debate in the relevant psychometric literature regarding speed and ability or intelligence. Given that empirically, speed matters, we encourage law professors to consider more explicitly whether their exams over-reward length, and thus speed, or whether length and assumptions about speed are actually a useful proxy for future professional performance and success as lawyers.

Continue reading

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1237

Politifact

Politifact, John Fleming Attacks IRS in Inaccurate Radio Ad:

In a recent radio campaign ad, Louisiana senate candidate John Fleming claimed that the head of the Internal Revenue Service ordered 24,000 emails erased before Congress could see them.

"The head of the IRS ordered 24,000 emails erased before Congress could review them, making sure the American people will never know the real truth," Fleming’s ad says. "The officials in charge follow the same dishonest playbook they’ve used for every scandal from Fast and Furious to Hillary’s emails."

Fleming is running for senator of Louisiana against six Republican candidates, including David Duke, as well as three Democrats and one unaffiliated candidate.

Fleming — who currently represents Louisiana in the House — is calling for the impeachment of IRS commissioner John Koskinen.

So far, Democrats are largely against the impeachment, and Republicans are divided on it, citing due process concerns. A vote on the matter was expected on Sept. 15, 2016, but it was delayed.

Since destruction of documents is a serious charge, we wondered if it was true that the head of the IRS "ordered 24,000 emails erased before Congress could review them." Independent reports suggest that’s not the case. ...

Emails were erased, and up to 24,000 are likely unrecoverable. However, there’s zero evidence that the head of the IRS ordered them destroyed. Multiple independent investigations confirmed that the erasure was accidental and not intended to obstruct information from Congress. Fleming’s ad says the opposite.

We rate this claim False.

Continue reading

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peroni Presents Defending Worldwide Taxation Today At Loyola-L.A.

Peroni (2015)Robert J. Peroni (Texas) presents Defending Worldwide Taxation and Addressing Inversions with a Shareholder-Based Definition of Corporate Residence, 2016 BYU L. Rev. ___ (with J. Clifton Fleming, Jr. (BYU) & Stephen Shay (Harvard)), at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

This article argues that a principled, efficient, and practical definition of corporate residence is necessary even if some form of corporate integration is adopted, and that such a definition is a key element in designing either a real worldwide or a territorial income tax system as well as a potential restraint on the inversion phenomenon. The article proposes that the United States adopt a shareholder-based definition of corporate residence that is structured as follows:

Continue reading

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

Batchelder:  Trump Plan Raises Taxes For Millions Of Low- And Middle-Income Families

Trump (2016-2)Lily L. Batchelder (NYU), Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump's Latest Tax Plan:

Donald Trump’s latest tax plan would cost more than $5 trillion over 10 years. Trump claims his plan would cut taxes for every income group, with the largest tax cuts for working- and middle-class families. But despite its enormous price tag, his plan would actually significantly raise taxes for millions of low- and middle-income families with children, with especially large tax increases for working single parents.

This paper explains why Trump’s latest tax plan raises taxes on so many families and provides examples of how large these tax increases would be. I conservatively estimate that Trump’s plan would increase taxes for roughly 7.8 million families with minor children. These families who would pay more taxes represent roughly 20% of households with minor children and more than half of single parents. They include roughly 25 million individuals and 15 million children.

Washington Post, A New Study Says Trump Would Raise Taxes for Millions. Trump’s Campaign Insists He Won’t.:

Continue reading

September 26, 2016 in Political News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School Special Report:  Tackling Issues Of Race And Class

NLJLaw School Special Report, Tackling Timely Issues of Race and Class:

In law schools across the U.S., professors are discussing current events and social justice movements in their courses. The idea? To demonstrate how race and class intersect with law. Also, in a contributed piece, a law dean offers students advice for the first year — work hard and connect with classmates of different cultures — for your own benefit and that of your future clients. And law school access to justice initiatives are discussed by another dean and colleagues.

Continue reading

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

The Top 1% By State, Metropolitan Area, And County

New York Times: Your Local 1-Percenters May Not Be as Rich as You Think, by Robert Frank & Karl Russell:

[D]efining America’s 1 percent — and finding out “where the money is” — has become an increasingly subjective endeavor. As wealth becomes more concentrated in certain states and even counties, the gap between the national 1 percent and the local 1 percent is growing, creating wealth clusters that are pulling away from the rest of the country.

To be in the top 1 percent of incomes nationally, families need to take in a minimum of $389,436. The average income of America’s 1-percenters is $1,153,293, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute [Income Inequality in the U.S. by State, Metropolitan Area, and County]. Yet when incomes are measured state by state, the study shows wildly diverging fortunes for 1-percenters.

NYT

Continue reading

September 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death of LSAC President Dan Bernstine

BernstineLaw School Admission Council Announces Death of President Daniel O. Bernstine:

It is with profound sadness that the Law School Admission Council shares the news that Dan Bernstine, President of LSAC, passed away suddenly at his home late last week at the age of 69. Any additional information that becomes available concerning funeral or memorial services, or directed donations, will be posted on our website, LSAC.org.

Mr. Bernstine was appointed to the presidency of LSAC in 2007. For 10 years prior to joining LSAC, he was the president of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He also served as Dean at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prior to his tenure at Wisconsin, Mr. Bernstine was a professor of law and interim dean at Howard University. He was general counsel at Howard University and Howard University Hospital. He was the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellow at Wisconsin and a staff attorney for the US Department of Labor early in his career. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer all over the world, including Taiwan, Germany, and Cuba, and additional US law schools.

Continue reading

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

Husband Of Retired Tax Court Judge Pleads Guilty To Taking $1 Million In Fraudulent Deductions

TCKFollowing up on my previous posts:

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twin Cities Husband of Ex-Tax Judge Admits Duping IRS; Charges Against Her Pending:

The husband of a former U.S. Tax Court judge has pleaded guilty to making nearly $1 million in fraudulent deductions on tax returns over much of her tenure on the bench and making several lavish purchases in that time through his consulting firm.

Continue reading

September 26, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Tale Of Five (Indiana) Law Schools:  Notre Dame, IU-Bloomington, IU-Indy, Valpo, Indy Tech

Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Law Schools Welcome Class of 2019:

Law School

Rank

1L Class

50% LSAT

50% GPA

Notre Dame

22

2016:  187

164

3.71

   

2015:  200

164

3.66

   

2010:  172

167

3.57

Indiana-Bloomington

25

2016:  178

161

3.71

   

2015:  153

161

3.76

   

2011:  240

166

3.78

Indiana-Indianapolis

100

2016:  253

153

3.39

   

2015:  254

152

3.34

   

2011:  314

156

3.44

Valparaiso

Tier 2

2016:  103

147

3.02

   

2015:  130

145

2.93

   

2010:  207

150

3.31

Indiana-Tech

n/r

2016:  55

n/a

n/a

   

2015:  13

151

3.42

   

2014:  35

148

2.85

Here are 2010-2015 admissions data for Notre Dame, Indiana-Bloomington, Indiana-Indianapolis, and Valparaiso from Law School Transparency:

Continue reading

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

The IRS Scandal, Day 1236

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, Reputation Under Fire, the IRS Pulls a Gun—Al Capone’s:

The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t enjoy an abundance of favorable press. At present, it finds itself mired in controversy as its director, John Koskinen, hauled before Congress last week, tries to fend off an impeachment attempt.

On Tuesday, however, the IRS will participate in an unveiling ceremony it hopes will remind people of the positive things its agents have done. At least, one positive thing.

The agency is playing on the great American story of how Chicago mob boss Al Capone ended up in prison 85 years ago. It wasn’t the FBI’s “G-men” who put him in Alcatraz, nor Elliot Ness’s Prohibition-era agents. It wasn’t on account of gangland murders such as the 1929 Chicago Valentine’s Day Massacre, either.

Capone was undone by an undercover operation of the “T-men,” members of the Treasury Department’s IRS investigative division. He was pinched for cheating on his taxes.

Continue reading

September 26, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Michelle Alexander Resigns From Ohio State Law Faculty For Seminary, Valuing 'Publicly Accessible Writing Over Academic Careerism'; Law Without 'A Moral Or Spiritual Awakening' Cannot Bring About Justice

Alexander 3Michelle Alexander, recipient of a 2016 Heinz Award ($250,000) for her work as "legal scholar, advocate, civil rights attorney and author of the seminal book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," has resigned from the Ohio State Law School faculty to teach and study at Union Theology Seminary in New York City:

I am walking away from the law. I’ve resigned my position as a law professor at Ohio State University, and I’ve decided to teach and study at a seminary. Why?

There is no easy answer to this question, and there are times I worry that I have completely lost my mind. Who am I to teach or study at a seminary? I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power. American history teaches how these games predictably play out within our borders: Time and again, race gets used as the Trump Card, a reliable means of dividing, controlling and misleading the players so a few can win the game.

Continue reading

September 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

LSAC Rescinds Threat (For One Year) To Stop Certifying Matriculant Admissions Data In Response To Law Schools' Use Of GRE

GRELSACFollowing up on my previous post, the LSAC has backed off its threat, for one year, to stop certifying matriculant data in response to the use of the GRE rather than the LSAT in law school admissions:

At the beginning of August, we wrote to you to explain that as a result of uncertainty surrounding the use of alternative admissions tests and concern that LSAT score-certification would no longer present an accurate and complete picture of law school matriculants, the LSAC Board had authorized the suspension of the score certification service. At that time, we asked for your input and the input of your deans, and although there was some variation in responses, much of the input conveyed disappointment at the suspension of the service and support for continuation of the service without interruption.

Continue reading

September 25, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThere is quite a bit of movement in this week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads, with a new #1 paper and new papers debuting on the list at #4 and #5:

  1. [387 Downloads]  Property Is Another Name for Monopoly Facilitating Efficient Bargaining with Partial Common Ownership of Spectrum, Corporations, and Land, by Eric A. Posner (Chicago) & E. Glen Weyl (Yale)
  2. [178 Downloads]  Transfer Pricing Money: The Chevron Case, by Richard J. Vann (Sydney) & Graeme S. Cooper (Sydney)
  3. [170 Downloads]  Financial Advisers Can't Overlook the Prudent Investor Rule, by Max M. Schanzenbach (Northwestern) & Robert H. Sitkoff (Harvard)
  4. [119 Downloads]  Taxation and Human Rights: A Delicate Balance, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)
  5. [105 Downloads]  Law and Macroeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions, by Yair Listokin (Yale)

September 25, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

End The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Bonanza For Graduate And Professional Schools

Brookings (2016)Brookings Institution:  The Coming Public Service Loan Forgiveness Bonanza, by Jason Delisle (American Enterprise Institute):

Abstract: The federal government is making more data available about the performance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for federal student loans. Many policymakers are not aware of this program, but the new data reveal PSLF is growing rapidly and is larger than most observers expected. Budget agencies recently revised the projected cost of the program upward by a staggering amount, and the U.S. Department of Education reports that many PSLF enrollees borrowed over $100,000 to finance graduate degrees. Recent research suggests that borrowers in certain professions stand to have their entire graduate and professional educations paid for through loan forgiveness under PSLF. In light of these developments, reforms that limit the most excessive features of PSLF are warranted, although repealing PSLF altogether and letting the federal Income-Based Repayment program (IBR) accomplish the goal of PSLF is an even better course of action.

Continue reading

September 25, 2016 in Legal Education, Think Tank Reports | Permalink | Comments (11)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1235

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal op-ed: A Dangerous Rush to Impeach John Koskinen, by John Conyers (D-MI; Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee):

The power of impeachment is a responsibility entrusted to the House of Representatives by the Constitution and to the House Judiciary Committee by our peers. I take this charge very seriously—and, for the most part, so do my colleagues in the majority.

I have served on the House Judiciary Committee long enough now to see impeachment done right and to see impeachment done wrong. I have participated in six of the 19 impeachments approved by the House since its inception. I voted in favor of five of them. In the early 1970s I helped to draft articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. I joined with 20 Democrats and six Republicans to send three of those articles to the House floor.

But I have never seen anything quite like the obsession of a few House members determined to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen—without much evidence to back their claims, without an independent investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, and without even basic due process for the accused. ...

In the past few days, the actions of a small group of conservative House members threaten to break from this precedent and to lead us down a dangerous path. ...

On the merits, Mr. Koskinen’s critics have simply failed to make their case. They have been unable to produce evidence that the commissioner acted in bad faith at any point in his tenure. The Senate Finance Committee, the Justice Department and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have all concluded that there is “no evidence” of intentional misconduct of any kind.

But even if there were some evidence of Mr. Koskinen’s wrongdoing, the push to impeach him without due process in the House Judiciary Committee is dangerously misguided. Never, in the history of this body, have we impeached a government official without first proving he has acted in deliberate bad faith. ...

If the commissioner’s critics have their way, I fear we will have a new rule going forward: The House may impeach any government official, for any reason, without supplying evidence of deliberate wrongdoing, without an independent investigation, and without regard to basic fairness toward the accused.

Forcing a vote on impeachment in this manner will certainly not result in the removal of Commissioner Koskinen. Even if his critics succeed in the House, Senators of both parties have already stated their intent to bury the matter. So for all their efforts they will have profited nothing. And in the process they will have turned impeachment from a constitutional check of last resort into a tool of political convenience.

Washington Post op-ed:  Republicans’ Kangaroo Court, by Dana Milbank:

Impeachment is among the most severe and solemn powers Congress has, right up there with declaring war. Not since 1876 has an executive-branch appointee been impeached, and not in the history of the republic has Congress impeached an executive-branch official below the Cabinet level.

Now, Republicans in Congress would change that. On Wednesday, they wheeled out the sacred tool of impeachment — weeks before an election — for the purpose of smearing an honorable public servant, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in service of a lie. ...

There are just a few wee problems with the Republicans’ logic. The targeting of conservative groups ended in 2013. The Treasury Department’s inspector general, originally a Republican appointee, reported no evidence of political motivation in the targeting. The Justice Department, too, found “no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives” and “no evidence that any official attempted to obstruct justice.” The official responsible for the targeting resigned before Koskinen came to the IRS at the end of 2013. And the same IG said last year that “no evidence was uncovered that any IRS employees had been directed to destroy or hide information from Congress, the DOJ, or [the IG].”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, eager to avoid the spectacle of the House voting to impeach an innocent man based on false charges without a proper hearing, got impeachment advocates to settle for Wednesday’s hearing in which Koskinen testified before the House Judiciary Committee. But that hardly improved matters: To say this impeachment inquiry is a kangaroo court would be an insult to marsupials. ...

There’s no dispute that Koskinen misinformed lawmakers in 2014 when he said that all evidence had been preserved relevant to the targeting. In fact, IRS workers a few months earlier had destroyed backup tapes that contained relevant emails. Koskinen says he didn’t know that at the time. The IG spent a year investigating the matter and attributed the erasure to bureaucratic errors, finding “no evidence that the IRS and its employees purposely erased the tapes in order to conceal responsive e-mails from the Congress.”

Continue reading

September 25, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

2016-17 World University Rankings

THE
London-based Times Higher Education has released its annual World University Rankings of the Top 980 universities in the world, based on this methodology of 13 variables in five categories:
Methodology

Here are the Top 25 Universities in the World, along with their scores:

Rank

School

Score

1

Oxford

95.0

2

Cal-Tech

94.3

3

Stanford

93.8

4

Cambridge

93.6

5

MIT

93.4

6

Harvard

02.7

7

Princeton

90.2

8

Imperial College London

90.0

9

ETH Zurich

89.3

10

Chicago

88.9

10

UC-Berkeley

88.9

12

Yale

88.2

13

Pennsylvania

87.1

14

UCLA

86.6

15

University College London

86.5

16

Columbia

86.1

17

Johns Hopkins

85.9

18

Duke

84.7

19

Cornell

84.6

20

Northwestern

83.7

21

Michigan

83.6

22

Toronto

83.0

23

Carnegie Mellon

81.8

24

National University of Singapore

81.7

25

London School of Economics

80.7

Continue reading

September 24, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Obama Has Redistributed More Wealth To The Bottom 99% Through The Tax Code Than Any Administration Since At Least 1960

White HouseWall Street Journal, The White House Says Its Policies Slashed the Income Gap:

One of the big criticisms of the current economic expansion—and also the one that ran from 2001 through 2007—is that most of the gains accrued to the best off, unleashing a populist groundswell in the presidential election campaign.

The White House lays out the case in a new report that the Obama administration’s policies have done more than any administration in the last half-century to reduce inequality [The Economic Record of the Obama Administration: Progress Reducing Inequality] ...

The upshot is these changes in tax and health-care policy will increase the share of after-tax income by the poorest fifth of households by 0.6 percentage point while reducing the share of the wealthiest 1% of households by 1.2 percentage points.

Taken together, the administration says that it has done more to redistribute wealth to the bottom 99% of families through tax-code changes than any administration since at least 1960. The share of after-tax income from the poorest fifth of households fell by nearly 25% from 1979 to 2007, and the White House says its tax and health-care changes have reversed one-third of that decline.

WSJ

Continue reading

September 24, 2016 in Gov't Reports, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Indiana Tech Dean Bristles At Media For Making Law School 'Look Bad' Because Only 1 In 12 Grads Passed Bar Exam, Says He's 'Not Worried' About ABA Accreditation

Indiana Tech (2016)Following up on last week's post, Only One Indiana Tech Graduate Passed Bar Exam:  Indiana Lawyer, Indiana Tech Law School Dean Says 5 Graduates Appealing Bar Results:

Five graduates of Indiana Tech Law School have filed appeals with the Indiana Board of Law Examiners to have their bar exams reviewed, according to the law school’s dean Charles Cercone.

The Fort Wayne law school had only one graduate of its charter class pass the July 2016 Indiana Bar Exam. However since the results were announced, the school has maintained the pass rate could not be determined until the appeals process has been completed.

Cercone, speaking publicly for the first time since the bar exam results were announced, said he is confident the law school will turn the results around. The school is offering a “very expensive re-taker program” to the graduates free of charge and is offering other bar prep and doctrinal courses to the graduates and the current third-year students. “If they do what we tell them to do, they’ll pass,” Cercone said. ...

Continue reading

September 24, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1234

IRS Logo 2Hot Air, The IRS Chief’s Meeting With the Judiciary Committee Didn’t Go Particularly Well:

You may recall that only a week ago the House decided to postpone an impeachment vote for IRS commissioner John Koskinen in favor of holding hearings instead. This clearly distressed a number of conservatives who feel that the mismanagement of the agency and its various scandals were more than sufficient grounds to give the man his walking papers. Still, the hearings were bound to produce some fireworks and the first round certainly didn’t disappoint. Today I wanted to hit a few of the highlights.

Right out of the gate, Koskinen was asked about previous statements he’d made under oath regarding the preservation and recovery of emails and other documents from the entire Lois Lerner affair. When pressed on the subject, the commissioner didn’t exactly say that he’d lied about it, but did admit that some of the things he said turned out not to be true. ...

I suppose that comes down to the age old question of whether you lied or you were simply wrong about something. That’s a question which the committee (and the public) will have to answer for themselves.

There was another question raised concerning the IRS employees who were found to have deleted all of those Lois Lerner emails. Surely these are the culprits we’re looking for here. I imagine they must be cooling their heels in jail by now or at least awaiting trial, right? Nope. Turns out that they are both still on the IRS payroll… just in a different department....

Don’t even get me started on that entire saga again. We’ve written about it here extensively and the idea that someone in that department could have been “unaware” of the maelstrom surrounding their office is beyond the pale. But as long as the stonewall continues, there doesn’t seem to be much that anyone can do about it… short of impeaching the boss. Yet when he was asked about the rather, er… suspicious timing of all those records being destroyed, Koskinen didn’t have much of an answer.

 

Continue reading

September 24, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, Ari Glogower (Ohio State) reviews a new paper by Edward Kleinbard (USC), Capital Taxation in an Age of Inequality, the first installment of a two-part project proposing a new tax instrument, the Dual Business Enterprise Income Tax (BEIT).  Kleinbard’s current article explores the theory behind the Dual BEIT, while a subsequent follow up article will describe its technical operation.  

Glogower (2016)In brief, the Dual BEIT, which builds on Kleinbard’s prior proposals, operates as a single flat-rate tax on capital income, divided between an investor-level tax on normal returns, and a business-level tax on profits.  The investor-level tax is implemented through a tax on deemed normal returns to investments.  Businesses deduct a cost of capital allowance of the same normal return (regardless of whether the business is financed by debt or equity), resulting in a business-level tax on profits.

The article begins with a series of arguments justifying capital income taxation in general:  First, the classic optimal tax theory result that normal returns to saving should not be taxed has “no practical lessons to teach” in a world with inherited capital and gratuitous transfers.  Second, capital income taxation addresses increasing concerns with wealth and income concentration.  Third, taxing capital income taxes is necessary to raise revenue for public investment and social insurance programs.  Fourth, recent studies, including by the IMF and the OECD, suggest that reducing inequality may increase economic growth.

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Bar Pass Rates Fall Despite Rising MBE Scores

Following up on my recent bar exam posts (links below):

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Despite Improvement in MBE Scores, Bar Exam Rates Appear to be Falling Yet Again:

[E]ven though MBE scores rose, bar exam pass rates are declining again.

Muller

Law.com, Sagging July Bar Exam Results in Florida and Elsewhere Defy Predictions:

A forecast for better bar pass rates is turning gloomy as scores from the July exam begin to trickle in. 

A slight increase in the average score earned by this summer’s test takers on the multiple-choice portion of the test had fueled optimism that the two-year slide in bar pass rates was at an end. But a number of early-reporting jurisdictions—most notably Florida—show continued pass-rate declines. ...

“Florida’s drop is a little surprising,” said Derek Muller,  a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law who writes about bar pass rates on his blog, Excess of Democracy. “When the MBE rises or falls, we should expect the overall pass rates to also rise or fall.”

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hillary Clinton Proposes Raising Estate Tax Rate From 40% To 65%

Clinton KaineWall Street Journal, Hillary Clinton Proposes 65% Top Rate for Estate Tax:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would levy a 65% tax on the largest estates and make it harder for wealthy people to pass appreciated assets to their heirs without paying taxes, expanding the list of tax increases she would impose on the top sliver of America’s affluent.

The estate-tax increase and other new proposals that Mrs. Clinton detailed on Thursday would generate $260 billion over the next decade, enough to pay for her plans to simplify small business taxes and expand the child tax credit, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget [more here], which advocates fiscal restraint.

In all, Mrs. Clinton would increase taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade, increasing federal revenue by about 4%, though that new burden would be concentrated on relatively few households. There is at least a $6 trillion gap between her plan and the tax cuts proposed by her Republican rival Donald Trump.

The Clinton campaign changed its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets and adopting the structure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primaries. She would impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples.

CRFB

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Political News, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

28 Florida Graduate Tax Alumni Academics Respond To Robert Rhee's Critique Of The Program

Florida Logo (GIF)Florida Graduate Tax Program Alumni Academics Letter:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

We the undersigned graduates of the UF Tax Program have read the various blog posts and other public information that have emerged regarding the Tax Program at the University of Florida Frederic G. Levin College of Law. As alumni in academia, we write to express gratitude to Tax Program faculty, appreciation for its in-residence structure, and stress the importance of preserving (and even enhancing) one of the truly great programs in legal education. The UF Tax Program represents much of what is good in legal education.

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Omri Marian Responds To Robert Rhee's Critique Of Florida's Graduate Tax Program

Marian (2016)Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the controversy surrounding the Florida Graduate Tax Program: Omri Marian, who started his academic career at Florida before joining the UC-Irvine faculty in 2015, has written a withering 28-page letter responding to Robert Rhee's 24-page critique of Florida's graduate tax program. Here are the introduction and conclusion to the letter:

Dear community of tax students, tax professionals, and tax academics,

As I am sure you are aware, over the past few months, the Graduate Tax Program (the “Program”) at the University of Florida (“UF”) has been embroiled in a heated controversy. This controversy started after the arrival of a new Dean, Laura Rosenbury, and significantly escalated with the publication of a letter criticizing the Program, written by Robert Rhee, a non-tax law faculty member at UF.

Rhee’s letter was not written in a vacuum. It is a result of a toxic organizational environment full of anger and distrust. I do not know who is responsible for breeding such an environment, as I have little firsthand knowledge of the events leading to Rhee’s letter. My best guess is that many individuals, of all parties involved, share the blame.

The purpose of this response letter is to make three arguments:

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Brian Leiter Weighs In On 'The Turmoil At The University Of Florida Over Its Tax Program'

Florida Logo (GIF)Brian Leiter (Chicago), The Turmoil at the University of Florida Over Its Tax Program:

One peculiarity of the critical analysis of the tax program by UF faculty member Robert Rhee is that, in discussing the Sisk data on faculty citations, he fails to note (at least not that I saw) that tax is a low-citation field compared to corporate or constitutional law or just about every other field!  That does lead me to wonder about the reliability of other parts of his analysis. ...

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

NYU Symposium:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRThe two-day symposium on Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World concludes today at NYU:

Session #3:   Beyond “Spillover”: North-South Dimensions of Tax and Tax Abuse

This panel will situate the discussion of tax abuse and human rights in its geopolitical context, addressing the differentiated responsibilities of the Global North and South for the causes and consequences of tax abuse, and the relationship between cross-border tax abuse and inter-State inequalities. Experts from the fields of tax and human rights will discuss the methodological challenges of assessing the extraterritorial impacts of tax policies and secrecy regimes, some of which were laid bare in recent attempts to conduct “spillover analyses” of laws and regulations in the Global North. How can studies capture the human rights consequences of the policies that enable cross-border tax abuse, including the gendered impacts? Panelists will explore options for enforcing global tax rules and holding actors accountable for tax abuses that affect human rights, including the potential role for domestic courts, as well as regional and international human rights bodies.

Session #4:  Private Actors and the Public Purse: The Roles of Corporations, Lawyers, and Accountants in Tax Abuse

Consumers and regulators are increasingly scrutinizing the practices of corporations that hide assets to avoid or minimize taxes paid on the benefits they reap from operating in various jurisdictions, and the responsibilities of the law firms (like Mossack Fonseca of Panama Papers fame) and accountants that facilitate such practices. Recent high-profile tax scandals have underscored the reputational risks of tax abuses and have made tax planning an issue of corporate social responsibility and business ethics. Some of the questions panelists will explore include: How realistic is it to expect serious reform of tax practices to come from private actors? Are efforts to encourage ‘good corporate tax behavior’ delaying compulsory measures by suggesting there is voluntary progress? How do human rights principles and policies bear on the ethical obligations of accountants and lawyers who work in the area of taxation? In what ways, if any, should considerations of human rights law affect the ethics of accountants and lawyers in this field?

Session #5:  The Responsibilities of Governments: The Case of Transparency

Continue reading

September 23, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1233

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kahng Presents Who Owns Human Capital? At Emory

Kahng (2017)Lily Kahng (Seattle) presented Who Owns Human Capital?, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Emory yesterday as part of its Faculty Colloquium Series:

This Article analyzes the tax law’s capital income preference through the lens of intellectual capital, an increasingly important driver of economic productivity whose value derives primarily from workers’ knowledge, experience and skills. The Article discusses how business owners increasingly are able to “propertize” labor into intellectual capital — to control their workers and appropriate the returns on their labor through the expansive use of intellectual property laws, contract and employment laws, and other legal mechanisms. The Article then shows how the tax law provides significant subsidies to the process of propertization and thereby contributes to the inequitable distribution of returns between business owners and workers. The Article’s analysis further reveals the tax law’s fundamental capital-labor distinction to be questionable, perhaps even illusory, an insight which has profound implications for the tax law.

September 22, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kleinbard Delivers Keynote Address Today On The End Of Transfer Pricing At Transfer Pricing Conference

Kleinbard (2015)Edward Kleinbard delivers the keynote address on The End of Transfer Pricing to the 16th Annual Global Transfer Pricing Forum in New York City: 

Apple and Stateless Income:

  • Forget the noise around the EU State Aid case, and focus on the facts:
  • On (roughly) $115 billion of income over 10yrs:
  •      Apple Ireland paid Irish tax as low as 0.05% per year ($50 per $1 million of net income)
  •      Apple Ireland paid tax to the rest of the EU = roughly $385 million in aggregate over 10 yrs
  • 3.2% ETR on Apple’s $91.5 billion PRE
  • Apple facts cut legs out from ALP precepts

The Dumb Bunnies Have Been Schooled:

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joshua Blank Named Vice Dean At NYU

Blank (2016)Press Release:

Professor of Tax Law Joshua Blank LLM ’07, faculty director of the Graduate Tax Program, has been named NYU Law’s vice dean for technology-enhanced education.

In his new vice deanship, Blank will focus initially on four areas: working with faculty to introduce and enhance the use of technology in their teaching; overseeing the current online degree programs, the Executive LLM in Taxation and the Master of Studies in Law in Taxation, and helping to launch new degree programs with significant online components; leading the Law School’s efforts in developing open education content; and representing NYU Law on University-level technology committees. While continuing work on current technology-based initiatives, he will also actively seek new and forward-thinking opportunities for the Law School to evolve technologically.

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Second Circuit Affirms Paul Daugerdas' Conviction And Sentence For Tax Shelter Fraud

Helter ShelterUnited States v. Daugerdas, No. 14-2437 (2d Cir. Sept. 21, 2016):

Paul M. Daugerdas was a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) and tax attorney at Arthur Andersen through August of 9 1994; the law firm Altheimer & Gray from the end of 1994 through 1998; and the Chicago office of the law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist (“J&G”) from 1999 through April 2004. Throughout his career, Daugerdas developed, sold, and implemented a variety of tax‐reduction strategies for wealthy clients: the so‐called Short Sale Shelter, Short Option Shelter, Swaps Shelter, and HOMER Shelter. Besides Daugerdas’s employers, two other entities had significant involvement in this undertaking.    The accounting firm BDO Seidman (“BDO”) referred its clients to J&G and helped to sell the shelters, and the investment bank Deutsche Bank. Alex Brown (“DB”) assisted J&G in the design of the shelters, held informational meetings with clients, and implemented the transactions that composed the shelters.

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in New Cases, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Maintains 1L Class Size, Increases Median LSAT (160, +3) & GPA (3.60, +.10), Enrolls Most Diverse Class In History

Florida Logo (GIF)The University of Florida Levin College of Law (ranked #48 by U.S. News) welcomed 314 1Ls this Fall (essentially flat from its 2015 (310) and 2010 (310) enrollments).  Despite maintaining its class size, Florida increased its LSAT median by three points (160) and its GPA median by .10 (3.60).  Florida's complete 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA ranges are 156/160/161 and 3.33/3.60/3.77. 

UF press release:

When Dean Laura A. Rosenbury became UF Law’s leader last July, she set forth several admissions goals for the Fall 2016 entering class: raise the median LSAT and GPA scores, and enroll a class with at least 30 percent of the students representing racial and ethnic diversity. The 2016 entering class met and exceeded both of those goals, even setting a record in UF Law’s 107-year history.

  • Applications (2,759) increased by 103% (1,361 last year)
  • Acceptance rate fell to 35.3%, down from a 62% last year
  • Most diverse class in history: 36% (number of Hispanic/Latino students doubled, to 18.7%)

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

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida State Welcomes 153 1Ls, Down 13% From Last Year (23% From 2010)

Florida State logoThe Florida State University College of Law (ranked #50 by U.S. News) welcomed 153 1Ls this Fall, down 13% from 2015 (175) and 23% from 2010 (199).  Florida State increased its LSAT median by one point (159) and maintained its GPA median (3.52).  Florida State's complete 2016 25%/50%/75% LSAT and GPA ranges are 157/159/160 and 3.33/3.52/3.72.  The racial/ethnic diversity of the class is 20%.  Here are Florida State's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYU Symposium:  Human Rights And Tax In An Unequal World

HRThe two-day symposium on Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World kicks off today at NYU:

Session #1:  Are Human Rights Really Relevant to Tax?

This panel will ask a range of leading tax scholars and practitioners what relevance human rights law has or could have to the field of tax law. Do human rights matter to tax policy and practice? Are human rights laws and institutions relevant to understanding and regulating the global tax system? How do the core principles of the human rights regime—non-discrimination, equality, and dignity— inform thinking on the power to tax, the design of tax policies, and the implementation and enforcement of tax laws? Can human rights law help trace the line between permissible tax competition and impermissible interference with other States’ tax sovereignty? Panelists will discuss how tax experts are, or whether they should be, grappling with concepts of human rights and corresponding duties as they chart reforms of domestic and global tax policies, and what they need from the human rights community to do so.

Session #2:  The Human Rights Dimensions of Tax and Tax Abuse

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Law Prof: Impeach Trump Immediately If He Beats Clinton

Trump (2016-2)Christopher Peterson (Utah), Trump University and Presidential Impeachment:

In the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign Donald J. Trump faces three lawsuits accusing him of fraud and racketeering. These ongoing cases focus on a series of wealth seminars called “Trump University” which collected over $40 million from consumers seeking to learn Trump’s real estate investing strategies. Although these consumer protection cases are civil proceedings, the underlying legal elements in several counts that plaintiffs seek to prove run parallel to the legal elements of serious crimes under both state and federal law. This essay provides a legal analysis of whether Trump’s alleged behavior would, if proven, rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the presidential impeachment clause of the United States Constitution.

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1232

IRS Logo 2New York Times, I.R.S. Chief Calls Efforts to Oust Him ‘Improper’:

The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John A. Koskinen, expressed regret Wednesday for management mistakes, but called the attempt by House Republicans to impeach him “improper,” warning that such threats would discourage people from government service. ...

He also rejected Republican calls for him to resign, but said he would leave office if the next president so wishes. Otherwise, Mr. Koskinen’s term ends in November 2017. ...

At the Judiciary hearing on Wednesday, Mr. Koskinen again testified that the destruction of emails was inadvertent, and that his testimony in 2014 was based on what he thought was factual at the time. But he expressed regrets.

“The truth is, we did not succeed in preserving all of the information requested. And some of my testimony later proved mistaken,” Mr. Koskinen said. He added, “Even closer communication with Congress would have been advisable.” ...

Several Democrats denounced the hearings as a “sham,” and many changed the subject, instead asking Mr. Koskinen leading questions in reference to the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.

While Mr. Koskinen said he could not talk about any specific taxpayer, he said the I.R.S. would not object to someone releasing tax returns under audit — as Mr. Trump has suggested the I.R.S. would do in refusing to release his own returns. Mr. Koskinen also described violations of tax law by charitable foundations in hypothetical terms, much like critics have alleged against Mr. Trump’s foundation.

“I appreciate your being here to clear some of that up,” said Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida.

Wall Street Journal, IRS Commissioner Pushes Back on Impeachment Attempt:

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen defended himself Wednesday against an impeachment attempt, labeling Republicans’ push to remove him from office as “improper” and warning that such a move would deter qualified people from serving in government.

House GOP hard-liners say impeachment is warranted because of the destruction of evidence sought by congressional investigators and because Mr. Koskinen failed to promptly inform Congress when he learned of the destruction. They also pressed him on the thoroughness of the agency’s search for records, which Congress demanded as part of inquiries into the IRS treatment of conservative groups under Mr. Koskinen’s predecessors.

“Your overall record is one of gross incompetence and extreme negligence,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho) told Mr. Koskinen during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, urging the commissioner to resign.

Although he expressed regret for the agency’s shortcomings in protecting evidence and the fact that some of his statements later proved mistaken, Mr. Koskinen said he wouldn’t quit and said he hadn’t done anything to deserve impeachment.

“There is no evidence anywhere that I knew something I didn’t tell people about, that I falsified or misrepresented or lied,” he told reporters after the hearing, adding that it would set a “terrible precedent” if he were pressured out of office.

National Review: The IRS Commissioner Belongs in Prison, by Kevin D. Williamson:

I do not usually go out of my way to publicly disagree with National Review editorials, but I respectfully dissent from our piece calling for the impeachment of IRS commissioner John Koskinen.

He shouldn’t be impeached. He should be imprisoned.

When the feds couldn’t make ordinary criminal charges stick to the organized-crime syndicate that turned 1920s Chicago into a free-fire zone, they went after the boss, Al Capone, on tax charges. Under Barack Obama, the weaponized IRS has been transformed into a crime syndicate far worse than anything dreamt of by pinstriped Model-T gangsters — because Al Capone and Meyer Lansky did not have the full force of the federal government behind them. 

Koskinen was called before the House on Tuesday to explain a few things. One of those things is: Why is the IRS destroying evidence under subpoena in this case? Another was: Why is the IRS commissioner lying to Congress?

Koskinen is fluent in the mustelid dialect of Washington: “We did not succeed in preserving all of the information requested, and some of my testimony later proved mistaken.” There is a term for failing to “succeed in preserving information requested” during an official investigation: obstruction of justice.

Continue reading

September 22, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Duff Presents Dworkinian Equality And Redistributive Taxation Today At Toronto

Duff (2016)David Duff (British Columbia) presents Tax Policy and the Virtuous Sovereign: Dworkinian Equality and Redistributive Taxation at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:

Among the purposes of a tax system, it is generally accepted that one role is to implement a society’s conception of distributive justice. Indeed, if justice is, as John Rawls famously declared, “the first virtue of social institutions,” distributive justice may properly be regarded as the first or sovereign virtue of a society’s tax system – to which a virtuous sovereign should properly attend.

This article reviews Ronald Dworkin’s theory of distributive justice as equality of resources and its implications for redistributive taxation. Part II examines the theory itself in contrast to other prominent theories of distributive justice, arguing that Dworkin’s approach provides a more compelling conception of distributive justice than welfare-based theories that do not take rights and responsibilities seriously, Rawlsian theory which is insufficiently attentive to individual rights and responsibilities, and classical libertarianism which fails to take equality seriously.

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Buchanan Presents Social Security, Inequality, And Younger Generations Today At Northwestern

BuchananNeil Buchanan (George Washington) presents Social Security, Inequality, and Younger Generations at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Are older generations of Americans using Social Security to enrich themselves at the expense of their children and grandchildren? To listen to the public debate in the United States, one could be forgiven for thinking so. Derogatory labels for older people, such as “greedy geezers,” have become common in the American political debate, with news commentators, politicians, and even the popular culture chiming in with claims that older Americans are the cause of otherwise-solvable budget problems, and more generally that they are a cohort of selfish retirees and near-retirees who refuse to give up their excessive government-provided benefits, which will inevitably lead to disastrous outcomes for the generations to follow.

September 21, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The SEC Should Demand More Tax Disclosure From Public Companies

New York Times op-ed: How Companies Like Apple Dodge Taxes and Their Own Investors, by Morris Pearl (former Managing Director, BlackRock; Chairman, Patriotic Millionaires):

As an investor, one who has been entrusted with helping to safeguard other people’s money over many years, I value the high degree of disclosure required from American public companies. Corporations and the world in which they operate change every day, so investors need to know the risks their money faces.

No area of business demonstrates the need for full disclosure as much as one that has been in the news a lot lately: large American companies’ shifting profits overseas to minimize tax bills, or to avoid taxes altogether. These schemes are starting to attract the attention of regulators and governments who view them more as tax dodges than as legitimate financial arrangements.

Given the risks, the last thing investors need is less disclosure. But the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency responsible to ensure that companies are being open and honest, is considering exactly that: scaling back the information available to the public. ... This is the wrong direction. We need more information, not less.

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deans Endorse ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement

National Law Journal (2016)National Law Journal:  A Tightened Bar Passage Standard is Needed, by  Daniel Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern) & Craig Boise (Dean, Syracuse):

The American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has proposed tightening up its regulation of those law schools with a significant ­percentage of graduates who have failed their state's bar exam. Under the proposed new accreditation standard, law schools must ensure that at least three-quarters of their graduates pass the bar after two attempts, rather than five, as is the case under the current standards. As with any numerical benchmark, the measure is imperfect, yet its purpose is a sound one.

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

After 57% Enrollment Decline, St. Louis Welcomes Larger 1L Class With Lower LSAT, GPA Medians

St. Louis LogoAfter shrinking its class size 57% from 2010 (334) to 2013 (145), St. Louis (ranked #82 by U.S. News) welcomed 186 1Ls this Fall, a 10% increase from 2015 (170) and a 28% increase from 2013.

St. Louis Enrollment

This year's enrollment increase resulted in 1-point decreases in St. Louis's 25th (151) and 50th (154) LSAT percentiles, and decreases in its 25th/50th/75th GPA percentiles.  Here are St. Louis's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

IRS Maps Same-Sex Marriages By City, State

Robin Fisher, Geof Gee & Adam Looney (U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis), Joint Filing by Same-Sex Couples after Windsor: Characteristics of Married Tax Filers in 2013 and 2014:

In June 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (Windsor v. United States), allowing same-sex spouses to be treated as married for all federal tax purposes. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) subsequently ruled that same-sex spouses legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This paper provides estimates of the population of same-sex tax filers in the first two years affected by the decision drawn from the population of returns filed and using methods developed by the Census to address measurement error in gender classification. In 2014, we estimate that about 0.35 percent of all joint filers were same-sex couples or about 183,280 couples.

New York Times, The Most Detailed Map of Gay Marriage in America:

NY Times

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Love-Hate Relationship With My Harvard Law Degree

Harvard Law School (2016)Huffington Post: My Love-Hate Relationship With My Harvard Law Degree, by Stephanie Barnes Taylor (CEO, The Fruition Group):

I recently attended a Celebration of Black Alumni at Harvard Law School. It has been held every five years since 2000. I last attended in 2011, and I could not help but marvel at what had changed since then. Class reunions are a dubious mix of reflection, comparison and inspiration. It is a poignant intersection of the past, present and future. I have rid myself of a lot of baggage since attending in 2011—literally and figuratively. ...

During the 2011 reunion, I was reminded that Harvard Law School was founded from the proceeds of the sale of slaves that Isaac Royall, Jr. inherited from his father’s sugar plantation in Antigua. Until 2016, the law school bore the Royall family crest as part of its shield. All of my HLS paraphernalia bears the painful reminder that I, a descendant of slaves, was afforded the opportunity to receive my law degree from the finest legal institution in the world at the literal cost of human lives.

My Harvard law degree is a big deal not because of any material prestige it may bring, but because of the sacrifice that it represents. Every Harvard Law School graduate, regardless of race or color, is a beneficiary of the sale of human lives. Either we honor that legacy and make the world a better place for all humans or we ignore the responsibility that our privilege requires of us. Privilege is accompanied by a responsibility. It bears repeating. To whom much is given, much is required.

My HLS Degree Has Come at a Cost to My Marriage and Motherhood

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1231

IRS Logo 2The Daily Signal, Judiciary Committee Set to Audit Top IRS Tax Agent:

A last-minute deal between House conservatives and Republican leadership delayed a floor vote to impeach the head of the IRS last week. But the top taxman isn’t in the clear just yet.

For the first time, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will come under oath to plead his case, appearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. A product of compromise, that impeachment hearing means different things to different factions of Congress.

Freedom Caucus members, who have been demanding Koskinen’s early retirement for months, see the hearing as a formality necessary to fire Koskinen. Others see it as a prerequisite to a longer impeachment process and an opportunity to afford the taxman his right to due process.

It’s undisputed that Koskinen will face an unfriendly jury Wednesday, though.

Fourteen of the 23 Republican Judiciary Committee members have said already that the taxman is guilty of wrongdoing, including Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who first filed articles of impeachment last October.

Making matters worse for the IRS chief, seven Freedom Caucus members sit on the committee, including Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has helped quarterback the effort to send Koskinen into early retirement.

Conservatives argue that Koskinen is unfit to lead the IRS because he obstructed a congressional investigation into the agency’s unfair treatment of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status before the 2012 elections.

The White House has been unwavering in their support of Koskinen. Speaking at a Democrat fundraiser last week, President Barack Obama said the impeachment effort “is crazy.” And Koskinen, who has hired a personal defense attorney, maintains that those allegations “lack merit.”

Continue reading

September 21, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Zidar Presents Business In The United States: Who Owns It And How Much Tax Do They Pay? Today At Columbia

ZidarOwen Zidar (Chicago) presents Business in the United States: Who Owns It and How Much Tax Do They Pay? (with Michael Cooper, John McClelland, James Pearce, Richard Prisinzano, Joseph Sullivan (all of the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Analysis), Danny Yagan (UC-Berkeley), & Eric Zwick (Chicago)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

"Pass-through" businesses like partnerships and S-corporations now generate over half of U.S. business income and account for much of the post-1980 rise in the top-1% income share. We use administrative tax data from 2011 to identify pass-through business owners and estimate how much tax they pay. We present three findings. (1) Relative to traditional business income, pass-through business income is substantially more concentrated among high-earners. (2) Partnership ownership is opaque: 20% of the income goes to unclassifiable partners, and 15% of the income is earned in circularly owned partnerships. (3) The average federal income tax rate on U.S. pass-through business income is 19%--much lower than the average rate on traditional corporations. If pass-through activity had remained at 1980's low level, strong but straightforward assumptions imply that the 2011 average U.S. tax rate on total U.S. business income would have been 28% rather than 24%, and tax revenue would have been approximately $100 billion higher.

Owen Zidar (Chicago), Pass-Through Income and The Top 1%:

Continue reading

September 20, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)