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Editor: Paul L. Caron
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roin Presents Planning Past Pensions Today at Duke

RoinJulie Roin (Chicago) presents Planning Past Pensions at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Evidence of state and local government dysfunction surfaces in many areas. One is the operation of their employee pension plans. Free from the strictures of ERISA, some governments failed to fund their pension promises and with the imminent retirement of the baby boom generation, are facing what appear to be insurmountable pension debts. The state of Illinois is one of the worst-hit states, with grossly underfunded pension plans, a state constitutional prohibition on reducing pension benefits, and a sizeable non-pension related budget deficit. Recently passed pension “reforms” likely will be struck down by its courts. There are no easy solutions to its pension woes, but this article seeks to lay out a few steps that Illinois can take now, under current law, and suggests more long-term policy and legal changes that it should consider for the future. Ultimately, though, the same dysfunctions that led to the current crisis might make these suggestions impractical.

April 16, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fluctuating Math Errors in Americans’ Tax Returns

538FiveThirtyEight:  The Fluctuating Math Errors in Americans’ Tax Returns:

Seeing as Tuesday night is the deadline for filing tax returns, and seeing as data is FiveThirtyEight’s raison d’être, I was excited to find a set of statistics titled “Math Errors on Individual Income Tax Returns, by Type of Error.” Even better, that data has been published for tax years from 2001 to 2012.

It’s unsurprising that some Americans make mistakes on their taxes; the 1040 form (the primary tax form) has 77 line items, as well as a 189-page appendix of instructions. But Internal Revenue Service data shows that math mistakes — potentially an indication of how confusing that form is — have changed a lot over time.

chalabi-math-errors

Why does the number of errors fluctuate so much? ...

Moving from facts to theory, the decrease in errors since 2009 might also partly be explained by the increase in use of TaxACT, TaxSlayer, TurboTax and other online filing services. That assumes that such providers are less prone to mistakes than alternative solutions, such as Americans calculating their own taxes or using traditional accountants. The National Taxpayers Union has claimed that is not a safe assumption.

(Hat Tip: David Herzig.)

April 16, 2014 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sugin: Payroll Taxes, Mythology, and Fairness

Linda Sugin (Fordham), Payroll Taxes, Mythology, and Fairness, 51 Harv. J. on Legis.___ (2014):

As the 2012 fiscal cliff approached, Congress and President Obama bickered over the top marginal income tax rate that would apply to a tiny sliver of the population, while allowing payroll taxes to quietly rise for all working Americans. Though most Americans pay more payroll tax than income tax, academic and public debates rarely mention it. The combined effect of the payroll tax and the income tax produce dramatically heavier tax liabilities on labor compared to capital, producing substantial horizontal and vertical inequity in the tax system. This article argues that a fair tax system demands just overall burdens, and that the current combination of income taxes and payroll taxes imposes too heavy a relative burden on wage earners. It scrutinizes the payroll tax to debunk myths that artificially link payroll taxes to retirement security, and argues that these myths have lulled workers into accepting substantial and regressive tax burdens. Freed from the analytical limitations of an insurance label and a private-savings paradigm, policymakers can be better guided by fundamental principles of fairness. By refuting justifications for taxing capital income more lightly than labor income, and offering fairness arguments for taxing work less than investment, the article makes a case for equalizing the tax burdens on labor and capital income. Social Security’s outlays constitute one-fifth of total federal spending, and this article maintains that it should be financed by a fair tax.

April 16, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Considers Taxing Silicon Valley Work Perks

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Fox News,  IRS Considers Taxing Work Perks Like Food, Gym Memberships:

PerksIn competitive job markets like Silicon Valley, companies are doing everything they can to entice the best and brightest -- offering freebies that have become the stuff of legend. Employee perks like free food at lavish cafeterias, laundry and even yoga are not unheard of.

But the taxman could soon crack down. The IRS reportedly is looking at these perks and seeing if these companies need to start paying up for the free stuff they offer employees.

David Gamage, a tax expert and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said it would really boil down to who benefits from these perks. "To what extent is this intended as a perk, a form of compensation, for the benefit of the employee, or to what extent is this just another way the employer gets the employee to work harder and longer and do things for the benefit of the employer?" he said.

If it's the latter, then it's harder for the IRS to tax it.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

April 16, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Malcolm Morris Named Dean at John Marshall (Atlanta)

Morris-malcolmTax Prof Malcolm Morris (John Marshall (Chicago)) has been named Dean at John Marshall (Atlanta):

A former attorney with the Internal Revenue Service's estate and gift tax division in Chicago, Morris' teaching interests include federal tax, trusts and estates and property. He is an expert on notarial law.

Morris is the director of graduate estate planning programs and associate director of graduate tax law programs at John Marshall in Chicago. He is a member of the Law School Admissions Council's board of directors and has served as an accreditation site visitor for the American Bar Association.

April 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Right Coast Joins the Law Professor Blogs Network

LPBN LogoI am delighted to announce that The Right Coast, edited by Thomas A. Smith (San Diego), has joined the Law Professor Blogs Network.  

With the support of our sponsor Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, the Network is seeking to expand in two ways.

First, I am actively recruiting law professors to launch blogs in other areas of the law school curriculum not currently covered by the Network, including Administrative Law, Bankruptcy, Intellectual Property, National Security, Native American Law, Race and the Law, and Trial Advocacy.

Second, I am actively recruiting law professors to affiliate their existing blogs with the Network, like Tom Smith's The Right Coast, Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings, and Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy.

The Network offers law professors the premier blogging platform and the opportunity to share in growing sponsorship and advertising revenues. For more information about these opportunities, see here.

April 16, 2014 in About This Blog, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Peroni Presents Formulary Apportionment in the U.S. at UNLV

PeroniRobert J. Peroni (Texas) presented Formulary Apportionment in the U.S. International Income Tax System: Putting Lipstick on a Pig? (with J. Clifton Fleming (BYU) & Stephen E. Shay (Harvard)) at UNLV yesterday as part of its Faculty Enrichment Series:

[T]he authors argue that formulary apportionment and the current standard, arm's length transfer pricing, are just two shades of lipstick on the pig that is the US international tax system, with its twin features of deferral and cross-crediting. They conclude that formulary apportionment might be the less offensive shade, but in effect the whole discussion is a diversion from a broad reform that is sorely needed on the pig itself.

April 16, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Education Roundup

April 16, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Rumsfeld's Letter to the IRS: My Taxes Are a Known Unknown

The IRS Scandal, Day 342

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Pepperdine Faculty Member

Haugen SkeelOne of the joys of being a faculty member at Pepperdine is the opportunity to spend time with wonderful visitors who come to the law school because of its unique mission.  Today is a great illustration, as we welcomed Gary Haugen (President & CEO, International Justice Mission) and David Skeel (S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School):

Gary Haugen is here again this week teaching a short course and graciously hosted a breakfast this morning with faculty and students.  He talked about how he came to found International Justice Mission and the incredible work the organization is doing to protect the poor in the developing world from violence.  He also discussed his new book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence (2014):

Haugen BookBeneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence — including rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality — has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.

How has this plague of violence grown so ferocious? The answer is terrifying and startlingly simple: There’s nothing shielding the poor from violent people. In one of the most remarkable — and unremarked upon — social disasters of the last half century, basic public justice systems in the developing world have descended into a state of utter collapse.

Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros offer a searing account of how we got here and what it will take to end the plague. Filled with vivid, real-life stories and startling new data, The Locust Effect is a gripping journey into the streets and slums where fear is a daily reality for billions of the world’s poorest, where safety is secured only for those with money, and where much of our well-intended aid is lost in the daily chaos of violence.

While their call to action is urgent, Haugen and Boutros provide hope, a real solution, and an ambitious way forward. The Locust Effect is a wake-up call: Its massive implications will forever change the way we understand global poverty and will help secure a safe path to prosperity for the global poor in the 21st century.

Throughout my life I’ve seen firsthand that while talent, ambition, and hard work are distributed equally among all people around the world, many face challenges each day simply surviving. The Locust Effect is a compelling reminder that if we are to create a 21st Century of shared prosperity, we cannot turn a blind eye to the violence that threatens our common humanity. Bill Clinton Former U.S. President

This crucial study carefully documents the fundamental truth that the end of poverty demands the end of violence. Both fascinating and important, Gary Haugen's book is a moving demonstration that is at once fact-filled and highly readable — a truly unusual combination. Laurence H. Tribe Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

Gary Haugen and IJM are waking up the social consciences of the worldwide Church, even as they have shown the international human rights community why the end of poverty requires the end of violence caused by the widespread failure of justice systems in the developing world. In this important book, Haugen continues to do both. Tim Keller Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York Cit

David Skeel delivered the annual Brandeis Lecture this afternoon for faculty and students on The Justice Paradox, in True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of a Complex World (2014):

True ParadoxEvery system of thought gives rise to ideas about justice and the kind of legal code that can foster a just social order. As different as they are, these legal codes have one very odd thing in common: their advocates insist they will ensure a just social order, yet the legal codes always fail. Whether it is the Mosaic law, the Napoleonic Code or the Soviet Union, legal codes are rolled out with great optimism about their capacity to ensure justice, but they never succeed. This is the justice paradox.

Unlike any other religion or system of thought, Christianity rests on a story whose hero is murdered by legal process. In the narrative of his arrest, trial and execution, Jesus encounters two of the finest legal systems the world has ever known, the Old Testament legal system and Roman law. Both fail. A clearer picture of the limits of law’s capacity would be hard to imagine.

Christians do not believe that we should take no interest in justice. Quite to the contrary, the Christian teaching that each of us is made in the image of God inspired William Wilberforce’s campaign to end England’s slave trade and served as the foundation for the modern movement for international human rights. But Christianity explains why the belief that we can be saved by the right legal system is both persistent and deeply mistaken

I am delighted to join a group of faculty this evening for dinner with David.

Of course, it is not quite paradise at Pepperdine today:  we have two faculty meetings, and it is an unusually warm day (by Malibu standards).

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rao Presents The Tax Policy Implications of State Facilitated Collusion in the Alcohol Market Today at NYU

RaoNirupama Rao (NYU) presents The Price of Liquor is Too Damn High: State Facilitated Collusion and the Implications for Taxes (with Christopher T. Conlon (Columbia) at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:

Alcohol markets are subject to both heavy regulation as well as excise taxes at the federal and state level. We examine the impact of particular state regulations on the structure of the alcohol market and the consequences for tax eciency. We show that post and hold and meet but not beat pricing regulations at the wholesale level facilitate non-competitive pricing by wholesalers. Wholesalers will tend to mark up premium brands relative to call or well products. The distortion of premium brands generally exceeds the distortions resulting from optimally set taxes, particularly when states attempt to address any negative externality of alcohol consumption. Regression results and tabulations indicate that that states featuring post and hold regulations consume 4% to 10% less alcohol than other states, that premium products comprise a smaller share of consumption and that wholesaler pricing is consistent with non-competitive behavior. We use new monthly data describing prices and quantity for hundreds of products to estimate alcoholic beverage demand and use these estimates to assess the impact of replacing these regulations with higher taxes. Our ndings suggest that the state of Connecticut could raise three to six times their current alcohol tax revenue by eliminating these regulations and increasing taxes such that total alcohol consumption was unchanged. In addition to redirecting surplus from wholesalers to the taxing authority, these alternative policies increase consumer surplus by reducing distortions in consumer product choices. The state can e ectively raise much more revenue and improve consumer welfare by replacing alcohol regulations with taxation

April 15, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kahng Presents The Taxation of Intellectual Capital Today at Washington

KahngLily Kahng (Seattle) presents The Taxation of Intellectual Capital, 66 Fla. L. Rev. ___ (2014), at The University of Washington today as part of its Graduate Tax Program Colloquium Series:

Intellectual capital — broadly defined to include nonphysical sources of value such as patents and copyrights, computer software, organizational processes and know-how — has a long history of being undervalued and excluded from measures of economic productivity and wealth. In recent years, however, intellectual capital has finally gained wide recognition as a central driver of economic productivity and growth. Scholars in fields such as knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting have produced a wealth of research that significantly advances our conceptual understanding of intellectual capital and introduces new methodologies for identifying and measuring its economic value.

This Article is the first to analyze and assess the taxation of intellectual capital within this broader interdisciplinary landscape. Informed by the recent research and reform efforts in knowledge management, financial accounting and national accounting, the Article finds that the tax law, which allows most investments in intellectual capital to be deducted, is fundamentally flawed. This results in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues, costly misallocations of resources and a grave deviation from the accurate measure of income. The Article argues that, consistent with the prevailing view in other fields, investments in intellectual capital ought to be capitalized under the tax law. Drawing upon the work of reform proponents in other fields as well as their critics, the Article considers whether and to what extent the advances in other disciplines can be adapted to the tax system. Based on this analysis, it proposes the tax law be reformed to require businesses to capitalize and amortize over five years a broad array of intellectual capital investments including research and development, advertising, worker training and strategic planning.

April 15, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oregon Law Prof Objects to Shifting Funds for Faculty Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students

UO Matters:  UO Law School Prof Angry About Plan to Use His Raise for Student Fellowships:

Oregon LogoSeveral members of the law school email lists (which included staff, secretaries etc.) have forwarded these two emails from professor Rob Illig (Law) about a plan apparently floated by Law Dean Michael Moffitt (paid $292,800 after a recent raise) to deal with the law school’s enrollment problems and US News ranking, which has fallen from #80 to #100 since Moffitt took over in 2011.

The plan? Cancel raises for the faculty, and use the money to increase student scholarships create a program to give non-profits money to hire law school graduates, boosting the employment numbers that go into the US News rank. ...

Prof. Illig's emails are reprinted below the fold, along with his follow up comments:

Continue reading

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Happy (Tax Day Edition)

(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

April 15, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten-Year Anniversary of TaxProf Blog

Happy 10Today marks the ten-year anniversary of TaxProf Blog (and the nineteen-year anniversary of the TaxProf Email Discussion Group).  I hope the blog has at least partially succeeded in its mission (announced in my very first post) to provide daily news and information of interest to law school tax professors and students; tax lawyers in private practice, government, nonprofits, for-profit corporations, and think tanks; accountants; and others in the tax community. 

Since acquiring 100% control of the Law Professor Blogs Network in May 2013 and undertaking a top-to-bottom re-design in July (details here), the network's traffic and advertising revenues are up nearly 100%. The network now consists of over 50 blogs, with over a over a dozen new blogs launched and existing blogs like Brian Leiter's Law School Reports and Law School Rankings joining the network.

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Nova Offers Buyouts to Law Faculty With Age + Experience > 60

NovaDaily Business Review:  Nova's Law School Offering Professors Voluntary Buyouts:

After 40 years as a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, Bruce Rogow—who has taught at the school since it first opened—delivered his final lecture last week. Rogow is one of dozens of tenured law professors to be offered buyouts by the school. ...

Nova’s NSU Shepard Broad Law Center is not the only law school to offer buyouts to professors. Several law schools around the country, including Albany Law School, Vermont Law School and University at Buffalo Law School, have offered faculty members buyouts to shore up finances as enrollment continues to drop.

At Nova, letters were sent to all 60 full-time law professors in March notifying them of the buyouts. To become eligible, professors must achieve a “point” rating of 60, which combines age and years of service. For example, Rogow is 74 and has taught at Nova for 40 years, so his score is 114.

The faculty has until May 25 to decide whether to take the buyouts, which have been capped at 20 percent of the faculty, according to Bob Jarvis, another longtime law professor. ... Gail Richmond, who has been teaching at Nova law school for 35 years, is another professor who is considering a buyout. “I might be taking it,” she said. “I’m certainly interested in it.” Because the number of professors eligible is capped at 20 percent, Richmond said she doesn’t feel the program will weed out all the experienced, senior faculty.

(Hat Tip:  Above the Law.)

April 15, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

TurboTax Maker Linked to ‘Grassroots’ Campaign Against Free, Simple Tax Filing

Pro PublicaPro Publica: TurboTax Maker Linked to ‘Grassroots’ Campaign Against Free, Simple Tax Filing:

Over the last year, a rabbi, a state NAACP official, a small town mayor and other community leaders wrote op-eds and letters to Congress with remarkably similar language on a remarkably obscure topic.

Each railed against a long-standing proposal that would give taxpayers the option to use pre-filled tax returns. They warned that the program would be a conflict of interest for the IRS and would especially hurt low-income people, who wouldn't have the resources to fight inaccurate returns. Rabbi Elliot Dorff wrote in a Jewish Journal op-ed that he "shudder[s] at the impact this program will have on the most vulnerable people in American society."

"It's alarming and offensive" that the IRS would target the "the most vulnerable Americans," two other letters said. The concept, known as return-free filing, is a government "experiment" that would mean higher taxes for the poor, two op-eds argued.

The letters and op-eds don't mention that, as ProPublica laid out last year, return-free filing might allow tens of millions of Americans to file their taxes for free and in minutes. Or that, under proposals authored by several federal lawmakers, it would be voluntary, using information the government already receives from banks and employers and that taxpayers could adjust. Or that the concept has been endorsed by Presidents Obama and Reagan and is already a reality in some parts of Europe.

So, where did the letters and op-eds come from?

April 15, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyer for Bin Laden's Son-in-Law Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges

The IRS Scandal, Day 341

Monday, April 14, 2014

Donald Tobin Named Dean at Maryland

Tax Prof Donald P. Tobin (Ohio State) has been named Dean at Maryland:

Tobin (2014)Tobin comes to UMB from Ohio State University where he was the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor of Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law. During his 13 years at the Moritz College of Law, Tobin held numerous academic appointments that include: Founding Co-Director of the Program on Law and Leadership, Associate Dean for Faculty, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Professor Tobin’s' scholarly work has earned him national recognition as a leading expert on the intersection of tax and campaign finance laws. His publications include law texts on federal income taxation and tax ethics, along with articles on campaign finance disclosure and taxation of political organizations [including, most recently, The 2013 IRS Crisis: Where Do We Go From Here?, 142 Tax Notes 1120 (Mar. 10, 2014)]. ...

Tobin has strong Maryland ties. A native of Columbia, Md., and a graduate of Oakland Mills High School, Tobin received his JD degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He served as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), and was a staff member of the Senate Committee on the Budget specializing in tax and budget issues. He also served as an appellate staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division. Tobin is a member of the Maryland Bar, as well as the bars of the Maryland Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court for Maryland, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

April 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYU Tax Law Review Publishes Symposium Issue: The Income Tax at 100


NYU 100The Tax Law Review has published a new issue (Vol. 66, No. 4 (Summer 2013)), NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium: The Income Tax at 100, 66 Tax L. Rev. 357-879 (2013):

Deborah H. Schenk (NYU), Foreword: The Income Tax at 100, 66 Tax L. Rev. 357 (2013)

Panel #1:  The Role of the Corporate Tax:

Panel #2:  International Taxation:

Panel #3:  Taxes and Inequality:

Panel #4:  Taxes and Politics:

April 14, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ: Three Issues on Most Taxpayers' Minds

Wall Street Journal:  As Tax Day Nears, Where Does Your Money Go?, by Laura Saunders:

Where do your tax dollars go? What are the most popular deductions? And how long must people work each year to pay Uncle Sam his due?

Those issues may be on the minds of many taxpayers as they make their contributions to the common purse.

The answers, provided by three nonprofit, nonpartisan groups based in Washington, underscore how much the government relies on the income tax on individuals, which supplies nearly half of total federal revenue.

1. Where does your money go?

Check out the "tax receipt" accompanying this column. It was prepared by Loren Adler, research director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and it shows how $100 of revenue was allocated among spending programs in fiscal year 2013.

WSJ

2. What's behind Form 1040?

The Tax Policy Center has posted a fascinating interactive tax form online. The link brings up both pages of the 1040 form as well as Schedule A, which is where taxpayers can claim itemized deductions for write-offs such as charitable donations and mortgage interest.

Click on any line of the form, and information about it pops up. What is the purpose of the line item? How many people are affected by it, and how much do they earn? How much revenue is raised or lost as a result? ...

3. How long does it take to pay Uncle Sam?

For decades the Tax Foundation has publicized Tax Freedom Day, a date that reflects the group's estimate of how long it takes the nation collectively to pay its tax bill for the year. The group arrives at the figure by dividing the combined amount of federal, state and local taxes paid by total income. This year's Tax Freedom Day is April 2

April 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Papers From the American Taxation Association's 2014 Midyear Meeting

ATA LogoThe American Taxation Association has posted on SSRN the 21 papers from its 2014 Midyear Meeting.

April 14, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Political Economy of Policy Transitions

OxfordMichael J. Trebilcock (Toronto), Dealing with Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions (Oxford University Press 2014):

Whenever governments change policies—tax, expenditure, or regulatory policies, among others—there will typically be losers: people or groups who relied upon and invested in physical, financial, or human capital predicated on, or even deliberately induced by the pre-reform set of policies. The issue of whether and when to mitigate the costs associated with policy changes, either through explicit government compensation, grandfathering, phased or postponed implementation, is ubiquitous across the policy landscape. Much of the existing literature covers government takings, yet compensation for expropriation comprises merely a tiny part of the universe of such strategies.

Continue reading

April 14, 2014 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings

Below are the updated quarterly traffic rankings by page views of the Top 50 blogs edited by law professors for 2013 (Jan. 1, 2013 - Dec. 31, 2013), as well as the percentage change in traffic from the prior 12-month period.  As I previously announced, in response to several requests and in light of the continued degrading of Site Meter, I am now including the more accurate, stable Google Analytics data in these quarterly traffic rankings (marked with an asterisk).

Rank

Blog

2013 Page Views

Change From 2012

1

InstaPundit*

145,305,741

n/a

2

Althouse

15,809,760

-18.8%

3

Legal Insurrection*

15,630,309

+22.4%

4

Volokh Conspiracy*

11,461,210

-6.4%

5

TaxProf Blog*

8,862,872

+169.8%

6

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

5,277,589

-8.5%

7

Hugh Hewitt

3,805,156

-49.4%

8

PrawfsBlawg

1,975,522

+5.5%

9

Lawfare*

1,767,565

+68.7%

10

The Incidental Economist*

1,611,466

+38.9%

11

Faculty Lounge

1,457,008

+18.4%

12

Harvard Law Corp Governance

1,336,770

+23.0%

13

Sentencing Law & Policy

1,319,699

+1.9%

14

Jack Bog's Blog

1,161,184

-64.8%

15

Opinio Juris*

1,008,157

-0.4%

16

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

917,721

+47.7%

17

College Insurrection*

861,276

n/a

18

Leiter's Law School Reports

757,467

-25.8%

19

Balkinization

716,709

-24.2%

20

Constitutional Law Prof Blog

684,743

+122.4%

21

Concurring Opinions

655,491

-38.8%

22

Election Law Blog

569,388

-43.3%

23

Conglomerate

547,145

+37.1%

24

Turtle Talk

528,634

-2.1%

25

Antitrust & Comp. Policy Blog

495,058

+80.5%

26

ImmigrationProf Blog

462,063

+49.2%

27

Legal Skills Prof Blog

388,377

+100.3%

28

Workplace Prof Blog

385,131

+44.9%

29

Mirror of Justice

372,038

-15.7%

30

Religion Clause

294,955

-8.5%

31

Legal Whiteboard

280,768

+108.4%

32

Legal Profession Blog

277,018

+39.2%

33

Josh Blackman Blog*

274,219

+155.5%

34

Legal History Blog

265,754

-26.2%

35

ContractsProf Blog

265,464

+79.9%

36

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

251,506

+16.7%

37

Legal Ethics Forum

236,175

+32.0%

38

EvidenceProf Blog

230,884

+89.2%

39

Dorf on Law

214,611

n/a

40

CrimProf Blog

211,554

+44.7%

41

Sports Law Blog

198,685

-34.3%

42

M&A Prof Blog

197,012

+46.6%

43

Witnesseth

179,862

n/a

44

PropertyProf Blog

174,786

+50.7%

45

Legal Writing Prof Blog

164,161

+7.5%

46

Nonprofit Law Prof Blog

156,804

+116.3%

47

IntLawGrrls

155,768

-62.2%

48

Law School Academic Support

138,287

+92.8%

49

Discourse.net

131,757

-27.4%

50

Adjunct Law Prof Blog

130,975

+7.1%

  • The rankings include all blogs edited by law professors -- both law-related and non law-related.
  • The rankings include all blogs that have publicly available Site Meters or that have emailed me a screenshot of their Google Analytics data (or granted me read-only access to their data).
  • Please email me the names of any Law Prof Blogs with traffic in 2013 that would qualify for inclusion on the list (130,795 page views). If necessary, I will re-publish the list to include all qualifying blogs.
  • Several popular Law Prof Blogs do not have publicly available Site Meters and have not sent me Google Analytics data and thus are not included on the list:  e.g., California Appellate Report, Credit Slips, The Deal Professor, Feminist Law Professors, Legal Theory, PatentlyO, Point of Law, ProfessorBainbridge.com.
  • These rankings cover only those blogs edited by law professors. Other law-related blogs edited by practitioners, librarians, non-law school academics, and journalists are not included on this list:  e.g., Above the Law, How Appealing, Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
  • Members of my Law Professor Blogs Network comprise 6 of the Top 25 blogs and 21 of the Top 50 blogs.

April 14, 2014 in Blog Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

NY Times: Buyers Evade State Taxes by Loaning Purchased Art to Museums in Non-Tax States

New York Times:  Buyers Find Tax Break on Art: Let It Hang Awhile in Oregon:

Collectors who buy art in one state but live in another can owe thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of dollars in state “use taxes”: taxes often incurred when someone ships an out-of-state purchase home. But if they lend the recently purchased work first to museums ..., located in a handful of tax-friendly states, the transaction is often tax-free.

Beyond the benefit to museums, this lucrative, little-known tax maneuver has produced a startling pipeline of art moving across the United States as collectors cleverly — and legally — exploit the tax codes. ... [L]oans — which rarely extend beyond a few months — also flow into other museums in Oregon, and occasionally New Hampshire and Delaware, all states that have neither a sales nor a use tax. ...

ArtPortland officials say collectors lend art for a variety of reasons, not just for the tax break. But only a few weeks after the painting [Three Studies of Lucian Freud] sold for a stunning $142 million last fall at Christie’s in New York, it landed, to the surprise of many, in the Portland museum, where it drew large crowds for 15 weeks. By shipping the painting first to Oregon, instead of her home in Las Vegas, the new owner, Elaine Wynn, may be eligible to avoid as much as $11 million in Nevada use taxes, though it is not clear whether she intends to take advantage of the break.

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April 14, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Daddy's Home!

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April 14, 2014 in Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 340

IRS Logo 2National Review:  Woodward on IRS Scandal: ‘There’s Obviously Something Here’:

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward knows a thing or two about investigating Washington scandals, and he believes the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups merits a deeper look.

“We should dig in to it — there should be answers,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “For the president to take that position is very, very unusual and say there’s not a ’smidgen of evidence here.’”

Woodward raised questions about the Republican House committees’ ability to properly and effectively carry out such an investigation. He laid out what his approach would be to dealing with stonewalling from Lois Lerner, as well as the administration, including speaking with others close to the situation rather than just the major players. But Woodward also warned of congressional Republicans’ crossing the line in their accusations of Lerner and others involved.

“There’s obviously something here,” he explained. “The question is, does this committee know how to investigate.”

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April 14, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Law School Matriculants by Major, LSAT, & UGPA

MajorFollowing up on Tuesday's post, College Majors That Produce the Highest (and Lowest) LSATs and UGPAs:  Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Sorting Law School Matriculants by Major, LSAT, & UGPA:

Here are the LSAT and UGPA for matriculants to law school. As with the applicants post, majors with at least 150 self-reported matriculants are included.

As before, here are the Top 10 and Bottom 10 (the full list of 37 majors is here):

Top 10

***

Bottom 10

April 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Caron Family 2013-14 House Group

One of the joys of working at Pepperdine and living on campus is the opportunity to interact in a more intimate way with students.  In this our first full academic year at Pepperdine, my wife and I had the privilege of hosting a house group organized by the campus church and open to any undergraduate student.  Each Thursday night, my wife and I welcomed 12 undergrads into our home for dinner and fellowship.  Last Thursday was our last evening with Brianna, Christina, Samantha #1, Samantha #2, Jake, Peter, Garrett, Brooke, Jesssica, Joel, Justina, and Andrew (not pictured).  It was a great year, and we are very grateful to have had the chance to do life together with these wonderful young men and women. We undoubtedly fell short of the house group goal to create "a space so abundant in forgiveness, mercy, grace and accountability that it invites and compels honest confession and true vulnerability," but we gave it our best shot.

Photo

April 13, 2014 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

The IRS Scandal, Day 339

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Law School Rankings: Grads With Bar Passage-Required or J.D.-Advantage Jobs

Following up on two of my previous posts:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in 2013:

[The following chart] includes the "full weight" positions as determined by U.S. News & World Report, which are full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012.

The full ranking of the 198 law schools is here.  The Top 20 are:

Capture

April 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Korb Presents Forty Years in Tax at Case Western

Korb (2014)Donald L. Korb (Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell; former IRS Chief Counsel) delivered the Norman A. Sugarman Memorial Lecture on 40 Years in Tax: A Look Backward (As Well As a Look Forward) at Case Western last week:

Don Korb has been involved in the practice of tax law for over 40 years, both as a private practitioner and as a tax administrator. His talk will be about how the U.S. federal income tax system has changed over his career and how the role of tax advisors/practitioners has evolved over that same time period. He will speak from the standpoint of someone who has moved back and forth between the private and public sectors and not only has sat on “both sides of the table” but has also occupied leadership positions at the IRS (Assistant to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in the mid-1980’s and Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service from April 2004 through December 2008) which allowed him to play a significant role in some of the changes to the tax system and the evolution of the role of tax advisors/practitioners which have occurred since he began practicing law in 1974.

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April 12, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Debunks Tax Protester Arguments

IRS Logo 2The IRS yesterday released (IR-2014-51) its annual update of The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments:

This document describes and responds to some of the common frivolous arguments made by individuals and groups who oppose compliance with the federal tax laws. The first section groups these arguments under five general categories, with variations within each category. Each contention is briefly explained, followed by a discussion of the legal authority that rejects the contention.

A. The Voluntary Nature of the Federal Income Tax System

  1. Contention: The filing of a tax return is voluntary
  2. Contention: Payment of tax is voluntary
  3. Contention: Taxpayers can reduce their federal income tax liability by filing a “zero return”
  4. Contention: The IRS must prepare federal tax returns for a person who fails to file
  5. Contention: Compliance with an administrative summons issued by the IRS is voluntary

B. The Meaning of Income: Taxable Income and Gross Income

  1. Contention: Wages, tips, and other compensation received for personal services are not income
  2. Contention: Only foreign-source income is taxable
  3. Contention: Federal Reserve Notes are not income
  4. Contention: Military retirement pay does not constitute income

C. The Meaning of Certain Terms Used in the Internal Revenue Code

  1. Contention: Taxpayer is not a “citizen” of the United States, thus not subject to the federal income tax laws
  2. Contention: The “United States” consists only of the District of Columbia, federal territories, and federal enclaves
  3. Contention: Taxpayer is not a “person” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, thus is not subject to the federal income tax laws
  4. Contention: The only “employees” subject to federal income tax are employees of the federal government

D. Constitutional Amendment Claims

  1. Contention: Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment
  2. Contention: Federal income taxes constitute a “taking” of property without due process of law, violating the Fifth Amendment
  3. Contention: Taxpayers do not have to file returns or provide financial information because of the protection against self-incrimination found in the Fifth Amendment
  4. Contention: Compelled compliance with the federal income tax laws is a form of servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment
  5. Contention: The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was not properly ratified, thus the federal income tax laws are unconstitutional
  6. Contention: The Sixteenth Amendment does not authorize a direct nonapportioned federal income tax on United States citizens

E. Fictional Legal Bases

  1. Contention: The Internal Revenue Service is not an agency of the United States
  2. Contention: Taxpayers are not required to file a federal income tax return, because the instructions and regulations associated with the Form 1040 do not display an OMB control number as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act
  3. Contention: African Americans can claim a special tax credit as reparations for slavery and other oppressive treatment
  4. Contention: Taxpayers are entitled to a refund of the Social Security taxes paid over their lifetime
  5. Contention: An “untaxing” package or trust provides a way of legally and permanently avoiding the obligation to file federal income tax returns and pay federal income taxes
  6. Contention: A “corporation sole” can be established and used for the purpose of avoiding federal income taxes
  7. Contention: Taxpayers who did not purchase and use fuel for an off-highway business can claim the fuels tax credit
  8. Contention: A Form 1099-OID can be used as a debt payment option or the form or a purported financial instrument may be used to obtain money from the Treasury

The second section responds to some of the common frivolous arguments made in collection due process cases brought pursuant to sections 6320 and 6330. These arguments are grouped under ten general categories and contain a brief description of each contention followed by a discussion of the correct legal authority. A final section explains the penalties that the courts may impose on those who pursue tax cases on frivolous grounds. The court opinions cited as relevant legal authority illustrate how these arguments are treated by the IRS and the courts. Note that courts often decline “to refute [frivolous] arguments with somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent” for a variety of reasons. Wnuck v. Commissioner, 136 T.C. 498 (2011) (quoting Crain v. Commissioner, 737 F.2d 1417, 1417 (5th Cir. 1984)).

This document, including the relevant legal authorities cited, is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of frivolous tax arguments. Merely because a frivolous argument is not included in this document does not mean that it is not frivolous. Taxpayers may not rely on frivolous arguments to avoid or evade federal taxes. The government and courts are not precluded from penalizing taxpayers who raise a frivolous argument not addressed in this document.

April 12, 2014 in IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 338

IRS Logo 2Tax Analysts Blog: The Gift That Is Lois Lerner, by Christopher Bergin:

[W]hen you see all of what the Ways and Means Committee compiled about Lerner, it hardly paints a pretty picture of her. To me, it certainly shows that she did many stupid things and that she probably abused her power as a high-ranking IRS official. Did she break the law? I don’t know, but that is why I agree with Ways and Means Republicans that there should be a Justice Department investigation – although I thought one was already going on. ...

The bad behavior going on at the IRS – whether it is politically motivated or not – does not stop with Lerner. It has to go higher than that. How much higher, I do not know, but that’s yet another reason why we need an investigation – a real one.

And that is why I think the Ways and Means Republicans are doing the IRS – and, perhaps, the Obama administration – a huge favor. Making Lerner the scapegoat changes the conversation. It makes it about her. It’s not about her. It’s about the IRS. Something bad happened here. And however bad her behavior, the problem isn’t Lerner. The problem is a culture that allows what she did to continue and that probably allows behavior that’s much, much worse. That is what new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen must deal with.

And here is where I agree to some degree with Ways and Means Democrats. The GOP committee members have become so obsessed with the political dimensions of this scandal that they are forgetting their job -- a job they actually explain at the top of the letter to the DOJ. Their job is not to fix blame; it’s to fix the problem. Their job is not to destroy the IRS; it is to protect the rights of ALL American taxpayers. This scandal isn’t about Lerner; it’s about our tax system. If all of this goes to the White House, so be it. But it’s about getting to the truth, not getting to the president of the United States. You’d think the GOP would have learned that from Monica Lewinsky. Think what you want about that so-called scandal, but I think this so-called scandal poses a far bigger threat to the country.

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April 12, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Obama and Biden Release Their 2013 Tax Returns

Obama 2013 Tax Return

President Obama and Vice-President Biden today released their 2013 tax returns. Here are charts putting the 2013 returns in context with their earlier returns:

Obama:

Year

AGI

Tax

Charitable Gifts

Gifts/AGI

2013

$481,098

$98,169

$59,251

12.3%

2012

$608,611

$112,214

$150,034

24.7%

2011

$789,674

$162,074

$172,130

21.8%

2010

$1,728,096

$453,770

$245,075

14.2%

2009

$5,505,409

$1,792,414

$329,100

6.0%

2008

$2,656,902

$855,323

$172,050

6.5%

2007

$4,139,965

$1,396,772

$240,370

5.8%

2006

$983,826

$277,481

$60,307

6.1%

2005

$1,655,106

$545,614

$77,315

4.7%

2004

$207,647

$40,426

$2,500

1.2%

2003

$238,327

$51,856

$3,400

1.4%

2002

$259,394

$68,958

$1,050

0.4%

2001

$272,759

$86,072

$1,470

0.5%

2000

$240,505

$63,732

$2,350

1.0%

Biden:

Year

AGI

Tax

Charitable Gifts

Gifts/AGI

2013

$407,009

$96,378

$20,523

5.00%

2012

$385,072

$87,851

$7,190

1.90%

2011

$379,035

$87,900

$5,540

1.46%

2010

$379,178

$86,626

$5,350

1.41%

2009

$333,182

$71,147

$4,820

1.45%

2008

$269,256

$47,464

$1,885

0.70%

2007

$319,853

$66,273

$995

0.31%

2006

$248,859

$42,832

$380

0.15%

2005

$321,379

$70,473

$380

0.12%

2004

$234,271

$41,845

$380

0.16%

2003

$231,375

$38,393

$260

0.11%

2002

$227,811

$41,756

$260

0.11%

2001

$220,712

$40,728

$360

0.16%

2000

$219,953

$42,313

$360

0.16%

1999

$210,797

$40,309

$120

0.06%

1998

$215,432

$35,131

$195

0.09%

April 11, 2014 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tax Salience Panel at Law & Econ Conference Today at Duke

TriangleThere is a tax panel at today's 5th Annual Triangle Law & Econ Conference on Rethinking Regulation and Reform: Behavioral Economics and the Regulatory State at Duke:

Tax Salience

  • Peter Barnes (Caplin & Drysdale, Washington, D.C.)
  • Jasper Cummings (Alston & Bird, Washington, D.C. & Raleigh, NC)
  • David Gamage (UC-Berkeley)
  • Kathleen Thomas (North Carolina)
  • Larry Zelenak (Duke) (facilitator) 

April 11, 2014 in Conferences, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Tax Roundup

 Weekly Roundup

April 11, 2014 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Roundup

April 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Weekly SSRN Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Student Tax Note Roundup

Crawford & Blattmachr: Planning With Portability Do-Overs

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Jonathan G. Blattmachr (Interactive Legal Systems), Planning With Portability Do-Overs (But Only for a Limited Time), 143 Tax Notes 117 (Apr. 7, 2014):

In this article, the authors discuss Rev. Proc. 2014-18, in which the IRS provides some estates with a simplified method for making a portability election and having that election treated as timely even though the statutory deadline may have passed. The authors suggest that once the estate tax exemption of a first spouse to die has been preserved under Rev. Proc. 2014-18, an effective estate plan for the surviving spouse may include creating and funding a lifetime trust structured as a grantor trust.

April 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Analysts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bank: Historical Perspective on the Corporate Interest Deduction

Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Historical Perspective on the Corporate Interest Deduction, 18 Chapman L. Rev. ___ (2014):

One of the so-called “pillars of sand” in the American business tax structure is the differential treatment of debt and equity. Corporations may deduct interest payments on their debt, but may not deduct dividend payments on their equity. This “ancient and pernicious” feature is criticized because it distorts corporate financing choices and inevitably leads to line drawing problems as the government engages in a futile chase to catch up with the latest financial innovation. Both the Obama administration and new Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden have proposed capping the deductibility of corporate interest to mitigate these concerns. This has led commentators to come to the defense of the full corporate interest deduction, relying in part on a historical justification based on the origins of the corporate income tax as a proxy for reaching shareholder income. According to this argument, an entity-level tax was necessary to reach income that might be distributed as a dividend, since it could otherwise be avoided by deferring the dividend, but an entity-level tax was not necessary to reach income that might be paid out as interest, since interest payments were fixed and regular and non-deferrable. Therefore, interest payments were made deductible, but dividend payments were not.

This Essay, prepared in connection with a Chapman Law Review symposium on Business Tax Reform, contends that although there may be appropriate arguments in favor of maintaining a full corporate interest deduction, the historical premise for the origins of the corporate income tax system is not one of them. Corporate interest was deductible and dividend payments were not both in 1894, when deferral was not a concern because corporations routinely distributed all of their profits each year, and in 1909, when there was no individual income tax and therefore no tax incentive to retain earnings.

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April 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 337

CNN:  Should Lois Lerner Be Held In Contempt?:

CNN Crossfire

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April 11, 2014 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wiedenbeck: Recovering the Tax Shelter Limitation Aspect of ERISA

Peter J. Wiedenbeck (Washington University), 'Ninety-Five Percent of Them Will Not Be Missed': Recovering the Tax Shelter Limitation Aspect of ERISA, 6 Drexel L. Rev. ___ (2014):

ERISA is justly hailed as a paramount achievement in labor and social welfare legislation. The worker-protective elements of ERISA get most of the attention. Yet Congress also emphasized that employee benefit plans “substantially affect the revenue of the United States because they are afforded preferential Federal tax treatment” which justified a coordinate declaration of policy, “to protect...the Federal taxing power”. ERISA § 2(a), (c), 29 U.S.C. § 1001(a), (c). The tax-subsidized but largely unregulated regime that preceded ERISA facilitated widespread tax abuse. Reducing wasted revenue by focusing preferential tax treatment on plans providing retirement savings to a broad cross-section of the workforce — not just to the business owners — is the often-overlooked dual objective of ERISA. This article seeks to recover the tax shelter limitation aspect of ERISA. Part II briefly explains the origins of ERISA’s tax controls. Part III surveys ERISA’s accomplishments and limitations in suppressing pension tax shelters. Part IV describes later momentous developments to which ERISA pointed the way.

April 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tax Increment Financing Districts and Taxable Properties

Randall K. Johnson, How Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts Correlate With Taxable Properties, 34 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 39 (2013):

This article deals with Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which is a popular economic development tool. TIF borrows against future tax revenues to subsidize current development projects. In Illinois, this economic development tool is justified by its promise to expand the local tax base: by increasing tax revenues, increasing the number of tax payers or increasing the number of taxable properties in the area. However, it is not clear that TIF delivers on its promise. A new dataset, which is introduced in this article, helps to clarify the issue. It does so by providing information about the number of TIF Districts in suburban Cook County, Illinois, the number of taxable properties therein and the nature of the relationship between these variables. If these variables move together, which would indicate that TIF Districts positively correlate with taxable properties, this article will find that TIF delivers on its promise.

April 11, 2014 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ABA Releases 'Bleak' Jobs Data for 2013 Law School Grads

ABA Logo 2Press Release, ABA Releases Class of 2013 Law Graduate Employment Data:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar today released data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2013. The data covers the employment status of the 2013 graduates of ABA-approved law schools as of Feb. 15, 2014, approximately nine months after spring 2013 graduation.

Law schools reported that 57% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage was required, compared with 56.2% for the class of 2012. In addition, 10.1% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where holding a J.D. provides an advantage in obtaining or performing the job, compared with 9.5% for the class of 2012.

Schools reported outcomes for 97.7% of their 2013 graduates. The size of the 2013 graduating class was the largest ever at 46,776, slightly larger than the 2012 class of 46,364. The data show both more jobs and a slightly higher percentage of graduates obtaining jobs in which a J.D. was required or considered relevant.

The ABA released this chart with aggregate data breakdowns and comparisons to the previous year, along with definitions of the various categories:

ABA Chart_Page_1

The ABA also released individual pdfs for each of the ABA-approved law schools, as well as a spreadsheet with all of the data for each of the schools.

Law School Transparency, New Law School Jobs Data Indicate Flat Entry-Level Legal Market:

The national full-time, long-term legal rate is 57.0%.

  • By definition these jobs:
    • require bar passage or are judicial clerkships; and
    • require 35+ hours per week and have an expected duration of at least one year.
  • At 64 law schools (31.8%), 50% of graduates or less had these legal jobs.
    • 33 schools (16.4%) had 40% or less;
    • 13 schools (6.5%) had 33% or less.
  • 103 schools (51.2%) exceeded the national rate of 57.0%.
    • 51 schools (25.4%) had 66% or more;
    • 21 schools (10.4%) had 75% or more;
    • 5 schools (2.5%) had 90% or more.

The national full-time, long-term legal rate, excluding jobs funded by law schools, is 55.3%.

  • The richest schools were able to hire their struggling graduates full time and long term; only 18 schools (9.0%) paid 5.0% or more of their graduates for long-term, full-time jobs that required bar passage.
    • 50% of these schools (9) were in the top 20 on the full-time, long-term rate without the benefit of the school-funded jobs; including school-funded jobs in the rate puts 67% of those schools (12) in the top 20.
    • Excluding school-funded jobs from the full-time, long-term legal rate caused all 5 schools over 90% to drop below that threshold.
  • Although the absolute number of full-time, long-term legal jobs funded by schools was relatively small (775, 2.0% of all employed graduates), there were 50% more of these jobs this year compared to last year.

Law School Transparency also released individual profiles of each law school, as well as sortable rankings for all law schools by various categories, including its "employment score" (full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding self-employed solo practitioners).

Matt Leichter ranks all 201 law schools by full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs.  Here are the Top 50, along with each school's U.S. News Ranking:

Percent Employed Full-Time/Long-Term Bar Passage-Required Jobs (Excluding Law-School-Funded Jobs)
 Law School (US News Rank)20122013Change
1 COLUMBIA (4) 85.3% 88.3% 3.0%
2 CHICAGO (4) 87.0% 86.5% -0.5%
3 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (6) 79.0% 86.2% 7.2%
4 PENNSYLVANIA (7) 91.9% 85.7% -6.1%
5 DUKE (10) 84.9% 85.1% 0.2%
6 STANFORD (3) 89.0% 85.1% -3.9%
7 HARVARD (2) 84.6% 84.9% 0.4%
8 CORNELL (13) 85.3% 81.3% -3.9%
9 MICHIGAN (10) 81.7% 81.2% -0.5%
10 VIRGINIA (8) 79.7% 79.7% 0.0%
11 UC-BERKELEY (9) 85.9% 78.4% -7.5%
12 VANDERBILT (16) 71.4% 78.2% 6.7%
13 NORTHWESTERN (12) 75.9% 77.5% 1.5%
14 IOWA (27) 71.4% 76.3% 5.0%
15 TEXAS (15) 75.3% 75.1% -0.2%
16 KENTUCKY (58) 74.1% 74.4% 0.3%
17 YALE (1) 77.0% 74.4% -2.6%
18 NEW MEXICO (72) 67.2% 73.7% 6.5%
19 GEORGETOWN (13) 66.8% 72.4% 5.6%
20 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Tier 2) 52.3% 72.1% 19.7%
21 ALABAMA (23) 77.3% 71.7% -5.6%
22 SMU (42) 75.1% 70.9% -4.2%
23 NOTRE DAME (26) 65.3% 70.7% 5.3%
24 BAYLOR (51) 67.1% 70.5% 3.4%
25 FLORIDA STATE (45) 66.4% 69.6% 3.2%
26 NEW HAMPSHIRE (93) 60.9% 69.2% 8.3%
27 MONTANA (121) 61.0% 69.1% 8.2%
28 SETON HALL (68) 65.8% 68.9% 3.1%
29 GEORGIA (29) 69.4% 68.4% -1.1%
30 MINNESOTA (20) 64.3% 68.2% 3.9%
31 SOUTH CAROLINA (93) 70.4% 68.2% -2.2%
32 ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE (61) 70.5% 68.2% -2.3%
33 NORTH CAROLINA (31) 67.6% 68.1% 0.6%
34 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (24) 68.0% 67.8% -0.2%
35 LSU (72) 76.7% 67.4% -9.3%
36 WYOMING (129) 56.0% 67.1% 11.1%
37 COLORADO (43) 51.4% 67.0% 15.6%
38 SOUTH TEXAS (146) 71.4% 67.0% -4.4%
39 OHIO NORTHERN (Tier 2) 59.4% 66.7% 7.3%
40 UCLA (16) 70.0% 66.6% -3.4%
41 OKLAHOMA CITY (Tier 2) 53.6% 66.5% 12.8%
42 FLORIDA (49) 56.8% 66.4% 9.6%
43 OKLAHOMA (58) 66.5% 66.3% -0.2%
44 NEBRASKA (54) 65.6% 66.1% 0.5%
45 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (18) 67.0% 66.0% -1.0%
46 MERCER (104) 72.5% 65.6% -6.9%
47 UC-DAVIS (36) 60.9% 65.3% 4.4%
48 TENNESSEE (72) 65.2% 65.3% 0.1%
49 LOUISVILLE (87) 66.9% 64.8% -2.1%
50 BYU (36) 63.3% 64.6% 1.4%

Seventeen schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News are ranked outside the Top 50 for full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs:

Employment Rank

Law School

US News Rank

51

Indiana-Bloomington

29

56

Boston College

36

60

Utah

49

61

Fordham

36

62

George Washington

20

63

Emory

19

73

Arizona State

31

76

Boston University

27

80

USC

20

81

Ohio State

31

84

Wisconsin

31

94

Arizona

40

95

Wake Forest

31

100

Washington & Lee

43

102

William & Mary

24

125

Tulane

46

144

Maryland

46

Press and blogosphere coverage:

Update

April 10, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Blank Presents Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy at Harvard

BlankJoshua D. Blank (NYU) presented Reconsidering Corporate Tax Privacy, 11 N.Y.U. J. L. & Bus. ___ (2014), at Harvard yesterday as part of its Current Issues in Tax Law, Policy, and Practice Seminar hosted by Daniel Halperin and Stephen Shay:

For over a century, politicians, government officials and scholars in the United States have debated whether corporate tax returns, which are currently subject to broad tax privacy rules, should be made publicly accessible. Throughout this age-old debate, participants have speculated about how corporate managers and the IRS might behave differently if they knew that the public could observe corporations’ tax returns and how investors and the general public would respond if they had access to this information. There is, however, another, unexplored perspective: how could seeing other corporations’ tax returns affect how corporate managers engage in tax planning and tax return preparation for their own corporations?

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April 10, 2014 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)